The hockey season is finally upon us!  While there are only 4 games tonight, it’s great for hockey to start.  I will go through a preview of the games tonight and Thursday (11 total games) and will have a recap of all of that action out on Friday morning.  Here’s a breakdown of what we’re looking to see from a fantasy perspective in the first couple games of the season.

Wednesday’s Games:

Canadiens at Maple Leafs: From a Montreal point of view, the question is who the 6th person will be in their top 6.  Early indications are that it’s going to be Alex Semin who has elite talent but hasn’t been fantasy relevant in a few years.  Playing with Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk would carry some value, especially with power play time.  For Toronto, the roster is thin and their top 3 defensemen all look to be on separate pairs.  The biggest thing to watch is who plays right wing on the first line.  It looks like Brad Boyes has the inside track to play with James Van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri.  Boyes has played well when giving scoring roles in the past so in deep leagues, keep an eye on this.  His plus-minus will surely be bad but he can score 20 goals relatively easily getting the big minutes.

Rangers at Blackhawks: There isn’t much mystery to what the Rangers are doing.  The only question is whether Kevin Hayes is on the second line or centering the third line.  Obviously it would be much better for him to be on the second line and getting power play time.  I’m a big fan of Hayes and see 50-55 points if he gets this opportunity.  For Chicago, keep an eye on Teuvo Teravainen and Artemi Panarin.  Teravainen is getting the first crack at playing with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa while Panarin will get to play with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov.  Both are excellent late round picks in drafts (I took Teuvo in the RCL yesterday and someone else grabbed Panarin).

Canucks at Flames: The Canucks look to be far worse than last year and will be going up against a team that I expect to take a big step this year in Calgary.  For Vancouver, it looks like Brandon Sutter with play with the Sedins while Radim Vrbata will be on the second line.  It won’t hurt Vrbata much but gives Sutter some value if he sticks.  For Calgary, the biggest thing to watch is Karri Ramo.  He will start the opener so for those of you who followed my suggestion of taking Ramo and Jonas Hiller, make sure you have Ramo starting.  With Ramo starting, it makes it more likely that he’s going to be on the better side of the platoon.

Sharks at Kings: Two things stand out for the Sharks.  Martin Jones will start his first game as the Sharks goalie against his former team.  It’s a rough matchup for him to start his season.  The most interesting thing is that Joonas Donskoi, who was a big scorer in the Finnish league last year, will be on the first line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski and on the second power play unit.  He’s someone to watch in 10 man leagues and should be picked up in all leagues with 12 or more people while he has this opportunity.  For the Kings, the team is almost the same so there isn’t much to see outside of how Milan Lucic looks on the first line.

Thursday’s Games:

Jets at Bruins: Nikolaj Ehlers is the big talking point for the Jets starting the season.  Arguably the best prospect in one of the deepest prospect pools in the league, Ehlers has made the Jets roster and appears to be starting in the top 6.  Look to see Ehlers’ role tomorrow.  If he plays there, he’s a must add in all leagues and pushes the top 150 overall for this season.  In Boston, David Pastrnak looks to be the first line right winger.  He should settle around 125th overall in this role instead of around 150 where I had him before.  Playing with Patrice Bergeron is a massive win.

Senators at Sabres: The game that I am most looking for since I’ll be attending  (Go Sabres!), Craig Anderson is the big story for Ottawa.  He’s in position to get a strangle hold on the job and if Ottawa plays anything like they did at the end of last season, Anderson will be in the second tier of goalies.  He’s been known to get on incredible hot streaks.  For Buffalo, all eyes will be on Jack Eichel.  I’m higher on him than anyone else for fantasy this season and he’s going to start on a line with Evander Kane which should be an amazing combination.  At least I hope so since I drafted both in the first RCL!

Flyers at Lightning:  For the Flyers, there are two players in question and only one of them is going to carry significant value: Michael Raffl and Brayden Schenn.  One of these guys will be playing with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek and the other will be stuck on the third line.  Whoever gets the first line spot is must-own; the other shouldn’t be owned in 12 man leagues.  For Tampa, I’ll be watching Jonathan Drouin.  This finally looks like the year Drouin will get to play with Steven Stamkos.  He’ll have plenty of value regardless but if he sticks with Stamkos, expect Drouin to be a top 100 player or better.

