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TYLER FROM SAN JOSE currently has Johan Hedberg as his backup goaltender. With Martin Brodeur back from injury, he is wondering if he would be better off picking up an available netminder like Jonas Gustavsson, Jonathan Bernier or Sergei Bobrovsky.
Brodeur may have started four of the New Jersey Devils’ last five games, but Hedberg (5-3-1, 2.34, .920, 1 SO) has proved to be the much more productive goalie over the last year and change. Having already missed nearly three weeks because of injury, Brodeur (2-3-0, 3.02, .880) continues to drift from his standing among the League’s elite fantasy goalies. All six of Brodeur’s starts this season have come at home, but the 39-year-old has been unable to shoulder the load for the League’s 25th-ranked scoring offense (2.21 goals per game). Your best bet is to hope the Devils grant “The Moose” the semi-regular starts he deserves moving forward.
As far as the available alternatives you mentioned, the only one I would consider is Gustavsson. James Reimer (4-0-1, 2.58, .912, 1 SO) remains out because of injury, so expect Gustavsson and rookie Ben Scrivens to continue sharing time in net for the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Gustavsson (4-4-0, 3.78, .878) has been wildly inconsistent, which is why he’s owned in only 10 percent of Yahoo leagues. Bobrovsky (4 games played) and Bernier (3 games played) simply don’t see enough action for their respective teams to justify dropping Hedberg in their favor.
LIAM FROM TORONTO has a trade offer on the table, where he would receive Jamie Benn in exchange for Taylor Hall.
This potential swap involves two young players who are making names for themselves for what many would refer to as “overachieving” teams. Each of these guys is being put in a position to succeed by their strong supporting casts on a nightly basis. Benn (5 G, 13 A, plus-8, 18 PIM, 6 PPP) has thrived alongside Loui Eriksson on Dallas Stars’ top line and has been a top-10 point-producer through 15 games this
Left Wing - DAL
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 18
SOG: 40 | +/-: 8
SOG: 40 | +/-: 8
In short, I would make the trade to acquire Benn at this juncture of the season. Hall certainly has the capability of being a fantasy difference-maker, but has been streaky in his production as of late. Benn had his six-game point streak snapped in Friday’s loss at Pittsburgh, but had three goals and eight assists in that span. Hall, meanwhile, is in a rough patch with no goals and two assists in his last seven games. You would clearly be trading away great potential in a player like Hall, but Benn’s ability to sustain his strong play during the first month and a half of the season is just too much to pass up. Benn has an extra season of NHL experience to his benefit compared to Hall, not to mention the added bonus of having the LW/C fantasy option for more roster flexibility.
JEFF FROM STONEY CREEK, ONTARIO is not satisfied with Matt Duchene's fantasy production this season. He plans to delve into the free agent pool, which includes players like Alex Burmistrov, Milan Michalek and Kris Versteeg.
Duchene’s numbers are not necessarily disappointing, but his inconsistency has been the story through 16 games this season. One-third of his point total came in one game, when he notched a hat trick and an assist against Dallas on Nov. 4. Duchene (5 G, 7 A, minus-2, 0 PIM, 5 PPP) is still maturing amidst the high
Left Wing - OTT
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 15
SOG: 54 | +/-: -6
SOG: 54 | +/-: -6
But if you’re looking for a spark via free agency, you have the right type of players in mind. Burmistrov (4 G, 6 A, plus-1, 10 PIM) is only 20, but is thriving in Claude Noel’s system and is on pace to shatter his 20-point rookie output from a season ago. Versteeg (8 G, 9 A, plus-7, 8 PIM, 8 PPP) is fresh off a hat trick Thursday in Winnipeg and is beginning to find a niche with the new-look Florida Panthers. If he plays 78-plus games like he has in each of his last three seasons, he is bound to eclipse the 30-goal mark for the first time of his career. Saving the best for last, Michalek (10 G, 5 A, minus-6, 4 PIM, 6 PPP) would be a great addition to your roster. He has brought an element of experience to one of the most up-and-coming lines in the League. With Jason Spezza healthy and Colin Greening making strides in his development, Michalek is well on his way to a career year.
MIKE FROM VIENNA, AUSTRIA is dangling Phil Kessel as trade bait in his fantasy league. He is choosing between two proposed one-for-one offers, where he would either acquire Henrik Zetterberg or Rick Nash. Mike already has Nash’s teammate, Jeff Carter, on his roster.
Kessel (12 G, 11 A, plus-9, 5 PPP, 52 SOG) has been the best fantasy skater in the League so far this season. He leads the NHL in goals and points entering Saturday, but is this indeed the season he takes the next step toward being a 40-plus goal-scorer? He has traditionally been a player who shows flashes
Right Wing - TOR
GOALS: 12 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 23
SOG: 52 | +/-: 9
SOG: 52 | +/-: 9
Signing up for Nash (4 G, 8 A, minus-9, 32 hits, 49 SOG) as a fantasy owner comes with the territory of 30-plus goals and 65-plus points. I would steer clear of Nash in this trade, though, because it’s still unclear as to how well he will mesh with Carter (0 G, 3 A, plus-1 in 5 games), who hasn’t played since Oct. 15 because of a broken foot. Also, Columbus is struggling and having two forwards likely to produce negative plus-minus ratings can be detrimental to your team. Zetterberg (3 G, 3 A, even, 56 SOG), on the other hand, is a much more intriguing option to consider because he plays alongside Pavel Datsyuk, his longtime teammate and a fellow top-10 preseason fantasy player. My advice, however, would be to stick with Kessel, because he’s only 24 and I’m not sure that you could logically part ways with the best fantasy player in the land for a player who is off to such a pedestrian start like Zetterberg.
DEREK FROM FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA is considering dropping Tyler Myers because of his slow start to the season. Potential replacements on the blue line via free agency include Dennis Wideman, Sheldon Souray and Sergei Gonchar.
Myers (0 G, 4 A, even, 20 hits, 22 SOG) has struggled early this season and has not found any sense of rhythm in his offensive game. Whether the reason is the surplus of goal-scoring weapons in the Sabres lineup or the addition of Christian Ehrhoff, Myers is locked in a slump. He’s still a top-40 defenseman, but
Defense - BUF
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 4
SOG: 22 | +/-: 0
SOG: 22 | +/-: 0
Wideman (3 G, 9 A, plus-5) is an offensive catalyst on the blue line for Washington that will usually post 10-plus goals and 30-plus points by season’s end. Wideman is proving he can excel in Bruce Boudreau’s offensive system, so fantasy owners can expect his role to only grow as the season goes on. Gonchar, who scored his first goal of the season on Friday in Buffalo, is a wily veteran who is still a menace in the offensive zone with the puck. He fits in perfectly with Ottawa’s young core, and brings a number of unique fantasy elements to the table. Gonchar has registered double-digit points (10), PIMs (10) and hits (11) through 16 games, and has also compiled seven power-play points. But while Wideman and Gonchar would fit your roster nicely, Souray (4 G, 9 A, plus-11, 31 PIM, 4 PPP) is clearly your best bet. His rating is tied for the best mark in the League, which is a credit to his sound fundamentals on both ends of the ice. When considering fantasy options on the blue line, it’s not every day that you find a two-time 20-plus goal scorer available to pick up.
To submit a question for NHL.com's weekly Fantasy Mailbag, contact fantasy insider Pete Jensen at PJensen@NHL.com.