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Heat-ing up

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

This is it – the stretch run. All the work you did in September and throughout the campaign boils down to these final 12 days. Poolies are also looking ahead to the next campaign. Next week we’ll field some questions for your playoff pool, but for now – let’s get to some letters.

Hey Dobber, I'm in a 10-team, keeper league with a salary cap. Points are straight-up goals and assists. I have to keep six of my 12 forwards. I have already decided to keep Zach Parise, Marc Savard and Jonathan Toews. Out of the following, who would you keep? Dany Heatley, Henrik Sedin, Mike Cammalleri, Nathan Horton, Corey Perry, Ales Hemsky or Simon Gagne. My decision on some of them will also depend on how much they sign for this summer.

Jean, Embrun, Ont.

I would be keeping Dany Heatley, even before Toews. One weak season does not change an impressive young career. My other keepers would be Ales Hemsky and Mike Cammalleri.

Dobber! I'm in a partial-keeper, Yahoo! roto league. There are 16 managers in the pool and we’re allowed to keep one goalie plus three skaters. Mine are Roberto Luongo, Mike Green, Zach Parise and Vincent Lecavalier. My issue is the owner of Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom is willing to trade him for Vinny. Based on their outlook for next year and long-term, who is a better option in our pool? Thanks.

John, Vancouver

That’s pretty tempting, but I would prefer to own Lecavalier over Backstrom, despite their numbers this season. Backstrom is a point-per-game player who will far exceed that thanks to an amazing linemate. Remove the linemate and he is back to a point-per-game player. Lecavalier…well, Lecavalier

Hey Dobber, I’m playing in a pool where we keep all our players every season. I presently have Alex Kovalev, Jarome Iginla, Peter Mueller, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek on right wing. I'm going to need to drop one in order to pick up a defenseman, either Ed Jovanovski, Kris Letang, Marc-Edouard Vlasic or Cam Barker. What do you think I should do? Most importantly, how do you rate these wingers. Mueller is killing me right now, but is his upside too high to drop? How does he compare to the other two young players?

Chris, Cape Breton, N.S.

Well, Chris, although many poolies are disappointed in Peter Mueller, they should not give up on him. Like most prospects, it takes three to six years to really find their form in the NHL and if you get results sooner consider yourself lucky. This applies to the likes of Giroux and Voracek. While either one of them could give you 75 or 80 points next season, temper your expectations to something closer to 50. Mueller will be fine and, in fact, I would still maintain his upside is slightly higher than Voracek’s; especially given the teams they are on. Drop Kovalev and pick up Letang.

What's the real story with Carl Soderberg and the Bruins? Is he ever going to come across the pond? I understand the Bruins were forced to suspend him to hold onto a year of his contract eligibility. Soderberg can play center or wing and his North American window seems to be closing. Anything new from either camp? What's your gut tell you? Thanks,

Kevin, London, Ont.

Soderberg has been a bit of a tease to poolies, hasn’t he? He seems to want to remain at home in Sweden. The Bruins were hoping he could come over and play out the final week of the American League season in Providence, but that won’t happen. My hunch is that he will come over and play within two seasons, but I don’t think he’s worth the risk. When he does arrive, I would expect a Fabian Brunnstrom-type of impact – i.e. not much of one in the first year. By the time Soderberg pays dividends, it will be 2012.

Hey Dobber, will Martin Brodeur play 70-plus games next year, at 37 years old? In a pool where you get two points for a win and three for a shutout, is he going to net 100 points?

Marco, Cabano, Que.

I think under that system, Brodeur will get at least 90 points for the next three years and he will probably hit 100 a couple more times before he calls it quits.

Hello Dobber, we all know the propensity of NHL coaches to go with the hot hand in net, especially down the stretch-run to the second season. Which NHL goalies do you see possibly making a difference to fantasy clubs for the remainder of the season? Or perhaps more importantly, which ones to avoid?

Paul, New York

Hi Paul, take the situation in Florida, for starters. The team will go with Craig Anderson until he loses. One can only assume that when he does lose, then Tomas Vokoun will get the same edict. If you start either one of them, it will be boom or bust – all wins, or just a couple of losing starts.

Despite his relatively strong play, steer clear of Montreal’s Jaroslav Halak. The Habs will sink or swim with Carey Price. In Detroit, they’re leaning towards Chris Osgood down the stretch, as they hope to use his experience in the post-season and would hate for him to play his way out of the No. 1 job. So despite being the better goaltender this season, Ty Conklin is not a good player to own right now. Since Osgood has lost his last two starts, he is not one to trust either. Despite Detroit being one of the best teams in the NHL, you can’t trust either goalie to give you consistent games played.

In Chicago, the team named Nikolai Khabibulin as their starter. Yet, as soon as he lost a game, Cristobal Huet got a start (and lost). Look for a situation similar to that in Florida.

In Anaheim, the Ducks would prefer the experience of J-S Giguere in the playoffs, but when Jonas Hiller keeps winning like this, they have little choice. I think they’ll go with Hiller down the stretch and into the post-season.

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 important to know. This will help me advise 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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