It’s playoff hockey in many fantasy leagues. Lots of tough, but very impactful, roster decisions are being made. Let’s tackle some letters!
Talk to me about Brendan Smith and his ability/inability to put up enough PIM to warrant rostering him while he develops. Can one expect 100 PIM next year in Detroit with 20+ points as a very safe bet? I could use PIM and am thinking of moving one of my starters for a forward upgrade – I’d use Smith to fill that vacant spot. Think he’ll get enough PIM to warrant such a move?
And Brendan Smith Part II…
It looks like Detroit is in a very good situation. With Lidstrom, Ericsson & Kindl. What do you see for Brendan Smith? He certainly has played well enough to warrant a spot on the team as it sits right now, but what happens when they are at full health? What do you project for him over the next three years?
Poolies are really excited about this guy and rightfully so. Potentially, he’s a top-pairing defenseman who could rack up the penalty minutes. He’s making his presence felt quickly and on 29 NHL teams he’s on their Top 4. But the crazy penalty minutes that he’s been getting at other levels couldn’t possibly translate into the NHL. Not while putting up big points at the same time. If you look at the Top 50 defensemen in scoring, not one of them is on pace to reach 100 penalty minutes.
I think to start, Smith should come in around 30 points and 100 penalty minutes (or close to it). But by Year 3, he’ll be up over 45 points and you’ll find that his PIM settle in that 70-80 range. Eventually he could be a rare 60-point defenseman.
I pick first in two leagues, one a dynasty (25 players), another a keep seven with five prospect slots. I am poised to pick second in one and first (for sure) in the keep seven, it is a deep draft for both as they are new leagues and don’t contain anyone not playing in the NHL yet. Both are multi-cat leagues. Who are your top 3 picks at forward, I can narrow it from there but am unsure who to exclude they are all world class budding talents imo.
Josh, LaSalle, Ont.
The Top 3 forward prospects to me would be:
1. Evgeni Kuznetsov, Washington
2. Nail Yakupov, 2012 draft eligible
3. Mikael Granlund, Minnesota
The next four are Vladimir Tarasenko, Mikhail Grigorenko, Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Strome. If you consider the “KHL factor” (fear of the player playing in Russia instead of North America), however, then my three are Yakupov, Granlund, Grigorenko. If you consider the fact that Yakupov has been injured twice this year and fear that it may be starting to become a habit, then Granlund, Grigorenko and Huberdeau are the safest picks.
For the rest of the year, do you like Teddy Purcell or Blake Wheeler?
Tough call because both of them have found their magic here in their fourth year. Purcell has been more prolific of late, whereas Wheeler has been very steady since late November. If it were me, I would go with the steady guy if I’m winning, but the prolific guy if I’m behind and I need to catch up and I want to go “all or nothing.”
I’m a long-time reader so first off, thanks for all the hard work and great content you and your team put together. I’m in a daily head to head keeper league and the skater categories are G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, S and Hits. I’m wondering who to keep (2 guys) between: D Brown, E Kane, P Marleau, M Richards, L Couture, D Keith and J Pominville.
In limited keepers, I look to superstars first then my gaze swings towards goaltending. After that, I check out my defensemen. So under that guideline, keep Keith. The fact that you count hits makes Dustin Brown the best of the bunch here. He is, year in and year out, among the hits leaders. He also stays healthy. So while his 55 points or so may fall short of the rest of the players you list, the fact that he’s a sure thing for hits and not bad everywhere else puts him as the other keeper.
What are your thoughts about Tomas Fleischmann long-term with Florida? An 80-point guy or more of a 60-65 point producer? Also looking for feedback on some other Panthers: Stephen Weiss and Dmitri Kulikov.
Jeff, St. Thomas, Ont.
While I think Fleischmann has the talent to be an 80-point player, I also think he lacks the consistency. He had 30 points in his first 30 games and then 19 in his next 39. Next season, if Jonathan Huberdeau makes an impact and gives the Panthers a second-line scoring option, that will help Fleischmann sustain his production a little longer. But that would still find him shy of 70.
As for Weiss – Weiss is Weiss. I don’t know of a more consistent offensive producer than him. Every year you can take it to the bank – between 48 and 60 points. On the right team, maybe he could make it to 70 – but he’s signed with Florida for another year, so no change is on the horizon.
Kulikov is a very skilled defenseman who I think could top 55 points. However, he needs to be healthy in order to do that and I’m seeing nothing but injury after injury with this guy. He has yet to play 73 games in a season three years into his career and if that continues to be the case then his getting even 45 points is in doubt.
Note regarding the Fantasy Mailbag – it is important to indicate whether or not your league is a keeper league or a one-year league. Also note whether the league is “points only,” “standard roto league,” or if there are any uncommon rules that are important to know. This will help in advising you on the right course of action. Also note that the mailbag is up every two weeks, so keep that in mind when sending in your questions.
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