Matt Larkin Q&A: How will the Flames do? Should the Leafs trade Nylander?


@MarvelousMart: Fantasy question in a keeper pool (players under 25 years old). If you have the opportunity to draft either the combo of Turcotte and Caufield or the combo of Byram and Krebs, which combo do you see as being more valuable?

Matt Larkin: I lean toward Turcotte/Caufield mainly because Caufield’s DeBrincat-like potential is too exciting to pass up.

@HockeyLW17: Do you think the Edmonton Oilers can realistically make the playoffs this year, or are their previous weaknesses still too big a factor?

Matt Larkin: I don’t think they make the playoffs. Roster is too unchanged year over year. Telling that McDavid and Draisaitl were so amazing last year and the team still missed playoffs by 11 points.

@amazingjr87: You think the Ducks could be a playoff team this year or nah?

Matt Larkin: I don’t think so, and that’s totally OK. When they bought out Perry and promoted Eakins, they sent a message that they were committing to youth. So we may get some growing pains. But there is enough upside for the Ducks to surprise, especially in a weak division.

@PDeWeerd: If Byfuglien decides to retire from the NHL, what trade options do you imagine the Jets would have? Might there be an option to make a deal with the Wild or Penguins who are potentially hot in the trade market right now?

Matt Larkin: Before all the Byfuglien stuff happened, I was already calling the Sabres an ideal trade partner, as they could offer Rasmus Ristolainen. Now it makes even more sense!

@lazyhockeyguy2: If Rantanen sits out, how much worse are the Avs? I think with the addition of Lehner, the Hawks are legit this year, agree? Is this the year the Leafs finally get past the first round?

Matt Larkin: 1. Avs will hurt without him, could keep them on the playoff bubble. But I still believe he’ll sign in time. 2. I still think the Hawks aren’t good enough defensively to make the playoffs yet. Especially with Boqvist not making the team. They were 30th in shots allowed last year. 3. Yes.

@amazingjr87: This may sound unpopular, but I think the Maple Leafs should trade Nylander and get more help on D. Agreed or no?

Matt Larkin: Maybe – but not now. Nylander’s value tanked last season, so now would be the worst time to move him. Can’t sell low. He’s poised for a breakout year.

@nweiss1002: What do you think the Islanders could get in return for a trade that has Nick Leddy in it?

Matt Larkin: I feel like the Isles would want a “hockey trade” in their current state, so I could see Leddy (who is quietly still only 28) returning a second-line forward.

@KrisCherewyk: Hey Matt, now that Tkachuk is back with the Flames, what do you think this team’s chances are to contend for the big prize? Pretenders or do they have a real shot to do this?

Matt Larkin: Similar to last year. We know the team’s strengths – finesse, blueline – but goaltending has to come through when it matters. And, even with Lucic, Flames may need to get tougher.

@ScottDawsonHcky: Is it time for the Canucks to give up on Virtanen and move him, hopefully in a player for player change of scenery type swap?

Matt Larkin: I think so. They have given him more rope than most teams would. There has to be another team out htere that could use his heavy game, even if it’s just as a checker.

@AODGames: Do you think Jesse Puljujarvi could fetch a serviceable player that could immediately impact Edmonton’s lineup?

Matt Larkin: I don’t think Puljujarvi can fetch a sure-thing. It has to be one reclamation project for another, unless the Oilers sweeten the pot.

@DrSalt13: Do you think Anaheim can make noise and surprise people with all of their young talent and being led by John Gibson? Is New Jersey going to be legit or overhyped? Do you think Matthews can/will break Ovechkin’s monopoly on the Richard?

Matt Larkin: (Already answered Ducks). Devils are going to be exciting, but maybe not good enough on D/in net to make the playoffs just yet. Matthews has the tools to do it, yes, but has to prove he can play a full season. So Ovie is still the favorite for the Richard.

@Max_Power34: How soon in an eight-team fantasy draft should the run on goalies start? I hate to pass up scoring, but it’s such a make or break position. I made it to the final in my league last year but was torpedoed all year by substandard goaltending (thanks a lot, Martin Jones).

Matt Larkin: In a standard league, I don’t like to pick goalies too early, as the position is fickle year to year. Just make sure you get in as long as there’s someone on the board who (a) will start at least 50 games and (b) should play on a good team, and you should be fine.

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