Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: Is it time to trade Victor Hedman?

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) argues with referee Chris Rooney (5) after being given a two minute penalty for tripping in the third period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals, Friday, June 3, 2022, in New York. (John Minchillo/AP)

If the Colorado Avalanche suffer another injury, team president Joe Sakic just might have to put his skates on once again.

The Avs have been decimated with injuries, with Nathan MacKinnon the latest added to a long list of players that are going to miss considerable time. MacKinnon joins Gabriel Landeskog, Valeri Nichushkin, Artturi Lehkonen, Evan Rodrigues, Josh Manson, Bo Byram and several others, that have been forced from the Colorado lineup.

This complicates things in fantasy on a number of fronts. Obviously if you are rostering any of these players, they are going to be occupying an IR spot for quite some time and secondly, whoever is left in the lineup is going to see their value plummet with all this talent out of action. Normally, injuries are a great opportunity to take advantage of someone getting a bump in the lineup, but there simply isn’t really anyone left up front, other than Mikko Rantanen, that’s going to help prop anybody up.

You’ll probably have to look for replacements elsewhere.

On to your questions:

Tyler Bertuzzi does have a lot of value when healthy, but you always have to prioritize who to keep and who to hold if you have more injuries than you have IR spots. I certainly don’t think he’s a must hold, though it would probably be good to circle back closer to when he’s healthy to see if you can bring him back. Hopefully no one jumps in and stashes him in the meantime.

It’s always concerning when one of your players gets benched like Evan Bouchard did the other night. I’m not overly concerned about his role with the team, as it’s not like the Edmonton Oilers are stocked with NHL-ready defencemen to throw in the lineup. The encouraging thing is he recently had a four-game point streak, where he put up a bunch of shots, and even played more on the power play than Tyson Barrie for a couple of nights. Hopefully he can bottle that to get more opportunities. I wouldn’t give up on him yet.

It’s been a challenging season for Victor Hedman in most offensive metrics. Other than losing some power-play time to Mikhail Sergachev, his deployment has been pretty similar to recent years. His offensive zone starts are at around 60%, which is where they’ve been for the past few seasons, and his overall ice time is virtually unchanged. It simply may be a down year for Hedman, so if you aren’t comfortable waiting it out, you could consider exploring a trade in one-year leagues. You should be able to find someone willing to buy low on a player of Hedman’s pedigree.

Who do you see as the longer term upside guy for this season, Matty Beniers or Nazem Kadri?

I’ve had a few questions comparing these two lately. I’d personally rather have Nazem Kadri for his category coverage, as the Calgary Flames forward will likely outperform Matty Beniers in shots and power-play points over the season. Beniers will be great for points and may very well win the Calder, but overall Kadri should provide more value.

I’d hold out to see Teuvo Teravainen in a few more games back from his injury before making that call. I’ll concede, though, things aren’t looking good and when Max Pacioretty joins the team there will be fewer opportunities in the top six and on the power play. If Teravainen continues on this pace you’ll have little choice but to drop him and Seth Jarvis would be a good replacement if he keeps producing.

Bobrovsky is on waivers in my 14-team pool. Is he worth picking up? I only have Samsonov and Vejmelka as my current goalies.

Sergei Bobrovsky is getting dropped in a lot of leagues because of his play and the emergence of Spencer Knight, though you may have a case for rostering him. Ilya Samsonov is only playing sparingly now since Matt Murray’s return and Karel Vejmelka will struggle to get wins. The Florida Panthers are still a strong team and in a best case scenario Bobrovsky might be able to give you a shot at a win every week.

Tricky situation here. Any number of things could happen when Frederik Andersen returns, including the Carolina Hurricanes carrying three goalies. They weren’t afraid to do it a couple of years ago when Alex Nedeljkovic emerged similarly to the way Pyotr Kochetkov has this season. It’s hard to imagine the Canes simply sending Kochetkov back down given how well he’s played, which makes me think a trade might be an option. Antti Raanta is probably easier to move than Andersen, considering Raanta has a reasonable cap hit and no trade protection.

I’d hold Andersen for now until there is more clarity in the Carolina crease. A healthy Andersen even splitting time with the Hurricanes will still be valuable.

How to deal with key injuries? I have Rielly, Wilson and now Mackinnon out and only one IR spot

You always have to prioritize the injured players in these situations and in this case, MacKinnon is your most valuable option, so he should get the IR spot. The timelines for Morgan Rielly and Tom Wilson to return remain unclear, so I might pick the one you think will most help your team when they get back and drop the other. You can’t have two injured players occupying roster spots because by the time they return, your team may have fallen too far down the standings for it to matter anyway.

If your league has hits maybe Wilson is the one to keep or if you are thinner on defense and it’s just a points league, Rielly might make more sense to hold.

Even though it’s been a struggle for the Los Angeles Kings in goal, I’d still keep Jonathan Quick on my roster over Cam Talbot. The Kings are a much stronger team than the Ottawa Senators and wins will be much easier to come by for Los Angeles. Plus, Anton Forsberg is more likely to steal time in net in Ottawa than any other option between the pipes for the Kings.

