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Pencils have erasers

Jonathan Cheechoo, Joe Thornton and Milan Michalek have accounted for 26 points with the Sharks this season. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Jonathan Cheechoo, Joe Thornton and Milan Michalek have accounted for 26 points with the Sharks this season. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

Poolies are still pondering how to fix some early mistakes, so without further ado - let’s get to some letters!

Will Milan Michalek snap his cold streak to have a better season than Jonathan Cheechoo or should I drop Michalek for Cheechoo? Also, is Franzen worth keeping given his injury or should I look for someone else, like Cheechoo, Elias, or Rolston?
Patrick, Winnipeg


I would prefer Michalek, Patrick. He has more raw ability to produce on his own than Cheechoo, whereas a big season from Cheechoo would require help from Joe Thornton. If in doubt, I always go with the player who can better do it on his own. As for Johan Franzen, I would make the move for Patrik Elias.

Hey Dobber, I'm in a year-to-year league, where we start four defensemen. I'm now carrying seven D, Phaneuf, Chara, Niedermayer, Coburn, Ballard, with Zubov and McCabe in my two IR slots. With Zubov and McCabe coming off the IR soon, I can't fit all seven on my regular roster, so I need to get rid of at least two, either through trade or dropping them to waivers. Who has the most value as trade bait (I'd have to offer up two-for-one type trades to shrink my roster), or who should I flat-out drop out of the seven? And P.S., thanks for always keeping us informed!
Mark, Milwaukee, Wisc.


Hi Mark, I do not like to drop players if I can help it, so I always explore the trade route. In this case, Scott Niedermayer and Zdeno Chara are undervalued. They can be doing much better, so hang onto them until they do. Dion Phaneuf should be untouchable. Of the rest, I like Keith Ballard as trade bait here – he won’t finish at the pace he is going on. Move him for sure and kick some tires about the others. Defensemen are tough to get so there should be a market out there for all of the ones you make available.

Hi Dobber! I'm playing in a pool for the first time this year, and wanted some input...I also started reading your column, which is awesome for poolies (especially new ones!) Here's how it goes: salary cap, goals count for two, assists for one. Since it's the Habs 100th season, Hab goals count for three, which is important to keep in mind! I'm about to trade (every player is available to everyone, as long as the cap is respected) Chris Higgins, Andrei Kostitsyn and Jonathan Toews for Brad Boyes, Zach Parise and Evgeni Malkin...what do you think?
Maxime, Montreal


Interesting Montreal rule, Maxime. Even with the triple-points for Montreal goals, I still think it’s worthwhile to add Malkin like that. Boyes and Parise will also top Toews and a triple-boosted Higgins. Make the move.

Hey Dobber, a few questions. First of all, I have a great personal bias towards Brad Richards and Ilya Kovalchuk. I have considered offering Briere for Richards and Stastny for Kovalchuk. Would these be good deals? Or am I letting my personal biases get in the way. Next, I have Horcoff and Elias, who always seem to come through in the end, but have both started slow. Would you recommend replacing them with someone with potential like a Stoll or a Turris/Stamkos for example? Thanks a lot.
Sam, West Tisbury, Mass.


Given Daniel Briere’s injury, I am not sure the other person would do that deal. If it’s a one-year league and you can do that deal though, then do it. If it is a keeper league, stick with Briere. Hang onto Shawn Horcoff and Elias. They will come around, especially Horcoff, who is already showing signs.

I'm in a keeper league with farm team rosters. I have Rask, but he is no longer eligible for my farm team after this season, so I have to call him up or let him go. I've been offered Mueller, a high first round pick and Frolik for O'Sullivan and Rask. If Rask plays next season, I'm not sure this is a great deal for me. But if he doesn't play then I'd have to cut him loose anyway, because I can't have him sitting on my bench getting me no minutes. Good deal, or bad?
Logan, Calgary


I don’t know your goaltending situation Logan, nor do I know what will be available in your league with that high pick – but I’ll take a stab at this. Do the deal. Peter Mueller and Patrick O’Sullivan have similar upside (O’Sullivan may be a tiny bit higher) and Michal Frolik will be a great winger in a couple of years. As good a prospect as Rask is, you don’t know if his shot will come next year or in 2012.

I am in a rotisserie league where offensive output is scored as well as hits, blocks, ATOI, and PIMs (more equals better). I have a team of playmakers, but no true goal scorers. My center core, of which I can start three are Richards, Briere, Ribeiro, and Plekanec. My defense, of which I can start five a night, is Kuba, Redden, Streit, Bouwmeester, Boyle, and Hainsey. I was offered a trade of Olli Jokinen for Dan Boyle. Do you think the addition of offense is worth the loss of defensive stats and occasional assists that Boyle offers?
Branden, Maine


Not when you have the four centermen that you do. Looking at your team, you don’t need Jokinen. Shop your defensemen for a goal-scoring winger.

I'm in a non-keeper pool with a six-man team, plus team (Iginla, Zetterberg, Nash, Kaberle, Jovanovski, Lundqvist, Detroit). We are allowed one trade for the whole season, and I was wondering if I should trade Jovanovski for Kuba, who is available. I'm sure Jovo will come around, but with Kuba playing the PP with Heatley and crew, do you think he would be a better bet? The other option is to save my trade in case one of my players goes down. Any thoughts?
James, Oshawa, Ont.


I wouldn’t be ready to make that move regardless, let alone with trade limitations. Jovanovski is a better fantasy defenseman than Kuba. Period. Don’t be swayed by the first month. Use your trade later.

Big fan of your mailbag and was wondering, what's wrong with Marty Turco? Should I show some patience with him in a one-year league?
Sean, Edmonton


Turco did this to me last year in one of my leagues. He had five wins through Nov. 22. One month later, he had 15 wins. I think that will happen against this season. Be patient. In fact, I’m actually trying to acquire him in one of my leagues (no more than one, though – I don’t like to take the same risk in multiple leagues). It’s the “buy low” theory.

Hey Dobber, you predicted Corvo would exceed 50 points this year. With his slow start, do you still think it's possible or will Pitkanen and Carolina's deep defense rain on Corvo's breakout parade? You also predicted Ovechkin for 124 points, do you think he will get there or is 110 more likely now?
Jeremy, Toronto


Joe Corvo may not hit that target, but I think he’ll bounce back and make it close. All the injuries to Carolina’s forwards are hurting the offense and it’s having a trickle-down effect throughout the lineup. As for Ovechkin, if I could have predicted 10 points in his first 12 games and a 124-point season, I would have. He did the same thing last year – weak start and Art Ross Trophy finish. I stand by 124 points.

I am a little concerned with the slow start of a few of my players. Sam Gagner being one of them, the other players are Stralman, Tikhonov, and Berglund. How do you see these guys doing for the rest of the season?
Doug, Montreal


I’m concerned about those guys as well, Doug. With many rookies, the coach brings them along slowly and at this point in the season you can already tell which ones aren’t being thrust into heavy duty. Anton Stralman (Toronto) and Viktor Tikhonov (Phoenix) are clearly being eased in and it would surprise me if either reached 25 points. Their futures are solid, though. Gagner should turn things around, but given this kind of start I would be surprised if he topped last year’s point totals (49). Patrik Berglund (St. Louis) is a player who is seeing some opportunity, but not much. However, I get the feeling that his responsibility will increase over time and he could still top 40 points this year, particularly with the recent injury to T.J. Oshie (high ankle sprain).

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Mailbag will appear every Wednesday throughout the season. To send the Dobber your question, click HERE.

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