In this week's Fantasy Puck Mail, we dig into the underachieving Steve Mason, deals involving Nicklas Backstrom and it seems like Lubomir Visnovsky is on a lot of radar screens in the fantasy world.
Let's get right to the mail...
I'm in a rotisserie style keeper league. Stat categories are goals, assists, plus/minus and penalty minutes for skaters, and wins, shutouts, GAA and save percentage for goalies. I am being offered Ryan Miller and Jonathan Toews for both Nicklas Backstroms (I currently have a monopoly on Nicklas Backstroms). Do you think I should make this trade?
George, I'd take that deal. Getting Miller is such an upgrade in goal, particularly because the Wild aren't giving Niklas Backstrom much support, that it more than makes up for the marginal sacrifice in dealing Nicklas Backstrom for Toews. - SC
In my 14-team, h2h league i've been offered Nathan Horton for Olli Jokinen.
Frankly I like it. Should I pull the trigger?
Yeah, I'd do that deal too, Matt. I like Horton (and have spent the past couple of seasons touting him, sometimes to my own detriment) and it looks like he's getting ample opportunity in Florida. Jokinen is getting opportunities in Calgary, but still not doing as much with them. That Horton also has right wing eligibility doesn't hurt either. - SC
I just recently received a very tempting trade offer in my 12-team keeper league. The other guy is offering me John Tavares, Marian Hossa and Marc-Andre Fleury for Nicklas Backstrom, Patrick Kane and Steve Mason. What do you think? I would be trading away 3 of my keepers from last year but in return, I am getting two of his keepers and a very promising Tavares. Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Ray, I see that deal as fairly even, but it's all going to depend on Mason. If he continues to struggle, Fleury ought to be a significant upgrade in goal, which more than offsets the forward talent you're giving up. On the other hand, if Mason rebounds and is anything approaching what he was as a rookie, then the deal is a loser for you, so it depends on what you think of Mason. If it was me, I wouldn't be ready to sacrifice him just yet. - SC
What do you think of this trade Scott?
I am getting:
- Nicklas Backstrom
- Jonas Gustavsson
- Craig Anderson
- Ryan Kesler
Straight up, it looks like a no-brainer that I proceed, but it gives me an extra centre. What do you think? pull the trigger?
Island Bob, I don't know if it's a no-brainer, because Anderson has been significantly better than Gustavsson so far, though this could be a prime buy low on Gustavsson and sell high on Anderson deal. Otherwise, the Backstrom for Kesler side of the deal has enough of an advantage, particularly with a higher ceiling for Backstrom, that it's worth going for it. - SC
Hey Scott, I'm in a pool that rewards pts for pims, time on ice, goals, assists, +/-. Someone wants trade me Ryan Getzlaf for Sidney Crosby. I get Crosby, I personally think Getzlaf is better but seeing how he's with the Ducks, I'm not sure how long it can last. What do you think? - Neal Sontakke
Neal, Getzlaf for Crosby is a relatively fair deal in a league that rewards penalty minutes. While Crosby leads in that category now, 39 PIMs to 29, Getzlaf is more likely to keep his pace. Given the early-season struggles for the Penguins' power play, I'd still be inclined to take the Crosby side of the deal, because Sid still has greater offensive upside, but this isn't too far off. - SC
SC, Who should I pick up off of waivers...Derek Roy, Scott Hartnell, or Nik Antropov? Roy is a number one centre on a low scoring team, Hartnell seems to mix up points and PIMS and Antropov is on fire riding shotgun with Kovalchuk. Its a tough call, please help! Thanks, Mitchell
Mitchell, I'd go with Hartnell, who isn't as offensively productive, but his penalty minute contributions and the fact that he's a winger makes him just as valuable as the others. - SC
I have a couple questions for you. But first I'll give you the background on our pool format. It's a head to head tracking Goals, Assists, +/-, PIM, Faceoff Wins, Hits, Blocked Shots, PP Points, and SH Points. For goalies, it tracks Starts, Wins, Saves, and GAA. It's a fairly deep pool, 12 teams with 18 roster spots each (12 starters: 2C, 2F, 1LW, 1RW, 4D, 2G).
I was thinking about trying to move Ryan O'Reilly. He had a good start to the season but has dwindled off a bit. I was hoping to package him with someone to try and get something in return. I was thinking about packaging him with either Maxim Afinogenov or Joe Pavelski. What type of return can I try and get with those players? I was eyeing Tomas Plekanec. Is it worth trying to move him or should I just consider dropping him?
