Nick Alberga: This one is tight, but I’ll side with Boeser as I think he’ll be traded at some point over the next few months. Plus, there’s something about the Vancouver offense that keeps me involved and interested. On top of that, Boeser will continue to be in the top six, a path that isn’t as certain for Seguin. In this situation, I’ll go with the stronger offense; give me Boeser.
Brock Seguin: Great combination of first and last name on these guys. It’s close, but I think I would prefer Seguin. The rest of the season they’re projecting almost exactly the same, so you can’t really make the wrong call, but Seguin has the added potential of being the center of the front row if anything happens to Roope Hintz. There’s no guarantee that would happen, but Boeser doesn’t really have the same kind of advantage.
Matt Larkins: I’m tempted to say Seguin. It’s true that a trade to a new environment could ignite Boeser’s goal, and he’s five years younger, but Boeser is struggling to stay healthy. The next injury is always around the corner. Seguin quietly played 81 games last season, so his hip issues are in the rearview mirror. And yet: it’s telling that Seguin’s best right now, a 4-15-19 stat line in 26 games, is considered Boeser’s worst. Seguin is “back” with those numbers, while Boeser is “struggling” at 4-12-16 in 21 games. I prefer to chase the ceiling here with Boeser.
Nick Alberga: No, especially in this type of format, I think it’s time to move on. In other words, given the lack of early production, it’s not like opposing managers are rushing to the waiver wire to pick him up. Drop it and watch closely. This way you can get the best of both worlds – isn’t that what we all seek in life?
Brock Seguin: It all depends on the categories. He is more valuable in leagues that include hits and blocked shots. With 18 teams, I can’t imagine the D free-agent pool going very deep, but Weegar has little value outside of his peripheral stats. He doesn’t see enough PP time to be a consistent point producer. Players like JJ Moser and Mike Matheson are signed up at around 10%, and I’d much rather have them if they’re available.
Matt Larkins: The « points only » element makes this question very interesting. In banger formats, Weegar still provides enough statistical balance to be worth keeping. But the points just weren’t there on an underperforming Calgary Flames team. Weegar has just two years of above-average point production to start. Even in an 18-team league, given that you only start three ‘Ds’, I can understand cutting it. But I would give it at the end of December in case the Calgary offense wakes up.
Nick Alberga: The answer has to be Duclair, right? By all accounts, the winger is expected to return some time after Christmas. In the meantime, we haven’t really received many updates on Backstrom. Given how things have gone so far for the Capitals, I think they’re going to take a wait-and-see approach. Also, I could be wrong, but Backstrom isn’t expected anytime soon. Go with the sure thing.
Brock Seguin: I would go for Duclair, it looks like he will be back first and he has more upside goals. Backstrom’s production is really assist heavy which is easily replaceable. Also, at 35, I’m a bit more concerned about her ability to recover from major surgery.
Matt Larkins: I am going to surprise myself and say Duclair. Nicklas Backstrom is a future Hall of Famer, but the recovery timeline from his hip resurfacing surgery is pretty murky despite recent positive reports. He’s 35 and a Stanley Cup winner. Are we sure that this injury will not end up being the end of a career? When Duclair returns, he’ll be an important part of a Panther team that needs forward depth — or will be traded to a new team. He is much younger and brings better category juice. Backstrom is an asset in assists and points, but not much else now.
Nick Alberga: Personally, I would take both. I know Kempe has struggled, but it’s been a long season, and besides, I’m not sure you can find a better long-term option on the waiver wire right now. Also, Smith cooled off after a hot start. That said, he’s still deployed in a very favorable role to produce, that’s all you should worry about. It will come.
Brock Seguin: I always like Kempe moving forward. His shot volume is formidable (2.7 SOG/g), but Smith can be dropped. It’s a nice streaming target but not really a fantastic long-term asset for me.
Matt Larkins: It helps to know the league size for context, but by default I’m assuming you’re in an average group of 12 teams, in which case Kempe is an expectation. I know he was dropped to the third line, but he still plays on PP1 and remains a shot-generating machine. Even though his shooting rate is down from last year, he’s still second on the Kings in shots. He’s on pace for a respectable 23 goals. Last season’s 35 came with a career-best shooting percentage, so maybe that number will go down as an anomaly.
As for Smith: He’s still my quintessential example of « just a guy » in fantasy hockey, but, hey, he’s still locked in top-six duty and power-play work. He is on pace with his usual 50 points. So it is perfectly rosterable. Just keep an eye out for that career-best shooting percentage, though. I don’t think his current pace of 35 goals holds up.
Nick Alberga: I still don’t know how I feel about the Kraken for the rest of the season, so I’ll side with veteran Quick. Also, I know he’s struggled so far, but it’s been a long season, I think he’ll find his game eventually. Also, I like Los Angeles more than Seattle; they are bound to find a groove sooner rather than later. They were a disaster defensively.
Brock Seguin: Not an easy decision, but Grubauer. The Kraken are a very good defensive team (4th in xGA/60), and it seems that Grubauer has more hope of rebounding. I don’t think any of them are very productive, but Grubauer seems like the best of the bad options. No matter who you go with, you’ll have to be very picky with matchups when playing them.
Matt Larkins: Fast. Grubauer has continued to look lost since the start of last season. He had a horrible .889 save percentage last season and this year, even on a much better Seattle Kraken team, he sits at .868. Quick hasn’t been great but has less competition for the job. Martin Jones stole the lion’s share of starts from Grubauer, while Quick holds the No. 1 spot for now in Los Angeles with Cal Petersen banned from the AHL.
Nick Alberga: Yes, I think he is. Jackets can be made, but that doesn’t mean they won’t score a ton of goals in the future. In general, I think Jenner has been one of the most underrated fantasy players over the past few seasons. In his last 82 regular outings he has 31 goals and 62 points, that’s no small feat. Plus, it’s hard to forget the constant exposure to the likes of Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine. Keep it.
Brock Seguin: Yeah, that line was really good. They’ve basically been the Blue Jackets’ entire offense. This line is averaging 3.1 xGF/60, 31.4 SCF/60 and 13.2 HDCF/60, he will be very productive as long as he skates with Gaudreau and Laine.
Matt Larkins: Columbus is a fantastic desert right now. Even when the team was healthy and had signed Johnny Gaudreau, it was a risky proposition to field multiple jackets. Now, with all these wounds? Yeah. BUT – it’s actually, ahem, a bargain for Boone’s value. There is no playing time competition. He centers the front line, center PP1, plays more than 20 minutes per night, averaging more than three shots per game and almost two hits per game. I think it will continue to make profits. Even his plus-minus is acceptable at minus-4 considering the seriousness of the team.