Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: Will Woll be stuck as backup behind Samsonov upon return?

In a scintillating display of speed and skill, Los Angeles Kings' Quinton Byfield does everything himself and does it beautifully, dancing through the Blue Jackets defence, kicking it to himself, and finishing the ridiculous goal from his knees.

Quinton Byfield has arrived.

If the highlight-reel goal he notched the other night against the Columbus Blue Jackets wasn’t evidence enough, the fact that he’s up to 12 points in his past 11 games certainly is. Byfield is also scoring at a 66-point pace this year as well. Not bad for a guy that wasn’t even drafted in the majority of fantasy leagues.

Byfield is another example of why you shouldn’t write off a player too early. I don’t think the Los Angeles Kings and teams around the league were necessarily doing that, but sometimes in fantasy, it’s easy to get frustrated if a highly touted prospect doesn’t start clicking right away. Much like we’ve seen from Juraj Slafkovsky this season, Byfield turned a corner when getting an extended shot with talented players like Adrian Kempe and Anze Kopitar. He looks like he’s going to be a huge fantasy asset for years to come.

We may even be talking about Byfield as a top-10 fantasy pick someday.

Let’s get to your questions:

Out of this group I’d prefer Samuel Ersson because he’ll probably play the most. Logan Thompson appears to be losing starts to Adin Hill and Cam Talbot has been very inconsistent. I think there are question marks around Ersson as well, mainly can he handle a starter’s workload, but at least he’ll give you volume and Ersson has the benefit of playing in John Tortorella’s goalie-friendly structure.

That might not be a bad idea. If you’re comfortable rolling with two goalies, maybe Linus Ullmark for Roman Josi could be something to explore because you’d have Frederik Andersen to pair with Pyotr Kochetkov when he gets back.

Otherwise, maybe you could look at moving a winger since you have a surplus there. There’s a bit of uncertainty around Jake Guentzel due to his injury and a possible trade, so maybe you consider using him as a piece to get Josi.

I don’t think there’s any guarantee Joseph Woll claims the No. 1 job when he returns. In fact, it could be just the opposite, as Woll might find himself in a backup role if Ilya Samsonov continues to play this well. It could also take Woll some time to get back up to speed and we shouldn’t assume he’ll just recapture the form he had early in the season. Ideally, for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Woll eventually gets going again and they use both him and Samsonov as more of a tandem. Unfortunately, if you were relying on Woll for a ton of the starts earlier in the season, I think it’s likely he sees just a 50/50 split the rest of the way in a best-case scenario.

If you’re rostering Nikolaj Ehlers at this point, you’re just going to have to accept he’s probably not going to get the minutes you’re hoping for. Rick Bowness doesn’t seem to fully trust him and with the arrival of Sean Monahan, I don’t see Ehlers getting much time on the top power play. Maybe if there’s an injury to someone on the top line of the Winnipeg Jets, he might get a bump in minutes, though it’s far from a guarantee. I think you’re just going to have to live with some inconsistency with Ehlers’ production.

I’d drop Jordan Kyrou and Alec Martinez. Robert Thomas has a higher upside for offence, although you may sacrifice some shots on goal. If you are really lacking in that area that’s the only reason, why I consider keeping Jordan Kyrou.

For the Vegas defenders, Shea Theodore is the better overall player, but Martinez is awesome for blocked shots. That does come with some risk, though, as Martinez has a tough time staying healthy. Theodore is probably the safer play with a higher ceiling.

I wouldn’t overreact here. Two games from Joel Eriksson Ek can sometimes be worth three or four from another player given how many categories he covers. Plus, over the next week, he has four games. Vincent Trocheck is a similar player and should be able to produce even against tough opponents. I’d stay the course if you can.

It’s a tough spot for him for sure. Unless the St. Louis Blues trade a defenceman or maybe Scott Perunovich gets dealt himself, his ceiling will only be so high. It’s frustrating because Perunovich definitely has the talent and skillset to produce offensively with more of an opportunity and if he can stay healthy. There might be better keeper options out there at the moment, but perhaps it’s a good idea to see what this trade deadline brings to see if Perunovich’s situation changes at all.

There’s no denying the Detroit Red Wings have taken a step forward this year. Their goal differential of plus-16 proves they have a legitimate shot at a playoff spot and is significantly better than the Tampa Bay Lightning, for example. They also currently sit sixth overall in goals for this season, giving them a lot of attractive fantasy options. Detroit’s top six is really potent and there’s nothing wrong with investing in them.

