Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: How high has Filip Forsberg’s season pushed him in keeper rankings?

Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) plays against the Detroit Red Wings during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Tyler Bertuzzi is peaking at the right time.

After so much disappointment from the Toronto Maple Leafs forward in the first half of the season, Bertuzzi has now notched 11 goals in his past 15 games. He’s starting to become the player many thought he would be when he was a trendy pick last fall in drafts.

Playing with Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews out of the gates didn’t exactly go swimmingly for Bertuzzi. He simply didn’t click with his superstar linemates but has started to find his game as the Leafs have been forced to juggle their forward lines because of injuries. Stints with Max Domi and William Nylander, as well as Domi and Auston Matthews have proven more fruitful for Bertuzzi and he’s now making a difference when it matters most.

Unfortunately, if you drafted Bertuzzi, you may not have the luxury of enjoying his sudden success right now. Many likely dropped Bertuzzi at his lowest point and understandably so, which allowed a number of folks to buy low on him off waivers.

Bertuzzi may end up being that late-season waiver steal that pushes a lot of fantasy squads over the top.

Let’s get to your questions:

It’s hard to get a good read on Leo Carlsson because he’s played so little this year due to injuries and load management, but I would say the sky’s the limit. He could easily be an 80-90-point player that’s also very strong defensively. Carlsson also has the size to play more of a physical game and potentially dominate down low.

What intrigues me most about Carlsson, though, is that the Anaheim Ducks have a lot of promising young talent and they should start clicking together in another year or two, meaning Carlsson is going to have major value sooner rather than later.

There’s nothing wrong with your line of thinking here. To give you some perspective, I am also in a 14-team multi-cat league and I am thinking of keeping him. We have faceoff wins as well but we only keep four players. I’m considering keeping Joel Eriksson Ek over Tim Stutzle, which seemed a bit crazy earlier in the year, but now when I look at it, there’s almost no metric where Stutzle is superior. Sure, maybe Stutzle is a bit better offensively and perhaps has more upside, but I don’t think it’s enough to make him more valuable than Eriksson Ek in a multi-cat league.

In your case, I would almost certainly do it. I’m a big Zero G fan, too, and I’d almost always keep an impactful skater over a goalie. Netminders can fluctuate wildly from year-to-year and it’s a lot easier to replace a goalie with a gem off waivers compared to a skater. If there is one thing to think about, it’s Eriksson Ek’s value really skyrocketed this year because he played with Kirill Kaprizov and Matt Boldy. If that changed, he wouldn’t be quite as valuable, but Eriksson Ek would still be a huge asset even if he scored a few less points. There are very few more impactful players in a multi-cat league than Eriksson Ek.

Will Simon Edvinsson become a point-producing defenceman?

It’s always tough forecasting what type of defenceman a player will be when they enter the NHL and we’ve only seen Simon Edvinsson in a limited capacity, but there will certainly be opportunities to put up points on the Detroit Red Wings.

The Wings don’t really have a true power-play quarterback, as Shayne Gostisbehere isn’t bad but not a long-term answer, and I think Moritz Seider is going to become a really good defensive defenceman who’s a power play two guy. Edvinsson could get an opportunity to take the role on an up-and-coming team that can score but just temper your expectations. He probably has a long way to go before he is fantasy-relevant.

If you’re in a winner-take-all playoff matchup, nothing should be off the table. Andrei Svechnikov hasn’t been great lately, so I think you could consider subbing him out for a hotter player with a better matchup if it’s important. Ultimately, it really just comes down to weighing your options, and is whoever you’re sitting really that much worse than someone on waivers or your bench?

There’s a bunch of Edmonton Oilers in my choices here. I’d go with Victor Hedman, Evan Bouchard, Nikita Kucherov, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zach Hyman, Brad Marchand, and Jeff Skinner. I wrestled with the last choice, but I think Jeff Skinner and a few other Buffalo Sabres forwards will have a bounce-back season. Stuart Skinner is an option as well if goalies are really valuable in your league, though you should be able to grab some comparable netminders in your draft, too.

Would it be crazy to drop Jake Oettinger in finals week after holding all season?

That doesn’t sound crazy to me. Jake Oettinger has struggled at times this year and I wouldn’t be 100 per cent comfortable banking on him with my championship hopes against those two opponents. Maybe you open up Oettinger’s spot for a streamer and grab a goalie or two as needed that is facing some friendly opponents.

This is a tough one. Filip Forsberg has had an incredible season, but I think I’d still rather keep William Nylander and Jack Hughes over him. Hughes to me is the best of this trio and if not for some injuries we could be talking about him in the Hart conversation right now after the incredible start he had. Hughes is scoring at more than a 100-point pace this year.

William Nylander, I would put a tier above Forsberg as well. He’s going to cruise to a 100-point season almost effortlessly and Nylander has a ton of high-end talent around him in Toronto. As good as this season has been for Forsberg, he still has to score at around a point per game the rest of the way just to get to 90. It’s a good problem to have, but I’d take the other two ahead of Forsberg.

There are also a couple of things to keep in mind when it comes to Forsberg. Almost everything has gone right for his line this season. Ryan O’Reilly has had a remarkable offensive resurgence that’s going to be tough to maintain in 2024-25. Plus, 34-year-old Gus Nyquist has already smashed his career high in points. Both of those things seem destined for regression which will probably hurt Forsberg’s numbers some.

Casey DeSmith hasn’t been the pivotal waiver add most thought he would be when Thatcher Demko went down and there are probably better options available. That said, I’d just point out that the

Vancouver Canucks play the Anaheim Ducks in the only game Sunday. That’s a very friendly matchup and could be a game-changer if you need a goalie start late in the week. I might wait until the weekend before making a call on DeSmith in case that start is important for you.

I’m the first seed in my league, should I be worried about the Presidents’ Trophy curse?

No such worries in fantasy hockey. The only thing to be concerned about is injuries and maybe one of your goalies letting in six or seven goals out of nowhere.

I also picked up Evgeny Kuznetsov as an injury replacement because of his deployment. Kuznetsov has had some solid games but has quieted down now, so I think he’s fine to drop if needed. He’ll probably have a good game here and there the rest of the way and he was more valuable when the Carolina Hurricanes played four times last week. If you need an upgrade, you could consider moving on.

I would say both Quinton Byfield and Wyatt Johnston have arrived. They both are having breakout seasons, are on good teams, and getting solid deployment. Byfield and Johnston should be targeted in your drafts next fall without hesitation.

For the second part of your question, someone like Nylander could have top-10 potential next season based on what he’s shown this year, and possibly Zach Hyman as well depending on the format. For defence it’s a little tougher, but Noah Dobson is one I’d look at. He’s been tremendous this year and should be one of the first 10 blueliners off the board in 2024-25.

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