I was also thinking about freeing up a roster spot to try and claim Rick DiPietro and throw him on my IR. What are your thoughts on the amount of playing time he'll see when he gets back from injury?
Rob, O'Reilly has started to tail off a little (three points, minus-1 in last eight games), so an upgrade to Tomas Plekanec would be nice. However, I'm not sure I can recommend Plekanec as that much better than Pavelski (if he's better at all), so that sounds like you may be overpaying. In the case of Afinogenov, he's streaky enough that I'd consider moving him and O'Reilly for Plekanec, if that wouldn't leave you shorthanded on the wing. If you can stash DiPietro on IR, it's not a bad idea, but I have limited expectations for the Islanders and, given the play they've received from Dwayne Roloson thus far, they won't necessarily feel any pressure to rush DiPietro back or give him a heavy workload -- even if he is the starter -- once he does return. - SC
I'm thinking about making a trade for Eric Staal but not sure who to give up. I'm considering one of my hotter forwards such as Mike Fisher, Maxim Afinogenov, or Mikael Samuelsson but not sure if that's enough. What do you think?
Dan, I don't think Samuelsson would be enough, but I could see Mike Fisher (if he's healthy) being a little tempting and Maxim Afinogenov would certainly be a realistic offer, for as long as he's skating with Ilya Kovalchuk. - SC
I am trying to make a trade:
The players I'm sending are Evgeni Malkin, Miikka Kiprusoff, Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic, Dion Phaneuf and Marian Hossa for their Anze Kopitar, Roberto Luongo, Patrick Marleau, Danny Briere, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Daniel Alfredsson.
Does this look like a good trade?
Kevin, It's a blockbuster to be sure. I see the following: Malkin, Kiprusoff and Kessel for Kopitar, Luongo and Marleau seems balanced, giving Malkin more value than Kopitar because he's more proven as a 100-point producer. The second half of the deal, though, swings in your favour (even before the Lucic injury) because Hossa, Lucic and Phaneuf aren't as productive as Briere, Alfredsson and Visnovsky. If you can get a deal like this done, by all means, have at it. - SC
I'm currently seventh in a 10-team rotisserie league and am getting hammered in the tending columns (W, SV %, SO). My staff includes Roberto Luongo, Steve Mason, Nikolai Khabibulin and Pekka Renne (recently off waivers). On paper I think I'm better off than the results so far. Between Luongo's injury and Mason's sluggish start I am wondering if my patience will result in a steady climb up the standings? Do you think I should try to upgrade in net, stay patient or try to sell one of them to upgrade up front and accept my poor fate in net? I sort of like the idea of rotating four starters but I'm beginning to doubt Mason's abilities as well as Edmonton's poor defensive play. Any idea what I should do? Thanks, Jimmy
Jimmy, Getting Rinne should really help your goaltending as he and Luongo can be your primary puckstoppers and, in the meantime, you can use Khabibulin and Mason depending on the matchups, leaning towards home games against lesser opponents until there is a better idea whether Mason is a complete flop, or just a slow starter, this year. - SC
I am in a 10-team keeper league with fairly large rosters (12f,4d,2g) plus some bench players, where players under 25 can be kept without using a keeper spot for the next season. I have a lot of underacheivers and injured players on my team at the moment (Johan Franzen, Alexander Semin, Paul Kariya, Jason Spezza and Cam Ward to name a few) and I have been quite frustrated at how my team has done so far, sitting in the middle of the pack for most of the season. I have a lot of assets on defence such as Duncan Keith, Scott Niedermeyer, Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Bieksa and Braydon Cobourn and the best current fantasy goalie in my league in Evgeni Nabakov. I want to do something to shake up my team and was recently offered Marian Hossa and Patrick Elias for John Tavares and Bobby Ryan from my team. Would you do this trade, or do you have any other ideas to shake up my team or should I remain patient with my underacheiving players? Any advice would be great.
