NHL Fantasy Mailbag: Panthers' depth great for value hunting

Florida Panthers' Anthony Duclair, right, celebrates his goal against the Montreal Canadiens with teammates Jonathan Huberdeau, left, and Ben Chiarot during second period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Thursday, March 24, 2022. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

Hold onto your phones, the fantasy playoffs are just around the corner. 

With the NHL trade deadline now firmly in the rear-view mirror, it’s gut check time in the fantasy world. On Monday, many of you in standard head-to-head leagues will embark on a journey to be crowned league champion. 

Following what turned out to be a multi-day extravaganza of movement around the NHL, it’s fair to say that a multitude of teams got better. Look no further than the Florida Panthers, who acquired both Claude Giroux and Ben Chiarot. Right on cue, the veterans combined for three assists in their debut Thursday night in Montreal, a 4-3 win for the Cats. On paper, that team is absolutely stacked. But that’s why they play the games I guess, right? 

Now to your questions: 

Moving forward in the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool, I would continue to identify players on juggernaut teams such as the Panthers. These squads possess so much depth that you’ll have no problem extracting value from them. For example, Giroux, who’s playing on the top-line with Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe, is currently worth just two points. In a 30-point cap system, that’s an absolute steal. 

It's time to go value hunting! 

As an entire fantasy entity, there’s nothing to be alarmed or worried about it with respect to the Panthers. That team scores so much; everyone will get their cookies. If anything, it’s the bottom six that could get squeezed a bit offensively, but I don’t expect much regression in either one of those players. That team is so filthy. 

In addition to the Giroux fit in Sunrise, long-term, I really like Rickard Rakell in Pittsburgh. The 28-year-old pending UFA, who’s hit the 30-goal plateau twice in his career, should be recharged and rejuvenated by joining a contender. Most importantly, he has a prime opportunity to stick on a line with Evgeni Malkin. Simply put, he’s never played with someone as talented as Malkin up the middle. Without question, I expect Rakell’s fantasy value to soar in the coming weeks. Add him!   

Yup, Kallgren will very likely play this weekend as the Leafs have a back-to-back scheduled. If I had to put money on it, my best guess is he’ll start Saturday night in Montreal, and Mrazek will get the call on Sunday night at home against powerful Panthers.  

Personally, I think Toronto has no choice but to go back to the Mrazek well. Jack Campbell is still out and Kallgren is very green. For what it’s worth, Mrazek looked sharp in Wednesday night’s 3-2 win against New Jersey. So, that’s a start, right? From a fantasy perspective, I’d dive back in. Mrazek’s a pro, I think he’ll get out of this funk. I mean, considering Toronto elected not to add a goaltender of substance at the deadline, they’re doomed if he doesn’t get out of it.  

For me, it’s Power. And it’s not even close.  

Truthfully, we barely know much about Knies at the pro level. Yes, he suited up for Team U.S.A. at the Olympics, but it’s not like that tournament was littered with NHL calibre or anything. Collectively, we need to pump the brakes a bit. See Nick Robertson for reasons why.  

As for Power, he’s already demonstrated on countless occasions that he’s NHL ready. The dude is a beast and I can see him making an impact for the Sabres right away. 

Go Power or go home. There’s no question Knies has a bright future, I just think Toronto has to be careful with his development process. 

Considering Talbot has now won six straight appearances, this one’s hard to handicap right now. 

Having said that, I think a 60/40 split the rest of the way is a reasonable expectation. After all, Fleury will unquestionably start the postseason opener for the Wild, so it’s important to get him going in time for the opener. At the very least, GM Bill Guerin has solidified a position of concern. Don’t sleep on the Wild.  

Sources tell me he is. Can confirm. 

Internally, newcomer Nick Leddy has emerged as Krug’s replacement on the first power play unit for the Blues. From the onset, that made the most sense anyway. Externally, Rasmus Andersson, Vince Dunn and Esa Lindell have been red-hot lately, too.  

If I had the answer, I wouldn’t be here —that’s for sure. Joking aside, keep riding him for the foreseeable future. Not only do the Oilers play four times next week, but on top of that, it’s also a favourable schedule (Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Sunday). In the fantasy world, we love to see it. 

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