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Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: How to stay afloat with players out due to COVID-19

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Surprise, surprise, COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on another fantasy hockey season.

We’re not even a month in, and already, there’s been a bevy of outbreaks throughout the NHL to start the campaign. Lately, it’s been San Jose and Pittsburgh, respectively, who’ve been hit the hardest, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby being among the confirmed positive cases.

As a fantasy owner, aside from being reactionary, there’s not much you can do. At the very least, it’s imperative that you stay up to date on all the latest news and information around the NHL. Indelibly, that’ll help to better prepare you for corresponding moves. Just look at it this way: Whenever a player enters covid protocols, there’s almost certainly always going to be someone who stands to gain a short-term bump in fantasy stock.

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Bottom line, especially if you’re in the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool, make sure stay on top of depth charts, you can find terrific value that way. Just think of it as a giant puzzle, it’s up to you to put all the pieces together.

Now to your questions:

Build your roster and compete for a share of $50,000 in cash prizes!

@smallcheeze asks: Why is my team being ravaged by COVID and injuries?

Fantasy hockey in 2021, am I right? Just know that you’re not alone, work that waiver wire!

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@bibbobolypse asks: Let’s talk about Getzlaf. Is Papa going to keep putting up assists with the kiddos?

I don’t see why not. For what it’s worth, I’m loving Anaheim’s new run-and-gun style. Not only is it refreshing, but it’s been exciting to watch as well. With respect to Getzlaf, it’s fair to expect some regression from this hot start. Having said that, I don’t expect him to fall off a cliff either. I’m buying.

@Pacadie09 asks: Is Troy Terry for real? And, do you expect a regression for Dubois once Scheifele is back in shape?

In general, it’s great to see the Ducks return to fantasy relevancy. Going into the season, Anaheim’s brain trust reiterated the need for some of their younger talent to take that next step. Without question, Terry has done that and then some so far. Quietly, the 24-year-old winger has been riding a scintillating nine-game point streak and finally demonstrating some consistency at the NHL level. While it remains to be seen how far this breakout will go, I do think Terry is approaching must-own territory right now. Ride the hot hand!

As for Dubois, I’ve been feeling him since he came into training camp in fantastic shape. Additionally, I don’t think Scheifele’s return has much of an impact – if any – on Dubois’ fantasy stock. He’s been tremendous, Paul Maurice will continue to trot him out there.

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@kovy1313 asks: Should I trade Cole Caufield for Lucas Raymond?

That’s an extremely enticing offer, but I’d be inclined to hold tight on Caufield for the time being.

If you breakdown the numbers this season, the Canadiens rookie hasn’t been that bad, the puck luck just hasn’t been there. For me, the AHL demotion was more about getting his confidence back and less about his overall play. Montreal’s starving for offence, Caufield should be back in short order.

As for Raymond, it’s unrealistic to expect this point per game pace to continue. It’s a long season, just remember that.

I prefer Caufield.

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@DeanMoriarty_57 asks: Is Kirby Dach worth holding onto?

For now, I think you’re good to hop out on Dach. Depending on the size of your league, there’s almost certainly better waiver options at your disposal right now. At the very least, you can always circle back down the road, right?

@dgauthier152 asks: What do I do with Chychrun? My gut is to trade him ASAP, what’s fair return?

As I intimated in last Sunday’s 20 Fantasy Thoughts, I’m out on all things Arizona Coyotes. Yes, that includes Chychrun, too. 13 goals in 10 games, no thanks.

Just drop him, I don’t think he has any trade value right now, maybe in a keeper league.

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Woof.

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@samson44 asks: What am I supposed to do with Yamamoto?

Easy drop; scoop someone else up.

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@stlchapman asks: Drop Klingberg, add Byram?

Another tough one, but I’m inclined to hold onto Klingberg.

The Stars are overdue to bust loose offensively. I believe in contract year John Klingberg, and you should, too. As for Byram, to a degree, I think he’s restricted by Cale Makar, especially on the power play. Even with that, Byram has legitimate fantasy value, I just think Klingberg can offer you more.

By the way, if the prognosis turns out to be longer-term on Makar, I’d probably pull the trigger on this offer.

@VanHelvoirt5 asks: What do I do with Kappo Kakko in my dynasty league. Drafted him and have hung on to him for a couple seasons. Is he ever going to break out or should I trade him? Josh Norris has been offered.

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Yes, it’s time to move on, it’s just not happening for him offensively. I’d feel extremely comfortable swapping Kakko for Josh Norris, I like him a lot. The Sens boast sneaky fantasy value this season.

@Karlski_01 asks: What should I do with Pietrangelo? Bench him, trade him, or ride this out and hope he turns it around?

Ride this out, Vegas is ravaged by injury right now.

Personally, I think Pietrangelo is bound to get going eventually, especially as the Golden Knights get healthier. You won’t get fair value in a deal right now; the only option is to hold onto him. Chalk it up to a tough start.

@hockey_burner asks: When (if at all) is the time to pick Evander Kane off the waiver wire?

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I wouldn’t rush to add him. Even when his suspension concludes in late November, there’s no guarantee that the Sharks will even welcome him back. For now, just monitor the situation closely. No need to act.

@Jarvis_Official asks: Sorokin or Blackwood?

It’s not even close, Sorokin by a country mile.

Even with Semyon Varlamov back in the mix, the sophomore still holds top-50 fantasy appeal. Not only is Sorokin extremely talented but the Islanders are really good, too. Meanwhile, Blackwood’s Devils are still very much in a rebuild. They’re better than last year, but ‘how much’ is the real question. His numbers should be decent, just not as good as Sorokin’s.

@sarumanthedark asks: What should I do with Anders Lee? He’s been flat as of late.

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Keep him, the Isles captain is a far better long-term option over the players you mentioned.

Be patient, once the Islanders start playing regularly, Lee’s progression will pick up. Also, he’s coming back from a serious injury. Give him some time.





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Joel Klatt answers your questions from the mailbag | Joel Klatt Show

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Joel Klatt answered your questions from the mailbag. He answered your questions about football, fandoms and talks about his infamous notebooks again!



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Michigan, USC, Oklahoma & Penn State among Joel Klatt's surprises of National Signing Day

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Joel Klatt discusses which programs surprised him from National Signing Day. He talked about the USC Trojans and Lincoln Riley landed at No. 8 overall class. Joel explained why he was surprised with USC and discussed they needed to get more defensive players. His next surprise was the Michigan Wolverines landing at No. 19 overall despite two straight CFP appearances. Joel explained that Michigan and USC utilized the transfer portal very well. Joel discussed Penn State, Oklahoma, TCU and Texas Tech’s signing day rankings and how this benefits their programs.



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SEC and Big 12 claim the most 5-star recruits on 2023 National Signing Day | Joel Klatt Show

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Joel Klatt discussed where 5-star recruits signed on national signing day. 21 of them went to the SEC, seven of them went to the Big 12, five went to the PAC-12, four went to the ACC and one went to the Big Ten. Joel says the Alabama Crimson Tide had the best recruiting class, signing 9 of the 39 5-star recruits. Joel talked about how NIL deals are affecting recruiting and how programs across the country are approaching it.



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