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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Fantasy Hockey, Edler-Myers, and Quinn Hughes’ Preseason

I’m terrible at fantasy hockey for a couple of reasons. The first is that it’s just not how I think the game, and I often forget that stats that say very little about a player’s performance like hits and plus-minus actually count a great deal towards the outcome. The second reason is the dedication it takes to move players on and off your bench and keep abreast of injuries. That would be my biggest piece of advice: check and update your lineup every day. That will be enough to probably put you within striking distance of the top spot in your average office pool.

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On the one hand, your concern is justified. An Edler-Myers pairing doesn’t look good on paper for a myriad of reasons, and they haven’t played all that well together over the course of the preseason based on my observations, either. That having been said, I expect Travis Green to juggle the lines and pairings a fair bit this season, so it’s too early to get bent out of shape. If it’s not working and he’s still sticking with it 20 games into the year, it will be time to revisit these concerns.

Based on his ability to survive around six Managing Editor changes, I think it has to be petbugs. If he gets his way, he’ll still be writing Graphic Comments articles from a bunker in 2074 when the entire planet is an irradiated hellscape.

I think there’s a decent chance the Canucks move on from Virtanen at some point over the next 12 months. That would probably qualify.

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It depends on what you mean by “great” success, but off the top of my head, here’s a list of guys who improved drastically with their third NHL team:

  • Anton Stralman
  • Reilly Smith
  • William Karlsson
  • Michael Grabner
  • Brett Connolly
  • Michael Frolik
  • Nino Niederreiter

It’s very rare that the player suddenly becomes a superstar, but teams trading for a guy who’s worn out his welcome with two straight teams only to reap the rewards of a longer-than-average development path happens semi-frequently.

We would obviously all vote Jeff Veillette immediately as a bit, then set an ambush for JD by leaving a bolo tie crafted out of balsa wood near a river of hungry piranhas.

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To the best of my knowledge, Dan Murphy doesn’t have a podcast yet, so this space will be left intentionally blank.

 

 

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Probably Brandon Sutter, unless a trade is made to allow Adam Gaudette to move into the lineup. I won’t be surprised if he ends up on Bo Horvat’s wing at some point during the year, too. The coaching staff liked him there and he could be a good fit on nights where Bo draws tough match-ups.

It’s not something I had thought of before, but after looking into it, it would seem to make sense on paper. Colmbus could use some additional offensive firepower after losing Artemi Panarin in the offseason, while the Habs’ top-four could use an upgrade. The biggest roadblock would be John Tortorella, who has a history of sparring with players with attitude or behavioural problems that haven’t been nearly as well-publicized as Drouin’s.

As a side note, it’s funny to see how quickly the fans and media can turn on a player if the right person criticizes him. People complain about the negativity and infighting among fans and media in this market, but what’s happened in Montreal over the years makes Vancouver look tame by comparison. It makes me thankful to be working in this market.

It is not just you. Quinn struggled at times over the preseason, and I expect that trend to continue for brief spats over the course of his rookie year. I’ve been one of his biggest boosters, but even I think that expectations have been set a little high for his debut NHL season. I maintain that he has the potential to be a special player, but the jump from college hockey to the NHL is a big one, and it’s going to produce some growing pains.

Even if Quinn looks uncomfortable more often than not in his first year, it’s going to be important that fans are patient with him and don’t lose sight of how dynamic he is with the puck and what he can do in transition. Getting used to the grind of a long season, improving reads, and learning to defend at the pro level are all things that can be taught, but take time. What can’t be taught is Quinn’s offensive instincts. When he hits his prime, he’s going to be a sight to behold. It just might take a couple of years.