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Post-season planning

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Just over three weeks left in the regular season and some big decisions need to be made – let’s get to some letters…

Hi Dobber, I am not in a keeper league. The league is based on goals, power play and shorthanded goals, assists, and shots on goal. I will be in the playoffs, so I was looking for advice on my wings for the last two weeks of the NHL regular season. Please pick the two you would want at left wing: Patrik Elias, Brenden Morrow, Jussi Jokinen, Chris Higgins, Keith Tkachuk or Dustin Brown. Please pick the three you would want at right wing: Milan Hejduk, Petr Sykora, Brian Gionta, Dustin Brown, Jason Pominville, Ales Hemsky. Thank you so much!

Ed, New York, N.Y.

Hi Ed. I would go with Patrik Elias and Brenden Morrow for sure on the left side. The right side is not as clear-cut. Sykora was hot when Evgeni Malkin was flying, but that is no longer the case. Pominville has been consistent all season long, while Hejduk now has a great supporting cast around him. Meanwhile, Hemsky is the most skilled player on the list. I would go with the most skill in Hemsky and the consistent one – Pominville – here.

I'm in a lifetime keeper pool with 18 protections going into next season. Our set-up is pretty simple; a point is a point. I'm still a couple years away from being a serious contender and I'd like some advice on who to protect among some of my forwards. I have two remaining protection spots amongst Daymond Langkow, Brad Boyes, Maxim Afinogenov, Dustin Penner and Rob Schremp. What's a guy to do?

Dustin, Rumsey, Alta.

You’re right Dustin, all of them warrant consideration. Schremp has to go – lots of reward, but no shortage of risk. Penner has to go – minimal upside. I don’t think Boyes will ever reach 75 points in a season, but the remaining two contenders could get there. However, Afinogenov is injury prone, so even though Boyes may only be a 70-point player, he and Langkow should be the pair that you keep.

Hey Dobber. Just wondering which is worth more in a keeper pool: Erik Johnson or a package containing Sam Gagner, James van Riemsdyk, plus a third round draft pick from next year's draft. Thanks very much!

Derek, Ottawa

Unless defensemen are heavily weighted in your league (i.e. worth two points for every goal and every assist), there is no question that Gagner and JVR should be the package you go with.

Greetings, my league's scoring system is pts=1, +/-=0.5, PIM=0.25 and shots=0.1. I have Shea Weber on my team and don't really know what to think of him. Last year he was a great free agent signing for me and his future looked bright. This year he has been a disappointment. Going into the off-season I am sure I am going to get trade offers for him. How should I value him? Who are his D-man peers? Thanks,

Tom, Barrie, Ont.

Hi Tom, injuries hammered Weber this season, but I think next year you should expect 45 points and 90 penalty minutes from him. In about four years he will be a solid 50/100 defenseman.

Hi Dobber, in a points-only keeper league I need to choose two of these four centers to keep for next season: Henrik Sedin, Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy, and Joe Sakic. Who's my best bet? Thanks,

Bob, Rotterdam, Netherlands

While I think Sakic still has another 80-point year in him and Roy has decent 80-point upside, I don’t think you can turn your back on Sedin. He is a steady and proven 80 or 85-point player. Ribeiro is the real deal, although fantasy experts differ on the issue. I think Ribeiro is an underrated star and with the contract that he signed he will get all the ice time he needs to repeat this year’s numbers. Those are my two.

Question: Explain why I am unable to win even 50 percent of my games with this team head-to-head – Marleau, Toews, Kopitar, Crosby, Mueller, Nash, Tanguay, Gaborik, Langenbrunner, Heatley, Byfuglien, Wideman, Rafalski, Enstrom, Ryan Miller, Fleury, Budaj and Mike Smith

Greg, Pittsburgh

Sure, I’ll take a stab at it. Patrick Marleau has disappointed this season, Peter Mueller started very slowly and Jamie Langenbrunner was hurt. That killed your offense in the first quarter. Ryan Miller and Marc-Andre Fleury also started slowly, killing your defense in the first quarter. I would be surprised if you won any head-to-head matchups (done weekly) in your league at all before December. From mid-January to mid-February, the loss of Sidney Crosby and Dany Heatley cost you offensively, not to mention Alex Tanguay’s big slump. So for three months out of five, you would have been hard-pressed to win at all. You have a good team, and any other year you would have been competitive.

I just picked up Patrice Bergeron in my lifetime pool – is he coming back this year and have you heard how his concussion problems are?

Kirk, Aldergrove, B.C.

GM Peter Chiarelli recently put Bergeron’s chances of coming back this year at 30 percent. He is skating now and working out, so you may see him for the final week or so.

I am having goalie issues. What is the latest with Nikolai Khabibulin and Tim Thomas? Can I ride either one down the stretch? Also, does Thomas appear to be the starter once playoffs start?

Mike, Vancouver

I don’t think you can count on Khabibulin – his back may act up for the rest of this season. Thomas looks like he will be the man, although he has had his struggles lately. Neither will be your savior this year, but at least Thomas will give you games.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Mailbag appears Wednesdays only on The Hockey To send the Dobber your question, click HERE.


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