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Playoff prep

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

You’re either prepping for your fantasy-league playoffs or strategizing for the off-season. Either way, let’s get to some letters!

We're allowed to keep four players from a 16-man roster. I've decided on three of four positions, but I've got to make a choice between Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry. I would normally say Perry for his across-the-board production, but Ryan has really impressed this year and I'm wondering if he's going to play up to Crosby potential - or possibly more. Standard roto league. My other keepers are Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green and Steve Mason (over Pekka Rinne, which is a tough call).

Kevin, Montreal

I would go with Perry. I think their upsides are similar, but Perry has proven himself over a longer period of time and is the safer choice.

Looking to the future, what do you think the upside is for players like David Booth who had a hat trick the other night and guys like Milan Lucic, Bobby Ryan, Nikita Filatov and for that matter Jakub Voracek?

Brian, Michigan

With Booth, I wrote in an earlier article that his upside was 65 points. I would probably adjust that to 70 now, given his continued strong play. I wrote about Lucic many moons ago and at the time had his upside pegged in the high-60s, but I now believe he could top 70.

I think Ryan can get to 85 points in a couple of years. As for Filatov, I have often stated he has that rare 100-point ability, but you’ll just have to wait for it. Voracek has the talent to get to 90.

We use The Hockey News Yearbook as our bible for determining player positions in our keeper pool. I've noticed in this year's weekly depth charts, a lot of players get moved around (which is to be expected). For example, Dumont and O'Sullivan from LW to RW. My question is, can we assume this year’s positioning at the end of the season will dictate how they are listed for next year's yearbook? Any insight into this would be most appreciated, as it will help me tremendously in determining whom I trade and whom I keep.

Ron, Scarborough, Ont.

Don’t count on it, Ron. Depending on the moves teams make during the off-season, the expert sources that many poolies look to will move players around the depth chart to where they best fit. If a player has spent some time on either wing and/or at center you could see him plugged in anywhere. In the case of Patrick O’Sullivan, I consider him primarily a center, but he has played mostly left wing this season. If the Oilers lose or trade Shawn Horcoff and Sam Gagner (not likely, but bear with me), then O’Sullivan will be a center. He’ll likely end up as a left winger, unless the Oilers acquire a couple of top left wingers, in which case O’Sullivan will be on the right side. It’s a fickle thing, the depth chart.

This is precisely why I strongly recommend fantasy leagues go with eight “wingers” instead of four “left wingers” and four “right wingers.” Or better still – 12 “forwards.”

Hey Dobber, 10-team, head-to-head league with seven keepers. After some shrewd friendship-crumbling trades I've landed Ovechkin, Phaneuf, St-Louis, Roy, Elias, Boyes and Brodeur. That still leaves me with Zetterberg, Hossa, Eric Staal, Fleury and Rinne to boot. Out of the guys listed here, I'm having trouble deciding whom to keep for next year based on 12 stat categories (the basic ones). Your help is much needed!

Evan, Oshawa, Ont.

Alex Ovechkin and Dion Phaneuf are no-brainers. It is also important to maintain strong goaltending, so Martin Brodeur and Marc-Andre Fleury are also keepers (over Rinne because they are more stabilized in their spots). Henrik Zetterberg and Marian Hossa are the next best players so they make six. For the final spot, it is best to look at wingers. If trading were an option, I would try to deal Eric Staal and Patrik Elias for an elite winger if possible. If not, and Elias is classified as a winger, keep him.

Hi Dobber, I'm in a non-keeper, head-to-head league and I'm pushing for first place in my pool. I'm solid in all categories except for PIMs. I recently picked up Sean Avery to fill that void, but I noticed that Daniel Carcillo is on waivers. They are both LW, but I think Avery will be able to chip in with a few more points. Would you recommend that I keep Avery, or swap him for Carcillo?

Kevin, Calgary

Avery, for sure. Although both players are doing well right now and Carcillo is probably the superior PIM player over the long haul, Avery is contributing a good amount of points. Besides, Carcillo has gone to the sin bin just once in his past four games.

Hey Dobber, we have a nine-team keeper league (keep 10 players, no goalies) and would like to add one more team next year. How should we go about doing this? This is what I'm thinking so far: We can protect only seven of our 10 keepers, leaving three available to choose through expansion (one of those unprotected must be a D). That way, the new guy can select one player from each team and we would all start the draft with nine players on our roster. Then we would give this new team the first pick in every round. Does this seem fair?

Dale, Regina, Sask.

That sounds like a fair way to do it, provided your league votes a majority on that suggestion. One change I would make is that in the first round the new owner selects third and then all subsequent rounds he picks first. That way, any team that had decided on a rebuild and was counting on John Tavares won’t be robbed. In the future, you should always decide on expansion (and the system to implement expansion) at least a year in advance so all the teams have enough warning and can properly prepare.

Dobber, I’m in a 10-team keeper roto league. I have Brodeur, Kiprusoff and Price in net, but I need more scoring up front. What is a better trade for next year and in the long-term: Kipper for Heatley or Price for Parise?

Scott, Hamilton, Ont.

Kipper for Heatley. More offensive upside and a Brodeur-Price tandem is pretty formidable.

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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