Fantasy Mailbag: Phil Kessel’s time will come, and soon

The Hockey Central at Noon crew is flabbergasted that Tyler Bozak and as his good buddy Phil Kessel have the same amount points, which sparks a debate of whether Kessel will be left off the US World Cup team?

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Now let’s see if we can make your January enjoyable, too.

The following is a selection of questions that you tweeted @Sportsnet after we put the call out.

I don’t know how deep your drafts are or how many you keep, but assuming it’s points-only, I would prefer to own Ryan Getzlaf. So I would pay that price to get him.

Patrik Laine is the superior prospect to own in fantasy hockey versus Jakob Chychrun, so make the move.

I don’t think that on the heels of a six-points-in-16-games run it’s the time to trade Phil Kessel. His teammates Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin are all starting to roll now so his time will come. And probably soon. You hung in there this long, what’s another week or two?

I would keep Dylan Larkin and Connor Hellebuyck. Larkin, because he’s showing more right now. Hellebuyck, because I’ve always liked him far more than John Gibson and so far I’m more impressed with what he’s done.

Yes. Brian Elliott only has use if Jake Allen were to get hurt. Elliott is a backup now.

Dear Pittsburgh Penguins, will you please wake up?

In all seriousness, I think they are starting to now. Crosby has 22 points in his last 20 games and Letang has 11 in his last six.

Kyle Turris for me. I trust Thomas Vanek about as far as I can throw him.

Now that Gibson is injured too, you definitely need to address this. At this point, Mike Condon won’t help you and you should probably drop him or move him. Jaroslav Halak is so injury-prone this year, he almost does more harm than good to owners in weekly leagues.

Your team is stacked! When Connor McDavid returns, your only dropsy is Alexander Edler. No other option.

If your league is category-based, then I would do this deal if you need offence. But if it’s points-based (i.e. you get XX points for a hit, XX points per PIM, etc.) then there is no way I do this deal. Aleksander Barkov is as talented as they come, but he does nothing when it comes to the physical stats.

It depends on your league rules, but yes Rickard Rakell holds some value. He has scoring-line upside and he’s helping out immediately in that he’ll probably top 45 points this season.

If your league has that many options, then you can pretty much pick one up and change your mind next week and do it again. If that’s the case then I would pick up Frederik Andersen. If your transactions are limited, then I would play it safe and go with Kari Lehtonen.

This is a good question that is dependent on your league rules and settings. If you have a lot of options on the waiver wire and unlimited transactions, then you can drop them ASAP. If you’re in a typical league though, you have to keep Corey Perry. Ryan Kesler can be replaced and so can Cam Fowler, so I would explore that immediately.

I would shop him a little in the summer, but set your standards high and keep him next season if nobody gives you what you want. He’ll still be this good next year.

Valeri Nichushkin is the real deal. He’ll be a star. But in a keep-five league, there is no way you keep him unless you’re in last place and in full-blown rebuild mode.

What’s wrong with Tomas Tatar? He’s in a bit of a slump (three points in his last 11 games), but that stuff happens all the time. He’ll still match last season’s 56 points. As for Tyler Johnson, I would give it two more weeks. Now that the Triplets are healthy and reunited, I’d like to see them have a few games together and get their timing back.

This would very much depend on your league rules, but if this is a keeper league and you can close a deal like that then do it. Leo Komarov is at his absolute peak right now, whereas Alex Galchenyuk is only halfway up his ladder to stardom.

I have full confidence in John Tavares and I think he’ll still approach 80 points this season. Last year he had a slow first half as well. Then he nearly won the scoring title. Hang in there!

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Today I’m releasing my ninth annual Midseason Fantasy Hockey Guide that has second-half projections, analysis, prospect info and more. You can pick it up here.

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