NHL Fantasy Mailbag: What to do with Nylander, Simmonds


William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Claus Andersen/Getty)

Whether in reality or fantasy, trade season is here in the hockey world. It’s important to check your league settings, but your fantasy deadline is most likely close in proximity with the NHL’s date — Feb. 25.

If you feel like you’re one or two pieces away, it’s time to go all-in and make that move that will put you over the top. Obviously, your strategy will differ based on league settings.

Keep the NHL deadline in mind as you put together your Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool rosters. Make sure you stay up-to-date on what’s going on in real time. Teams will protect their assets if they feel a deal is close to being consummated.

Now to your questions:

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Noah Luden – @Noah–Luden

Would you recommend trading for Wayne Simmonds?

For sure.

First off, I think it’s pretty much a formality that Philadelphia will trade Simmonds. Secondly, I think a change of scenery can do wonders for his fantasy value. Imagine him on a team like Tampa, Nashville, Dallas or Colorado playing in a top-six role? He’s played on the third line for the majority of this season.

Without question, the 30-year-old isn’t having the contract year many envisioned. The James van Riemsdyk off-season acquisition tarnished his fantasy worth significantly.

In general, it’s been a tumultuous season for the Flyers. They’re currently 23rd in goals per game (2.81) and 30th in power play proficiency (13.5 per cent). We just passed the midway point and already they’ve fired their head coach and general manager. There’s no question new executive Chuck Fletcher wants to put his stamp of approval on his new team. That should start with a Simmonds trade out of town.

Tass – @TasssoneD

I’m looking to trade for Joonas Korpisalo. Can he be Columbus’s No. 1 next year?

Assuming Sergei Bobrovsky is dealt by the deadline or bolts in free agency, Korpisalo will have a legitimate shot to be Columbus’s starter next year. That said, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him as part of a 1A/1B situation with an external addition. After all, the league has been trending that way for a couple of years now.

Through 18 appearances, the 24-year-old possesses numbers that are below league average (2.94 goals against-average, .902 save-percentage).

If you have the roster room, make the move but temper your expectations for the future. The Blue Jackets are using this period to address what they have — with or without Bobrovsky.

Only time will tell.

Greg Syna – @GregSyna

What should I do with William Nylander? No one wants to trade for him.

If your current place in the standings permits, hold onto him. If you’re in dire need of production, move on.

Long-term, I think he’ll eventually bust loose. Nylander is way too talented and has way too much skill around him for the pointless nights to continue. Just know a breakout is coming eventually.

Sit tight, if you can.

Trevor Robert – @onthewall17

Who should I keep going forward — Thomas Greiss or Mikko Koskinen?

Considering Robin Lehner has started 10 of the last 13 games for the New York Islanders, this decision is easy. Go with Koskinen.

Lehner has won 10 of the last 11 games and should be considered in the Vezina conversation right now. Greiss won’t see much ice over the foreseeable future.

Anthony Recchia – @wrekster

Is Robin Lehner worth protecting for $1 in my salary cap keeper league?

Piggybacking off the previous question, yes — I’m a believer in Lehner. Islanders goalie guru Mitch Korn has him playing sound, steady and confident. Additionally, Barry Trotz-coached teams are always pretty stifling defensively. It’s a tremendous recipe for continued success for Lehner.

Don’t forget, New York signed him to a one-year deal last summer, so the 27-year-old can hit the market again if he wants. At this point, both sides would be foolish not to come to terms on a new contract.

We’ll see. Keep that in mind as you near having to make a decision.

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.

Mark Neil – @MarkAlanNeil

I got offered Pekka Rinne for David Rittich. Should I go for it?

Yes, if you’re getting Rinne I’d do it. Rittich is severely unproven and could self-implode at any time.

For the most part — in the regular season at least — Rinne is one of the best fantasy options in goal. That said, it’s fair to suggest that he’ll play less down the stretch to stay fresh for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s just hard to say "no" to acquire the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.

I would argue that the Flames have peaked already. Have the Predators? Not really. They’re healthy and poised for a second-half push. Rinne over Rittich for me.

Luke Smith – @lukesmithluke

Would you keep any of Carter Hart, Rasmus Dahlin or Andrei Svechnikov?

Hart and Dahlin are no-brainers. At this point, their ceilings are unlimited.

When it comes to Svechnikov, although the numbers don’t show it, he’s actually been pretty good. It’ll take him some time to adapt to the NHL game.

If the Hurricanes make moves to address their lack of depth up front, I can easily see Svechnikov’s fantasy stock rise exponentially. If you’re limited in roster spots, go solely with Hart and Dahlin.

Don’t, however, underestimate Svechnikov’s long-term stock.

Michael DiGiorgio – @BostonDiGiorgio

With LA (reportedly) debating trading Jonathan Quick and Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov likely headed to market, who’s likelier to take over the starting job — Jack Campbell or Philipp Grubauer?

To be honest, I don’t feel particularly confident in either of them.

I should preface by saying that I don’t think Quick is going anywhere. Hypothetically, if he did, Cal Petersen has higher upside than Campbell.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, the goaltending has been essentially atrocious since late November now. Grubauer hasn’t lived up to expectation thus far and has done nothing to suggest he’s ready to be a full-time number one. If it’s not with Varlamov, I expect him to continue on a 1A/1B workload with someone else.

Again, lots of teams are employing a two-goalie system these days. You’ve got to love the analytics era.

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