Devin, First off, you can dump Kariya and find someone better on your waiver wire. Secondly, the Hossa, Elias offer is fine for the short term, but given your league's keeper rules, it would seem that Tavares and Ryan are substantially more valuable since they have several more seasons of eligibility for "free" keeper status. If your team was in contention right now, I could see taking on Hossa and Elias, to make a push for the lead, but if your team has been underachieving, there's no sense in sacrificing a pair of premier young players for them. On the other hand, perhaps you could get some value in return for Scott Niedermayer, who has been okay, but far from a dominating presence. - SC
I'm in a 15-team points-based pool. I just lost Niklas Kronwall for the next 4-8 weeks. I'm currently in first place in the pool but I don't want to fall out of the lead due to my injury with Kronwall. There aren't many options available but I'd like your opinion on whether I should wait it out with Kronwall or claim one of these three defensemen (Filip Kuba, Joe Corvo or Alex Picard).
Also I do have one remaining claim left following my defensive move. Brenden Morrow has been slumping considerably and there are a few interesting names available (Nik Antropov, Patrik Elias, Ray Whitney) should I make a claim on one of these guys or hope that Morrow turns it around? Thanks for your time, Tom White
Tom, Given the uncertainty regarding Kronwall's return, it's probably safer to take either Kuba or Corvo, both of whom get significant power play time, as a replacement. I'll lean ever-so-slightly to Corvo, because the Hurricanes have to improve on their terrible start. Morrow has been slumping, but I do expect him to recover. However, I like Elias to get more points over the rest of the season, so if that doesn't prove to be too costly in terms of your transactions, that's the move I'd make. - SC
In need of your opinion. I'm in a deep 16-man league, there is only scraps on the wire from time to time...I have decent goaltending in Tim Thomas and Pekka Rinne and need to unload my backup (the struggling) Jean-Sebastien Giguere for another skater. Would you take Saku Koivu, Jussi Jokinen or Matthew Lombardi in a basic setup of goals, assists, points, ppg, shg, gwg...etc Position does not matter. Thanks in advance Scott! - David W. Hitchcock
You're right, there's not much on your waiver wire, David. Given those options, I'd take Koivu, who has seven points in the last eight games. Lombardi is a decent flier for those in deep leagues, too, but it's getting really hard to recommend Coyotes. - SC
I am currently in a fantasy hockey league with my friends. This league can be won with goalies so I have a question. I can only play two goalies a night and currently I have three goalies on my team, Jon Quick, Nikolai Khabibulin and Tim Thomas. Pekka Rinne is available on waivers but I dont know how consistent the Predators can be. There is no salary cap in my league so I do not have to worry about that. Should I pick up Rinne or should I stay with my goalies? Also I have Daniel Sedin on my team and since he just came back from injury reserve I am over the limit of players. My three other left wingers are Alexander Frolov, Vinny Prospal and Scott Hartnell. Which left winger should I drop so that the other wingers will be consistent and not just be on a hot streak for a short period of time.
Thank You, Jesse
Jesse, I'd take Rinne ahead of Khabibulin, if that's available to you. Rinne may not get as many starts (though he might), but he's likely going to have better peripheral numbers (GAA, SVPCT). If you have to drop one of those three left wingers, I suppose it would be Hartnell. Frolov is in a decent position for ice time, especially with Ryan Smyth hurt, and Prospal is a point-per-game guy playing with Gaborik, so that leaves Hartnell, who is a decent player, but not at the level of the other two. - SC
I just needed your opinion on some players:
Milan Hejduk, Paul Stastny, Craig Anderson, Pekka Rinne, Steve Mason, Ryan Miller, Nik Antropov, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, J.P. Dumont, Jason Arnott, Drew Doughty, Zdeno Chara, and Lubomir Visnovsky.
Sorry for the long list.
Here we go, AT:
Hejduk - A nice veteran player who should score 30 goals for the Avalanche, since they don't have a lot of options ahead of him as a scoring winger.
Stastny - Could be a point-per-game player, even without a great supporting cast in Colorado. Because of the lack of support, it would be easier to expect 70-75 points.
Anderson - Really like him, but it's hard to imagine him playing so many games -- he's on pace for 75 starts -- in his first year as a starter. Avs are also unlikely to maintain this winning percentage, so Anderson's value may not get any higher this season.
Rinne - Taking the lead in the Nashville goaltending competition and is a quality number two option for fantasy purposes.
Mason - Doesn't have much value now, so in most cases I'd hang onto him and hope for him to turn around his season.
Miller - Could be a Vezina contender this year, but needs more support from the Sabres if he's going to be a consistent winner.
Antropov - Valuable as long as he plays with Kovalchuk. Based on his past, it's difficult to expect him to maintain point-per-game pace.
Stamkos - Maybe he doesn't keep this pace, but he should be knocking on a point-per-game as he's found a quality line with Ryan Malone and Martin St. Louis.
