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Crunch time

Ty Conklin was a savior when M-A Fleury went down with an injury, but he's not the undisputed No. 1 in Steeltown. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Ty Conklin was a savior when M-A Fleury went down with an injury, but he's not the undisputed No. 1 in Steeltown. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just more than four weeks left in the regular season, so some big decisions need to be made - let’s get to some letters…

Hey Dobber, I'm in a deep-roster league that permits four keepers per year (and has cash awards for the GM that ends the season with Yahoo's highest ranked F, D and G). I swapped Joe Thornton and Ryan Getzlaf for Evgeni Malkin so I can go into 2008-09 with Dany Heatley, Malkin, Anze Kopitar and Evgeni Nabokov. I probably could have substituted Kopitar for Getzlaf, but I felt the young Slovenian would have at least as valuable a fantasy career as Getzlaf. I know a lot of people are high on Getzlaf ... did I offer up the wrong guy?
Ryan, Pittsburgh, Penn.

Tough call, Ryan. I think you did well with the deal regardless of which youngster you stuck with. My personal preference is Getzlaf, but the difference between them is razor thin. Kopitar’s upside is probably a little higher, whereas Getzlaf strikes me as more of a consistent certainty to give you solid points.

Hey Dobber, your advice has been gold for me so far, so could you give me your two cents on this one? I'm in a small one-year league, and my goalie situation is Cristobal Huet, Marty Turco and Dominik Hasek. Huet was putting up decent numbers in Montreal, but do you see his performance dipping, playing behind Washington’s D? With a couple decent goalies (Tim Thomas, Ryan Miller, etc) available in free agency should I drop Huet?
Wyatt, Oakville, Ont.


Thanks, Wyatt. I actually like Huet in Washington in terms of performance, but I question if he will get the starts needed. I think Olaf Kolzig will steal half of the starts, so that makes Ryan Miller an upgrade on Huet going forward.

Hey Dobber, I have a goalie issue: Carey Price is available and since he is now the numero uno in Montreal he looks like a good pick. Is he? And if so, who should I drop? Conklin, Garon, or Theodore?
Nate, Pittsburgh, Penn.


Ty Conklin has to go, Nate. Pens coach Michel Therrien has stated that he will go with the hot hand moving forward and that means Conklin will split the starts, at best. Given Fleury is coming off a pair of great games, Conklin could see very few at all. Price, the cover boy on The Hockey News’ recent Future Watch issue, will start most of the games in Montreal now.

I'm in an eight-team keeper league and currently in first place with a load of guys I could keep (we can keep five). The five I’m considering are Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews, Dion Phaneuf and Roberto Luongo. I was offered Eric Staal, Zach Parise, Zdeno Chara and Miller for Phaneuf and Luongo. Do I go for it and take the title or hold on to these guys? Others I have are Patrick Kane, Corey Perry, M-A Fleury, Rick DiPietro, Cam Ward, Sergei Gonchar, Marc Savard, Dan Boyle and Dustin Brown as potential keepers.
Jeff, North Bay, Ont.


Assuming you are only counting points in your league and that this trade will not put you first place, I would pass on the deal. Also, I would like to advise you to keep Savard over Toews – you can’t buy that kind of consistency, regardless of potential. Savard is a fantasy-hockey stud. I would also keep Kane over Toews if I had to choose, due to Toews’ blossoming reputation for injuries.

Hey Dobber. In a keeper pool, which package do you think is worth more: Steven Stamkos and Ilya Bryzgalov or Carey Price and Michael Ryder? Thanks very much!
Derek, Ottawa, Ont.


Derek, as much as I love Bryzgalov in Phoenix and I think Stamkos has an upside into the 90s (in a few years), when you have a goalie like Price or Luongo on your team, I think you have to take a package involving one of them every time. I am confident Price will be a top-five goalie for years to come.

I had picked up an extra goalie when Brian Rafalski was put on IR and also thought Mike Richards would be put on the IR list. I have Ty Conklin, Cristobal Huet, Cam Ward, and picked up Carey Price after the trade deadline. Who should I drop when Rafalski comes back from IR?
Mike, Detroit, Mich.


Mike, despite a great year, Conklin has to go for reasons stated in an answer above.

I am in a 12-team keeper league where we protect 13 in the offseason before next year’s draft. I have already decided on my tough guy choice to protect, Colton Orr, and am protecting Jose Theodore as my goalie. I need your input, Dobber, on the other 11 to protect on my team. We start six forwards and four defensemen. Forwards: V. Lecavalier, S. Gagne, O. Jokinen, M. Ribeiro, P. Kane, P. Mueller, A. Hemsky, J. Pominville, P. Demitra, V. Filppula, S. Gomez, Z. Parise. Defense: N. Lidstrom, C. Pronger, R. Whitney S. Weber, R. Blake and R. Hainsey. Which 11 guys would you protect? And what has happened to S. Weber? I am getting a lot of interest in him. Should I trade him or hang on to him and hope he gets back to his rookie point production? Thanks!
Brett, Hodgeville, Sask.

Hey Brett, Lecavalier, Jokinen, Ribeiro, Kane, Mueller, Parise, Hemsky, Pronger and Lidstrom are no-brainers. Those guys are studs who are either proven or have high upside. I would also protect Ryan Whitney because he is on a blossoming power play powerhouse. For that final spot, it is between the 80 points, give or take, Scott Gomez can give you, or the tantalizing 55-point potential Shea Weber can reach on the back end. Go with Weber, because good rearguards are more difficult to find.

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

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