Oilers at Blues: The question surrounding Edmonton is who will play in the top 6 in place of Jordan Eberle who is injured for 3-5 more weeks.  I would guessed Nail Yakupov but early indications are that it will be Anton Slepyshev.  I wouldn’t rush to pick up Slepyshev but he’s someone to keep an eye on.  He scored 15 goals last year in 58 games in the KHL as a 20 year old, an impressive feat. For St. Louis, it will be interesting to see who starts in goal and also how they set up the top 6.  It looks like Alex Steen, Paul Stastny and Vladimir Tarasenko will be the first line which is a big chance from last year.  This would boost Stastny’s value quite a bit.

Hurricanes at Predators: Carolina is a bit of a dumpster fire and there isn’t much to look for with them.  Goaltending is the only thing that will matter for deep leagues; whether Cam Ward or Eddie Lack starts will be telling.  I expect them to get blown out by a deep Predators squad. Nashville brings back almost the same roster.  For deep leagues, keep an eye on Cody Hodgson.  He was dreadful for Buffalo last season but I expect a bounceback in a better situation.

Penguins at Stars: This should be the most exciting game in the night.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there are 8+ goals.  In Pittsburgh, whether Chris Kunitz or David Perron are on the first line will be massive for both of their values.  For Dallas, the question is who is going to play with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.  At first, it looked like Valeri Nichushkin, then Patrick Sharp, now Cody Eakin.  The first two will be fantasy relevant regardless but Eakin will either be unownable or someone who is must own in 12 man leagues depending on his role.

Wild at Avalanche: The Wild look to be making a pretty big chance on their blueline splitting up Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin.  The biggest beneficiary will be Jared Spurgeon.  He looks to be playing top pair minutes and second unit power play.  He has a ton of offensive talent and is worth a spot as your 4th or 5th defenseman in 12 man leagues.  For Colorado, we have no idea who is going to start on what line.  Patrick Roy is notorious for rotating his lines so I wouldn’t put much stock into what they are game 1.  The player who gets the 5th spot on the Avalanche top power play unit is the biggest thing to note.  Right now, it appears that it will be Francois Beauchemin.

There’s your preview for the first two days!  Be sure to check out the daily fantasy article that also comes out today and the article that will come out tomorrow looking deeper at Thursday’s games.  I’ll post a big recap of what happened the first two days on Friday.  Any questions or comments, please post below. Enjoy the hockey games!

  1. Connor says:
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    Yay, we’re finally here. If anyone has any thoughts on my team, let me know. This was my first hockey draft:

    http://imgur.com/qsZ5HtB

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Connor: Looks amazing! How many teams? Waiting on goalies should pay off getting Andersen and Niemi; it looks a lot like my first RCL team.

      • Connor says:
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        @Viz: It’s 10 team so not too big. And yeah one of the guys in my league announced his allegiance to the Ducks, so I was trying to reach on Andersen according to his ADP but still grab him cheap according to your rankings. He’s offering me Toews and Craig Anderson for Andersen and Eichel.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Connor: With Gibson being down, Andersen should get more games than originally expected on one of the best teams in the league. He’s being undervalued most places. Hmm, I think I’d hold with Andersen and Eichel. You don’t really need any more offense, especially at center and Andersen is much better than Anderson.

          • Mike Hunt's Honorable Discharge says:
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            @Viz: in wins he probably is, but c.anderson had very good rate stats last year.

  2. JoeCool says:
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    Just finished a 12-team keeper draft. I’m the newcomer to the league so I have no keepers, how’d I do? Standard Yahoo Scoring

    C Crosby
    C Bergeron
    LW Schwartz
    LW Hall
    RW Hudler
    RW Wheeler
    D Markov
    D Seabrook
    D Suter
    D Sekera
    G Quick
    G Pavelec

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @JoeCool: I commented on your post on the RCL page

      • JoeCool says:
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        @Viz:

        thanks, Viz.

        enjoying your stuff so far as I venture into fantasy hockey

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @JoeCool: Thank you, I appreciate it!

