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Stars and sophomores

Eric Staal notched 40 goals and 75 points for the Canes this season.  (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Eric Staal notched 40 goals and 75 points for the Canes this season. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Keeper league owners are doing some off-season retooling. Let’s get to some letters!

Hey Dobber, I enjoy your insight and have a few questions. What is Rick DiPietro’s worth and will he have value or have injuries killed his career? Also, David Perron, Michael Frolik, David Booth, and Joe Pavelski – where will these players top out on point projection?
Ed, Hamilton, Ont.


Right now DiPietro’s value is as low as can be. He is still young, so he will recover, but you can expect nagging injuries to crop-up pretty much every season with him. Personally, I would rather he not be on any of my teams.

David Perron’s upside I put in the mid-70s, Michael Frolik’s upside is the low-90s, David Booth’s is in the low-70s and Joe Pavelski’s is the high-70s. I’m pretty loose with my upsides, as I treat them as a true “peak if everything falls into place” number. I estimate about 10 percent of players reach the upside I give them and only a small percentage actually over-achieve on them (Ryan Getzlaf, the topic of Tuesday’s article, is an example). If you want an upside that most players hit, take my number and subtract 15 percent.

Hi Dobber. What's your prediction for Bobby Ryan next year? Do you think he can build on or maintain his numbers? Or do you think he'll suffer the usual second-year slump?
Savas, Huntsville, Ont.


Sophomore slumps are tough to nail down, Savas. I generally run my leagues with the attitude that a sophomore will build on his rookie season. More often than not, that turns out to be correct. When it doesn’t, as with the case of Peter Mueller, it’s disappointing, but you live with it. I figure Ryan will flirt with 70 next season.

I have the second overall pick in the upcoming draft. Assuming my team is equal at forward and defense, is Victor Hedman my best bet or would you rather go with someone like Matt Duchene fantasy wise?
Justin, Hamilton, Ont.


I lean towards forwards when making these decisions, because you don’t have to wait as long for them to make an impact. Hedman should be a 40-point rearguard immediately, but I think it will be several years before he really blossoms into an elite fantasy stud. Duchene, on the other hand, I compare to Steven Stamkos. An average rookie year that begins slowly and speeds up, followed by a 70-point sophomore campaign.

I'm in a keeper league where we select 10 keepers out of a team of 23. My top seven are Joe Thornton, Marian Hossa, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Daniel Briere, David Krejci and Henrik Lundqvist. From the following, who should I round out my 10 selections with: Anze Kopitar, Jason Pominville, Steve Mason, Nikita Filatov, Milan Michalek and Kristian Huselius. Can Mason have another huge year? Can Pominville rebound to an 80-point player again? What can be expected from Filatov next year? We are expanding, so I'm sure to lose two I can't get back at the draft table.
Jonathan, Vancouver


First, my picks: Steve Mason, Nikita Filatov and Anze Kopitar.

As for Mason – hell yes. He’ll have a great career that will only be slowed if his earlier knee problems come back to haunt him. I believe Jason Pominville will be a steady 70- to 75-point player, so yes there will be a rebound. My instinct tells me to keep him over Daniel Briere, but Briere’s injuries only seem to really haunt him every three years, so upon further reflection I would stick with your seven and go with my three. As for Filatov – you would be keeping him for 2010-11. Next season don’t expect more than 40 as Ken Hitchcock eases him into the lineup.

Please rank these players for 2010 and beyond....
Patrik Berglund, Steven Stamkos, Blake Wheeler, Michael Frolik, T.J. Oshie, Jakub Voracek, Fabian Brunnstrom, Mikkel Boedker, Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Viktor Tikhonov, Oscar Moller, Nikita Filatov.
Pete, Montreal


For next year, assuming roto-style rules (i.e. multiple categories, all positions need to be filled) in order: Doughty, Stamkos, Bogosian, Oshie, Frolik, Voracek, Berglund, Wheeler, Filatov, Boedker, Brunnstrom, Moller, Tikhonov.

Over the long term: Filatov, Doughty, Stamkos, Frolik, Bogosian, Voracek, Oshie, Berglund, Boedker, Moller, Brunnstrom, Wheeler, Tikhonov.

Hey Dobber, I need your well-informed opinion! I'm in a 15-team keeper league with salaries and a cap. I have Eric Staal who is RFA and I know that a few teams are going to put in offer sheets on him in the range of $6- to $9-million. If I matched, I’d be right up against the cap and have no money to sign a backup goalie (I'd have to rely on Tuukka Rask and Martin Brodeur as my tenders). I have an offer on the table of Paul Stastny and a first round pick for Staal. Would you take that? I think Stastny and Staal have similar upsides, but Staal is the reigning Ironman whereas Stastny has missed 53 games over the past two years. Stastny would likely save me enough money to sign a top goalie (like Ryan Miller) to complement Brodeur AND I'd get a draft pick, but if he's too soft then it seems like too big of a gamble.
Logan, Calgary


While I do believe Staal’s upside is about 20 points higher than Stastny’s and I do believe Stastny is a little fragile, I would do this deal. Given the cap position you are in and the fact Stastny will give you big points early on, it’s the right move. You can trade Stastny in December when his value is higher.

I am in a keeper pool, in which I finished in last place. I have the first pick overall. Without knowing who will be available as a free agent, I am targeting one of three players: John Tavares (my original obvious choice), Cody Hodgson and Matt Duchene. Who do you think is going to give me the best chance in both the long- and short-term?
Habsfan Doug, Montreal


Stick with your gut Doug. Tavares has the highest upside and the potential to impact the most right off the bat. The only question mark is his shift-to-shift consistency, but when he is properly challenged he overcomes that. Let’s assume the NHL will challenge him.

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 important to know. This will help me advise 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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