Fantasy Hockey Mailbag

The Life and Fantasy Hockey Mailbag – March 9th 2021

Welcome to the LFH mailbag, where all your burning fantasy questions are answered moderately well by Spencer Plamondon, co-host of the Life and Fantasy Hockey Podcast.

We’re getting very close to the midpoint of this season, and with that comes increased frustration with struggling stars – hence this week’s Patrik Laine and Carter Hart questions. What do you do? How long can you afford to wait before taking action? Do you drop them? Trade them?

Let’s get into it.

What am I doing with Laine here? I almost dropped him for Chandler Stephenson this week. – DaBirdz3

Oh, Patrik Laine. I knew I shouldn’t have drafted you but damnit, I did it anyway.

Yep, Laine is frustrating and disappointing. The guy is just loaded with talent. He’s got the skills to be one of the best goal scorers of his generation, but he’s really struggled to put that together consistently and it looks like he’s gone from a not great fit in Winnipeg to a not great fit in Columbus. Still a bit early to make that call, though.

I think you probably made the right call holding onto him. Stephenson’s not the guy. If you’re going to drop Laine, do it for someone with better production than him, particularly when it comes to goals and power play stats. If you drafted Laine, you likely did it expecting him to contribute significantly in those areas, so unless you’ve completely addressed those issues, you might want to try replacing some of that expected production with whoever you target.

I recommend shopping him around. See if you can find any takers willing to bite & pay up for his name and upside. I wouldn’t expect a great deal, but you never know.

You’ll likely find a better return than Chandler Stephenson, though.

Patrik Laine staring directly at John Tortorella, according to 99% of people not named Jarmo

At what point do we stop putting our faith in Jonathan Drouin? – Filthy Ben

I don’t like your attitude, Filthy. You better watch your tone.

Drouin is an interesting case. He’s playing what might be the best hockey of his career, but still has pretty low fantasy relevance.

He legitimately looks like a changed man; he’s weathering adversity with calm and confidence, he’s hustling, he’s involved along the boards, he’s committed defensively. He still has glaring brain cramps from time to time, but that’s unlikely to change.

He’s got 16PTS in 23GP, which is decent production, but not great. Only two of those points are goals, though, and his PP production currently sits at just 2PPA.

I guess my answer to your question is, maybe putting our faith in him wasn’t the play in the first place. But, he’s a very talented player who’s playing the best hockey of his NHL career, and he’s doing it on a team with a brand new PP coach who’s been working wonders so far.

Combine that with his shooting percentage (5.9%) being lower than career average (9.5%), and you’ve got a player who’s still worth keeping an eye on. I’d maintain a reasonable level of interest from a distance, but save your faith for players who’ve earned it.

Jonathan Drouin, thinking about how he doesn’t need Filthy’s approval to thrive

You and I just swapped struggling goalies in our money league (my Carter Hart for your John Gibson), was this a bad call on my part? At what point does it become reasonable to cut bait with a struggling goalie you drafted high? – Bandito Barbato

Well, let me put it this way: I’ve got a couple guys coming off IR, and if I hadn’t just acquired Hart, I’d be considering dropping him to get them in my lineup. I probably wouldn’t end up doing it, but he’d get legitimate consideration with the struggles he’s going through. When we started talking about this trade, I was pretty shocked to see he was still 94% owned; I think 5-10% lower than that would be pretty reasonable, but I guess people are really holding out hope given his high average draft position.

Hart is on a good team, and he’s shown a ton of promise in the past. I’m still very confident he figures it out, but I obviously don’t know if that happens in any meaningful way before the end of this season. He’s running out of time.

I’m banking on it though, my goalies are a f*cking mess.

I think you waited a reasonable amount of time before making a move on him, and in Gibson you’re getting one of the most talented goaltenders in the world, one who was playing lights out hockey before this recent slide. Hart has more upside in fantasy this season by virtue of being on a better team (and being extremely talented in his own right), but if I needed to choose a goalie to build a team around in real life, I’m going with Gibson, for what that’s worth.

Which honestly isn’t much. This isn’t real life Spence, it’s fantasy. Save the ‘life’ talk for the six minute segment you do an hour and 54 minutes into your podcast.

At the end of the day, you were at your wits end and ready to drop the player. You held off and turned that asset into another asset, one you wouldn’t have found on the waiver wire. That’s absolutely the better option of the two, and plenty of fantasy owners would’ve just dropped him without exploring the trade route. So kudos to you for that.

Carter Hart and Some Guy

How is Jordan Greenway only 22% rostered? – Max Zorin

My suspicion is it’s due to the lack of shots and power play production. That’s what’s held me back from scooping him up in public leagues in the past, though I did manage to get him in a deep league.

He’s a force to be reckoned with, and he’s got a good career ahead of him – this is just his coming out party – so I’d imagine we’re in the ‘touch and go’ period before he’s on everyone’s radar. With 18PTS in 22GP, he’s rolling right along, and he throws the body around, too.

He really just needs to get those shots and that power play production going, the former of which he’s been doing of late. As it stands he’s ranked 134th in Yahoo! Public leagues, and that’s factoring in his strong +7 rating that nobody gives a sh*t about but that Yahoo! counts anyway. In my money league, with power play goals & points counted but no plus minus, he’s ranked 172.

That being said, in the last two weeks? He’s ranked 74th, in no small part due to his increased shooting. Obviously, the even-strength hot streak has been a huge part of it as well, but with goose eggs in the power play department over that stretch, he wouldn’t get a rank like that without the added production across the board.

Yahoo! algorithms love balance, and they don’t give the whole picture. I take their rankings with a pretty big grain of salt, but they do skew ‘Rostered %’ overall, so that is a factor to this.

As his rank goes up, people will catch on or miss out. Look for him to finish strong and get some late round consideration in next year’s drafts.

Jordan Greenway: Exciting Young Talent, Committed Subway Spokesperson

Catch the Life and Fantasy Hockey Podcast every second Sunday of the month on the Hot Sauce Sports Podcast Network. You can find us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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Find me on Twitter @HockeyOMC

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