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Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: Don’t give up on Malkin, Hall yet

Imagine being a real NHL general manager? You can throw loyalty out the window.

We’re not even three weeks into this extraordinary season, and already patience is wearing thin in the fantasy hockey world. Trust me, I have the tweets to back it up. Everyone seems to be at wit’s end with their star player right now.

And I get it, there’s no worse feeling than seeing your top draft picks struggle. That said, it would be foolish to cut bait with anyone prolific this early. If there’s one piece of advice that you should stick with, it’s that patience is a virtue. Relax and breathe.

When it comes to the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool, fortunately, you don’t need to deal with slumping players. Every week, your goal is to dress a roster — from the allotted 30-point cap system — that you feel will produce the most efficiently for you. With that in mind, make sure to keep tabs on who’s hot and who’s not — this will make your roster construction much easier.

For example, Jack Hughes at one point has really been getting the job done for me. Furthermore, there’s been tons of value to uncover in the North Division so far this season. From Nikolaj Ehlers to Bo Horvat to the usual suspects in Edmonton and Toronto, respectively, it would be wise to stack your roster with Canadian content right now.

Now to your questions:

As an Evgeni Malkin owner myself, I feel your pain.

Having said that, Malkin is still Malkin — the breakout is coming. Perception is everything. For most players, one goal and three points in eight games is not bad. For Malkin, it’s not good enough. Rest assured, the 34-year-old is fully capable of stringing a couple multi-point efforts together very quickly. And next thing you know, he’s back to his old ways.

Also, Jason Zucker is an excellent buy-low file right now. He’s pretty much a permanent fixture in Pittsburgh’s top-six, specifically with Malkin. You catch my drift.

Hold onto Geno.

Unequivocally, the answer is yes.

By and large, the Sabres are off to an okay start. I think they’ll compete for a playoff spot in the East Division this season.

Hall was brought to Buffalo to pair with Jack Eichel. I don’t see his favourable line deployment ending anytime soon. Plus, there’s numerous new players in the Sabres’ lineup, it was fair to expect some turbulence out of the gates.

Hall will be fine.

Tough question.

For what it’s worth, by season’s end, I see Demko emerging as Vancouver’s No. 1. After a terrible week against Montreal, the Canucks took care of business against Ottawa this week. Demko over Holtby for me.

Meantime, neither Quick or Murray are in favourable fantasy positions this season — the Kings and Senators will both be in tough to make the post-season. Rest assured, the losses will start to pile up as the season progresses.

Go Demko or go home.

No, do not jump ship on Hoffman in favour of Copp. Short term, maybe it makes some sense. Long term, not so much.

Copp is a nice story. I always love seeing players rise to the occasion. With Laine gone and Dubois quarantining, the 26-year-old was handed a promotion up the lineup by head coach Paul Maurice and he’s ran with it. He’s a fantastic daily play right now. Also, it’s important to note that Copp is in the midst of a contract year. You know what that means: money motivation.

Hoffman, a perennial 30-goal scorer, is off to a slow start. His resume speaks for itself. Enough said.

As someone who owns Sorokin in multiple leagues, I’m facing the same dilemma right now.

Not to hammer home the point, but we’re not even 10 games into this season. In the past, Barry Trotz has been extremely tactical when it comes to goalie utilization. The Jack Adams winner said it in training camp, and I believe him: both goalies will play this season.

Just note, Trotz usually rides the hot hand. He’ll go back and forth all season long. Now’s a great time to sell-high on Varlamov and buy-low on Sorokin.

Nope, not at all — make the move, especially now that Barrie is off the first power play unit.

In-house, Darnell Nurse is your guy. Outside of Edmonton, take a look at Justin Schultz, Ty Smith, Noah Dobson and Bowen Byram.

Yup, do it. Not much fantasy value to find in Barrie, at least right now. All of those players you mentioned are definitely upgrades.

What a way for Lafreniere to pot his first NHL goal – an OT winner in Buffalo on Thursday night.

It’s just one goal, but I wouldn’t be shocked if that’s all Lafreniere needs to get going. Regardless, give it about 15 games or so before contemplating something extreme.

Be mindful. This kid’s legit.


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