Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: Hold on to Garland amid hot streak for Canucks

Vancouver Canucks' Tanner Pearson, centre, and Conor Garland, left, celebrate Pearson's goal against the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. (Darryl Dyck/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ahead of Monday’s 3 p.m. ET / noon PT trade deadline, business has picked up in a big way around the NHL over the past few days.

Rest assured, deals will go down – like every season – with substantial fantasy implications attached to them.

Early on, I really like the New York Rangers' pickup of Frank Vatrano. The 28-year-old goes from a crowded forward corps in Florida to a situation rich with opportunity on Broadway. In his debut on Thursday night, Vatrano was held pointless, playing 14:47 while skating primarily alongside Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. Talk about a plum assignment. Without question, he’s an upgrade on both Alexis Lafreniere and Dryden Hunt. Stay tuned.

From a Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool perspective, it’s cheeky value plays like this one that could put you over the top in the long run.

Be mindful.

Now to your questions:

Honestly, I like the play. At the very least, I would keep him through Monday because you just never know what can happen. Over the past week, trade rumours have intensified surrounding Conor Garland. I know for a fact that there’s a plethora of teams with significant interest.

If Garland does end up staying however, I still like his rest of season value. After a shaky first 40 games or so, he’s been much better in the second half.

Hold on to him.

At this point, you probably have no choice but to stand pat and hope for the best.

For starters, there’s likely not much available to you on the waiver wire that’s worth swapping Shea Theodore for. In addition to that, a trade doesn’t make much sense either as you’ll likely receive a flurry of lowball offers.

And so, there’s no point. Just ride it out and hope that Vegas can get out of this funk sooner rather than later. It’s getting hairy.

I should preface by saying that I’m not an insider. Having said that, from what I hear from individuals privy to that type of information, it doesn’t look good. Honestly, I wouldn’t bank on Alec Martinez returning anytime soon.

On top of all that, it’s no secret that the Golden Knights are in a cap crunch. With that in mind, I’m not sure any of this has anything to do with that — if that makes sense.

Good question. Things can change on a dime, but at this very moment, it’s quite clear that Ville Husso and Vitek Vanecek have emerged as the respective No. 1s for St. Louis and Washington, respectively.

If I had to handicap things, however, I’d say Vanecek has a firmer grip on his job. In St. Louis, Jordan Binnington has looked much better lately, and most importantly, he’s still in year one of a monster six-year contract. Furthermore, considering his track record with head coach Craig Berube, you’d have to think there’s some element of loyalty and allegiance there, right?

Over in Washington, the Capitals are looking for anyone who can make a save. Lately, Vanecek has profoundly separated himself from Samsonov, so I would expect the Caps to keep going back to the well — provided he continues to perform, of course.

From the crazy road trip to start the season to the multiple COVID outbreaks to the rash of injuries, the Isles have had the odds stacked against them all season long. If I’m Lou Lamoriello, I make a couple tweaks in the offseason and for the most part, I come back with the same team next fall.

Also, I think the Isles are in a prime position to provide stealth fantasy value down the stretch. They’ve been much better since the All-Star break.

With most standard league playoffs just around the corner, time’s running out for a potential Carey Price return. From the onset, this situation has been tough to read. Understandably so, the Canadiens have been mum on his progression, so there’s still no telling if or when he’ll actually suit up in a game this season. There’s no need to rush him back anytime soon, is there?

If you have an IR spot available, you might as well scoop and stash him. Having said that, I remain skeptical that Price will return anytime soon.

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