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Risk vs. reward

Nikita Filatov of the Columbus Blue Jackets has four goals in eight NHL games. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Nikita Filatov of the Columbus Blue Jackets has four goals in eight NHL games. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Five weeks from today is the NHL’s trade deadline. In fantasy hockey, many leagues use the same date. The window for fixing your team is starting to close, so let’s get to some letters!

Hi Dobber, just based on points after the all-star break, how would you rank these free agents in my fantasy league? Hudler, Ryan, Horton, Booth, Briere, McDonald and Connolly. I currently have Roy, Selanne, Simon Gagne, Setoguchi, Zherdev, Lecavalier, Datsyuk, Crosby, Savard, Kopitar as my forwards. I've been thinking about moving Zherdev with the Rangers’ lack of offence and I'm wondering if one of the above FAs would be a better replacement. Thanks.
Derek, Vancouver


Hey Derek, I would rank the above in this order – not just by points, but I also consider the injury risk involved:

Sidney Crosby, Pavel Datsyuk, Vincent Lecavalier, Marc Savard, Derek Roy, Devin Setoguchi, Nathan Horton, Anze Kopitar, Simon Gagne, Teemu Selanne, Jiri Hudler, Andy McDonald, Nikolai Zherdev, David Booth, Bobby Ryan, Daniel Briere and Tim Connolly.

Based on that, I figure you should switch Gagne (due to the risk) for Horton. Otherwise, you are probably good as is.

I'm in a keeper league where only points are counted. I have been offered a trade where I would receive Lecavalier and Sam Gagner in exchange for Alfredsson and Hemsky. I’m worried about Alf and Hemsky having nagging health issues and the thought of getting Lecavalier is intriguing. Do you think Gagner will turn out to be a star in the league? Good Trade?
Jamie, Windsor, Ont.


In a keeper league Jamie, you still have to look at Lecavalier for what he truly is – a top six fantasy forward. It doesn’t matter how many points he currently has, and it wouldn’t matter if he got injured and finished with 60 points. What matters is that he is a rare player who can get you 110 points. In a similar league, I was able to get Ales Hemsky, Mike Green, Patrik Berglund and a first-round pick – just for Lecavalier (back in the summer – talk about “selling high”). The fact you get Gagner thrown in the deal and are only giving up two players for Lecavalier is an offer you can’t refuse. This is a great example of “buying low” in fantasy hockey. Well done.

Hi, I have Scott Clemmensen as one of my goalies and will need to replace him once Marty Brodeur comes back. Available goalies include Pekka Rinne, Dan Ellis, Jonas Hiller, Brian Elliott, and Jon Quick. I really like what Elliott has done, but is he just a flash in the pan? Can Ottawa actually turn its season around?
JT, Slava Lake, Alta.


I think Elliott is a great netminder to roll the dice on. For more on this, take a look at Tuesday’s Fantasy Pool Look.

Hey Dobber, I’m in a lifetime keeper pool where we can keep five players from a roster of 13. Currently I’m looking at keeping Lecavalier, Perry, Toews, Jokinen (PHX), and either Luongo or Mason (CLB). I’m dropping out of the running fast and I was looking to move one of my two goalies. I was leaning towards moving Luongo as Mason is younger and showing he can shoulder the load in Columbus. In your opinion, is Mason the real deal, and what would you do in my situation?
Dave, Calgary


Hi Dave, this may seem completely off the wall, but if it were my team I would keep both goaltenders and just drop Olli Jokinen. Centers are easy to acquire, be it at the draft or via waivers. Goaltending is arguably the most difficult position to fill. Keep the two stud netminders and you’ll never have to worry about that position again. I would keep them for the next 10 years! Do this and when you draft you will only have five positions to address – the easiest ones. If you have to make a deal, move a forward.

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Hi, I'm currently in a one-year head-to-head league with all major stat categories. I need some advice on my current glut of goaltenders. At the moment I have Miikka Kiprusoff, Roberto Luongo, Steve Mason, and Scott Clemmensen, along with Martin Brodeur on my IR. Being in a head-to-head league, it is not to my advantage having this many goalies taking up roster spots that could otherwise go to offensive players, but I'm hesitant to just drop one of these talented netminders. Who do you think I should trade and what caliber of player could I expect for that goalie? Thanks!
Eric, Denver


You should be able to get something truly great for one of the netminders, but it would depend on the depth of your league. If there are only six teams, then perhaps the market isn’t as desperate whereas if there were 14 teams you would have everyone tripping over themselves to get a hold of one of them. I would shop all four of your goalies (dropping Clemmensen when Brodeur returns) and whichever deal makes you the happiest, take it. Make sure you speak to every owner in your league.

What are your thoughts on Brian Lee of the Sens? I watched him play the other night, and he seemed like a future great offensive defenseman.
Tom, Halifax


I like his future, Tom. I think Lee will be a full-timer next year and will put up fantasy-worthy numbers in about two or three seasons.

Yo Dobbs, I have a pickle. I'm in a 10-team keeper league. I was offered Ilya Kovalchuk for two of my rookie picks (James van Riemsdyk and Nikita Filatov) plus my second round pick. Should I pull the trigger?
Chris, Moncton, N.B.


What a smart offer. Ninety percent of poolies would jump on that offer, but not me. While Kovalchuk is a stud with 100-point potential, he seems to be an 80- or 85-point player in Atlanta. This smart GM in your league wants to turn him into two top prospects. I think JVR will be an 85-point player in three or four years and my guess is he will debut next season with 50 points or more. Filatov, to me, has a greater potential than Kovalchuk and should be full-timer next season as well. On top of that, the GM wants a good draft pick. If you are in second place and Kovalchuk will give you the win, then do it. Otherwise, take a pass and tell him “nice try.”

Note regarding the Fantasy Mailbag – it is important to indicate whether or not your league is a keeper league or a one-year league. Also note whether the league is “points only,” “standard roto league,” or if there are any uncommon rules that are important to know. This will help in advising you on the right course of action.

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

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