By the end of October it looked as if the opportunities for Alex Stalock to carve out the 40 or so starts I predicted he’d get this season were dwindling fast. Antti Niemi (L, 26 SV, 4 GA, .867%) was rolling strong on five straight starts, it seemed like the deal was sealed and Stalock would have to wait until next year to get his chance. Luckily for us Stalock owners, Niemi has provided ample opportunity once again for Alex to get back in the picture. Last night’s loss marks three in a row and four of his last five for Niemi who now owns a yawnstipating 6-5-1/2.79/.911% season line. Those numbers look like they belong to Ondrej Pavelec, and before this season that would be a grevious insult, but hey even Pavelec is looking better than Niemi this year. I digress, I was never a huge fan of Niemi’s so this doesn’t surprise me one bit. Alex Stalock is the goalie of the future in San Jose and despite some early struggles in limited work (that game against the Sabres haunts me still) I still believe he’s going to get his starts and Niemi may not even finish the season as the Sharks’ starter. During his current losing streak Niemi has coughed up 15 goals and the Sharks have lost four of those five contests. By contrast, Stalock sports a 2-2-1/2.38/.925% line is looking a hell of a lot better than what Niemi has offered up despite the fact that it has been built over seven fewer games. Stalock was supposed to start last night against the Cats but at the last minute the call was made to start Niemi. Bad call, San Jose. Lets get with the program and get Stalock so more starts, eh? If he’s healthy and he performs well in his next few games I’d say Stalock would be well on his way to making this thing a fight again. If that’s the case, he’s worth adding. If you still own him, hold him for now. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:

Cory Schneider (W, 23 SV, 1 GA, .958%) – Starting for the 16th time in 17 games and for the second game in as many nights Schneider finally found his stride and held the Wild off for a 3-1 victory last night. I don’t know when they’re going to sit him, but it has to be soon or he’s going to play until he gets hurt. I honestly have no idea what Schneids will do moving forward, I can only assume he’ll get better because, well, he’s far better than he has played so far this season. He could be a good buy low candidate.

Darcy Kuemper (L, 20 SV, 2 GA, .909%) – Last night’s loss marks three in a row for the young tender who, with Josh Harding practicing and soon to return, might be hitting a cold spell at just the wrong time. In seven October games Kuemps allowed 10 goals. In four November games he’s allowed 12. If you look back his shutouts came against the Avs twice to start the year and the hapless ‘yotes shortly after, so the quality of competition wasn’t great, either. He has every opportunity to right the ship and maintain his starter status when Harding returns, but he needs to get it together quickly. In any case if you own Keumper you should add Harding and stash him on IR where you can; he’s a valuable handcuff.

Mike Cammalleri (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – Yesterday I said wait until he does something decent for a few games and trade him before the inevitable cold spell or injury, so here you go. Sell high, my friends.

Jaroslav Halak (W, 20 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – It’s funny, Halak’s back-to-back shutouts come against the Avs and the ‘yotes, the teams I just bagged on Kuemper for earning his shutouts against, and here we are again. He also held the Ducks to a two goals for a 3-2 OT win to start this little three game run, but I’m not very confident it continues when he runs into higher quality opposition in the near future.

Semyon Varlamov (L, 40 SV, 6 GA, .870%) – I warned against drafting Varly and everyone told me I was a madman. How could it possibly be? He was so fantastic last season surely it wasn’t a fluke! Well, his season line currently sits at a bleh 2-5-4/3.05/.918% and I don’t see it getting better any time soon. The Avs are a mess and Varly is doing even worse than I expected him to. He’s going to keep getting peppered by buckets of shots and clearly he isn’t able to handle it so you have to bench him for now.

Ryan Strome (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +2) – With all the hype around other rookies like Jonathan Drouin (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) and Aaron Ekblad (2 A, 2 SOG, +3, 2 PIM) Strome has slipped under the radar for many, but he’s been better than most young players so far this season. Last night’s two point effort gives him 10 points in 15 games so far with a plus-five rating, 10 PIM and some faceoff wins, too. He spends his time playing pivot on a line with Brock Nelson (1 A, +2) and Anders Lee (1 G, 5 SOG, +2) and it seems to be clicking well. He should be owned in most deep leagues.

