This is it. This is the stretch run. All the work you did in September and throughout the campaign boils down to these final couple of weeks. Let’s get to some letters!
Hey Dobber, I am in a keeper pool that counts G/A/PIM/PPG/ and plus-minus. How would you rank Scott Hartnell, David Backes, Alex Burrows and David Clarkson over the next couple of years? I really need to pick up PIMs without losing too many points.
Joe, Brampton, Ont.
In terms of points, you will see Hartnell and Backes post 60-70 in each of the next several years. Burrows will be in the 55-60 range and Clarkson is more of a 45-55 player (though next season don’t expect more than 40 from him). In terms of penalty minutes, Burrows will take a step back in that department as the team relies on him more for secondary scoring. Ditto for Backes. Expect around 100-120 for Burrows and 120-140 for Backes. As for Hartnell, what you see this season in PIM is what you can expect from him going forward, as long as he stays healthy. Clarkson’s penalty minutes will increase as he sees more ice time year-by-year. He’ll flirt with 180-200 when he peaks.
My keeper league permits keeping any five players after each season. Right now I have Zach Parise, Steve Mason, Patrick Kane and Brian Campbell locked up. My question is, who should be the fifth player? My choices are Phil Kessel, Dustin Brown, Ryan Kesler or David Booth. Any advice?
Pete, Marlboro, N.J.
If the league is strictly points, I would go with Kessel. He is young, so his streakiness will iron itself out in a year or two. Brown is a close second, but his upside isn’t as high as Kessel’s and when in doubt I go by potential.
Hey Dobber, top shelf stuff. I read your posts every week. I'm in a 12-team keeper pool, points only. Trades are allowed, but can be voided if four poolies veto. Trades were being vetoed all over the place. In your opinion what makes a trade fair and do you have any advice on trade rules or other trading options?
Ryan, Prince George, B.C.
Thanks Ryan. Trades should only be vetoed if there is cheating involved. So how can you tell the difference between a “buddy” deal and what poolies call “a clean spanking?” To me, cheating is obvious. I’ve seen a lot of bad deals go down, but mostly it’s the product of one owner believing something that seems off-the-wall. Lopsided deals are a part of fantasy hockey and should be allowed. If it is blatant cheating, though, that needs to be stopped.
Suggest upping the votes needed for a veto to 75 percent of the owners. In two of my keepers - a combined total of 28 years of activity - only one deal has been vetoed. Just having the rule there is a deterrent from cheating. If your fellow poolies give you a hard time with adjusting this rule, simply track the deals that were vetoed this past season. I would bet a good 50 percent of them either wound up being fair in the end or the guy you were sure lost the trade ended up winning. Present your findings to your league and they’ll come around.
I'm in a 12-team keeper league that only uses G, A as points and we get to keep 10 of 26 players for a maximum of four years. My first nine keepers are pretty much no-brainers, but my 10th is a tough call. My possibilities are Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta, Stephen Weiss, David Booth, Milan Michalek, or Pavol Demitra. I am not going to be picking until the fourth round of our draft since I sold the farm to win (and it looks like it will pay off), so having the best players heading into the draft is pretty critical.
Daniel, Nanaimo, B.C.
Wow, that is a tough choice. I would definitely rule out Demitra, but those other five guys have varying degrees of certainty, upside and intrigue that put them all pretty close. So let’s nitpick: I would rule out Weiss. Although I like his upside, he gets hurt too much. Booth is so unproven that he could get you anywhere from 50 to 70 points. Michalek is inconsistent, but he also has great upside. Plekanec has had a horrible season and he overachieved a tad last campaign, so let’s rule him out. Gionta is unrestricted in the summer, so he is interesting, but is so far removed from his breakout season that I’ll pass over him. So it comes down to two 24-year-olds in Booth and Michalek. Go with Michalek because he has been in the league longer.
It's my first season in a non-keeper league; however, we're allowed to keep one skater from our team to the playoff draft. Who would you pick: Joe Thornton, Henrik Zetterberg, Patrick Marleau, Alexander Semin, Simon Gagne or Mike Green? Also, point scoring is standard except for negative .25 points per penalty minute.
Jamie, Nepean, Ont.
I would choose Thornton, although there are a lot of people who would select Zetterberg. The playoffs are always a tough call, but Thornton would be my pick here.
I’m in a keeper league. I have been disappointed with Dion Phaneuf all year; his minus rating has hurt me. Looking ahead to next year, should I look to trade him now and try to get Drew Doughty or should I hang with him until next year and hope he has a bounce back year? I already have Mike Green and Dennis Wideman.
Antonio, Ajax, Ont.
It’s an off year for Phaneuf in that category – stay the course. Doughty will be a great player, perhaps even better than Phaneuf, but he is not there yet.
Where do you think Marc Staal will top out during his peak years? Is he capable of putting up 35 points?
Brendan, Staten Island, N.Y.
Yes. He’ll peak at 40, but he does have an upside of 45. Sure, he is a defensive stud, but as he enters his prime (late 20s, early 30s) he’ll get his points.
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.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.