The NHL trade deadline is just under five weeks away and many fantasy leagues use the same date for their own cut-off – it’s crunch time! Let’s get to some letters…
Hey Dobber, with Teemu Selanne's possible return, would you recommend picking him up pre-emptively to avoid someone else taking him first? My wingers right now are Alexander Frolov and Paul Kariya at left wing, Alex Kovalev and Martin St-Louis at right wing and Pavol Demitra and Erik Cole playing both. Should I make my move now or should I wait it out?
Wyatt, Oakville, Ont.
I would snap up Selanne now and stick him on my bench just in case. It will be worth the wait in rotisserie leagues because if and when he does return you can use him in a deal to address a weakness. I say this because you seem set on the wing.
Dobber - From time to time I like to check other rosters for good players who may be underachieving and, as a result, obtainable at a good price, following buy-low sell-high rationale. Some players that could fall into this category are: Thomas Vanek, Maxim Afinogenov, Jonathan Cheechoo, Patrick Marleau, Alexander Semin and Milan Michalek. What players around the league do you think may be best bets to perform closer to expectations in the second half, possibly from those previously mentioned or others?
Mike, Massapequa, N.Y.
Semin is already showing signs of a big second half, so it may be too late to go after him. I still have faith in San Jose forwards Marleau and Michalek turning things around, although Cheechoo is not giving any cause for hope this year. I also like defenseman Matt Carle in San Jose. Peter Mueller is going to have a big second half in Phoenix and Jeff Carter is only getting better in Philadelphia. Also, Florida tends to step it up in the final months, so scooping some underachieving Panthers might be a smart move.
Hey Dob-meister. Would you flip Michal Handzus for Peter Mueller? What about Eric Brewer and Guillaume Latendresse for Paul Ranger?
Craig, Vancouver, B.C.
It would depend on the league (one year or keeper, rotisserie or straight points, etc.). However, I would take Mueller over Handzus in any format.
Hi Darryl, couple of questions about the Finnish Flash’s comeback. First, do fans expect him to be good as he was six months ago and score as much as last season? How fast is he going to come out with some results? What are the thoughts about Teemu in general these days?
Jussi, Jyvaskyla, Finland
I normally expect players who have missed training camp to start off slowly and they are also at risk of injury (usually a muscle injury, such as the groin). I suspect Selanne has been working out on the ice for several weeks now and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back and put up a point per game right away. He’ll hit his stride just in time for the playoffs, which is just fine with the Ducks. By the way, the CBA stipulates that unrestricted free agents need to be signed by the trade deadline, which is Feb. 26 this year.
Hey, I had picked up Scott Niedermayer on the free agent wire and figured he'd be a rental player for this season. After his semi-retirement, do you think he is planning on playing for a few more seasons or his he going to call it quits for good after this year? I need to make room for him on my keeper list, or trade him away for draft picks if I miss the playoffs. Not sure how to handle this one.
Brad, New York, N.Y.
My guess is that he will retire after this year. Either way, it’s not worth the risk. I would move him.
I am very new at a fantasy hockey pool. I have read a few of your tips, but what I would like to know is, out of all the stats and information available out there for a rookie, which one piece of information would be the best to check? In other words, a starting point for picking players.
Nancy, Warburg, Alta.
I am guessing you are looking for a strategy for next September, Nancy. A good start would be to get your hands on THN’s Future Watch issue (out soon). That will give you an idea of some of the prospects on the way. The next step would be to see what the summer books say in terms of which youngsters are ready.
If you really want to expand your workload, you would need to do things such as pay attention to the big performers at the World Junior Championship, the top point-getters in the American League and the up-and-comers in the three Canadian League branches.
If the youngster is highly regarded by his team according to Future Watch, and he is improving his numbers in his current league over last year, then you are on the right track with him. From there, it is a matter of how far down the NHL team’s depth chart he is. That’s what it takes in a nutshell, but I could write pages on this…
I'm in a nine-team keeper league. I've been offered Brendan Shanahan (who makes $6 million in our league), Keith Tkachuk ($800,000) and Sergei Gonchar ($2.4) for Ilya Kovalchuk ($6.4) and Marek Zidlicky ($800,000). What do you think? Do you think I could do better?
Victor, Buffalo, N.Y.
Yes, you could do much better. You take on more salary and three players well into their 30s for the best name in this deal in Kovalchuk.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Mailbag appears Wednesdays only on The Hockey News.com. To send the Dobber your question, click HERE.