Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: Salary Implications, Keeper Decisions, and Trading First Overall

Rick Roos


Normally, we'd be on the cusp of opening day for the 2020-21 campaign. But instead, things are vastly different, and we've just begun the offseason! Of course, there is no offseason for the mailbag, where I answer your fantasy hockey questions while also giving advice that should be useful to all poolies even if they don't own the specific players being discussed. As a reminder, if you want your fantasy hockey question answered in the next mailbag, check out the end of the column, where I explain the ways to get it to me. The earlier you send me a question the more likely it is to be included, and the deeper dive I can provide with my reply. And as shown this week, you can feel free to send multiple questions, as – space permitting – I can answer more than one from the same person.


Question #1 (from David)

I'm in a 10-team keeper, salary league. I’ve decided on which defensemen and goaltenders I'm going to retain but am struggling with my forwards. The eight skater categories are G, A, PTS, +/-, SOG, STP, HIT+BLK, and GWG. Generally teams have 4LW, 4C, and 4RW. I can only keep nine of these following 15 forwards (i.e., I need to cut six) at a target salary of $60-63M. I’ve listed the expected positional eligibility next to each player as well as his 2020-21 salary. Who are your six cuts and why?


Jordan Eberle – C, RW – $5.5M

Ryan O’Reilly – C – $7.5M

Rickard Rakell – C, LW, RW – $3.79M

Kyle Connor – LW – $7.14M

Anders Lee – LW – $7M

Teuvo Teravainen – LW, RW – $5.4M

Pavel Buchnevich – RW – $3.25M

Brendan Gallagher – RW – $3.75M

Nicklas Backstrom – C – $9.2M

Ryan Strome – C, RW – TBD (RFA)

John Tavares – C – $11M

Patrick Kane – RW – $10.5M

Tomas Hertl – C, LW – $5.62M

Oliver Bjorkstrand – LW, RW – $2.5M

Mark Stone – RW – $9.5M


What David did not make clear is if the $60-63M applied solely to the nine retained forwards, or to the twelve forwards that he'll ros