Henrik Lundqvist (W, 33 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – Not only has the depleted Rangers defense not hurt Lundqvist like I thought it might, he’s actually gotten stronger over the last four games posting two shutouts and a .958 SV%. Please excuse my doubts your majesty, it will never happen again.

Marc-Andre Fleury (L, 30 SV, 5 GA, .857%) – The Rangers dominated from the first puck drop last night and they spanked Fluery for five goals. It was half MAF’s fault and half the defense’s, so you can chock this one up to a bad night and expect that he’ll get back on track next game.

Derick Brassard (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – Brass has really come on strong of late with six points in his last six games giving him 13 points in 15 games overall. He’s the Rangers’ second-line center and gets power play opportunities, so he’s worth adding in most leagues right now. The plus/minus could go either way moving forward, but 55 points and 20 goals is definitely doable here.

Rick Nash (1 G, 2 A, 6 SOG) – Nash maintains his league lead in goals with his 12th tally of the season last night. It was just a short time ago when people were saying Nash was past it, he lost the fire, blah blah blah. Welp, it looks like that was all a bunch of bullshiz, he’s looked like the elite scoring forward Broadway pays him to be since the first game of the season and barring injury I doubt he’ll slow down. He could score 50 goals this year.

Martin St. Louis (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – Now that Marty is back at his natural position on the wing he can focus on scoring and hey, look at that, he’s scoring. Six points in his last five games push his season total to 12 points in 15 contests and I doubt he’s going to slow down anytime soon.

Mats Zuccarello (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – I think the ceiling for Zook is probably 55 points. He’s a dynamic little sparkplug, but I doubt he’s going to become another Marty St. Louis. He’s currently on pace for 40ish points for the year and that’s just too low, but I wouldn’t expect more than 55 this year.

Braden Holtby (W, 24 SV, 2 GA, .923%) – That’s back-to-back solid games for Hotlby after he had a three game hiccup that saw him cough up 12 goals over that span. I heard tell of peeps thinking of dropping Holtby because of that three game stretch. You cray. He’ll be fine.

Curtis McElhinney (L, 28 SV, 4 GA, .875%) – Soooo, Sergei Bobrovsky is back soon, yes?

Marcus Johansson (2 G, 8 SOG, +1) – I doubt his recent scoring burst will last much longer, but you can’t ignore a guy who posted four points in his first nine games, then eight in his last six. He’s been spending time with dynamic rookie pivot Andre Burakovsky () and it looks like they might be developing some solid chemistry together. Own him while he’s hot and drop him while he’s not.

Alex Ovechkin (2 G, 8 SOG) – Nine points in his last five games, check. Lots o’ goals, check. Minus-2 rating, aw damnit… check.

Carey Price (W, 29 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – I’d say he’s officially back on track after this one. That’s two very good games in a row and though the quality of competition is a bit suspect, he’s so good that you have to expect this to continue.

Ondrej Pavelec (L, 24 SV, 2 GA, .923%) – Would you believe me if I told you Pavs has been one of the best goalies in the league so far this year? His season line sits at 7-5-2/1.98/.928% in 14 starts this season. I… well, I’m speechless. I don’t expect his play to continue at this level, but then I didn’t even think he was good enough to do this kind of work at all. It really can’t keep going, can it? Is everything in my life a lie?!

Alex Galchenyuk (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – Finally the cold streak is over as Galy nets his first point in four games and just his second point in his last nine. He started hot then fell off a cliff, but he’s talented enough that there’s hope he’ll start scoring again now that the dam has broken. I guess calling a one goal game breaking the dam open is a little dramatic, but hey, poetic license.

Roberto Luongo (W, 21 SV, 1 GA, .955%) – Oh Lu, you so good. I’m sorry we had a falling out.

