Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: Should Darnell Nurse owners sell high?

Edmonton Oilers' Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates his game-winning goal against the Winnipeg Jets with teammates Darnell Nurse (25) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) during third period NHL action in Winnipeg on Sunday Jan. 24, 2021. (Fred Greenslade/CP)

The only thing longer than the NHL’s recently released list of rescheduled games was The Godfather Part II.

The good news: All 31 teams are back in business, excluding the current weather situation in Dallas, of course. At this point, the league is still confident that everyone will be able to fulfill their 56-game slate. We’ll see.

On Thursday night, the Philadelphia Flyers were back in action after an 11-day hiatus due to COVID-19 protocols. They joined Buffalo, New Jersey and Minnesota, who all returned to play earlier in the week after lengthy layoffs themselves.

Keep that in mind as you put together your next roster for the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool.

Now to your questions:

In normal times, I would say yes without hesitation, not so much in 2021.

For me, there’s too much uncertainty surrounding the San Jose Sharks this season. They just don’t look right, and you never know what you’re going to get on a nightly basis. Thursday night was a perfect example of that. Surprisingly, more so at the bottom, the West Division has played tough so far.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the North Division and the Edmonton Oilers, it’s that goal scoring isn’t a problem. And that’s music to the ears of any fantasy owner. Nurse is on pace for career-high production across the board. I say you ride him.

Yup, no question about it.

It’s not like other owners are chomping at the bit to claim him either, right? If Kreider finally heats up, you can circle back down the road. I’m out.

I know it’s a cop-out, but I’m somewhere in the middle on Lankinen.

Make no mistake about it, the 25-year-old has been an exceptional story: He’s 7-2-3 with a 2.29 goals-against and .931 save percentage. Ultimately, I just don’t think those numbers are sustainable. That said, I don’t expect him to fall off a cliff either, if that makes sense.

Right here, right now, I’d say Lankinen’s value is at its peak. Poke around on the trade market and see what you can get. Because he’s relatively unproven, you’ll likely be offered reclamation projects in return. For example, I sold high in one of my leagues a couple of weeks back and dealt Lankinen for Rasmus Dahlin one-for-one. I’m still happy with it, although Buffalo has been terrible coming out of the break.

For what it’s worth, I expect the Blackhawks to taper off at some point this season. Sell, but if you don’t get a decent return, holding on Lankinen is fine, too.

Considering the lengthy layoff, I’d give him a couple weeks before making a concrete decision, one way or another. If things don’t turn around, dump him. This fantasy season is too short to wait around.

Far too early to make an accurate assessment on the Eichel fantasy file.

Without question, the Sabres, captain included, need to be a lot better. First and foremost, it’s good to see them back, healthy and playing some games. Let’s circle back to this question in mid-March.

For now, I’ll give Eichel the benefit of the doubt, especially given everything the Sabres have been through the last little while. It’s hard not to feel for the great sports fans in Buffalo.

If I could see the future, I wouldn’t be here — that’s for sure.

There’s no reason to go anywhere near Jeff Skinner in fantasy hockey right now. Monitor all you want, but until Skinner does something of substance, there’s no conversation to be had here. For me, he’s not much more than a potential DFS play, if that, right now. I’m pulling for Skinner.

Attempt a sell-high on Hayes, hold on Tkachuk, but neither is a drop candidate at this point.

When it comes to Driedger, I’m not as bullish as others — the Panthers still scare the heck out of me defensively. Honestly, I still think there’s still some substantial value in holding onto Vanecek. Ilya Samsonov is coming back from COVID-19, the Capitals will be very delicate with that situation.

Here’s how I’d rank them: Dubois, Yamamoto, Fiala, Burakovsky.

I would do it, yup — I believe Buchnevich was sent to this earth to drive fantasy owners crazy. Until he can demonstrate consistency, I’d look elsewhere.

I like what I’ve seen from Dadonov recently. Most importantly, the veteran winger will continue to play big-time minutes for the Senators as the season progresses.

Easy answer is Krug.

There’s a reason why the Blues paid him what they did in the off-season. He’s an elite power-play quarterback — just give him some time to get acclimated to his new surroundings.

For what it’s worth, I think Krug is in line for a monster second half of the season. For me, the early season jitters were expected. As if replacing Alex Pietrangelo wasn’t enough, Krug has to live up to that monster contract he signed as well.

Sit tight.

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