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Slow starts and high potentials

Jaromir Jagr is usually a safe pick, but he has struggled this season.

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Jaromir Jagr is usually a safe pick, but he has struggled this season.

The mail continues to pour in and I try to answer it all, even if it doesn’t make the Mailbag. This week, a pile of questions on underachieving players…

I have Marek Svatos from Colorado and Michael Ryder from Montreal in a keeper league. Ryder has been a fairly consistent performer in the past and Svatos shows flashes of talent, but both are having bad years. Do you see Ryder bouncing back in the second half and Svatos reaching close to point per game production in the future, or should I drop them? Happy Hab.
Dave, Wakaw

Hi Dave, I usually preach patience with players but in Ryder’s case he can’t seem to get out of the doghouse. In the last two seasons, his second halves were no better than his first. Barring a trade, I don’t think he’ll help you. He needs a new team. Svatos is the type of player I hate owning. Lots of skill, but lots of injuries. They have stunted his development. Next season will be his fourth year so you may see a ‘pop’ there, but if there is another option you can go with, then do so.

I'm in a 10 team H2H non-keeper league. I have four goalies (Legace, Khabibulin, Thomas, and Emery) and we start two every week. Should I be looking to package one or two of them along with some of the bench depth at the forward position (Brind'Amour, Langkow, Ray Whitney) for a more reliable starter?
Scott, Plymouth Mich.

If you can package Whitney, Legace and Khabibulin, I would go in that direction. Even a small upgrade between the pipes would help. I like Emery for the second half and I think Thomas will be a perfect No.3 guy for you, so if you can find a No.1 goalie to lead your charge then do it. Don’t trust Legace’s knee, he should be moved ASAP.

I'm in a 10-team rotisserie league and currently sitting in second place, Format: 6 F, 4 D and 2 G with 4 bench players. We can move players on and off our bench as often as we like and overall I'm happy with my team, but am really disappointed in a couple of my forwards, specifically Vanek and Tanguay. I have the opportunity to either trade them for someone like Marleau or drop one of them and pick up someone like Demitra, Elias or McDonald. What do you think? Are any of those moves worth it?
Alex, Montreal, Que.

Alex, I think it would be wise to switch Tanguay for McDonald because Tanguay, while consistent, is looking as if he will have a hard time getting back on the top line. Meanwhile, I see McDonald bouncing back nicely in St. Louis. Don’t drop Vanek, he’ll come around and he’s starting to show signs it will be soon.

Every year in every hockey pool I always go for Jagr first round, because he never fails to come through with a strong fantasy season. This year however, he is not living up to his potential. Will he bounce back the second half of this season? Or has he finally reached his limit?
Brett, Toronto, Ont.

I hate to give an answer of ‘both’, because that’s a copout, but…both. Jagr has been playing with a sore back and he is on a 55-point pace. He hasn’t had fewer than 69 points since 1991 so you can be certain he will pick up the pace. By the same token, he’s 35 years old and a slowdown is inevitable - I wouldn’t count on any more 95-plus seasons. This year he will bounce back to nearly 70.

Hey Dobber! At what point should I cut bait on Patrick Marleau, or should we expect a big second half run from him?
Mike, Macungie, Pa.

The most common question of the week. I still feel Marleau will tally a point-per-game to finish the season. The only question is: When will it start? If it starts tomorrow, then he’ll finish the year with 65 points. If it doesn’t begin for another month, he’s looking at 55 points. The decision to drop him would depend on the depth of your league and who is available, but I do think he will start getting the bounces soon.

Hello Dobber. Will Big Bert (10 pts in 21 games) ever regain the form he had in the old Vancouver days, or is he pretty much done? I am surprised Anaheim even picked him up!
Steve, Toronto, Ont.

He’ll never get back to that form – that’s a pretty tall order. I think health issues will prevent him from ever getting even 65 points again.

A couple of days ago I traded Jason Pominville for Joe Sakic, hoping he would return last night. I cannot find an update on his status. Have you heard anything?
Doug, Montreal, Que.

Doug – Sakic’s groin will probably keep him out until after Christmas.

One question I'd love to have your opinion on: Jack Johnson. What is his potential and when will he fulfill it? Who can he be compared to?
Josh, Edmonton, Alta.

I think JJ will be a 65-point rearguard one day. When? I would say seven years. Defensemen seem to blossom when they hit their mid to late 20’s. He reminds me of (fantasy-wise) Bryan McCabe, who blossomed when he was 29 or 30.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Mailbag appears Wednesdays only on The Hockey News.com. To send the Dobber your question, click HERE.

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