Ramblings: Fantasy Mailbag – Should You Still Believe In Sam Reinhart?

by Ian Gooding on January 28, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Fantasy Mailbag – Should You Still Believe In Sam Reinhart?

Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: Sam Reinhart, trade offer, giving up on a prospect, fantasy playoff targets, plus more…

With zero games on the actual NHL schedule, I turned it over to you to ask me any fantasy hockey questions. These are some great questions by the way, so I thank everyone for their submissions and giving me something to write about tonight.

For what it’s worth, I watched Sam Reinhart in a game this week and he didn’t look half bad. So I’ll start out by saying that he’ll fit in somewhere between his brother Griffin Reinhart and his teammate Jack Eichel in terms of fantasy value. Okay, that doesn’t really narrow it down, so let’s find out where in that range he might fit in.

For what it’s worth, Reinhart has heated up recently, scoring seven points (3g-4a) over his last five games. The Sabres aren’t many people’s idea of an up-and-coming team, but they have won three games in a row in western Canada, outscoring their opponents 13-1. So things are looking up in wintry Buffalo.

Reinhart is in his third full season in the league, so it’s easy to forget that he’s only 22. So if you believe in the magical fourth season theory, better things will start to happen for him next season. But even with the recent hot streak, his points per game is down from 0.59 last season to 0.39 this season. This is despite the fact that he has spent over 50 percent of his even-strength icetime with Eichel as his center.

But we shouldn’t assume that if a player doesn’t break out by their fourth season, they never will. Many players don’t peak until beyond Season 5. Josh Bailey, as we know, is having a career year. Did you know that this is already his tenth NHL season? In Bailey’s fourth season, he recorded a grand total of 32 points – hardly anyone’s idea of a must-own keeper. Rick has some more examples of players over 25 on the rise in a recent Cage Match.

So it’s far too early to write off Reinhart. He won’t be Eichel in terms of production, but a 60-70 point career high is still not out of the question.

If Reinhart is potentially a 70-point player, shouldn’t Nico Hischier be as well? It’s easier to say that he will, given the smaller sample size because Hischier is a rookie. At 29 points, Hischier isn’t having a bad rookie season. It’s not the kind of season that either Mathew Barzal or Brock Boeser is experiencing, but remember that Barzal and Boeser turn 21 this year while Hischier only just turned 19. So how this group compares today isn’t necessarily how things will play out in the future.

Obviously Hischier won’t hit 70 points this season. But with a linemate like Taylor Hall scoring at over a point per game (1.12 Pts/GP), Hischier could reach that 70-point mark soon. I’m going to predict that it happens in Season 3.

Even though I’ve seen larger deals in terms of number of players, this deal would qualify as a blockbuster based on the big names involved.

It’s possible that this owner is making the deal to attempt to buy low on Jamie Benn. However, I think this deal could make you both better and younger. Assuming Stamkos is over his injury woes of previous seasons, I think he has a higher upside than Benn. So there is an element of risk, though having been fully healthy this season Stamkos has a higher points-per-game average (1.16) than Jamie Benn (0.94). Stamkos is outshining Benn in points and power-play points, however, you could lose something in physical categories such as penalty minutes and hits by giving up Benn.

Braden Holtby has been an elite goalie the past few years, so it’s possible that this owner is also trying to buy low on what has been arguably the top fantasy goalie over the past few seasons. However, Holtby isn’t having the kind of season that Connor Hellebuyck is having. It may also surprise you that the two goalies’ averages over the past three seasons are very similar. Plus Hellebuyck is four years younger.




Goals Against Avg



Avg GAA Last 3Yrs



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Avg Save% Last 3Yrs




I will assume you are receiving Steven Stamkos and Connor Hellebuyck, which I think is the better side of this deal overall. Yes, make this deal – words I use in fewer than half of trades that I evaluate.

I searched on Google and could not find anything substantial either. There has been very little since the Jets announced in late December that Mark Scheifele would miss the next 6-8 weeks with an upper-body injury. That would put Scheifele on track to return in mid to late February.

