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Take your pick

Alex Kovalev could be your No. 1 playoff pool pick if you like the Habs to make the Cup final. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Alex Kovalev could be your No. 1 playoff pool pick if you like the Habs to make the Cup final. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Playoff pool season is upon us, but there are still some keeper-league loose ends to tie-up first. Let’s get to some letters!

Hello Dobber. Will Rob Schremp make the Oilers roster next year? I’ve been waiting for this guy for the last two years.
Rob, Kingston, Ont.


I doubt it, Rob. I think he is another year away. Schremp had an improved sophomore campaign in the American League and was given a cup of coffee in the NHL. Next season he will get a more extended look before being brought in full-time in 2009-10. A lot of fantasy owners are losing patience with him so he will make for a very cheap trade option. I think the Oilers are bringing him along properly.

Just wondering how current prospects compare with 2008 draft eligible ones. What would your top 10 prospects be, including the 2008 eligible? I'm in a keeper league starting this year and would like to find out who to draft when for the entry draft. Thanks.
Chris, Drayton, Alta.


Hi Chris. Steven Stamkos would be the only draft eligible player in my current top 10, which looks as follows (players having never played an NHL game as of April 2, 2008): Kyle Turris (PHO), Steven Stamkos (’08 eligible), T.J. Oshie (STL), Patrik Berglund (STL), Jakub Voracek (CBJ), Mikael Backlund (CGY), Michael Frolik (FLA), Ted Purcell (LA), James van Riemsdyk (PHI) and Shawn Matthias (FLA). In that order. Keep in mind; players like Claude Giroux, Derick Brassard and T.J. Hensick have played some games already, so I did not count them on this list.

Keeper league: Mike Richards or Steven Stamkos?
Tom, Toronto, Ont.


Quit beating around the bush Tom and get to the point! I think you would have to go with the proven commodity in Richards. However, if I owned Richards I would offer him up for the Stamkos pick, plus an extra player or pick. I often wonder if Richards plays too hard to give you 80 games a year and because his value is so high I would move him. Take Stamkos-plus in a package, and run.

Hey Dobber. I'm in a keeper league complete with a minor league system and am trying to decide who to bring up for next season. I need help on the right side so I'm leaning towards calling up Kyle Okposo for next season. I see him having a Peter Mueller-type of season for the Isles next year, though his numbers will most likely be a little less than Mueller's. However, I also have Jiri Hudler and Bobby Ryan in the minors, as well. Who do you think I should call up?
Ryan, Mississauga, Ont.


I think Okposo and Hudler will have similar seasons next year, however, with Hudler I would be more confident of a big breakout, so he would be the one I’d call up.

Now, time for some playoff questions…

Who should I take first overall in a playoff pool? What team in the East will make it to the Stanley Cup final?
Jerry, Pembroke, Ont.


Jerry with the million-dollar question! It’s a personal preference, really. Which team do you prefer? I’m in several pools, so I have several favorites. It’s called “hedging your bets.” Henrik Zetterberg, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Joe Thornton, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and even Alexei Kovalev all warrant consideration - and that’s only if you don’t like the Ducks. My East team to go to the final - and I hope hundreds of people don’t follow my lead because I am a huge contrarian - is Montreal.

What four teams will be in the conference finals? Do you have any sleepers for a playoff pool?
Connor, Pembroke, Ont.


Why do I get the feeling Connor and Jerry are related? Regarding sleepers – I have a three-part series in the Fantasy Pool Look column where on March 31, April 4 and April 7 my dark horse picks will be listed, so be sure to check out those articles. My final four (again, contrarion) are: Pittsburgh, Montreal, San Jose and Detroit.

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