Joe Thornton (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – Jumbo Joe has five goals already! That’s about half of what he’ll give you all season.

Brian Elliott (W, 28 SV, 1 GA, .966%) – Ten starts in and all systems are go for Elliott, but again, that’s not the concern. The concern is when he gets to 40-plus starts, then we’ll see if he’s going to be the Blues’ starter for a few years, or he’s just a bridge for Jake Allen. Either way, he’s money for now.

Michal Neuvirth (L, 23 SV, 6 GA, .793%) – Yeah, well, Buffalo.

Jaden Schwartz (3 A, +3) – So long as he centers Vladimir Tarasenko (2 A, 4 SOG, +2) and Jori Lehtera he’s going to have plenty of helpers to dish out.

Jori Lehtera (3 G, 5 SOG, +3) – I mentioned Lehtera in my wire watch post yesterday, but after last night’s game I doubt he’ll be available on many anymore. If he is, add him now. Fun fact time! Lehtera’s hatty was of the natural variety and that makes him the third Blue from the same line to net a hatty in the first 15 games of the season. That must be some kind of record.

Alexander Steen (3 A, 4 SOG, even, 9 PIM) – The three helpers all come on the man advantage and that’s how you can expect Steen to rack up his points, but don’t expect them to come in buckets like last year, he isn’t a point-per-game guy or even close to it. Don’t be fooled by last year.

Viktor Fasth (L, 14 SV, 3 GA, .824%) – Fasth seemed to have taken the starting job from Ben Scrivens (0 GA, 18 SV, 100.0 SV%) but after last night that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. Does it really matter who starts for the Oil? You shouldn’t own either of them unless you’re desperate.

Nail Yakupov (1 G, 3 SOG) – This guy isn’t in the KHL yet? What’s the hold up?

Filip Forsberg (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – After last night’s tilt The Fors has 17 points in 15 games and a plus-17 rating. If anyone told you they knew Forsberg would be this good they’re damn dirty liars, that’s what they are. I don’t know how long it will continue, but from what I’ve seen of him, it looks like he should keep chugging along at a steady pace. I doubt it’s at more than a point-per-game pace though.

Mike Ribeiro (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG) – Every season I see Ribeiro’s name and think “Meh” and move on. And every freakin’ year he ends up playing well. I don’t know what it is about him that puts me to sleep, but I’d be happy to have his 13 points in 15 games tuck me in each night. If he’s available add him.

Corey Crawford (W, 25 SV, 2 GA, .926%) – What was that about Scott Darling? I vaguely recall some grumblings about trading Crawford? Nonsense.

Ben Bishop (L, 37 SV, 2 GA, .949%) – At least he didn’t allow three goals this time.

Nikita Kucherov (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – Did you pick him up when I told you to? I did. Thanks, me!

Brad Richards (1 G, 4 SOG) – Don’t look now but Richards has four points in his last four games and *gasp* is actually worth picking up in deep leagues.

Kari Lehtonen (W, 34 SV, 3 GA, .919%) – It appears that Kari has caught the threes disease from Ben Bishop and he coughed up another three spot in a 4-3 victory over the ‘yotes last night. That snaps a five game losing streak that extends back into October. I think the Stars as a team are struggling to start the season and Kari is paying a bit of the price, but he really needs to step it up and soon. You can’t trade him because you won’t get value, you can’t bench him because he and the Stars are good enough to break out at any moment, so you have to bite the bullet and start him for now.

Mike Smith (L, 28 SV, 4 GA, .875%) – Heh, Mike Smith.

Mikkel Boedker (1 G, 4 SOG) – And finally the 12 game goal drought has ended for a guy who I’m still pretty high on. Perhaps my dreams of him pushing 60 points this season have faded, but I still think he’ll hit 25 goals and 50-ish points. I still believe, damnit!

Tyler Seguin (2 G, 5 SOG, +1) – I know the Bruins have been just fine since the Seguin deal, but can you really tell me they don’t regret it? Really? I regret it and I don’t even like the Bruins.

