Fantasy hockey Q&A: Should you trade Evgeni Malkin?

Matt Larkin
Evgeni Malkin

A thought that occurred to me while we finished up our Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide, which hits newsstands in the next few weeks: we’ve entered a golden age of fantasy hockey. Traditional, pen-and-paper office pools still exist, but we also have massive online league engines and keeper formats that let us track salaries and trade draft picks. The latest revolution, daily fantasy sports, has players changing their lineups seven times a week based on matchups. We’ve never had so many options.

All the different modes of play complicate roster decisions and led to many questions submitted from readers over the past several weeks. They were supposed to run in the magazine, but our 2015-16 Pool Guide is so packed with content that there wasn’t room. I’ll answer them online instead. Here goes…

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Fantasy hockey mailbag: deciding whom to cut from your keeper league team

Matt Larkin
Kris Letang (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

May and June allow most fantasy hockey poolies to put their feet up. Their regular seasons are over, and most of them are eliminated from their playoff pools by this stage, too.

For the diehard keeper league players, though, there’s never really a break. They must decide which players to retain for next season before a deadline. They must assess how the post-season and the NHL draft affect player values and the overall talent pool.

Today, I take questions from that demographic. The fun part about keeper league inquiries is that they are essentially hockey questions about the long-term value of player A versus player B or C. The answers can spark debate among fantasy players and general hockey fans alike. Let’s get started!

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Fantasy hockey mailbag: MacKinnon vs. Drouin, and other keeper league pickles

Matt Larkin
Jonathan Drouin. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Seeking advice in your fantasy hockey pool right now? You must be:

(a) Seeking upgrades or smart last-minute roster adds for your post-season push
(b) Scraping the roadkill that is your team off the pavement, and assessing keeper players

Today’s mailbag tackles questions from both perspectives.

Jeremy Aubin (@JAubs19) asks
Strictly a points league, better player to draft next year: Nathan MacKinnon or Jonathan Drouin?

Answer: Who knew this would be such a good question? It boils the blood of any MacKinnon owner, especially after he was shut down with a broken foot last week, adding injury to the insult of his sophomore slump. MacKinnon made poolie mouths water as an 18-year-old rookie in 2013-14, churning out 63 points, spurred by a great second half, and dominating in the post-season.

This year? A measly 12 goals and 38 points in 64 games. Yikes. And just when he showed signs of life with five goals and nine points in his past 10 games, his season ended. So it’s understandable to wonder if Tampa Bay left winger Jonathan Drouin, Mackinnon’s former Halifax Mooseheads teammate and the young man picked two spots after him in 2013, is a better keeper-league option.

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Fantasy hockey mailbag: MacKinnon makes managers miserable

Matt Larkin
Nathan MacKinnon owners haven't gotten anywhere near the production they expected of him this season. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Raise your virtual hand if you’ve been in this situation before: you have a sore throat and that wonky knee of yours is bothering you, too. You head to your family doctor and spot a sign taped to the wall: “Please limit your visit to one issue.” What does that mean? Are you seriously supposed to make two appointments?

I’m out to right that wrong in this week’s fantasy mailbag. Many readers crammed multiple questions into their “one” question. But I’ll answer them all if it’s the last thing I do.

John Daniels (@Daniels1984J) asks…
Is it time to bail on Nathan MacKinnon (i.e. take anything in a trade)? I feel like I’ve been holding out for too long.

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Fantasy hockey mailbag: Why Vatanen is (mostly) for real and Brodeur is (mostly) not

Matt Larkin
Sami Vatanen (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

It’s not…too…late.

So you’re mired in the basement of your hockey pool standings. Your dad, your boss and your friggin’ 10-year-old niece ridicule you endlessly. Don’t take your ball and go home. Fight back.

I’m here to (hopefully) help. I’ve collected your excellent Twitter questions over the last few days, and I’ll answer as many as I can below. You’re welcome for the good advice / Sorry for the bad advice.

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Fantasy Mailbag: Is it time to trade Claude Giroux?

Darryl Dobbs
giroux-187889225

The Steven Stamkos injury destroyed the chances of more than a few fantasy owners. But the good news is Claude Giroux seems to be back.  Let’s get to some letters!

Should I trade Antti Niemi and Henrik Lundqvist for Tuukka Rask and Carey Price?
Michael, Chicago

In a one-year format, I would say no. In a keeper format, that changes things. I would still say no if I have designs on winning this year. But if I’m throwing in the towel for this season and looking ahead to the future, I would prefer the Price/Rask side. Read more