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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The Olympic break is almost upon us, after which we will be just days away from the trade deadline – in reality as well as in most fantasy leagues. If you’re going to fix your squad, you better do it now. Let’s get to the letters!

What do you think of Alex Burrows long-term (in a keeper league)? In a points-only league (G, A, PIM) is he more valuable than Bobby Ryan? Rick Nash? Daniel Sedin? Cam Ward? I can keep seven. My other keepers are Jonathan Toews, Zdeno Chara and Roberto Luongo. (I also have Ales Hemsky, Thomas Vanek, Erik Johnson, Matt Duchene and Josh Bailey.)

Andrew, Toronto

Hi Andrew, since you count penalty minutes, it’s not actually a points-only keeper league. Points-only keepers are just that – they only include points (goals and assists). If it were points-only Burrows should be cut loose because his points are the result of linemates. However, if you include penalty minutes he is an absolute stud. Notching 70-plus points and 110-plus PIM is fantasy gold. In a league that counts those categories I would keep him over Toews. Center is the easiest position to fill, so keeping two goaltenders, one rearguard and four wingers puts you in a pretty good spot. Alternatively, you could also keep E.J. over Ward, depending on how you think the draft will look in terms of availability for defensemen versus goaltenders.

I'm in a keeper league with 12 forwards and four D-men. Would you trade Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews for both Sedins? Who is the better D-man for points – Mike Green or Duncan Keith? We get just points in this league.

Pennies, Williams, L.K.

1. In a heartbeat. Even before the monster season the Sedin twins are having I’ve loved their consistency and health.

2. Green by a country mile.

How did you come up with your player rankings? I was looking at the page with players ranked through December and November of 2009 and couldn’t help but scratch my head. I scratched so hard I'm bleeding! You have Jason Spezza ranked in the top 10; Devin Setoguchi ranked in top 20 or 30; the Sedin's ranked out of the top 20; and Iginla ranked in the top 10? The only conceivable excuse I could come up with regarding these rankings is you had them assessed before the season began and you didn’t bother to go over them before they were posted. Spezza just returned from MCL surgery and prior to that, had 17 points after 35 games and was a minus player. Iginla's struggles have been apparent all season long, but is the only player you erroneously ranked who had any merit for even being listed. Setoguchi on the other hand, has sucked all season long, has been nursing a nagging injury since training camp and, to this day, has just 21 points and 13 PIMS in 44 games. Henrik Sedin has 78 points and is plus-26 after 55 games. Daniel Sedin has 52 points after missing six weeks. In other words, either you have been in a coma, been slacking at the workplace or you pre-composed this list! Please, dude, do the right thing and wake up tomorrow morning with a tall mug of black coffee and compile a real list with some validity and accuracy! Thank you!

Chris, Hauppauge, N.Y.

Hey Chris, I’m glad for the opportunity to address this because, if you have these questions, so do hundreds of other poolies. So every year or two I should re-explain things to clear it all up.

I started the rankings back in 2001 or 2002 for THN and based them around my keeper leagues at the time. We counted only points (i.e. goals and assists) and we also had a post-season component. So, a 60-point defenseman is less valuable than a 65-point center. A 70-point player on the Sharks is more valuable than a 68-point player on the Leafs (because it helps the playoff component).

I have since learned – thanks to doing this full-time now on – there are literally thousands of ways to run a league – and no two are alike. So my rankings just stick to the basics – strictly points – since I can’t accommodate every league variation.

Now to your criticism. Try not to get too upset about the rankings toward the end of the month. They are updated on the first, so if you write in to me on the 28th, the rankings are four weeks old. If you see February’s update, the twins are both in the top 20, Spezza (was actually 52nd in January) is 34th, Setoguchi is 118th (he was 103rd in January) and Iginla is 17th. Since it is rankings for a keeper league, I don’t react to one-month trends dramatically.

I noticed you mentioned PIM in your Setoguchi statement and plus/minus in your Sedin statement. These statistics are not considered. Setoguchi has a high upside for points and he also has playoff value, otherwise he would have slipped out of the top 200.

I hope this helps some readers understand the rankings better. I know if you are in a league with certain rules for a long enough time, you look at things differently and forget there are other leagues with other rules out there!

Hey Dobber, I'm in a keeper pool (points-only) and have been offered Vincent Lecavalier for Pavel Datsyuk (whom I currently own). What do you think of this trade for the long-term? What kind of point producers do you see both players being for the next five years?

Shaun, Vancouver

Hi Shaun, here are two superstars having a bad year. Except – Lecavalier is really coming around now and I think he’ll top 85 points, which was unheard of for him back in December. Not only will he beat Datsyuk this year, but generally speaking, I like his upside more. Over the course of five years, I think Vinnie will top Datsyuk in three of them.

Hey Dobber, H2H keeper league that counts G, A, plus-minus, PIM, PP, GWG and SOG. What do you see the production of these D-men being next season: Matt Gilroy, Kris Letang, Joni Pitkanen, Cam Barker, Brent Burns, Christian Ehrhoff and Michael Del Zotto?

Courtney, Toronto

Hi Courtney, I don’t mind Gilroy’s potential, but I don’t see him making an offensive impact for the Rangers at all next year. Think Jack Hillen and how long we had to wait for that undrafted defenseman who starred at the college level (we’re actually still waiting). With Burns, Barker and Pitkanen, we’re talking about three fragile rearguards that I wouldn’t want on my team.

I love Barker’s upside if he can ever string 80 games together. Put him down for 65 or 70 games and 45 points. For Pitkanen, go with the same, or perhaps five points more. I would trade Burns. He still has a lot of fans in the fantasy world and I would rather they take on the risk and get what I can. Too many health issues within too short a time span.

Letang should be a 50-point rearguard. That won’t happen next year, but perhaps by the season after that we’ll see it. Del Zotto is the best one on your list. I think you’ll see 40 to 50 points in each of the next three years, before a surge to 60 or more.

And finally – Ehrhoff. I don’t think his upside is much higher than 45 points, so look for 40 to 45 over the next few campaigns.

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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