NHL Fantasy Mailbag: Final moves to win this season and beyond

Quinn Hughes spoke post-game after the Vancouver Canucks beat the Los Angeles Kings.

As we inch closer to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I just wanted to thank everyone for all the great fantasy mailbag questions this season. It was a lot fun sharing my knowledge and expertise with you.

The puck doesn’t stop here, however. That’s right, the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool: Playoffs Edition is set to return for another crazy spring of cash prizes and monster giveaways. Stay tuned for advice and details for that in the coming days.

First and foremost, we need to cap off the regular-season competition. I’m sure you can almost smell the scent of that gorgeous all-new RAM 1500 at this point. Stick with it!

When constructing your roster, it would be wise to target players on the following teams: CHI, COL, EDM, LAK, NYR, OTT, STL, TBL, TOR & TBL. Each will play four times. Be smart – playoff destined squads may elect for some ‘load management’ down the stretch.

Now to your final questions of the season:

Livestream every game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, blackout-free. Plus stream the Blue Jays & MLB, Raptors and NBA Playoffs matchups and more.

Daniel Duke (@canadianduke): I have to choose between Filip Zadina (DET), Anthony Cirelli (TBL) or Quinn Hughes (VAN) as my rookie keepers for next season. Who would you select?

This response will be completely based on how good Quinn Hughes looked in his NHL debut on Thursday night in Vancouver. Kidding, sort of.

Projections are always difficult when it comes to rookies. You just never know how long or how little time they’ll need to find their groove at the NHL level. In some cases, it never happens, sadly.

When it comes to hype, it’s always smart to temper expectations right off the bat. Just look at Eeli Tolvanen in Nashville. The Fin’s transition to the North American game has been slower than expected. Patience is key.

With respect to your question, it’s intriguing – all three players are at different levels of progression right now. Cirelli is approaching 20 goals (18) and is headed for the post-season, Zadina has played nine games and is now in the American Hockey League. Meanwhile, Hughes was pretty much as advertised in game number-one.

All things being equal, I’d go with Hughes. To me, he’s got the biggest upside, especially with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser up front for the foreseeable future. Those three skated circles around the Los Angeles Kings in overtime. It was something special.

In Detroit, Zadina will likely slot into the top-six full-time next season. He’s a good player with tons of potential.

Unfortunately for Cirelli, all the star power around him in Tampa is actually a detriment to his fantasy stock. He’s definitively a victim of circumstance.

Go Hughes or Go Home.

Kirk Van Houten (@LTDan30728175): Best keeper for next year: Torey Krug (BOS), Keith Yandle (FLA), or Jake Guentzel (PIT)?

Crosby exposure or not, you’d be foolish not to go with Guentzel. The 24-year-old’s stats have improved steadily every year through three seasons in the NHL. Most importantly, he’s demonstrated the uncanny ability to score at every level he’s played at. Amazingly, the former third round steal has potted 113 goals in 236 career games – playoffs included – to date. We’re talking about a goal every two games. Yes please.

Additionally, I’ll add that both Krug and Yandle are no slouches in their own right. Barring an extension this summer, the 27-year-old Krug is entering a walk year which as we all know likely means a career-year is coming.

As for Yandle, the Boston native needs just two points to eclipse his career-best of 59 in 2010/11 with the Coyotes. He’s certainly produced at an elite fantasy rate from the back-end this season.

Guentzel wins.

Jeff Chapman (@stlchapman): Should I drop Zach Parise – who’s currently day-to-day – for immediate playoff help?

Yup, no time to wait around on injuries, especially this late in the fantasy season. The 34-year-old is currently dealing with a lower-body injury.

Scour the wire and pick up someone accordingly. Fighting for their playoff lives, the Wild have five games remaining, only three next week. If you want to stay in Minnesota, Ryan Donato would be an excellent replacement. He’s been terrific since being acquired around the deadline from the Bruins.

Try to manipulate the remaining schedule with your pick up. Again, the following teams lead the league with four games in the final week of the season: CHI, COL, EDM, LAK, NYR, OTT, STL, TBL, TOR & TBL.

Move on from Parise.

Douglas Forsyth (@douglas–forsyth): Buy-low on Pierre-Luc Dubois (CBJ)? Or, sell high?

I’m buying. I like Columbus’ schedule down the stretch. What a massive win that was at home against Montreal on Thursday night. Even with his March struggles, it looks like the Blue Jackets are starting to finally breakout offensively. They’ve tallied 15 goals over the past three games.

Dubois is bound to get going, especially with the constant exposure to linemates Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin.

In Dubois, we trust.

Jon Stycuk (@Stycuk): Points keeper league – need to keep 10. I’ve locked in McDavid, Draisaitl, Laine, Marner, Tkachuk, Couture, Josi, Subban and Yandle.

Keep one: Tom Wilson, Ryan Johansen, Kasperi Kapanen, Jake Muzzin, Jordan Binnington, Robin Lehner. Probably need a goalie but it’s a tough call.

For starters, I like Binnington over Lehner. Potential free agency aside for Lehner, the Islanders have regression written all over them next season.

Among the players mentioned, I’d go with Wilson, weirdly. At this point, he’s pretty much become a fixture on Washington’s top-line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Almost sneakily, Wilson provides solid multi-category coverage (59 GP: 22 G, 17 A, 39 P, +15, 119 PIM). Also, if you’re in a bangers league, the 24-year-old has never shied away from throwing his weight around if you know what I’m saying.

The closest option to Wilson is probably Johansen but there’s so much depth in the fantasy world up the middle. You can easily draft a player that will put similar numbers to the Nashville pivot.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.