What is the optimum number of teams and players for a keeper league? We currently have 14 teams and a minor category, which allows us to build a prospect pool. Each year we protect 24 players and an extra 12 minors and we draft seven rounds so we end with 43 players each. Too many?

I personally think that’s too many to keep, but there really is no right or wrong answer. If everyone in your league likes the setup then there’s no issue. I think 14 is a good number of teams for a deep league and I prefer to only keep four or five players for a set number of years. This makes the draft a lot more fun each season when the majority of players end up back in the drafting pool.

He’s definitely starting to look like it with a six-game point streak. Still, the Hurricanes are one of the lower-scoring teams in the league and I’m not sure how long Seth Jarvis is going to be able to keep up this pace. He’s definitely worth a waiver wire add, but I wouldn’t give up anything significant to acquire him.

Two questions: 1: Time to cut bait on Dylan Holloway 2. I am in a keeper league that allows injury replacements. Jaime Drysdale did zilch before he got hurt. Still an upside there? Worth hanging on to?

Unfortunately, Dylan Holloway hasn’t done much with a few opportunities in the top six. I think he’s safe to drop for this season. I’d hold onto Jamie Drysdale, though, if you can. There’s a lot of upside there and Drysdale could be a solid point producer on the blue line for you in the coming years.

I like to look for players that are on the trade block and could see their value skyrocket if they land with a contender. Patrick Kane, Erik Karlsson, Bo Horvat and Jakob Chychrun come to mind. Patrick Kane in particular might be a good buy-low candidate.

Should I hold or drop Jamie Benn?

I’m not giving up on Jamie Benn after a few quiet games. He’s been too good this year. Benn wasn’t going to score at a near 90-point pace forever, but if he can finish with 65-70 points, that’s still a massive improvement from recent years. If he goes on a major cold streak, then I would consider moving on.

He might give you some starts, but Philipp Grubauer has played very poorly since joining the Seattle Kraken. Not only that, Seattle’s upcoming schedule is very daunting, with games against Washington, Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Winnipeg up next. If you were planning to gamble on Grubauer, now probably isn’t the best time. I’d look at other options on your waiver wire.

Think Georgiev can keep posting decent numbers with such a depleted team in front of him? I have a lot of injured forwards, so I’m wondering if I could send out Georgiev for a needle-moving forward. What similar-value forwards should I target?

His numbers and especially his win totals could take a hit for sure. Alex Georgiev has been a pleasant surprise this season, but he hasn’t been dealing with the injuries well. Georgiev has allowed at least four goals in four straight starts now. I’m not sure he’ll net you a high-end forward given the situation with the Colorado Avalanche right now, though you should be able to target someone like Alex Tuch, Kevin Hayes or Logan Couture in a swap.

It’s not looking good for Jack Campbell at all. He went from losing starts to Stuart Skinner to losing the job entirely. Skinner has started five of the past six games and the Edmonton Oilers didn’t even trust Campbell enough to give him the start against the Arizona Coyotes the other night. Things could always turn around, but Campbell’s value is really slipping away.

Trying to swing a trade away Nicholas Paul while he’s high, think is it a good idea? Feel like his value will fall a little with Cerelli being back in the lineup.

I think that’s a good strategy. With Anthony Cirelli back, Nick Paul could find his way down the lineup eventually and see his production drop. The Tampa Bay Lightning will probably shuffle Paul, Cirelli, Alex Killorn and Brandon Hagel around in the top six and someone will be the odd man out in the rotation. If you can get something decent for Paul, that’s the safer play.

Jack Quinn is someone I’d take a chance on. He’s really been clicking with Dylan Cozens on the second line and the Buffalo Sabres are the league’s highest scoring team. As mentioned above, I think Hagel and some of those other Lightning forwards will be streaky as they move around in the top six. Right now, Quinn is the better bet.

That certainly is a flyer. There is definitely an opportunity on the Columbus Blue Jackets blue line with all the injuries they’ve had, so Marcus Bjork will get a chance. I just can’t see him making a major impact given how almost nothing has gone right for the Blue Jackets this year and how depleted they’ve been with injuries. Adam Boqvist also shouldn’t be too far off from a return, which will bump Bjork down the lineup.

I don’t think things are as dire for Jacob Markstrom as they are for Campbell. Dan Vladar is only on a short run and he’s never played for any type of substantial stretch in his career, so there’s a decent chance that Markstrom will get a shot to reclaim the job again. Still, if you wanted to flip him for Skinner or Knight you could, as those two have a fairly solid grasp on the No. 1 jobs on strong teams. Kochetkov is a bit more of a wild card, as we don’t yet know what’s going to happen when Andersen returns.

None of those defencemen you listed are huge point producers, so I’ll say Matt Roy for his solid shots and blocks numbers. Even if he’s not scoring, he should be able to help you out there.

As for Tomas Tatar, I don’t think you absolutely have to hold him. He’s been quiet lately and is very streaky, and there’s probably comparable options on your waiver wire.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.