Fantasy Mailbag: Will Nichushkin still have a breakout season?

Hockey Central at Noon trying to pinpoint such a poor start by a Calgary Flames team that looked so good last season, with John Shannon saying struggling teams really need to identify a number one goalie.

Each week I’ll be fielding fantasy hockey questions sent by you through Twitter. Every Tuesday to Thursday, @Sportsnet will solicit questions from you. Today, and every Friday, I’ll be answering them. Follow me on Twitter @DobberHockey.

This is a real tough question. Vrbata was reinstated onto the Sedin line Thursday night and picked up two points. And if Hornqvist isn’t playing with Sidney Crosby, he’s playing with Evgeni Malkin. Always. Meanwhile, Lucic has the lowest offensive upside of the three…but this is a head-to-head league. And when he’s on, he’s one of the most valuable H2H guys out there. I’d be too reluctant to drop him. Vrbata generally stays healthy, whereas Hornqvist does not. So for that reason, Hornqvist must go.

The list of players who disappoint after six or seven games is a long one, every year. Since these questions ask the same thing, but for different players, I’ll ring them off here:

Corey Perry I projected 67 points for him and I still think he’ll come close to that. Perhaps 64 or 65, but in the ballpark. He’s a “buy low” player I would target and a “hold” if I owned him.

Ondrej Palat I also projected 67 points for him, but the emergence of Jonathan Drouin is having an impact on things like power-play time. Furthermore, teams are keyed in on the Triplets line this year, which will make things more difficult. I’ll downgrade his projection to the mid-50s. He may be a player you can move and get more value back than a mid-50s point player.


Anze Kopitar I projected 69 points and he’s money in the bank for around that number. Last year he started with two points in his first 11 games and still managed to end up with 64. As with Perry, buy low or hold.

Bobby Ryan I projected 55 points out of Ryan this season and after seven games he has four points, which is a 47-point pace. So I’m not budging from the projection. If you drafted him and expected more, you’ll be disappointed and in that case you should look to upgrade his spot on your roster. Lots of fantasy owners still think very highly of him, so acquiring a lesser-name player, but a better player overall shouldn’t be too hard.

Patric Hornqvist In my Fantasy Guide I have Hornqvist for 55 points. I think we can all assume that Malkin and Crosby will turn things around. When that happens, Hornqvist will get back up to that pace. He’s a “hold”, but at the same time there is a bit of risk (injury) so I wouldn’t seek to “buy low”.

Jonathan Quick Quick is coming off three solid games now so his numbers are climbing back up there. He is a four-time 35-game winner who is in his prime, so even though the Kings may not make the playoffs, he’s still a good bet to at least come close to 35 wins again. Hold if you own him, kick tires about acquiring him below market value if you don’t.

Devan Dubnyk Dubnyk has a 4-1-0 record, which disguises his shoddy .895 SV%. But there are 26 million reasons why he’ll keep getting thrown out there start after start. At worst he’ll climb to .905, while at best he’ll get back above .920. A definite hold or buy low.

Matt Duchene Just one point and that was on the power play. Duchene’s 5on5 SH% is 0.00! That means that when he has been on the ice at even strength, his team has scored zero times. Think that continues? Me neither. But still, he’s in real trouble. Coming off a weak 55-point season, to follow it up with a start like this is extremely disappointing. I projected 64 points out of him, but now I’m cautious. I now suspect he’ll match last year’s 55.

Tyler Ennis Ennis has two points in six games. Last year he had a career-high 46 points. Basically, if he had one more assist right now he’d pretty much be bang on last year’s pace. I’m still thinking “career high” for the season ahead.

Patrick Sharp He has three points in his past three games, including his first PP point of the season. He’s playing with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn now and the line is looking great. Definitely a buy low player.

Sky high. No, he won’t get 80 points this year. Or 70. And I’d put money on him falling short of 60. Even 50 points is questionable. It is, after all, Arizona. Will anyone get 50? But Duclair sure is hot right now, so if you played the odds you’d trade him for a king’s ransom. Maybe you can get Matt Duchene for him in a one-year league. In a keeper league, you may want to still keep him – he has first-line upside down the road.

Nick Leddy was recently diagnosed with an illness called Zidlicky-itis. Symptoms of this illness include:

– Dryness of your power-play time, sucked away by a declining veteran.
– Loss of ability to play 20 minutes per game like you did last year, because declining veteran wants some.

I think by the midpoint of the season, Marek Zidlicky will start to fade and perhaps Leddy will take it from there. But I don’t expect Leddy to be fantasy relevant this month or next.

I projected 45 points for this season, with 10 per cent confidence of a big breakout. At this point, it looks like the breakout won’t happen this year.

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