Tavares - I'm surprised with his production, in part because I didn't anticipate Matt Moulson producing the way he has, but I'm still thinking he could be hard-pressed to top 60 points because of the Isles' supporting cast.
Dumont - Underrated point-per-game scorer. May not keep that pace, but 65 points is reasonable.
Arnott - Slow start, but should be better with a healthy Dumont, which has helped Steve Sullivan too.
Doughty - A rising star on defence, who should be good for 55-plus points this season and more in the future.
Chara - Slow start should be turned around somewhat by the return of Marc Savard, which will improve the Bruins' power play.
Visnovsky - Generally underrated, but a very productive defenceman. A good number two fantasy blueliner. - SC
So I drafted Martin Havlat this year in the hopes that he would fill the hole left by Marian Gaborik in Minny and hoping that him and Mikko Koivu would be lighting it up this year. While Koivu is starting to produce, Havlat isn't, and frankly 2 goals and 8 points with an abysmal -14 isn't doing me any favours. I have held onto him since the beginning hoping he'd turn it around, but I'm starting to think I should drop him, what do you think? My league is a head to head matchup counting G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SHP and SOG. What do you think? - Al-Rahim
Al-Rahim, If you have room to stash Havlat on your IR, it's probably worthwhile until he's healthy again, but if you have to make an immediate decision on him, you probably can find someone more appealing. Some wingers that may be available: Ryane Clowe, Justin Williams, James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux or Tuomo Ruutu. - SC
Hey Scott. I'll be brief with my 2 questions: 1) Martin Brodeur's contract runs for 2 more years following this year, I believe. Do you think he'll continue to play after his current contract? (2)(a) Do you think Gonchar will re-sign with the Pens and (b) how many more years do you think he'll play? Thanks, Mike.
Mike, Brodeur does have two more years left on his deal and if he's still playing as well as he has been this year, I imagine he'd continue to keep playing. Until his play slips significantly, why not? When it comes to Gonchar, I'd expect the Penguins to want to re-sign him, though that could force other roster moves to fit in a $5-million-plus salary. He's 35 now, but still very effective so, presuming he can avoid further significant injuries, another four years wouldn't seem out of the question. - SC
I'm just wondering how much longer you would be patient Nicklas Lidstrom in Detroit? It seems like age is finally catching up with Lidstrom. Is the sudden exodus of quality forwards in Detroit to blame for this? My league doesn't require us to dress four defensemen, so I'm thinking of getting rid of Lidstrom for a forward. Saku Koivu and Erik Cole are available in my league, as well as guys like Derick Brassard, Jakub Voracek, Blake Wheeler, Marco Sturm, and I could later trade a forward for a quality defenseman like Pronger or Boyle if need be. What do you think? Thanks! - Jaroslaw
Jaroslaw, The departure of (and injuries to) quality forwards in Detroit surely is impacting Lidstrom, but I also didn't expect a great start to the season for Lidstrom because, after two straight years of long playoff runs, it's easy to see a veteran team like the Wings taking some time to get into the groove of the regular season. I expect Lidstrom to get better as the season goes on, so none of those waiver wire options would be more appealing to me. If I had to pick one, it would be Brassard and he's had his own struggles to deal with this season. - SC
Hi there! Hockey fan from Brazil here.
I'll make this one quick. I'm in a standard roto yahoo leagues, and have Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Erik Johnson, Kimmo Timonen and Niklas Kronwall on defense, with four spots to dress. I've got Brent Burns, Rob Blake, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joni Pitkanen, Denis Grebeshkov, Keith Ballard and Stephane Robidas as notable waiver pickups. Do you think I should drop anyone for any of them? Should I carry an extra defenseman, or concentrate on forwards only? I've already got an extra goalie.
On another league, I've got Duncan Keith and Mike Green. What are your thoughts about them? Green has disapointed me, I guess. Should I shop him? Can Keith get into the 50 points range?
