Welcome back to another edition of the Roos Lets Loose monthly mailbag, where I answer your fantasy hockey questions by 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(s) answered in the next mailbag, check out the end of the column, where I explain the ways to get it/them to me as well as the details you should provide when sending. The earlier you send a question the more likely it is to be included in the mailbag, and the deeper dive I can provide with my reply.
Question #1 (from Cory)
Who are 3-5 players for each position (forward, defenseman, goalie) you believe will produce much better next year, and why? These could be guys bouncing back, recovering from injury, or just poised to break out due to normal circumstances.
Great question, since if we rely solely on season-long totals we often won't be able to pinpoint true buy low players, as overall numbers can, and often do, disguise that status. Also, let me stress that buy low doesn't necessarily mean dirt cheap; it's someone who should be available – whether in drafts or via trade – for a cost less than what he'll ultimately end up being worth. Lastly, these are players who I see as buy lows for next season, rather than players who will only start to pay dividends further down the road, although some might get even better in future campaigns. With all that out of the way, here are several names for each position (G, D, F), with more defensemen than goalies and more forwards than defensemen, so as to reflect the composition of most fantasy teams' rosters.
For goalies, the ones that jump out are Jordan Binnington, Elvis Merzlikins, Ilya Sorokin, Anton Forsberg, and Semyon Varlamov. With Binnington and Elvis, their GAA and SV% are headed in the wrong direction for the third (Binnington) and second (Elvis) straight seasons; but Ville Husso will almost assuredly leave as a UFA and Binnington is paid too much not to get a long leash to rebound, with it being a similar story for Elvis, due to Joonas Korpisalo departing as a UFA. Both are worth a gamble. Sorokin's price might be higher than you'd want to pay; however, at worst he'll be "the guy" in 2023-24 when Barry "timeshare" Trotz and Semyon Varlamov (more on his below) will be gone, if not sooner. Let's not forget when Sorokin started every day, as he was in the first month of the season, he was otherworldly. Don't let the next potential Igor Shesterkin slip through your fingers. As for Forsberg, his numbers are brought down by a dreadful early stretch. Discount that though, and he's been stellar. Plus, even if