  3. Jon says:
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    Any thoughts on the team I drafted last night in a 10-teamer? We count G A +/- PPP FOW SOG HIT DEF W GAA SV%

    C Getzlaf
    C Stepan
    C Monahan
    C Strome
    C Lee

    LW Benn
    LW Pacioretty
    LW Pastrnak

    RW Okposo
    RW Gaborik
    RW Gallagher

    D Hedman
    D Doughty
    D Klingberg
    D Vatanen
    D Suter
    D Savard

    G Holtby
    G Andersen
    G Talbot
    G Lehtonen

    • Jon says:
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      Here are a few guys on waivers, by the way, if there are any moves you’d suggest: Ribeiro, Granlund, Barkov, Teraveinen, Silfverberg, Ennis, Jenner, Myers, Rielly, Franson

      • Viz

        Viz says:
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        @Jon: @Jon: Very good in net, your top 3 forwards are all studs especially in this format. Quality depth throughout the roster. I wouldn’t make many moves. I would consider dropping Lehtonen because you don’t have Niemi and he’s going to be the backup. I can’t see him playing more than 25 games. If you want to keep him in case Niemi struggles or gets hurt, that is fine. Otherwise, I’d drop him for either Ennis or Teravainen.

        • Jon says:
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          @Viz: Thanks, Viz!

  4. WalleyWorld says:
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    Hey thanks for the write up! I have a few dynasty trade offers after putting simmonds and JVR on the block. not really sure what to do here.

    was offered
    Huberdeau and Barkov for JVR/Simmonds
    Huberdeau for simmonds straight up
    Patrick Kane and Klingberg for JVR/Simmonds

    anything there to pique your interest ? i can take the hit short term if I’m getting superstars in huberdeau/barkov long term. like the kane deal too but i already have kessel and tarasenko at rw. i could use kessel to try and swing kane in another deal if huberdeau and barkov are worth it. thanks for any advice.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @WalleyWorld: No problem! There’s a couple things that I need to know whether it’s worth it or not, namely how many players you are start at each position, how many players you keep, and the rest of your roster. Reply to this with all of that and I’ll be able to help. I’d say the third deal looks incredible despite the Kane risk and the other two are worth considering depending on the rest of your team.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @WalleyWorld: Wow, that’s a very impressive roster if the goalies pan out. I’d pull the trigger on trade #3. You have 4 utility spots so it’s not a problem having a bunch of RW and you’re getting a top 20 player for two guys outside of my top 50. You have so much young talent that getting older with Kane isn’t going to hurt and I’m a huge Klingberg fan. I guess the only concern is that it thins you out at LW but it’s such a talent upgrade that I wouldn’t worry about it. I expect some of your C and RW’s will get LW eligibility anyways.

          • WalleyWorld says:
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            @Viz: Thanks Viz. I’m back for more. Thinking about replacing Gardiner at D and possibly Baertschi as well. Looking at some young guns and would love your opinion on them.

            Tony DeAngelo
            Nate Beaulieu
            Nikita Nesterov
            Slater Koekkoek
            Ryan Pulock
            Beau Bennett (over Baertschi?)

            I saw DeAngelo ranked the highest of the bunch in a keeper list i came across. But I really don’t know much about them or the upside/eta to playing time. Thanks again for the help mate.

            • Viz

              Viz says:
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              @WalleyWorld: I don’t think any of those guys any of those guys will make an impact this year fantasy wise. Only Beaulieu is guaranteed playing time and he’s not as good as Gardiner. I’d hold both guys.

  5. Slimbo says:
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    Hey

    Just got an offer to get Taveras….

    Give up Ryan johansen, jack Johnson and Hartnell?

    Thanks

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Slimbo: How many people are in your league? Can you afford to lose the depth and the penalty minutes? In general, I’d say get the best player in the deal and do this but just want to make sure losing these guys doesn’t hurt you too much.

      • Slimbo says:
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        @Viz:

        20 teamer.

        Category Value
        Goals (G) 3
        Assists (A) 2
        Plus/Minus (+/-) 1
        Penalty Minutes (PIM) 0.5
        Powerplay Points (PPP) 1
        Shots on Goal (SOG) 0.4

        I have backstrom, Johansen, Steen, Duchene, pastrnek, Semin, Simmonds

        Not a lot of pim

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Slimbo: Not having PIM is fine being in a points league. I think I’d hold with what you have because in 20 man, the players you are going to have replacing Hartnell and Johnson are going to be pretty poor. Won’t be enough to balance the upgrade to Tavares from Johansen.