Drake Batherson was struggling prior to Thursday night’s game and there is reason to be a bit concerned. Tuesday night’s game, where he had six shots, was a welcome surprise, as Batherson only managed one or fewer in 11 of his past 15 contests. Batherson has 30-goal potential but he’s never been able to reach the mark for a variety of reasons. He seemed like a lock to get there this year, though with that low shot volume and the fact that he’s on the third line and second power play now, it doesn’t feel like a foregone conclusion. I’d hold him for now because I don’t think there are many better long-term options on waivers and I’m sure he’ll start scoring again soon, but it might not be a bad idea to gauge Batherson’s trade value if you’re in a one-year league.

He’s definitely getting close. Thomas Harley has 14 goals and is in the middle of a breakout season. He and Miro Heiskanen have become a formidable top pair and play huge minutes. If your league is fairly deep and you keep a number of players, Harley is certainly worth considering.

I wouldn’t prefer any of those other options over Elias Lindholm. Even if he hasn’t seen a huge boost with the Vancouver Canucks, Lindholm is still playing with Elias Pettersson and on a great power play unit. He still has more upside than those other players and I’d guess Lindholm starts to pick it up as he gets more and more comfortable playing with new teammates in a new system.

Your defence is really solid, but I’d still keep Brock Faber. He’s had a really strong season and looks like he’s going to be great long term. Faber has keeper potential and he would be nice to have if you get any injuries on your blue line. Boone Jenner is great as well, but he does come with injury risk and he isn’t playing for a strong team. I think Jenner is the more droppable player.

There are lots of players to look at but someone like Nicolas Roy or Artturi Lehkonen are two to consider. Both have been surging of late, are on strong teams and could be important contributors down the stretch. On the flipside, Gus Nyquist might be entering drop territory. He seems to be hitting a bit of a wall and isn’t providing the category coverage he did earlier this season.

I’d be a more confident in Claude Giroux next year than Alex Ovechkin. We’ve already seen some signs of decline from Ovechkin this year and he’ll be 39 when next season begins. Giroux is a little younger and has more offensive talent around him. Not to mention Giroux isn’t as physical and I think his skillset will age better than Ovechkin.

I think it actually might be Tristan Jarry here. The Pittsburgh Penguins may be selling some pieces at the deadline and that could make it tougher for Jarry the rest of the way. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has really locked down the No. 1 job for the Buffalo Sabres and I don’t see a big difference between the Pens and Sabres. Alex Lyon is a must-hold for me given how good he’s been this year and how strong the Detroit Red Wings look. With Lyon, Luukkonen and Woll working his way back on a good team, you should be set in goal.

Given the fact that he’s on a conditioning stint in the AHL, Woll is probably getting pretty close to returning. I talked a little about this in an earlier answer, but it won’t be easy for him to get the No. 1 job back. Samsonov has been really good, so there isn’t as much urgency to play Woll a lot and it seems like a stretch that he would claim the net again and play like 60-65 per cent of games. I think if Woll picks up where he left off and gets a 50/50 split of the net, you should be pretty happy with that.

In a one-year league I don’t think you can value Brandt Clarke over someone like Torey Krug. Clarke just won’t get as many minutes and opportunities as Krug in 2023-24. If we were taking about a keeper league, though, I’d definitely take a gamble on Clarke. He has more upside.

I’d go with Anthony Stolarz. He won’t play as much as the other two, but if you have a high-quality starter as your other goalie and can make it work with your minimum starts, Stolarz will have great value. He’s having a really strong season and is quality over quantity. One goalie I’m keeping an eye on is Kaapo Kahkonen. He’s had a decent season on a really bad team and is a UFA this summer. Kahkonen could look a lot better on a Los Angeles or Philadelphia for example.

Bobby McMann is worth a look at this point. He’s been scoring at a great rate lately and is getting more minutes, as well as playing with John Tavares. I’m not sure McMann will be a hold for the rest of the season, but I’d definitely take advantage of him while you can.

As for the other question, I’d go with Adam Henrique out of those three. Mainly because I think he likely gets traded to a much better team prior to the deadline which will increase his value and he’s a more consistent offensive player than the other two.

I’d probably go Dylan Cozens, JJ Peterka, Kevin Fiala, Anze Kopitar, Elias Lindholm, Max Pacioretty, Juraj Slafkovsky and Owen Power. I think sometimes it’s easy to get fixated on volume and finding the most games possible, but you don’t want to lose a better player just because someone has a couple extra games. Like I’d prefer three games from Fiala over five from Pacioretty, as an example. You sort of have to weigh quality versus quantity.

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.