In the meantime, I’ll put in two plugs that may help you. Check our Injury Ward article every Wednesday for weekly updates on significant (and a few not so significant) injuries. For even more up-to-the-minutes updates, you can follow the article’s author, Brennan De Souza, on Twitter.  

More than anything, I think this depends on the type of league you’re in. In one league, I can keep only four players, so who I keep is more of a year-to-year decision. So I don’t have a lot of room for prospects in that league. But it’s worth mentioning that roster space is a major determining factor as to whether you keep a prospect.

I have another league where I’m better able to answer this question. This is a league where I can draft a player as soon as they become property of an NHL team, and I can keep the player until he reaches a certain points league threshold. I won’t burden you with all of the intricacies of this league, but the idea is that I want to keep the prospect while his auction contract amount is low and his point production has the potential to be high.

I’ll give you an example of one prospect that I had given up on (or at least am about to give up on): Derrick Pouliot. I added him to my roster the summer he was drafted by the Penguins (2012), thinking that an offensive-minded defenseman would fit in perfectly on their high-powered offense. Fast forward five years later, and Pouliot couldn’t even get a sniff of action in the Pens’ cup run, even with tons of opportunity from their defensemen dropping like flies.

So I decided not to renew Pouliot’s contract while renewing the contracts of other prospects that I had acquired (Tyson Jost, Pavel Zacha, Kevin Labanc, Thomas Chabot, to name a few). In this league, that would keep him on my roster for just one more year before he becomes a free agent. That decision had to be made just before he was traded to the Canucks, where he has already reached a career high in games played (41).

At this point we could debate what Pouliot’s upside is now, but his fantasy value improved to a degree with a move to the Canucks. But try to think of where Pouliot’s fantasy value was during last season’s playoffs. I knew it wasn’t going to happen for him in Pittsburgh, and I was starting to have my doubts that it would ever happen for any other team. That was a point where I had decided to give up on a prospect.

Hey… I’ll let you in on a little secret. Okay, it won’t be a secret now that I’m putting it out there for the thousands of Dobber visitors out there. Whether your playoffs are two weeks or three weeks, one team that has a favorable fantasy playoff schedule in terms of number of games is the Ottawa Senators. If you want the particulars on that, or you want to find out which other teams have a great fantasy playoff schedule, you can either map out their schedule yourself or you can buy a Midseason Guide and get a full breakdown of the last two weeks or last three weeks of the regular season.

The Sens are a great team to target players from, given their underachieving status. I don’t think they’re as horrendous a team as they’ve shown this season, although it’s clear that they overachieved significantly during last season’s playoffs. I seem to remember them having a favorable fantasy playoff schedule last season too, which was a reason that I targeted Craig Anderson. That didn’t quite work out for me, though. Anderson could be a goalie whose owner would be happy that you’d take him off his/her hands, so it shouldn’t take much to pry him away. I don’t know if he’ll have a great second half, but you could simply stash him away for your fantasy playoffs – assuming you’ll make it there.

Another Senator to target could be the much-maligned Matt Duchene, who is finally starting to heat up. Duchene has nine points in his last nine games, yet his ownership has fallen to just 39 percent in Yahoo leagues. By some accounts, he was doing a lot of things right when he first joined the Sens – just not scoring. The Sens won’t be playing meaningful games during late March or April, but a few of their players (at least what’s left over after the February 26 trade deadline) could be difference makers in fantasy leagues during that time. The recently-acquired Duchene and starting goalie Anderson probably aren't going anywhere. 


Here’s a recap of the Skills Competition winners:

I think Mike hit the nail on the head with his take on the All-Star Game in yesterday’s Ramblings. This isn’t more apparent than at my house, where my eight-year-old son was soaking in a show on past All-Star games. “Wayne Gretzky scored four goals in one period? Al Iafrate took a shot that went 105 miles per hour?” he said to me in astonishment this morning. Hockey experts have written endless articles about tinkering the All-Star Game to make it better. But the fact of the matter is it may never be better than what it is. The game and skills competition are a way of reaching out to the new fans – the kids.   

So here’s some YouTubes of some good times at the All-Star Game. But if you’re not into All-Star games or skills competitions, don’t watch.


For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.