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Insult to injury

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

There’s some furious jockeying in fantasy leagues, as poolies try to right their ship before the Christmas break. Let’s get to some letters!

Dobber, I am interested in comparing overall injury statistics from year-to-year. I am in a rotisserie keeper league with 16-player teams. At times this year I have had as many as seven players on the IR. I knew injuries could come into play with some of my picks, but not this many. (I have Daniel Briere, Marian Gaborik, Sergei Zubov, Olli Jokinen, Mike Green, Brian Rolston, Brenden Morrow, Joni Pitkanen, and Martin Brodeur.) I hear about headshots and stuff all the time, but are injuries in general on the rise, or have I just fallen into some horrible luck that’s forcing me to throw in the towel?

Scott, Hamilton, Ont.

Well Scott, with some of those guys you were just asking for it, but in many cases you ran into some horrible luck. Brodeur and Jokinen are iron men who poolies rely on to play the full season. If your rocks aren’t your rocks, then everything falls apart. And the NHL does not help matters when it allows teams to keep injury information a secret.

Ryan Whitney is estimated to return Christmas week, with exactly 50 games remaining for the Pens. Would it be a stretch for him to earn 40 points? My current defensemen are Dan Boyle, Christian Ehrhoff, Lubomir Visnovsky, Marek Zidlicky, and Ed Jovanovski. Besides Boyle, would you swap any one of those other guys for Whitney? I'm in a one-year points-only league. Thanks!

Derek, Vancouver

Whitney is actually targeting Dec. 23rd now. I would swap him for any of those rearguards except for Boyle and Jovanovski. Ehrhoff would be the first to go, as he has hit a wall.

Hey Dobber, I was lucky enough to take Thomas Vanek and enjoy his hot start but he has since slowed down. Should I trade him for Daniel Briere, Scott Hartnell, Jason Pominville, Markus Naslund or Martin St-Louis? Thanks.

Jim, Hamilton, Ont.

Wow – no. Vanek buries those players, slumping or not.

I'm in a 12-team, 45-man roster (four centers, eight wingers, six defensemen, two goalies) head-to-head league. Scoring system is points plus bonus points for power play, shorthanded, game-winning goals, and majors. I've loaded up on prospects, and looking to move some of them for established NHLers (my team is actually contending now, and I'm a "buyer" this year). My prospects at forward: Tomas Fleischmann, David Backes, Lars Eller, Jannik Hansen, Nikolai Kulemin, James Neal, Clarke MacArthur, Ted Purcell. Defense: Brian Lee, Sami Lepisto, Tyler Chorney, Marc Gragnani, and Brian Salcido. A few suggestions on who should be "keepers" and who should be trade bait – or waived – would be appreciated. Thank you!

Matt, Lansing, Mich.

Hi Matt, I think you have a lot of guys here who would garner interest in your deep league and if the price is right I would trade any one of them.

The prospects most worth keeping – and I say this because their stock may be too low compared to where I see them ending up in a year or two – are Lee and Lepisto on defense and Purcell up front.

The players who you may want to trade because they are doing quite well right now (i.e. “sell high”) are: Neal, Backes, Hansen and Kulemin. The players who are the biggest risk to be busts and should be moved are: Gragnani and Salcido. Lars Eller is another player who should be set aside as he will be a Calder candidate next season.

Keeper league... goals, assists, power play points, short handed points, majors, hits, blocked shots, shootout goals, game-winning goals all count. Nikolai Zherdev, or Justin Williams? Salaries are about even, contracts are the same length. Who would you rather have? One has been a career underachiever; the other seems unable to shake these "freak" injuries, but can be a point/game winger.

Logan, Calgary

Your analysis is about right, Logan. Myself, I have seen enough of Zherdev to be convinced now. I would prefer him, but with the caveat that I had picked up Williams in one of my leagues and the next day he tore his Achilles, so I may be a little biased.

Hey Dobber, I'm in a one-year standard roto-league pool where power play goals count for the most and Brad Richards just became available in the free agent pool. I have Shawn Horcoff, Patrice Bergeron and Tomas Plekanec as my centers and was wondering if I should drop any of them and replace him with Richards?

Steve, Ottawa

Hi Steve, given the PP goals stat, I would sit tight with what you have. Richards is certainly better to own than Plekanec this season, but factoring in power play goals the difference is not so great.

Do you think Niklas Kronwall, and Detroit's own-end game in general, is going to pick it up later this year? A minus-6 is a little unexpected, coming from him. Is Peter Mueller going to have another strong second half? It's disappointing that he hasn’t had a breakout year, but I'm not looking to drop him just yet. Thanks.

Noam, Vancouver

I don’t see a huge turnaround for Detroit in that area, as the goaltending picture will not change.

As for Mueller – yes, I see a big second half from him. He had 36 points in his final 43 games last season, so I can see that becoming a trend for him.

Has Steve Mason seized the No. 1 spot in Columbus for good? Or are the chances that Leclaire is the starter gone for good this season?

Jason, London, Ont.

I would put my money on Mason, Jason. Leclaire has been brutal in the few games that he has played since his injury and Mason has been solid enough to warrant the team putting Fredrik Norrena on waivers.

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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