          • Slimbo says:
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            @Viz:

            If I got byfuglien in the deal would you do it then?

            • Viz

              Viz says:
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              @Slimbo: With Tavares? Absolutely. I’d even give up a bottom end 4th guy if necessary.

  6. TarmanGotHim says:
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    Drafted my one and only Hockey team!!

    I had the number 1 pick. In 5 years of doing 4 sport fantasy sports, this is the second time I’ve ever received the number 1 pick.

    I reached a little bit on certain guys when the clock was running low, but I love my team. Could use another goalie, but I think I’m solid.

    C – Crosby
    C – Tyler Johnson
    LW – Hall
    LW – Schwartz
    RW – Kucherov
    RW – Hornquist
    D – Karlson
    D – Markov
    D – Streit
    D – E. Johnson
    B – Hoffman
    B – Stephan
    B – E. Lindholm

    G – Bishop
    G – Niemi
    G – Mrazek

    Do you like Horniquist a lot?

    Do you think Mrazek is the man in DET?

    Do you think Johnson can have a huge comeback year? He was in the up echelon of defensive before his season ending injury.

    I was going to take Leddy as my D4, but I have some computer issues.

    Thanks!!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @TarmanGotHim: Team is looking outsndaing, well done.

      1) Yes, I have him 36th overall.
      2) I expect them to split. Howard is starting game 1, Mrazek game 2. I’d be shocked if either play more than 55 games barring injury. Niemi should be more value at the end of the year.
      3) Not really. He’s perfectly fine as your 4th defenseman but I don’t see much upside there. He’s used more in a shutdown role now with Barrie being the main offensive guy. I’d slightly prefer Leddy but the difference is small, not a big deal.

      No problem!

      • TarmanGotHim says:
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        @Viz: Thanks!! Would you prefer Stralman over Johnson? I can do that. And would you pickup Lack?

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @TarmanGotHim: Depends on your categories but I would slightly prefer Stralman only because he’s playing on Tampa’s top power play with the Triplets and Stamkos. His plus-minus will be a lot better than Johnson’s too.

  7. Cohen says:
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    Viz, 8 team standard league head to head,please tell me how my team looks:
    Seguin
    Malkin
    Perry
    Hall
    Kopitar
    Gaudreau
    Nyquist
    Hornqvist
    Schwartz
    Letang
    Carlson
    Hedman
    Faulk
    Vatanen
    Monahan
    Saad
    Drouin
    Bjugstad
    Brodie
    Bishop
    Bobrovsky
    F. Anderson

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Cohen: Absolutely amazing. Well done!

  8. Mordacious Levator says:
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    16 team dynasty roto with all yahoo stats, including faceoff losses along with faceoff wins so you can’t just stream faceoffs, as it would also hurt you in faceoff losses. Better way of doing this in espn is to have both faceoffs and faceoff %, but yahoo doesn’t have faceoff %. no GWG of course. This league was setup with being able to keep as many players from a real life team of your choice but for this year they could only be kept per their ADP at fantasy pros. in future years all backloaded keepers, up to full rosters, and with separate NA list. See if i have any weaknesses. Start real life roster, so only 1 starting goalie, and again, since yahoo, can only play 100 games per year at goalie, so about 3.5 per week (i got rid of holidays/off time) would make us hit the cap. in espn roto you could have a higher cap for one position than another, not in yahoo. Being TB i didn’t actually draft anybody till round 8.
    C stamkos (1st round keeper)
    -t.johnson (3rd round keeper)
    – filppula (16th round keeper)
    – bouma (18th)
    – fabbri (22nd)
    LW – palat (7th round keeper)
    – drouin (13th round keeper)
    -killorn (17th round keeper)
    – boyle (23rd round keeper)
    RW – kucherov (4th round keeper)
    – zibanejad (9th round)
    – zucarello (11th)
    -callahan (12th round keeper)
    – zacha (19th, will be NA when yahoo regets it’s shit together)
    D -hedman (5th round keeper)
    – wideman (8th round)
    – stralman (10th round keeper)
    -hamonic (14th)
    -garrison (15th round keeper)
    -orpik (20th)
    -zadorov (21st)
    G – bishop (2nd round keeper)
    – vasilevsky (6th round keeper)
    I assumed i was better off with Zadorov’s upside than a more boring Beauchemin/Brodin/Greene type. Those abound. When yahoo gets it’s shit back together with NA’s i’ll grab a center, and occasionally stream goalie starts (not that i’ll need many) from lentonen/greiss/howard/kinkaid/stalock types.

