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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Four weeks from today is the NHL’s trade deadline. In fantasy hockey, many leagues use the same date. The window for fixing your team is starting to close, so let’s get to some letters!

I have Dwayne Roloson as my third goalie right now and he’s played well for me so far this season. Brian Elliott is available right now in my league in free agency. Who do you think will have a better second half?

Matt, Philadelphia

Despite Ottawa’s dubious record since my recent article on them, I still think they’ll have a strong final third of the season and the coaching change may be the spark they need.

As reliable as Roloson is to have as a third goalie, I would roll the dice on Elliott. It could turn out poorly or be a difference maker. It’s your third goalie, so that’s the perfect spot for a boom-or-bust approach.

With Kimmo Timonen slowing down lately, is this the type of play I should expect from him for the rest of the season? With defensemen like Mike Commodore and Steve Montador available – both of whom are performing well as of late - do I drop Timonen and ride the second half success of another up-and-comer? Please help out an obsessed fantasy owner!

Brett, Winnipeg

Timonen is one of the most consistent year-to-year defensemen you can own, so his cold streak is guaranteed to be followed by a hot one.

You can take 40 to 55 points from him to the bank every season. This year, he will finish on the upper end of that production bracket and you would be crazy to drop him.

I'm in a keeper league with NHL salaries and an NHL salary cap. I'm right up against the cap with no room to make moves or compensate for injuries. What do you think of me offering Justin Williams for Kris Versteeg? I love Williams, but he's been hurt a little too often. He's also eating up $3.5 million, as opposed to Versteeg's rookie contract. Do you think they'll be about even the rest of the way, or should I hang onto Williams? What about next year? I know what Williams is capable of, which is why I'm hesitant to offer him for a guy who could end up being a flash in the pan. Can Versteeg really be this good consistently? Is Williams too injury prone to take the chance on?

Logan, Calgary

Not only would that be a wise move to make, Logan, but I am fairly certain the Versteeg owner will not give him up for Williams.

The Carolina winger has been so injury prone of late that a lot of owners are shying away from him. Versteeg should be a consistent 65- to 70-point player going forward and although Williams could finish with about five more points each year, Versteeg has a clean bill of health and he also carries an upside.

Even without the cap implications I would rather own Versteeg right now.

Hi Dobber, I'm in a rotisserie Yahoo! league, and my goaltending has been a major disappointment (I drafted Turco and Giguere with my second and third picks). Anyway, I have a trade opportunity to switch Giguere and Jeff Carter for Marc-Andre Fleury and Patrik Berglund. I'm on the fence, and I also have Derek Roy and Malkin as centers. Would you do the trade as it stands or counter offer with Roy/Giguere?

Mark, Rensselaer, N.Y.

I would do the deal with Jeff Carter, Mark. Not that I think Carter will slow down, but I still see Roy heating up even more and in the end he will beat Carter in the last 30 games by about five points.

What's your outlook on Al Montoya? Call him a dud? Not quite yet? Will he ever pan out and become a starter somewhere in the NHL?

Jeff, Vancouver

If you were a goaltender in the ‘90s, you never got the chance to make the NHL if the Devils drafted you, courtesy of Martin Brodeur.

There’s a similar situation this decade in New York thanks to Henrik Lundqvist, but now that Al Montoya is in the Phoenix organization, he has a shot.

However, a horrible season in the American League is slowly killing that opportunity. To have a big year next year, Montoya needs to earn the backup job with the Coyotes and step up the ladder in his career.

Only a strong finish this season and a timely injury in training camp next year can save him. As a fantasy owner, I would give up on him.

I sold the farm last year to win my pool. This year it hurt and I have now become a seller to rebuild for next year. I was offered Jason Spezza and an early draft pick for Andrei Markov and Bobby Ryan. Do you think this is a fair deal? Usually I don't have a problem evaluating, but I am stumped on this one.

Doug, Montreal

I love your “all-or-nothing” approach. Win at all costs and pick up the pieces to rebuild afterwards. Your deal all depends on the rules of your league, Doug. If defensemen are valuable (i.e. you need six of them) I would not give away Andrei Markov in this package. If you don’t need defensemen at all, I would definitely pull the trigger.

Hi Dobber, I'm looking at the possibility of obtaining Zetterberg in a keeper league from someone who is in the position of winning the pool this year. What is your opinion on Zetterberg’s health; he seems to miss time each year due to back problems. Is this going to worsen and limit his career? Or do you think this is just a phase? How does his fantasy value fare with all this in mind?

Savas, Huntsville, Ont.

Hi Savas. Not only is Zetterberg’s back an issue, but don’t forget his wrist problem, which may be even more of an issue in the long run. He is an injury risk year in and year out, but never seems to miss more than five or 10 games.

For each of the next five seasons, I think he is good for 70 games with a better than even chance of playing 78 games or more. In keeper leagues, you can never really look beyond a five-year window because in my experience no player remains on your roster longer than that.

Note regarding the Fantasy Mailbag – it is important to indicate whether or not your league is a keeper league or a one-year league. Also note whether the league is “points only,” “standard roto league,” or if there are any uncommon rules that are important to know. This will help in advising you on the right course of action.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Mailbag will appear every Wednesday throughout the season. To send the Dobber your question, click HERE.

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