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Think about the future

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The NHL deadline is less than a week away and many fantasy leagues use the same date for their own deadline – it’s crunch time! Let’s get to some letters…

Hey Dobber, I’m in a keeper league in which I’m having trouble deciding between Martin Havlat or Dustin Brown. I love Brown’s potential, but Havlat is a legit point-per-game player when healthy. Who would you keep?

Tyler, Woodstock, Ont.

Hi Tyler, I have a bias against players who cannot stay healthy, so there is no question my personal preference would be to own Brown. If healthy, Havlat could easily generate 90 points or more, but I do not see him ever being healthy for an entire season. Brown will produce in that 65- to 75-point range consistently for you as he matures; perhaps even 80. You can’t go wrong with that.

It's after the fact, because I already picked up the player, but I wanted to know if my little gamble was a fool’s move, or if I have a chance of striking gold. The move in question was picking up Patrick Eaves, figuring since Carolina picked him up for his offensive potential, and now lack two front liners in Stillman (traded) and Brind’Amour (surgery) he might end up playing on one of the top two lines and pick up his scoring for the home stretch?

Brendan, Vancouver, B.C.

Eaves has the potential to have a 65-point season some day, but that is only if he stays healthy – which he doesn’t seem to want to do. For this season, Eaves will indeed get top-six ice time in Carolina, but that will only be if and when he returns to the lineup. I don’t see huge dividends from your move, but it wasn’t a terrible gamble.

Hey Dobber, when Fleury is back (Marc-Andre not Theoren), who's out, Conklin or Sabourin?

Chris, Winnipeg, Man.

Sabourin, although because he will need to clear waivers I think the Pens may hold onto all three for the final 20 games of the season.

Hey Dobber, I'm in a yearly pool. We are thinking about going to a keeper league next year. Can you tell me some merits of a keeper league? Also, if you were to start fresh, who would be your top 10? Oh, and the playoffs count. Thanks,

Jesse, Toronto, Ont.

First, my top 10 players in a keeper league that includes playoffs – that is exactly what I use to calculate my Top 300 Fantasy Players (you can find the list HERE). Although, the list is also influenced by the current season’s totals, so the best time to look at this list for starting a league from scratch is in July when all players have a clean slate (i.e. Dany Heatley will be back in the top 10 where he would be had he not hurt his shoulder).

Second, the merits of a keeper league: so many good things, so little word space…

1) You can trade in the summer, so hockey would become 24/7/365 (that’s a good thing…really)

2) It is fun digging up diamonds in the rough when they are still prospects. You get a tremendous sense of pride when you draft Alexander Radulov when he is 18 and you see what he is doing today.

3) When you are out of the race early in the year, you can focus on rebuilding for next year. So you are never really out of the fun.

4) It’s much closer to running an actual team than one-year leagues. Many more things about your fantasy team are considered and you always have an eye to the future.

5) Let’s cut this list off at four and move onto the next question. These four reasons should be enough.

Hey Dobber, I'm an expansion team that's last place in my keeper league where goals are worth three, assists are worth two, plus-minus is face value, a goalie win is seven, shutouts are an extra three and minus-three for a loss. A team just folded, so they're letting the expansion teams pick from it. I was wondering if you could rate the top six players from the following: Saku Koivu, Jiri Hudler, Jonathan Cheechoo, Jarome Iginla, Mikko Koivu, Zdeno Chara, Ladislav Nagy, John Madden, David Legwand, Jason Arnott, Mike Green, Rick DiPietro, Miikka Kiprusoff. Thanks very much buddy, I always check your column.

Derek, Ottawa, Ont.

I will assume a minimum number of defensemen need to be dressed and I will assume positions at forward are differentiated (some leagues just require X amount of forwards). Iginla, DiPietro, Kipper, Green, Arnott, Saku Koivu. DiPietro ahead of Kipper because you are currently last and thus building for the future.

Hey Dobber, I'm in a keeper league and I'm pretty much set at the center, defense and goalie positions, but I'm in dire need of wings. Are there any young wingers you would recommend picking up? I'm thinking of guys like Devin Setoguchi, Blake Comeau and Milan Lucic. Also, who do you like on the wings from the upcoming draft?

Ryan, Mississauga, Ont.

Hi Ryan, Setoguchi has the most offensive upside, so he would be your man. Best wingers in the upcoming draft: Nikita Filatov would be my favorite if the NHL had a transfer agreement in place with the Russian League. Belarussian Mikhail Stefanovich would be next. Jimmy Hayes is another one to keep your eye on – especially if the Penguins get him, because he just might fall deep enough in the draft for that to happen.

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