Fantasy Mailbag: Avalanche’s Cale Makar proving to be top rookie

Watch as Cale Makar dekes out the Winnipeg Jets defenders and snipes past Connor Hellebuyck for a beautiful goal to open the scoring for the Colorado Avalanche.

Owning Connor McDavid in fantasy hockey is the gift that keeps on giving. And it’s not even the holiday season just yet. Rather than stating the obvious at this point – McDavid is really good at hockey – I’ll carry on with my plan to highlight freshman standout defenceman Cale Makar.

Roughly at the quarter mark of this NHL regular season, there’s no question who the top rookie has been so far. At the ripe age of 21, Makar is looking to become just the fifth blueliner since 1990 to take home Calder Trophy honours (Aaron Ekblad, Tyler Myers, Barret Jackman and Bryan Berard). It’s difficult, really difficult.

Ranked 126th overall by yours truly in Sportsnet’s pre-season top-250 fantasy rankings, the Alberta native has proven to be one of the biggest draft day steals to date. Almost unbelievably, Makar is currently tied for fourth league-wide in points by a defenceman (18). Suffice it to say, that’s incredible fantasy value, especially when it comes to the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool.

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Below, you can find the top-10 point-producers on the back end right now and their corresponding values:

Team & Player Points Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool Value
WSH John Carlson 30 3
CAR Dougie Hamilton 21 2
SJS Brent Burns 19 3
COL Cale Makar 18 2
NSH Roman Josi 18 2
STL Alex Pietrangelo 17 2
TOR Morgan Rielly 17 3
NSH Ryan Ellis 16 2
TBL Kevin Shattenkirk 15 1
FLA Keith Yandle 15 2

Keep these names in mind when constructing your next roster. Your ram capable pick should be selected from this batch.

Now to your questions:

Dallas is 9-1-1 over the last 11. What more can you want? Kidding, I know what you’re getting at. Where’s the offence? Slowly but surely, it’s coming. In fact, Dallas has now scored three goals or more in five consecutive outings. They’re up to 50 goals on the season. Considering where they were at, that’s a substantial improvement.

Not to make excuses, but the Stars have been ravaged by the injury bug early on. John Klingberg, Roope Hintz and Mattias Janmark, among others, remain out and, additionally, there’s no question Tyler Seguin is dealing with something too.

Patience is a virtue. It’s happening.

Firstly, Klingberg should be back by the end of the month as he’s dealing with a lower-body issue. Similar to everyone on Dallas – save Hintz – Klingberg was off to a slow start as well. Considering his track record and credentials, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t sound like he’ll miss much time. Sit tight.

Theodore is a bit of a wild-card. It seems like he’s been around forever but he’s only 24. The 2013 Ducks first rounder has shown flashes of brilliance. Despite the 5-3 loss to Chicago on Wednesday night, I thought he looked excellent. As is the case with many young defencemen, it’s all about confidence. Once he consistently finds that, the sky will be the limit.

The Golden Knights will snap out of this eventually. I’m buying on Theodore.

I wouldn’t be in a hurry to move on from Olofsson any time soon. In fact, I own him in four of my leagues and have no imminent breakup plans.

The Sabres, in general, are sputtering. It’s a long season filled with many ups and downs. They’ll find their groove again. Don’t make a brash decision, especially on a player coming off being named Rookie of the Month. Bottom line, Olofsson is gifted. He’ll continue to see plenty of exposure to the likes of Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Dahlin.

Following up, I still prefer Olofsson of the three.

The fact that he’s a dual-eligible winger doesn’t hurt either. That proves valuable on busy nights when you’re looking to dress as many guys as possible.

Hischier’s stock has dropped significantly from the start of the season for a variety of reasons. The Devils have been awful and, on top of that, he plays a position (centre) with lots of depth in fantasy hockey. There are far better pivot options on the waiver wire right now. Also, I think Jack Hughes is primed to steal some of Hischier’s exposure to Taylor Hall. That’s all that matters.

When it comes to Atkinson, a dip in production was inevitable. Everyone around him is gone. Go Olofsson or go home!

Easy one for me – Brady Tkachuk. There’s not much depth up front in Ottawa these days but I’ll side with the more talented player.

What makes the Blues such a difficult team to play is the fact that every line can chip in offensively. Craig Berube has no problem moving guys up and down the lineup. Blais has played everywhere so far. Point proven.

Meanwhile, Tkachuk is a top-six fixture for the Senators. He’ll get more minutes and more touches. I think a Tkachuk hot streak is coming soon.

Good question. While they’re making life without Vladimir Tarasenko look easy thus far, don’t underestimate his value to that team.

As mentioned above, St. Louis has uncanny depth. When they’re on, they’re getting contributions across the lineup. Just ask every opponent in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoff run.

When it comes to Schenn, he’s lost a major weapon for the rest of the fantasy season. I’d do my due diligence and if a deal came across that made sense, I’d pull the trigger. You should target some buy-low candidates like Blake Wheeler, P.K. Subban and Filip Forsberg, among others.

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