    • Mordacious Levator says:
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      @Mordacious Levator: oh yeah, NA’s currently.
      Koekkoek
      erne
      nesterov
      deangelo
      stephens
      which two (in order fabbri probably staying up at least 8 games) get dropped for zacha/fabbri. i’m guessing stephens first, then nesterov.

      • Viz

        Viz says:
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        @Mordacious Levator: I assume Nesterov is going to be up as well so you’ll need to decide on him quickly. Agree that Stephens should be first.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Mordacious Levator: Agree with all of this. Team looks good and like taking the shot on Zadarov.

      • Mordacious Levator says:
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        @Viz: guessing zadorov over nestorov as that looks like quick coming decision whenever yahoo gets it’s shit together. also, i HATE not having drafts in last couple of days, in 20 teamer i didn’t keep sutter thinking some others would have better value, then YESTERDAY it’s announced he’s with sedin’s. gross. I even originally was keeping sutter, till i thought there was a decent chance i’d get somebody slightly better. In that league i grabbed Backlund over him, and the CGY owner got Sutter. I wonder if Backlund starts off really good i might be able to flip. probably not but hope so.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Mordacious Levator: Best chance for that to happen is that Bennett goes back to LW2 in Calgary instead of being the third center.

  9. knighttown says:
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    Such an important time of the year. The next few weeks you can grab guys that could have a huge year out of nowhere so I love the style of your preview. I grabbed Sutter off waivers but that Cody Eakin possibility looks great too.

    You prefer Sutter for now?

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @knighttown: i would since you both saw him produce and at this point have no reason to think he won’t continue on a different line. Plus i think he’s a slighty better player, of course seguin-benn offer more upside if eakin sticks there. DAL does seem to have other options of course.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @knighttown: I’d go Sutter because I’m not convinced either sticks on the first line but Sutter will stick on the first power play.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Viz: didn’t even think of that, very good point VIZ. DAL does have other options for theirs.

  10. goodfold2 says:
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    sory, with sutter you have no reason to think he WILL continue on another line.

  11. Lixxiq says:
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    Pastrnak plays on a line with Krejci.
    Bergeron, Marchand and Eriksson are set

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Lixxiq: The Bruins have changed their lines the entire preseason and it was only yesterday that Bergeron was with Pastrnak in practice. While they will start that way, knowing Julien, I’d expect the top 6 to be changed frequently.

  12. Happy Vegans says:
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    Any thoughts on having a DFS Hockey column here?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Happy Vegans: Yes, I am hoping to get one going in the near future like there is for baseball and football. We are hoping to strike a deal with DraftKings to do so.

      • And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:
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        @Viz: thank god it’s draft kings not fanduel, fanduel only does long short tourney’s and no last minute changes (that last one i can’t believe anybody would play with them when draftkings does allow this, playing fanduel compared to draft kings is like using a wheelchair for fun when your legs work just fine)

  13. Quick Sycamore says:
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    Someone in my league wants to trade me Stamkos for my Malkin. My first instinct is to take the trade but I’m not sure. Anyones thoughts?

  14. PancakeMaker says:
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    Knowing that Eakin is centering Seguin/Benn is giving me regrets about trading him away. For that reason I don’t want him to stick there

  15. Johnny Hockey holds no clipboard says:
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    Thoughts on Malkin for Foligno and Mckinnon? I have Malkin and have been offered the trade. I feel both Mckinnon and Foligno could have good upside this year but so can Malkin and he had 69pts in 70 games last year with injury battles, tough to give up a guy that caliber.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Viz: who do you have starting as your worst forward right now? I.E. Who would Foligno be replacing in your lineup?

      • Johnny Hockey holds no clipboard says:
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        @Viz: categories: SOG-.5, Goals-3, Assists-2, PPG-1, PPA-.5, Short handed points-1, hits-1, FOW-1,
        FOL- -.5. Worst three forwards, Vanek, Gaborik, Yakupov

  16. Slimbo says:
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    Drop abdelkader or clutterbuck for atkinson or mikael granlund?

Comments are closed.