Ryan Miller (W, 21 SV, 3 GA, .875%) – He’s doing exactly what we expected; middling peripherals (2.46/.910%) and solid wins (11). He’ll keep rollin’ like that all season long.

Alex Burrows (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – Burrows was hot garbage last year, but he seems to have returned to his 50 point form, so I’d add him if you need scoring help. 25 goals is definitely doable.

Craig Anderson (W, 33 SV, 4 GA, .892%) – I firmly believe that Anderson owns a Robin Lehner voodoo doll.

  1. Fungazi says:
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    I have Stepan racking up some points on the IR slot. Should I replace one of my mediocre forward with him or just drop him? Choices are Loui Erikkson, Nick Bonino, Johnny Gaudreau – G/A/+/-/PIM/PPP/SOG.

    • JD

      JD says:
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      @Fungazi: I’d drop Loui to get Steps back in there.

  2. Tony says:
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    Schneider was dropped to waivers. Should I drop either Lehtonan, Allen or Stalock for him?

    • JD

      JD says:
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      Drop Stalock.

  3. SMLV1 says:
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    Stalock on IR :/

    • JD

      JD says:
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      @SMLV1: Yeah, saw that. Hopefully it won’t be long term.

  4. Apollo says:
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    Is trading Pearson and Vanek for Dustin Byfuglien over paying? I really need a 4th Defense. His counter offers have been terrible. He’s clearly over valuing Dustin. It’s either make a trade or I drop one of those guys to get Despres (or someone like that). I desperately need hits and PIM, I’m leading in almost every other category. I thought Pearson and Vanek would have value, but no one seems interested in those players.

    • JD

      JD says:
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      Poor play in the playoffs last year and a slow start this year have eroded much of Vanek’s value. The time to sell high on Pearson was a few weeks ago, he’s predictably regressed since his white hot start. If you need hits, you could do a lot worse than netting Big Buff, especially if the rest of your team is good enough to lead the rest of the categories. Without seeing the rest of your roster, I’d tentatively say yes go ahead and pull the trigger here.

      • Apollo says:
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        @JD: fair assessment. I don’t think he’s too interested though from the message I just got. I’ve changed my bid to Brent Burns for Duchene. Hopefully that interests him. I would get Burns.

        Holtby was just dropped on waivers, would you pick him up? I have Neimi, Howard and Elliott. Pavelec is also in FA.

        Thanks for the advice. And great job on the site! I’ve looked for a decent site for a long time, this is now my go to site.

        • JD

          JD says:
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          @Apollo: I would be surprised if he accepted Duchene for Burns. Burns has been a top 5 defenseman this year, so he’s going to cost you more than Duchene, whose value has also been eroded due to a slow start. Most of the Avs are unmovable with how poorly they’ve performed. Hell, I expected Duchene to be a point-per-game guy this year. So much for that.

          Stick with who you have for goalies, Niemi / Holtby is a push and your duo of Howie/Elliott is elite. I don’t think Pavelec can maintain this level of play for long.

          Thanks for the kind words and for reading. Glad to have you as a regular!

  5. Troy: The Collector

    troy says:
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    would you add ribiero, forsberg, or bozak over steen? my line is pretty stacked with hall, sharp, st louis, kessel, neal but that 6th forward has been a struggle. its a points only league. 2 points for goals 1 point for assist.

    • JD

      JD says:
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      @troy: I’d take Filip Forsberg over Steen in that league for sure.

      • Troy: The Collector

        troy says:
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        @JD: done, think it’ll lst for ros? In ur opinion what’s the end #s look like?

        • JD

          JD says:
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          @troy: Honestly it’s hard to say where Forsberg will end up, but so far he’s been so good you can’t leave him on the wire. I expect some regression and think it’s very improbable that he’ll keep up a point-per-game pace, but from what I’ve seen from him so far he could definitely top 60 points this year, which would be better than Steen’s output, that’s for sure.

