Fantasy Mailbag: Hellebuyck best of goaltending surprises

The top plays from the week that was in the NHL, including Miro Heiskanen splitting the Jets D for the beauty, Ivan Provorov with an OT delight, and Frederik Andersen flashing some serious leather.

If the holiday season doesn’t make you smile, owning Connor Hellebuyck in fantasy hockey surely will. Against all odds, the 26-year-old Winnipeg Jets netminder has been a revelation so far this season rewarding those who took a chance on him.

In general, it’s been a weird year for fantasy goaltending. If you were patient at draft time, chances are moderately high that you’re likely in good standing right now when it comes to your crease situation. Retrospectively speaking, this year’s crop has provided exceptional mid-to-late round value and category coverage. That’s a far cry from the preseason notion that you’d be wise to target someone deemed ‘elite’ like Andrei Vasilevskiy or Sergei Bobrovsky relatively early on in your draft. Well done if you didn’t take my advice, at least this time around.

When it comes to the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool, the only goalie categories that you need to worry about are wins and shutouts. Your RAM capable picks should probably come from this pool below:

Goalie Wins Shutouts SN Pool Value
WSH Braden Holtby 14 0 4
WPG Connor Hellebuyck 14 2 3
STL Jordan Binnington 13 1 4
BOS Tuukka Rask 13 2 3
TOR Frederik Andersen 13 1 4
CGY David Rittich 13 2 3
SJS Martin Jones 12 0 4
ARI Darcy Kuemper 12 2 3
CAR Petr Mrazek 11 2 3
VGK Marc-Andre Fleury 11 2 4
MTL Carey Price 11 1 4
CBJ Joonas Korpisalo 11 1 3

Now to your questions:

I cannot wait for the Phil Kessel video tribute tonight in Pittsburgh. If anything, that video will be a staunch reminder of the 32-year-old’s prolific finishing abilities, something that has escaped him early on in Arizona.

Considering Kessel boasts a career 10.8 per cent shooting percentage, I’d wager to guess that his current 5.8 per cent clip will rise substantially over the coming months. This guy is as streaky as they come. Because he’s been so pedestrian, Kessel is a hard sell to any fantasy owner right now.

Sit tight and you’ll be rewarded. Trust me.

Similar to Kessel, it’s been a dreadful start for Bobrovsky in a new location. Truthfully, I was hesitant to target Bobrovsky this season from the get-go. He’s overrated.

I won’t lie, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. If you drop Bobrovsky, the risk of the Panthers catching fire is always there, especially with the firepower they possess. If you hold onto him, you run the risk of continuing to bomb goalie categories week after week.

At last, to my resolution: bench Bobrovsky until he paints a clearer picture of what this season will be, one way or another. Acquire some insulation to help cover the missing starts. There’s just too much potential value to drop him just yet. Stay strong!

Considering where you landed Burakovsky from – likely waivers unless you can read the future or something – I’d hold onto him.

Even with the Avalanche getting healthier, sometimes the exposure to those superstars is all you need. Most importantly, the 24-year-old has demonstrated the strong ability to play up the lineup, something Avalanche bench boss Jared Bednar will definitely take into account next time his team hits a rough patch.

I love the value too much here to move on. Hold.

As illustrated at the top of this page, Mrazek continues to pile up the wins and I wouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon. Again, the Canes are super legitimate.

With James Reimer firmly entrenched as the back-up in Carolina, Mrazek will continue to see the bulk of the load. If he’s your number-two goalie, you’re sitting pretty right now. At this point, I’m not sure what selling high would constitute.

Unless you’re receiving an elite level upgrade too tough to pass up on or you’re dealing from a position of strength to improve roster elsewhere, it would be difficult to justify trading Mrazek right now. I like him and so should you.

There’s nothing wrong with Brent Burns. It’s a long season.

Even with his ‘slow’ start – 21 points in 29 games – the 34-year-old is still on pace for 59 points. With the calendar turning to December, look for Burns to catch fire again soon. For some reason, November has proven to be a quiet month for him throughout his career (88 points in 166 games). Nothing to see here.

Personally, I prefer both Hoffman and Trocheck over Tkachuk. I don’t expect much from a fantasy perspective for the Senators in the second half of the season. The pixie dust will wear off and they’ll position themselves for an Alexis Lafreniere-type pick.

Hoffman is in a contract year and a big finish could land him a Jeff Skinner type contract. When it comes to Trocheck, he’s improving by the game. Let’s not forget the severity of last season’s injury. It’ll take him some time.

That might be tough to execute considering how atrocious the Devils have been. Funnily enough, I think the Devils could benefit from a fantasy standpoint from dealing Hall. Whether it’s admitted there or not, the constant talk is a headache for all involved. I’d actually buy some Palmieri stock right now if I could.

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