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Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: Is there any hope for Elias Pettersson this season?

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If there’s anyone who earned their U.S. Thanksgiving meal this year, it was Nazem Kadri. With extra stuffing, too.

No doubt about it, fantasy owners are supremely thankful.

The Colorado centre, who conveniently enough is in a contract year, started the season as an afterthought in most standard drafts. Not so much anymore.

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The 31-year-old is currently on pace for a career-high in goals (36), assists (92), and points (128). And thus, the contract year phenomenon is alive and well in the NHL world.

Considering he’s currently riding a career best 10-game point streak, it would be wise to roster Kadri in the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool right now; the one-point value is the gravy on top.

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Now to your questions:

@ratman023 asks: Pettersson and Barzal?

I think Elias Pettersson has the higher ceiling of the two, and to be fair, a lot of that has to do with who’s around him. Even when completely healthy, it’s difficult to get excited about the New York Islanders’ roster — at least from a fantasy perspective.

Yes, both players have sputtered offensively out of the gates, but it’s imperative that you stay patient on both fronts.

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@MMillarFishing asks: Is it time to give up on Mat Barzal?

Heck no, New York has played just 16 games, which included 13 straight on the road to start the season. On top of that, not only has the injury bug hit them hard, but COVID-19 has too. Moral of the story: Give them some time to recuperate.

Furthermore, if you’re in a non-keeper league and feel like you’re not in a position in the standings to wait around for a player, then go ahead and do it. Generally speaking, I just think you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone with Barzal’s potential on the waiver wire. For the record, I felt the same way about Cole Caufield.

If this question stems from a keeper league, I’d sit tight.

@G36367458 asks: Any hope for Pettersson?

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Yes, I still have plenty of hope for Pettersson and the Canucks – for that matter – moving forward this season.

Lost in the shuffle is the fact that Vancouver’s only at the one-quarter mark of the season, there’s still plenty of time to right this sinking ship. For the record, I’d give Pettersson until about early January before even pondering the idea of cutting him. Funny enough, I still think view him as an excellent buy-low target right now.

@ElRoca19 asks: I know Stamkos is 32 & Point 26 but how would you compare the two (next year only)? Almost equal or an edge?

I’d give Point the all-around edge, but it’s close. The former is the better goal scorer, the latter will likely cover more categories for you. At any rate, both are bona fide top-30 files, and as long as Tampa keeps that terrific core intact, they’ll continue to be a fantasy gold mine.

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@HockeyFan_J asks: Why does Varlomov suck…I want him to play like last year lol

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Be mindful: Varlamov was injured to start the season, so he’s been playing catch up this whole time. As the Islanders get healthier, the numbers will improve. No need to press the panic button.

@sarumanthedark asks: I have Varlamov, Quick, M.Smith and S.Skinner, should I drop 1 out in exchange for Greiss, Tokarski or Korpisalo? The goalie pickings are slim in my league.

For starters, the three options provided aren’t really upgrades over what you already have. To be fair, the trade route is probably your best bet if you’re highly motivated to improve your squad in between the pipes. Good luck.

@vladiator011 asks: Goalie waiver wire is pretty thin, Ottinger was just taken. Best available is Knight and Varlamov. Stuck with Igor and Ned. Who do I grab?

Grab Knight, the Panthers are an absolute wagon. Can you believe they’ve won 11 in a row at home to start the season? Insane.

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Through 19 games, Knight’s played in eight of them, Bobrovsky has appeared in 12. As the season progresses, I fully expect the rookie to challenge the veteran for additional playing time. Knight’s the real deal, jump on that.

Additionally, if I were you, I’d employ a three-goalie system moving forward. In this day and age of analytics, you can’t go wrong with crease depth in fantasy hockey. If you really need to, you can always trade one down the road, right?

@Zukibillie asks: Keeper, trade Crosby for Malkin & Barzal?

For now, I’d hold off on that one, at least until we see Malkin play some games again. After all, he’s coming off a pretty serious knee injury, and he’s no spring chicken anymore. If you’re trading Sidney Crosby in fantasy hockey, you better have no doubts you’re making out well. Be smart.

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@ChrisMack20 asks: Your thoughts on Lafreniere? I drafted himin my keeper league as a rookie in hopes he would be a premiere player and was willing to wait long term for him to produce. A year-and-a-half, I don’t see this happening and am wondering if I should cut bait

Extremely droppable, even in a keeper league.

Through 75 career games, the 20-year-old has 16 goals and 26 points. He’s still so young, but it’s not like the Rangers haven’t given him every opportunity to produce with the big boys in the top-six. The consistency just hasn’t been there.

Give it maybe another month before pulling the plug in your keeper league.

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@BostonDiGiorgio asks: What’s the deal with Sean Monahan? Are we seeing just another down year or is this the player he’s become since his 82-point season in 2018?

Good question. Honestly, I think health has played a big-time role in Monahan’s regression. He hasn’t looked like the same player for a while.

Easy drop.





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WATCH: Mariners’ Robbie Ray, Royals’ Luke Weaver ejected before game for national anthem standoff

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Seattle Mariners left-hander Robbie Ray and Kansas City Royals righty reliever Luke Weaver were both ejected prior to the start of Sunday’s game after competing in a lengthy “standoff” following the completion of the national anthem. 

Ray and Weaver, who used to be teammates with the Arizona Diamondbacks, engaged in some theatrics as they both refused to return to their respective dugouts after the anthem. Their game of chicken saw them get toweled down and delivered water by their teammates. The deadlock delayed the afternoon’s first pitch by several minutes and was caught on camera. Press play below and enjoy:

As you can see, the umpiring crew grew impatient with Ray and Weaver’s displays of civil disobedience, demanding they quit goofing around and that they leave the field so that the contest could begin. Evidently Ray and Weaver waited too long to acquiesce, resulting in both being ejected from the game.

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For those wondering, Ray was the “winner,” a fact that the Mariners celebrated on their official Twitter account. Take a look:

Ray, for his part, was not scheduled to partake in Sunday’s game regardless of his ejection. The Mariners are instead starting right-hander Luis Castillo, who signed a long-term extension to remain in town on Saturday. Ray had most recently pitched on Wednesday, putting him in line to appear again on Tuesday. The Mariners have Monday off before beginning a series at home against the Texas Rangers.

Weaver, meanwhile, has not pitched since last Sunday. Seeing as how he’s the only Royals reliever to not appear in a game this week — a development that likely has as much to do with his below-average production this season as anything — it’s reasonable to think that he may have been in line for action at some point on Sunday. Oh well. 

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Tigers' Riley Greene makes an ABSURD catch to rob Andrew Vaughn of a home run

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Andrew Vaughn was robbed of a home run, thanks to Riley Greene’s amazing catch for the Detroit Tigers in the fourth inning.



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NFL Week 3: Ravens-Pats, Chiefs-Colts, more; Tua returns vs. Bills

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Saints-Panthers, Ravens-Patriots and Bills-Dolphins highlight Sunday’s NFL action. Here are the top plays from Week 3!



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