NHL Fantasy Mailbag: Is it time to shop Nazem Kadri?

Matt Murray returned from injury with a 38-save shutout and Evgeni Malkin had a three-point game as the Penguins blanked the Maple Leafs 3-0.

Have a fantasy hockey question? Ask away! Each week this NHL season, I’ll field your Twitter questions and you’ll get your answers every Friday as part of my weekly mailbag. No question is a bad question. (@thegoldenmuzzy)

Unsurprisingly, the top of Sportsnet’s Fantasy Hockey Pool leaderboard is littered with rosters featuring a plethora of Maple Leafs and rightfully so. That team can score. Matt Murray had other plans on Thursday night, however. Be careful how many times you go to the well.

With that in mind, I can tell you that it wouldn’t be wise to stack up on Toronto again next week. They play just twice and both contests are against the also mighty Winnipeg Jets.

Now to your questions:

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Michael Cinco – @MikeCincoSays
Is Maxime Lajoie for real?

This is one of the burning questions in fantasy hockey right now.

Look, I understand it’s way too early to quantify what’s going on but you can’t overlook the situation either. Bottom line – Lajoie came out of nowhere and is producing at a ridiculous level right now.

There’s a significant disparity between elite defenseman and the rest of field in fantasy hockey. While the sample size is obviously too small to make a concrete assessment, production like this from your blue line is extremely difficult to find much of. No risk. Add him.

Yung dak – @dakg
Thoughts on shopping Nazem Kadri? Not sure what return he would bring or who to even target.

To be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of owning Nazem Kadri in fantasy hockey going into this season to begin with. Outside of being on Toronto’s stacked first power play unit, there’s no major benefit of having him unless there’s a major development. Kadri is stuck on the third line for the foreseeable future. If William Nylander signs anytime soon, that would definitely change things a bit.

Trade him if you can find a dance partner.

Larry Berman – @PaigesFall
Is it time to drop Ty Rattie? I was lucky enough to get McDavid and RNH on my team already. Would you swap Micheal Ferland for Rattie?

The answer to this question changed on Thursday night when Rattie left Edmonton’s overtime victory against Boston with an undisclosed issue. Be on top of this situation.

Depending on the prognosis, it’s still fairly early to jump ship. In a perfect world, Oilers head coach Todd McLellan would love to keep Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on separate lines. Considering Rattie’s torrid pace to finish last season and his show in pre-season this season, I think Edmonton will give him ample opportunity to stay on the top line. Of course, losing would disrupt all of that philosophy.

Given everything I just mentioned, I do have more faith in Carolina’s Micheal Ferland right now and for the balance of the season. Similar to Rattie, Ferland’s line assignment dictates his fantasy relevancy. As long as he continues to be productive with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, he’ll stick. Ferland has higher category coverage and his sample size is way larger

Go with Ferland.

Scott Artis – @TheOtherGuard
Is it time to panic when it comes to Jeff Skinner?

We’re not even 10 games into this fresh season! Look at Max Pacioretty. Look at Erik Karlsson. The two biggest acquisitions of the off-season are off to very quiet starts. Many forget that these people are human beings too. They’re not just changing teams. It takes time to get acclimated to new surroundings especially when you’re in a relationship, married or have a family. Be patient!

Don’t forget – Skinner is looking for a big pay day. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent following this season.

Aaron Littlefair – @ALittlefair93
Struggling to get goalie wins. I have Martin Jones and Carter Hutton. I want to stick with Jones but I’m asking about dropping Hutton. Is it too early to give up on him?

Read above. There’s no need to make panic decisions in between the pipes. Like you, I have more faith in Martin Jones to snap out of it. Thursday’s win over interestingly enough, Carter Hutton, was a good start.

This is the 32-year-old Hutton’s first crack at being a number one goalie in the NHL. Couple with that with that he’s on a Buffalo squad still searching for a defensive identify, there’ll be plenty of turbulent outings.

Despite their so-so start, I still feel like we’ll see a bit of progression from the Sabres this season. Sit tight.

Matt Walker – @mattcwalker
Would you drop Nico Hischer or Jake Guentzel for Dylan Larkin?

Generally speaking, I’m very high on Jake Guentzel. In my world, he’s a lock for 25, if not 30 this season. I’d keep him.

It’s been a hot start for New Jersey but a very quiet one for Hischier. Despite losing 5-3 to Colorado on Thursday night, Hischier had his best outing of the year to-date. That being said, I do envision a bit of a sophomore slide for him. I like him in the long run but I think I’d go with Larkin.

Now into his fourth season, Larkin is off to a blistering offensive start. After a 23-goal rookie campaign, he’s really struggled to find consistency. I think he’ll get to 25 this season. Somebody on Detroit needs to score. I hope you don’t have plus/minus in your league.

Anthony John Michael – @ajm_103185
Would you trade Aaron Ekblad to acquire Samuel Girard in a keeper league?

Let me put it this way – Ekblad is the better short-term play but Girard is the better long-term look. It’s all dependent on if you’re looking to compete this season or are you building for the future?

I like Girard a lot but he is unlikely to have full reign in Colorado until they make a decision on Tyson Barrie, who is two years away from UFA status and is eligible for an extension as early as July 1.

Ekblad is coming off a career-high 16 goals. He’s one of the best goal scoring defensemen out there right now.

Cody Quan – @BigDealio09
I currently own Cory Schneider, Cam Talbot, Henrik Lundqvist and Jake Allen. With Schneider possibly returning soon, who stays and who goes on my team?

Personally, I’d try to trade one of these guys. The problem is – none of them have much value right now. Your best bet is to let the situation play out and hopefully, someone can increase their trade value. It’s never a bad decision to corner the goalie market. Keep them all for now.

Travis Houthuys – @TravisLeafs
If I have three goalies starting in one night and two are playing against each other, am I better off playing the two head to head? Or should I pick one that I think will win and play the other goalie in the other games?

Oh yes – fantasy owners are often faced with these tough decisions on a nightly basis. Traditionally, you’re not wrong in dressing the two goalies that you feel will be victorious.

That being said, the decision is all conditional on your league settings. If you’re in a weekly head-to-head, analyze your matchup score and then make your decision. If you’re in a roto league, base your analysis more on how much faith you have in a strong performance.

Valhalla – @TheAZViking
Is Alex Galchenyuk worth keeping on a roster once he returns from IR? Same question for Dustin Brown.

Pretty simple – they produce, you keep them. They don’t, boot them. When it comes to players outside the top-150, you’re looking to extract as much fantasy value as you can. Galchenyuk has way more upside than Brown. Perhaps he’s the missing ingredient to L.A.’s floundering power play.

Both teams are starving for offense.

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