Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: NHL teams don't care about your fantasy roster

Ottawa Senators' Mathieu Joseph (21) and teammate Josh Norris (9) celebrate after winning their NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Ottawa on Sunday, April 3, 2022. (Patrick Doyle/CP)

Attention fantasy owners: Beware of load management down the stretch.

Simply put, NHL teams don't care about your fantasy roster. And considering the time of year, that could prove to be a significant drawback for those of you with serious championship aspirations.

In the past week alone, David Pastrnak, Leon Draisaitl and Sidney Crosby, among others, have all unexpectedly missed game action due to injury. As is the case most seasons, from minor injuries to rest to who knows what, navigating through the final few weeks of the fantasy season always seems to be an adventure. It certainly doesn’t help being restricted from pertinent information, that’s for sure. We need more transparency!

At this point, it is what is. That said, just be mindful if you own marquee players on playoff-bound teams. With less than a month to go until the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, many squads are starting to turn their focus to preparation for what’s ahead. In the grand scheme of things, it makes plenty of sense, it's just unfortunate when you’re trying to win a fantasy championship.

It goes without saying but be extremely cognizant of this the next time you put together a roster for the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool. You’ve been warned.

Now to your questions:

Ouch. You hate to see something like this derail someone’s season. Let’s hope neither player is out for too long; fingers crossed.

Unequivocally. Here’s hoping that lots of people jumped on the futures value for the Flames earlier this season. Going into the year, Calgary was generally cast as an afterthought. Full credit to them they’ve made us all look like fools. I'll tell you this, I wouldn’t want to play that team in the playoffs. Their first-round opponent had better be ready, or it could be curtains for them quickly.

Of the four players mentioned, I’d lean toward keeping Jakub Vrana, merely because of Detroit’s four-game slate. For what it’s worth, Chicago, Dallas and Washington all are scheduled to play three times.

Furthermore, just like yourself, I also like Montreal and Winnipeg next week, at least from a schedule manipulation standpoint. From the Canadiens, Cole Caufield, Brendan Gallagher, Mike Hoffman, Rem Pitlick and Chris Wideman should all be on your radar. Additionally, it seems like Carey Price may be getting very close to appearing in a game, so it may be time to pounce on that, too.

To be fair, there’s not much value to be found in Winnipeg these days. At this stage, most of their prolific fantasy pieces are very well-owned. You could take a flier on Paul Stastny and Neal Pionk, but I’d temper your expectations.

Sadly, I have no clue. I wish I had more information for you.

About a month ago, the Jackets categorized it as week-to-week, but the lack of updates since are very telling — at least for me. The clock is ticking on this regular season, and at this point, if you’re Columbus, why not just shut him down the rest of the way? Boone Jenner’s been a pleasant surprise on the fantasy scene this season, all this has been so unfortunate.

Because conventional wisdom suggests the Leafs will be smart with Jack Campbell’s utilization down the stretch, I think the easy decision here is to go with Ville Husso. On top of that, he’s been outperforming Campbell by a landslide anyway.

Since Jan. 1, Husso is 18-4-4 with a 2.34 goals-against average, a .945 save percentage and one shutout. When healthy, Campbell has been nowhere close to that, although he’s been much more effective since coming back from his rib injury. Also, the Blues still have a lot to play for in terms of playoff positioning. There you go.

All things considered, yes, I do. Truthfully, the only thing I don’t like is the fact that Vegas has a league-low 10 games remaining. Down the road, that could pose a big-time problem for your aspirations of winning a fantasy title. Aside from that, Shea Theodore’s been producing much better lately, so I’m definitely behind rostering him.

No question about it, I would do this in a heartbeat.

Honestly, it’s befuddling — Ottawa's Josh Norris continues to be one of the best kept secrets in hockey. The 22-year-old has 31 goals and 46 points in 54 games — unreal, right? Meanwhile, Patrik Laine’s been excellent in the second half, but injuries have most certainly caught up to the slumping Blue Jackets in recent games. They’ve dropped eight of 10 and are limping toward the finish line of this rebuilding campaign.

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