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Rescuing rough starts

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Uh oh – five games in and three of your four best players have combined for just two points. Is it time for a major overhaul? Don’t panic – Dobber will set you straight.

I recently drafted Ville Leino in my keeper pool. I was then offered Milan Lucic for him. Would you pull the trigger? This is a points and plus-minus pool; PIM does not count.

Doug, Montreal

Poolies have differing opinions about these players. Some will say Leino is an excellent depth player who should be good for 40 points this season and 55 in the long run. Others say he will definitely be a top-sixer and go as high as 70 or 75 points, perhaps notching 50 or more this campaign.

With Lucic, some will call him the perfect grinder for one of the top two lines; someone who adds a little sandpaper to the skill guys, while chipping in 55 or 60 points. Others call him the next Cam Neely, a guy who will throw his body around with reckless abandon, while notching more than a point per game.

I’m in the more optimistic camp for Leino and I’m somewhere in-between on Lucic. I think both will top 50 points this season, with the Bruin perhaps beating out the late-blooming rookie by five points. But long term I think Leino’s upside will beat out Lucic’s by about the same margin. It’s a close call, but I would prefer Leino.

I'm wondering what to do with my third goalie. I have Martin Brodeur and Cam Ward already, so I'm just looking for spot duty. I have Tuukka Rask now, but is he a good option? I'm in a standard Yahoo! roto league.

Dustin, Red Deer, Alta

That’s not a bad option, especially if you can make daily moves. I don’t know what other goalies are out there, but as a No. 3 in a daily transactions roto league, Rask is a very good guy to own. If it’s a weekly league, he’ll only get on your pro team if Tim Thomas gets hurt.

Dobber, I’m in a one-year league and only the points count. I need two more D-men and a forward. Who do you like in this group: Mattias Ohlund, Matt Gilroy, Michael Del Zotto, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, James Wisniewski, Kris Russell, Mark Giordano and Victor Hedman? I also have a forward to pick between Ville Leino, Mike Fisher, Drew Stafford, Jakub Voracek and R.J. Umberger. Who would you take?

Claude, Laval, Que.

I would go with Del Zotto for sure, for reasons I explained in Tuesday’s column. For the other spot I would only consider Gilroy, Vlasic and Hedman. Go with Vlasic, as he has the most experience and you already grabbed a rookie with Del Zotto. As for the forwards, I like Voracek the best for this season.

I am in a keeper league. Standard roto. At right wing I have Marian Gaborik, Kyle Okposo, Claude Giroux, Blake Wheeler and Sergei Shirokov. My only other big scorer is Joe Thornton – all the rest are young up-and-comers. I have been offered Kris Versteeg for Gaborik. It’s the old temptation, if he stays healthy... Help! Signed - scared to trade away my best scorer.

Sasha, New York

My readers are all too familiar with my disdain for Gaborik’s fragility. That being said, even I wouldn’t trade him for Versteeg. You can get a lot more for him than that – and the amount will increase with each game Gabby stays healthy (and scores goals by the bushel). Hang in there and then shop him in late November. Sure, you’re taking a risk by waiting, but the payoff will be huge if it works.

I'm in a 20-team league and there's not much available on the waiver wire. I have Cody Hodgson; should I hold onto him on the chance the Canucks bring him up, or is he stuck in junior all year?

Mike, New Port Richey, Fla.

He’s there all year. For an NHL team to call a player up from the Canadian junior system, they need to apply to the league for a special emergency exemption. You saw that happen in recent years with Claude Giroux (Philadelphia), Shawn Matthias (Florida) and Steve Mason (Columbus), but it is quite rare.

The question: Bobby Ryan or Danny Briere? Another GM's offering me Briere, playable as a C/RW in our league, for Ryan, a LW/RW. Beyond the basic categories, we track PPG, SHG and GWG for skaters - so it's heavy on goal-scorers. I'm looking for reliable pop on my right side and the other guy wants a LW. Ryan would be the long-term choice here, but I worry about a sophomore snakebite. Briere has the injury history, but is off to a hot start on a loaded Philly offense. What do you think?

Eric, Chapel Hill, N.C.

It’s a fair deal, but in the end I think you can get more for Ryan if you shop him around. Briere does have recent problems with injuries and I would feel more comfortable waiting until December before acquiring him. Ryan’s dual position is more valuable than Briere’s, too.

Hey Dobber, could I ask you to predict the top three goalies from both conferences in terms of wins?

Jim, Drayton, Ont.

Sure – in the East: Martin Brodeur, Henrik Lundqvist and Marc-Andre Fleury in that order.

In the West: Evgeni Nabokov, Miikka Kiprusoff and Roberto Luongo, also in that order. Yes, this means a couple of netminders will be bouncing back from rough starts.

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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