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Prospecting

Joe Thornton's best days could still be ahead of him. (Photo by Bruce
Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Joe Thornton's best days could still be ahead of him. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

How did the NHL’s trade deadline deals impact your fantasy squad? Now that the deadline is in the rear view mirror, are you happy with your prospects? Let’s get to some letters!

I have a quick question about prospects. Of the ones listed below, what do you see as their ceiling and what do you think they'll be able to contribute next year? Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris, Cody Hodgson, Nikita Filatov, Nikolai Kulemin, Logan MacMillan and Tyler Myers.
Logan, Calgary


Ryan is obviously the most ready of the group. Look for 70 points next season and an upside of 85 in about four years. With Turris, look for 50 points and an upside of 90, probably in five or six years. Hodgson should get 40-60 points next season as a rookie for the Canucks and his upside of 85 points should be approached when he’s in his mid 20s. Filatov’s season will probably mirror that of Alexander Radulov when he was fighting his way onto the Nashville roster. Look for 40 points in 60 games. His upside is 100 points or more, but you won’t see it for a good six or seven years.

Kulemin should take the next step in 2009-10, but don’t expect more than 45 points; his upside is probably 70 at best. MacMillan won’t make the NHL next campaign. The two-way forward has an upside of about 70 points. As for Myers, just take a look at Zdeno Chara. It was eight NHL seasons before Chara reached 43 points, so to expect something much sooner from Myers is just a dream. Granted, he is considered more polished than Chara, but what does that mean? Six years instead of eight? The wait will be long.

Dobber, I'm in a points-only keeper league and in a rebuilding year where I'm loaded with extra draft picks, so I want to start with a solid foundation for my run next season. We're going to each keep three forwards, one defense and one goalie. Out of the following, who would you keep besides the first two guys listed? Jarome Iginla, Vinny Lecavalier, Olli Jokinen, Kris Versteeg, Steven Stamkos, Nikita Filatov, Bryan Little, Joe Corvo, Drew Doughty, Henrik Lundqvist and Steve Mason.
Kyle, Hamilton, Ont.


Filatov, Doughty and Lundqvist.

Washington goaltenders...which one of the kids is the takeover guy, Neuvirth, Varlamov, or is it just too early to tell? Which one has the better minor league pedigree? Washington will be a potent force over the next three to four years - who is going to be backstopping them?
Kevin, Montreal


Both goaltenders look good, Kevin, but Simeon Varlamov has the inside track. That being said, he is also showing some signs of being injury prone. If that turns out to be the case, it will be Michal Neuvirth who stars in Washington. If not, Varlamov will be a star and Neuvirth will need to eventually find another franchise. For now, I’m putting my money on Varlamov.

Hey Dobber, quick question: Keeper league, strictly points. Who do you like better short-term and long-term and by how much, Ryan Whitney or Kimmo Timonen?
Clint, Punnichy, Sask.


Even though his value went down when he was moved to Anaheim, I am still intrigued by Whitney’s upside and would go with him. You know what you’re getting with Timonen – a steady guy who’ll get 45-55 points. Whitney could bounce anywhere from 40-65 and is more of a wild card.

Hey Dobber, I'm in second place in a 10-team keeper league where we're keeping three forwards and one D-man. I'm all set on the point, but my problem lies with my forwards. I have four main forwards to choose from: Joe Thornton, Zach Parise, Mike Richards and Jonathan Toews. Thornton seems to be on the downswing of his career, but should still post 90-plus points. Parise and Richards should do the same. Toews isn't quite there yet, but he will be. Who would be your odd man out?
Joe, Niagara, Ont.


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First off, Thornton is in the prime of his career. If anything, his career year is still ahead of him. There is the tendency of some keeper-league owners to overvalue youth. Young players are great to have, but some perspective needs to be maintained – in most keeper formats, players tend to change hands often. It is rare for a player to stay on the same team for more than three years, even in a full keeper league, like two of my leagues are. So with that in mind, you want to own a player when he’s 22-32 years old. At 18, they are too young and you have to wait for their big years. At 33, a star is still producing, but in all likelihood the player has already seen his career high. Obviously there are exceptions, but that’s a general guideline.

So to answer your question, not only would I take Thornton over Toews, but I would take him over Parise and Richards, too. This is backed up by my keeper-league monthly rankings.

Hey Dobber. I am in a 12-team, head-to-head keeper league. We are allowed to keep five players. Skaters get points for goals, assists, plus-minus, PIM, PPG, and SHG. Goalies get points for saves, PIM, assists, and wins, and get penalized for goals against. I will be keeping Ovechkin, Malkin and Luongo. I need help determining my final two players. Who would you keep: Dion Phaneuf, Mike Richards, Mike Green, or Carey Price?
Bryan, Atlanta


Since you have Luongo, I would take Phaneuf and Green over Price. I wouldn’t even consider Richards, because the center spot is the easiest to fill.

Dobber, I'm in a lifetime hockey pool where a point is a point. I need to protect 10 of the following 13 players. Who would you recommend? Obviously there are some no-brainers here; I just thought I would give you the full meal deal: Boyes, Frolik, Giroux, Hemsky, Hossa, A. Kostitsyn, Langkow, O'Sullivan, Plekanec, Pominville, Stamkos, Toews and Wolski.
Dustin, Rumsey, Alta.


I would drop Daymond Langkow, Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn. In the end, Kostitsyn could be a better producer than Boyes, but he hasn’t proven himself yet.

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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