NHL Fantasy Mailbag: Has Kucherov passed McDavid as top fantasy player?

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

Truthfully, there’s not much that separates the winners and losers in the fantasy hockey world this time of year. That’s why it’s imperative to take advantage of what you can control – manipulating the schedule.

As each day goes by, keep tabs on what’s ahead and prepare yourself accordingly for it. By now, there’s slim pickings on the waiver wire so it’s important to be ahead of the curve. This especially holds true for potential goaltender streams. Hope you rolled Jake Allen out on Thursday night. Easy shutout.

Furthermore, a quick glance ahead can set you up perfectly when it comes to the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool. Suffice it to say, it won’t be pretty for teams like New Jersey, Ottawa, Los Angeles and Detroit down the stretch. Jump on prime opportunities for big-time point production!

Good luck.

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Now to your questions:

ItsGoodWithGary – @itsGoodwithGary

If you had the first overall pick next year, would you take Connor McDavid or Nikita Kucherov?

I see where you’re trying to lead me with this question but I’m still siding with McDavid. That said, I do think the gap has closed considerably between the number one and two ranked fantasy options.

In no way am I discrediting what Kucherov has done and is doing. At this point, he’s almost a lock to capture the Hart Trophy this season. To-date, he’s unequivocally been the top-ranked fantasy player.

There’s just something about what McDavid offers that is tough to match – I don’t care who you are. By his standards, it’s been an ‘off’ year and he’s still averaging a career best 0.52 goals-per-game. The Oilers captain is currently sitting at a 1.49 point-per-game-clip; Kucherov is averaging 1.58.

The debate has only begun. We’ll see what the off-season ahead does for the conversation.

McDavid over Kucherov, for me, by a skate blade.

Senior Writer Ryan Dixon and NHL Editor Rory Boylen always give it 110%, but never rely on clichés when it comes to podcasting. Instead, they use a mix of facts, fun and a varied group of hockey voices to cover Canada’s most beloved game.

Daniel Duke – @canadianduke

Fantasy keeper question – which two players would you keep: Filip Zadina (DET), Quinn Hughes (VAN), Clayton Keller (ARI), Jake DeBrusk (BOS)?

Traditionally, when dealing with keeper leagues, I like to go with proven talent over potential and hype.

When it comes to Keller, I think he’s primed for a massive third year breakout. In order for that to happen, the Coyotes have to get healthy, first and foremost. They’ve been ravaged by injury this season. I like what I saw from the Keller/Nick Schmaltz combo before Schmaltz went down.

Meantime in Boston, DeBrusk is firing at a 32-goal pace. Almost somewhat surprisingly, the 22-year-old winger has found uncanny chemistry with veteran centre David Krejci. DeBrusk has the size, strength and edge to be a prolific fantasy option for many years to come.

When it comes to Hughes and Zadina, I’d view them more as projects for the time being. No one’s quite sure what to expect.

Keller and DeBrusk.

SLAV – @Slav–Dr

Rest of season, Anze Kopitar or David Krejci?

I’d go with Krejci. Almost under the radar, he’s actually on pace to contend with his career high in points (73) notched 10 years ago. Unbelievably, Boston hasn’t skipped a beat since David Pastrnak went down. If the Bruins get this type of depth scoring in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, watch out!

It’s time to call it a season if you own anyone on the Los Angeles Kings. That organization is in dire need of a substantial face lift. They have to find a way to get quicker. Their offence is anemic at the best of times. Minimal value to be found here.

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people around the hockey world, and then they tell listeners all about what they’ve heard and what they think about it.

Jaymee Kitch – @JaymeeKitch8

Are there any NCAA players expected to jump into the NHL before the end of the season? Any with fantasy relevance?

I’ve been pondering this very question for a couple weeks. I think some teams will be hesitant to burn a year off entry level contracts with the Seattle expansion process looming.

Here are three guys to watch out for:

Quinn Hughes, Michigan, Vancouver Canucks, Defenceman: The 19-year-old is a highly skilled puck-mover who is very likely to turn pro once his collegiate season is complete. How can you not love the prospects of a future with significant exposure to the likes of Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser? Count me in.

Cale Makar, UMass, Colorado Avalanche, Defenceman: Another super skilled offensive defenceman who’ll be running Colorado’s top power play unit in no time. Similar to Hughes, it’s all but a given at this point that Makar will turn pro once his college season concludes. Pay attention.

Ryan Poehling, St. Cloud State, Montreal Canadiens, Centre: The American is a smart and trustworthy two way forward who can chip in offensively from time to time. Not sure how his game will translate to the NHL level offensively but he may be worth a flier eventually. Suddenly, the Canadiens have organizational depth up the middle.

Also, all eyes will be on Nashville’s 2016 first rounder Dante Fabbro following his junior year at Boston University. There have been whispers in the past that the defenceman may elect to go the Jimmy Vesey route this summer and test unrestricted free agency in August. If the Predators can sign him, he’ll likely play some games.

Uncle Michael – @hectorustwo002

Are there any must-own goalies on the waiver wire to pounce on right now for the rest of the season?

To be honest, not really. Mixing and matching is the best way to go. At this point, every must-own goalie has been scooped up. If someone’s available on the waiver wire, there’s a reason and it’s usually not a positive one.

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