          • Troy: The Collector

            troy says:
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            @JD: ya know who else is on waivers as well? Ribiero is actually there to. I kissed him but he’s a guy who could quietly put up 65 points no? Still wanna give forsberg a shot because his shot is great and ribiero love dishing out the puck. So I think 30 goals could b realistic with 30 to 35 assist if he stays on top pp with neal n ribiero and of course weber

            • JD

              JD says:
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              @troy: Forsberg and Ribs play on the top line with Neal, so either is worth a grab. I like The Fors because he has huge upside. Ribs could absolutely put up 60-65 points, but it’s as likely that Fors will do the same or better. Plus, it’s Fors that’s getting all those pretty feeds from Ribs, have you seen the goal streak he’s on right now? It’s pretty beastly and their pairing on that line plays no small part in either players’ current success.

              • Troy: The Collector

                troy says:
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                @JD: lol yea I’ve seen it afraid it’ll all dry up before I get him. I won’t have him on my team until Monday. But yea I Def went with forsberg.

  6. Veritas says:
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    Another awesome article JD. Thank again for all of your help and hard work. Your advice has been incredibly helpful in allowing me to stay ahead of the competition.

    • JD

      JD says:
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      @Veritas: Thanks for reading and the kind words! It’s appreciated, truly. I’m glad I’m able to help!

  7. Troy: The Collector

    troy says:
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    One more thing, same league my d is yandle, vatenen, franson, and McDonough(forced to have him in starting lineup because we don’t have a ir or bench spots) would you drop either of these guys for faulk? He’s been on waivers for awhile. I no ul probably say either vatenen or franson but they have been on fire n have great upside. With McDonough not due back for another 2 weeks I was thinking him. Thoughts?

    • Lenard says:
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      @troy: @troy: I’d drop McDonagh for Faulk for now. With no IR or bench spots, I doubt someone will pick up McDonagh until he’s within a few days of returning so you may be able to pick him up again if it pleases you. But not having a dead spot in points-only is pretty helpful.

      Vatanen’s breaking out this year and I don’t see him moving off the top powerplay unit anytime soon, even when the Ducks are healthy again. Hold him.

    • JD

      JD says:
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      @troy: You can risk dropping Mac due to the lack of IR slots if you want to, but I’ve rolled with three defenseman for an entire season and won the championship, so don’t think you automatically MUST drop a guy to get someone else slotted in at D. Considering what Faulk is doing right now though, it’s probably worth adding him and letting Mac go for now. No IR slots is pretty brutal.

      • Troy: The Collector

        troy says:
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        @JD: agreed it is brutal lol so drop faulk once mac is close to coming back? If faulk puts up 45 points wouldn’t they be close to the same pace ros

        • JD

          JD says:
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          @troy: Yeah, honestly I think Faulk could be worth more by the end of the year. Mac wasn’t looking good before he re-injured his shoulder, the same shoulder he hurt and played hurt with in the playoffs last season. He’s supposed to come back in two weeks but the Rangers think he’ll be out longer. He’s a franchise defenseman and he’s still young, so they aren’t going to rush him back to re-injure the same shoulder a third time so who knows what’s going to happen there. Faulk, on the other hand, is coming into his own as expected and should be pretty baller ROS. You’ll have to play it by ear. If when Mac is ready to come back Faulk is slumping, I’d make the swap and grab Mac again. If Faulk is still cranking away, keep him.

          • Troy: The Collector

            troy says:
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            @JD: great stufd as always jd. I dunno how I’m going to lose this league man lol run down my squad rra quick if ur cool with it lol… forwards r kessel hall st louis neal sharp and forsberg, d is yandle vetanen franson and faulk and finally goalies are schnieder and halak. U already no 2 points for goals 1 for assist. Goalies get 5 points a win and 5 a shut out. There r a few stacked teams but one sharp is back not sure any will b more stacked then mine lol

  8. Kevin says:
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    JD would you trade D. Sedin for Faulk/Fowler/Vatanen and Gaborik?