Thanks for checking in, Bruno! Kronwall's injury should make the decision for you, but otherwise that's a good group of defencemen. Green may not be scoring goals like he did last year, but there's nothing wrong with 25 points in 24 games. If you do shop him, you had better get something significant in return. Keith should surpass 50 points. He had 44 last year and, while I'm surprised that Keith has 21 points in 23 games this year, the Blackhawks have a high-flying offence and they don't show any signs of slowing down. - SC
I've got a few players that drive me crazy with inconsistency. What's your suggestion on these players, should they stay or should they go. David Perron, Jon Quick, TJ Oshie and Dennis Wideman. Wideman is the most furustrating of all of them. What do you hink? Thanks, Jarrod
Jarrod, I'd keep Perron, who I really like (if only for his fantastic hands) and I'd be willing to be patient with Oshie in a deep league. Quick is little riskier, as a slump could get him supplanted by Jonathan Bernier at some point, but as a starting goaltender on a promising team, he's well worth owning. Until the Bruins put Wideman back on the first power play unit, you can drop him and find someone better on the waiver wire. Until the fascination with Derek Morris dies out, though, Wideman isn't in position to match last year's outstanding production. - SC
I am in a 10 person H2H yahoo Pool with my buddies. Wojtek Wolski and/or Travis Zajac have so far produced up to or over expectations. They have been providing quality depth for my team for the first seven weeks and I see them as sell-high type players. Do you see any buy-low guys that you would see value in trading for either of Wolski and/or Zajac in a single or package deal or hold on as they will continue to produce? I am strong in all offensive categories, G A PTS +\- PPG PPA PPP PIM SHG SHA SHP GWG SOG, however goals are a premium as assist are a dime a dozen with guys like. I just need that sell high buy low trade to put me into first (currently sit 3rd).
Spence, Wolski is especially a good sell-high option. I like Zajac a little more because he can ride Zach Parise's coattails. If you were to try and move Wolski, you may not get a lot, but could get a young guy like Claude Giroux, a waking-up Vyacheslav Kozlov, or Marco Sturm, who should get going now that Marc Savard has returned to the Boston lineup. - SC
Hi Scott, I'm in an 18-team keeper league and have Varlamov and Rinne as my goalies. I think Varlamov has performed quite well from a fantasy standpoint when called upon, however, for whatever reason, Washington doesn't seem keen on starting him more. Rinne is beginning to start more consistently but I'm not getting the points from him that I expected he would get based on last year's performance. My question is do I hang on to both or do I try to trade one (or both) for a more consistent proven starter? Thanks, Brad
Brad, I'd be inclined to hang onto both of them a while longer. I think they're both going to gain value as the season goes along and, in an 18-team keeper league, they would have loads of value if you decide to flip one later in the season. - SC
Hey Scotty, I am currently in a Yahoo roto league. I was wondering if you think I should drop Kimmo Timonen for someone like Erik Johnson, Lumomir Visnovsky, or Brent Seabrook. I am currently in last in PIMS and +/- which has really hurt me. I also have Dustin Brown and Ales Hemsky and I can't really decide which one of the two to play, maybe even trade one away to upgrade somewhere else. Also Phaneuf and Kesler really haven't put up the PIMs I thought they would, should that be expected, or will the PIMs come? - Chunks
Chunks, I'd take Erik Johnson and be happy, but Visnovsky's a good upgrade too. As long as Hemsky is out (and they're being suitably vague on the subject), you can start Brown, but they could be alternated in and out depending on the opposition. I'd be more inclined to expect Phaneuf to increase his penalty minutes, but it's tough to predict when a player is going to stop paying attention to the rules. - SC
Your first-quarter picks were very good. Some other things you could address:
Who are your first and second all star teams for the first quarter? That won't be easy.
And, who is the best over-all team for the first quarter, in your opinion.
Regards, Peter Stark, Guelph, Ontario
Good point, Peter. I should have included these in the first quarter recap blog.
First All-Star Team
G - Ryan Miller, Buffalo
D - Chris Pronger, Philadelphia
D - Mike Green, Washington
LW - Alexander Ovechkin, Washington
C - Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles
RW - Corey Perry, Anaheim
Second All-Star Team
G - Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose
D - Duncan Keith, Chicago
D - Dan Boyle, San Jose
LW - Marian Gaborik, N.Y. Rangers
C - Brad Richards, Dallas
RW - Patrick Marleau, San Jose
Third All-Star Team
G - Martin Brodeur, New Jersey
D - Shea Weber, Nashville
D - Erik Johnson, St. Louis
LW - Zach Parise, New Jersey
C - Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay
RW - Jarome Iginla, Calgary
As for the best team, I had the Sharks-Blackhawks 1-2 in the Power Rankings, then the Blackhawks laid the shorthanded smack down Wednesday night in Marian Hossa's return, so I think it's fair to give the Blackhawks the nod as the best team so far this season. - SC
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca