Returning or Finnished?

We are now kicking off the fantasy hockey draft season and the letters are pouring in. As such, Fantasy Mailbag is back to its weekly rotation – so let’s get to some letters!

Would you take a flyer (no pun intended) on Simon Gagne this season? With his concussions last year, I’m not sure if he’d be a good pick, or a big risk.
Rich, Yuma, Ariz.

I’m not comfortable with drafting players who have injury questions, Rich. That said, Gagne is a great talent and if the draft was down to 55-point wingers and Gagne was still available, it would be silly to ignore him. That’s about where you should be looking at taking him because it is less of a risk.

Dobber, I have joined a very well organized hockey pool that is taken quite seriously. Can you settle the following argument for us? What position is Jason Blake: center or wing? I say he’s been a winger all of his career and is listed as a winger here and the NHL site. My poolies are forcing me to have him as a center. The Hockey News Pool Guide (The Bible, for us) says center. Can you help me put this to rest? If he truly is a center I’ll have to deal with my problem.
Rob, Toronto, Ont.

He used to be a center and is definitely a winger now, but in today’s NHL three-quarters of the forwards play multiple positions. To anoint a magazine as the deciding factor in today’s Internet world is not going to give accurate results. (For the record, the THN Pool Guide uses the Official NHL Guide and Record Book for positional references.) You should probably choose a website that updates throughout the year or, my preference, just use F (forward) and D (defenseman) as your position categories. But, since your rules are already established you can’t change them without 100 percent league support. Short of that, you need to give 365 days notice and a majority vote.

I’m in a points-only keeper league that counts G, A, +/-, PPP, GWG. Who will be more valuable to me this season and in the long term, Patrick O’Sullivan or Jeff Carter?
Shaun, Vancouver, B.C.

I would put my money on O’Sullivan for both, but it’s closer than people think – Carter is going to be a star.

In my hockey pool I’ve got one reserved change in goaltending. I currently have Vokoun and can change to Mike Smith before the season starts. Will Smith really be getting the majority of playtime in Tampa now that Kolzig is around? I’m leaning towards Vokoun right now, but figure if Smith plays most games, he’ll outperform Vokoun. What is your opinion?
Korin, Toronto, Ont.

This is a really tough call. Smith will play 70 percent of Tampa’s games versus Vokoun playing 90 percent of Florida’s. Tampa Bay will win more games, but defensively, their blueline is much weaker than Florida’s. My decision would depend on the categories, but offhand I would go with Smith.

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I was wondering what the future holds for Teemu Selanne? I know he is an unrestricted free agent and the Ducks are currently over the salary cap. Still, I only see him returning to play in Anaheim, if he plays at all. Just wondering what the chances of that happening appear to be?
Dustin, Hamilton, Ont.

This question is the most common one I’ve been asked this month. Draft Selanne as if he has already signed with the Ducks. He will soon, I guarantee it.

Hi Dobber, I’m in a league where you can keep only one player. The majority of goalie points come from wins and shutouts; plus/minus is weighted more heavily for defensemen than forwards. Given this, whom would you keep, Cam Ward or Brian Campbell? Thanks.
Matt, Topsham, Maine

I would keep Campbell. In that type of league there will be a lot of goalies available so you can probably improve on Ward.

Dobber, do you feel Teemu Selanne’s return to Anaheim will hurt Corey Perry’s numbers?
Mark, Hastings, New Zealand

Nope. It will probably help as it distributes the offense to two lines, effectively spreading out the defensive coverage. Perry will have more room out there. The reduction in power play time will be far less than you would think.

Which three forwards will have the best seasons? Cammalleri, Sakic, Stamkos, Semin or Selanne. Which two defensemen will have the best seasons? McCabe, Souray, Weber, Bieksa or Doughty. Thanks for your help.
Steve, Calgary, Alta.

Semin is the wildcard here because of his injury woes last season, so I would shy away from him. Stamkos should get between 60 and 70 points. I think the other three players will top that, so there’s your answer for the forwards. McCabe, Weber and Bieksa are my picks for your defensemen, based on points only.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Mailbag will appear on the last Wednesday of every month throughout the playoffs and off-season. The weekly edition will begin again in September. To send the Dobber your question, click HERE.

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