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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

As the end of the season draws near, only a tiny percentage of poolies are still jockeying for prize money (or pride). Most fantasy owners are now looking ahead to off-season changes or their playoff pools. Let’s get to some letters!

Hey Dobber, in a first year H2H keeper, so I am still trying to straighten out some of what works and what doesn't. First thing, do you suggest locking the teams who have been eliminated from the post-season? This will avoid them dropping some of their players they didn't plan on keeping who may not have as much value next year for young stars who are potential breakouts. I have had a couple of teams who were paying attention on and off all season, they ended up (in a 12-team league) 12th and 10th and are now going to benefit from their lack of starting players. Should teams be punished for this sort of tanking?

Dave, Ancaster, Ont.

I’m in leagues where tanking happens, but none of those are H2H and therein lies a huge difference. With H2H, any tanking affects the race up top, so measures have to be taken. Anything I suggest would also need some trial and error, as I haven’t heard of a specific foolproof remedy for this, but here goes:

1. You could award the first overall pick to the team that just misses the playoffs and count backwards to the last-place team. After that, the draft order would go eight through one as normal. This way nobody tanks, although fairly strong teams (i.e. ninth in most leagues) would get a top player as opposed to the teams that may need it most.

2. You could try a draft lottery. Not as effective as the first suggestion, but it would be fair to the weak teams. The lottery could be evenly distributed among non-playoff teams (I endorse this) or it could be weighted in favor of the bottom teams.

Hey Dobber, I recently acquired Steve Mason at a pretty steep price. I had to take a chance because I was in danger of not making minimum games played requirements. I dropped Martin Biron and now I've got M-A Fleury, Manny Legace and Mason. Will Fleury and Mason be a solid tandem to finish the year and into next year or should I shop him again over the summer? I know he's been better since Claude Noel took over, but will it carry into next season? The only reason he was available was because of his horrible slump this year and I'm worried he might be another Andrew Raycroft. The goaltending stats are: SP, GAA, shutouts, shootout saves, wins, saves and games started.

Richard, Vancouver

That is a great tandem for next year. Mason should be fine in 2010-11 and if not, he’ll be fine the year after that. His pedigree is much better than Raycroft’s who, though he won the Calder Trophy in 2003-04, had his share of struggles before that and was barely eligible to win (he had already played 21 NHL games, including 15 one year and five in another). Mason was highly touted before he arrived in Columbus and delivered before anyone expected him to. Fleury/Mason could very well be a winning combination for you next season – just make sure you draft a 25-win goalie if you can to be safe.

I am in a standard roto keeper pool with standard scoring categories (including PIMs). We keep 18 players on a 24-man roster. I have been carrying a couple of young power forwards who we know take longer to develop, but I will need to drop at least two of them. Which of Eric Fehr, Blake Wheeler, Benoit Pouliot or David Booth would you drop and what are the long-term prospects for these boys? I really like Fehr and think if he moves next year (is he an unrestricted free agent?) he could have a big jump in production. Do you agree?

Alex, New York

Regarding Fehr – he is a restricted free agent. He’s going to be a good one for sure, having made huge strides over the past year and change. He scores a lot for the limited ice time he gets in Washington. You have some tough decisions to make, but Wheeler and the re-born Pouliot may be your best bets. If Fehr gets moved to another team you’ll regret the decision, but you can’t run your team hoping for NHL trades to happen because they rarely do. Booth would have been my pick over Pouliot, but his concussion problems appear serious.

Hey Dobber, Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. Who would you take in a H2H keeper league: John Carlson or Alex Pietrangelo? Also, what would you peg their short-term and long-term point potential at?

GT, Toronto

Put me down for Carlson. Both are elite prospects and either one could top 65 points eventually; both will be in the league next year and you can pencil each of them in for 40 points. However, Carlson has more ‘certainty.’ I’m comfortable with the skill level in his all-around game and the strides he has made over the past two years. He is also on the high-flying Capitals, which can’t hurt his upside.

Hey Dobber, when David Jones returns to Colorado’s lineup next season where do you see him fitting in? Will he reclaim his spot on the top line with Paul Stastny or did Chris Stewart take that from him? What will his upside be? Also, what happened to Patrick O'Sullivan? Can he still be counted on to be a guy who scores 30-40 goals in a season? How would an off-season trade affect his potential?

Tyler, Grand Forks, N.D.

Stewart has that spot secured, Tyler. Jones may take the left wing spot from T.J. Galiardi, though. Regardless, Jones’ proneness to injury has turned me off of taking him in a fantasy league. If healthy, he can be a 65-point guy, but that ship may have sailed in Colorado with its long list of offensive prospects champing at the bit.

Regarding O’Sullivan, I don’t think a trade would help or hinder (unless, of course, it was to the Penguins). I believe he will bounce back thanks to an improved Edmonton team next year. The Oilers will have the help of returning injured players (Ales Hemsky, Sheldon Souray) and skilled prospects (Jordan Eberle and perhaps Taylor Hall). However, I figure O’Sullivan has one more year to show us what he’s got. Next year is his fifth season and it’s time to step up. Huge boom or bust risk.

I'm wondering, out of these seven players, which three should I protect: Michael Frolik, Jamie Benn, Patrick O'Sullivan, Brayden Schenn, John-Michael Liles, Cody Franson, Pekka Rinne?

Dustin, Rumsey, Alta.

Dustin – put me down for Frolik, Benn and, most definitely, Rinne (always keep the proven goaltenders). Franson would be fourth on my list because defensemen are harder to land. And for those of you who question my leaving Schenn off, I will explain. I think Schenn is a surefire NHLer and future captain. I think he’ll make the Kings next season and have a strong debut of 50 points or so. But I believe his upside is in the mid-70s; right around where I have Dustin Brown pegged. Meanwhile, Benn and Frolik both have much higher upsides and should beat Schenn next season as well.

Hi Dobber, Long-time reader, first-time writer. Huge fan of the mailbag! I am in an eight-team, 23-man roster, keeper league. I am allowed to keep 1C, 1LW, 1RW, 2D, 1G and 1 Util. I've narrowed down my goalie to Ryan Miller, but out of my defense, who do I go with: Brian Rafalski, Tyler Myers, Marek Zidlicky or Dan Boyle? I was thinking Boyle and Myers. Lastly, my forwards; I have Hank and Dan Sedin, Paul Stastny, Henrik Zetterberg, Evgeni Malkin, Zach Parise, Corey Perry, Steve Downie, Jamie Langenbrunner, Simon Gagne and Derek Roy, who are all keeper material. Of course, the cream of the crop is Henrik Sedin, Parise, Perry and Malkin. Right choices?

Matt, Ottawa

Hi Matt, thanks for the kind words. All of your selections are good ones and I agree whole-heartedly. If your league counts PIMs, then it’s tough to let Downie go, but you can’t set any of those four free. They’re too good.

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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