    • JD

      JD says:
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      Uh, that’s a tough one to call. Who are you dropping to bring on four guys for one? Do you need that much help at D? Are you that stacked at forward that you can send Sedin away?

      • Kevin says:
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        @JD: I think I confused you with the trade offer, it would be 1 of those D and Gaborik for D. Sedin. My current D is Despres, Emelin, Muzzin and Pietrangelo with Spurgeon on my IR and my forwards are Lehtera, Plekanec, Gaudreau, Ryan, Lindholm, Wheeler, Bergeron, Stamkos, Zetterberg, Comeau, D. Sedin, Silfverberg and Stastny.. Sorry for the confusion

        • JD

          JD says:
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          @Kevin: You could use some help at D, but I don’t like Gabby. He’s solid when healthy, but always gets hurt. He’ll probably get hurt again this year and you already have guys that are injury prone like Zetterberg and Stastny. Does he have any other forwards that might be a bit more durable you can counter for?

          • Kevin says:
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            @JD: The only forwards I think he may be able to part with are Kadri and Reilly Smith but now he’s offering Lehner and one of those D for Sedin. My goalies are Fleury and Lundqvist.

            • JD

              JD says:
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              @Kevin: Yeah, don’t trade Sedin for Lehner and any of those defensemen, that’s not a good deal. Taking on Gabby for Sedin is a high risk, high reward deal. You could definitely use an upgrade at D, and a Vatanen/Gabby or Faulk/Gabby package for Sedin isn’t bad, but it could go either way by the end of the season. Unless you’re in a hits league Emelin, Despres or Muzzin are pretty expendable, and either Vats or Faulk would be a huge upgrade.

  9. phenomenot says:
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    Craig Anderson sucks. Do not be fooled.

    • JD

      JD says:
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      Someone thinks Craig Anderson doesn’t suck?

  10. Which D-man should I pick up JD? Faulk, Ekblad, Trevor Daley, Mark Streit, Dougie Hamilton, or Cody Franson?

    • JD

      JD says:
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      @madden_curser: In a hits league, Franson. In a non-hits league, Faulk.

  11. Been offered keumper and byfuglien for subban.
    My goalies currently are bishop, holtby, Allen and Harding. Do I make this deal and try to flip one of my goalies later?

    • JD

      JD says:
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      @Derrick Yu: What’s the rest of your roster look like? League size, scoring cats?

      • @JD:

        D men are
        Subban
        Faulk
        Brodie
        Carlson

        Goals ass +\- PIM SOG PPP
        I’m packing in pims. But I have Dubinsky waiting on the ir slot

        • JD

          JD says:
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          @Derrick Yu: If you needed goalie help or D help I’d do it, but this deal does nothing to improve either. In fact, you lose ground by sending Subban away. I’d reject it.

    • Lenard says:
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      @Derrick Yu: Nah, as long as the Jets seem determined to keep Buff out of the top 6 he’s really not going to put up too many points.

      And I think you’re set with your current goalies. Keumper would be an upgrade on Allen because of pure playing time, but Allen is a pretty active backup and could get more starts as the season wears on. I’d be worried about Darcy splitting more starts when Harding comes back and you already have him so you’re good there.

  12. thorbs says:
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    What are you expecting out of Dan Boyle now that he’s back? I’m rolling with Burns, Franson, Streit and Daley at the moment in a 12-team keeper league, but Boyle would look mighty tasty in Daley’s slot, IMO – Stars’ PP not clicking the way I thought it would.

    • JD

      JD says:
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      @thorbs: Not sure what to expect from Boyler, but he’s going to get top minutes and first unit PP time now that he’s back. I’d drop Daley for him.

  13. goodfold2 says:
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    strome probably got less hype this year since’s he’s been around for a while.

    • JD

      JD says:
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      @goodfold2: Yup. He’s solid though, I own him in a few deep leagues and be’s been a great addition. I expect he’ll develop into a top-six guy pretty soon.

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