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Tough decisons

Corey Perry had 29 goals and 54 points in 70 games with the Ducks last season. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Corey Perry had 29 goals and 54 points in 70 games with the Ducks last season. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

We are now in the heart of fantasy hockey draft season and the mail is pouring in. Let’s get to some letters!

I currently have Pascal Leclaire and Niklas Backstrom as my goalies, but was looking to upgrade that position. I also have Jonathan Toews in an overload of centers and a slightly weak RW position. Is a trade of Toews and Leclaire for Ales Hemsky and Marty Turco fair?
Anik, Ottawa


It’s not a bad offer, but you would win this deal by a wide margin. The reason the other owner would consider this deal is the fact a lot of poolies tend to overrate Leclaire and Toews. They are not bad players. On the contrary, they are great players, but poolies really get excited over those two. By the same token, I think Hemsky and Turco are underrated in fantasy circles. The offer is worth making and if you happen to speak with the right owner you may get the deal done.

Is Alexander Radulov going to play in the NHL this year? Who is going to play on Sidney Crosby's wing? Ruslan Fedotenko? Pascal Dupuis? Is Steve Bernier going to be on the wing with the Sedins? Is Mike Smith going to be the starter for the Bolts?
Daniel, Toronto


Radulov: he wants to play in the NHL now, so the story goes. It all comes down to the upcoming arbitration hearing, but no date has been set. I drafted him in one of my one-year roto leagues, just in case.

Crosby’s wing: Fedotenko and Miroslav Satan will get the spots early on, but coach Michel Therrien changes his lines more than he changes his socks. Satan will likely be a mainstay, though. Also consider Janne Pesonen and Bill Thomas.

Bernier: yes, Vancouver’s plan seems to be putting him with the twins.

Smith: yes, he will be the starter. However, if he stumbles, Olaf Kolzig could snatch the job from him.

In this fantasy pool there are groups of players and I need to pick one player from each group, but I also need to pick a player who is not among the many names I have already chosen from. I figured out I must choose between (one only) Perry, Toews, Parise, Drury or Bergeron. If you had to choose one of those five players (two points for a goal, one for an assist) who would you choose? I have a feeling Getzlaf and Perry are going to rip it up this year so I am leaning towards Perry, but Bergeron has looked good so far also.
Korey, Peterborough, Ont.


I would be all over Corey Perry here. I expect lots of goals. Patrice Bergeron could be healthy and have a big year, but why do you need to take that risk? Zach Parise would be my second choice to Perry as I think he will be a 95-point player someday. But, because of the weighting in favor of goals, go with Perry.

I'm in a fantasy league and need to decide between goalies and forwards. My goalies are Theodore, Nabokov and Huet. Who would be your two? For forwards I have M. Richards, Perry, Kane, Mueller, Stamkos, Hemsky, Hejduk, Higgins, Turris, Gaborik, P. Stastny, S. Bernier, P. O'Sullivan, and Wolski. Who would be your top 10?
User Name: the one over there


Jose Theodore and Evgeni Nabokov would be my two goalies, even though Cristobal Huet will see more starts now that Nikolai Khabibulin has cleared waivers.

As for your top 10, I assume this is a one-year league using strictly points. In order, my 10 would be Paul Stastny, Ales Hemsky, Marian Gaborik, Patrick Kane, Mike Richards, Peter Mueller, Corey Perry, Steven Stamkos, Milan Hejduk and even though he may not sign a contract in time for the start of the season I would still slide Patrick O’Sullivan in there as my last pick.

Hi Dobber. Will Steve Sullivan play this season? Will Jakub Voracek make the roster? What are your predictions for both of their point totals this season?
Mike, Toronto


Sullivan: I doubt it, but put him down for 30 points.

Voracek: definitely, there is not a question in my mind he’ll make it. He will get at least 40 points this year and 70 at most. Count on the mid- to high-part of that range. 

I am in a one-year fantasy league where we choose 3 LW, 3 RW, 3 C, 4 D and 2 G. Right now I have Andrew Cogliano and Patrick O'Sullivan as my backup centers, but on reading your recent article on Brooks Laich, I'm wondering whether I should swap Cogliano for him and bypass the possible sophomore slump. Which do you think is more valuable in a league where G, A, P, +/-, PIM, PPP, SHP and GWG are counted?
George, Dartmouth, N.S.


I think both players will produce in the low-50s this year with an upside (for this year only) of 65 points. However, one factor you always need to consider in fantasy leagues is how other people view your players (for potential trades). In this case, Cogliano has a far more valuable name when trade discussions arise. Therefore, keep Cogliano.

Will Bobby Ryan play in Anaheim full time this year?
John, Medicine Hat, Alta.


Yes, he will play with Brendan Morrison and Teemu Selanne to start.

Is it just me or have the Columbus Blue Jackets finally found Rick Nash some competent linemates? With the additions of Kristian Huselius and R.J. Umberger, Nash might actually be able to move around without getting tortured by defensemen. Although the defense is suspect, they have more weapons to pass it around. Are either Kristian Huselius or R.J. Umberger worth taking in a points league?
Alexander, New Hartford, N.Y.


I’m on board the Columbus offense wagon myself, although there is a limit to what a Ken Hitchcock-coached team will do. That being said, I think Nash will flirt with 80 points this year, while Huselius will easily surpass 70. Umberger, Voracek and perhaps even Derick Brassard should flirt with 60.

Dobber: Is Sergei Samsonov worth drafting? As of late he's been an underacheiver, but flourished after his trade to Carolina. Was his solid play just for a contract or is it what I believe: he is a great fit within Peter Laviolette's system?
Paul, Philadelphia


Yes, treat Samsonov like he will tally 55 points. Frankly, with Justin Williams gone with an injury, I think Samsonov will score more than 60 points. He was very good after arriving in Carolina (32 points in 38 games) and they really need his offense. His new three-year contract means the Canes are serious about playing him and in pre-season action he has found himself on a line with Eric Staal.


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Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Mailbag will appear on the last Wednesday of every month throughout the playoffs and off-season. The weekly edition will begin again in September. To send the Dobber your question, click HERE.

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