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No doubting Doughty

Drew Doughty notched 27 points in 81 games for the Kings in his rookie season. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Drew Doughty notched 27 points in 81 games for the Kings in his rookie season. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

As the playoffs draw to a close, keeper league owners shift their focus to the upcoming draft and NHL free agency. Let’s get to the letters!

Hey Dobber, I'm in a 10-team keeper league where we get to keep one center, two wingers, one defenseman, one goalie and two reserves (any position). Goals count for two points and assists count for one. The guys I'm thinking of keeping for sure are Pavel Datsyuk, Martin St-Louis, Simon Gagne, Marian Gaborik and Miikka Kiprusoff. On defense, would you keep Dion Phaneuf, Tomas Kaberle or Niklas Kronwall? This leaves room for one more forward and it's between Brad Boyes, Phil Kessel and Paul Stastny. Who do you think will get me more points considering our point system?
Tom, Laval, Que.


Well, Tom, the quick answer would be Phaneuf and Stastny. That being said, Stastny’s recent injuries have me a tad concerned, while Kronwall had a tremendous second half and Kessel is a pure sniper. The latter sure falls nicely into your points system, but he’s likely going to miss the month of October and perhaps November (shoulder surgery). I’ll stick with Phaneuf because Kronwall mostly gets assists, so let’s analyze the Stastny vs. Kessel problem. Assume Stastny plays 70-75 games. I figure he can get 25 goals and 50 assists, which is 100 points in your system. Kessel will play 60 games and score 30 goals and 30 assists, which is 90 points. I think under your system with such limited keepers, you really only need to look one year into the future. Go with Stastny.

Hi Dobber! I have to say, I'm quite glad you're continuing this column of yours well into the post-season and off-season. Your insights have been my go-to analysis for long-range projections for pro players and, more importantly, prospects. So, thanks! My question: What is Peter Mueller’s upside and how do you see his next three years playing out? Have the Coyotes stalled his development with their handling of him in the past year? If you had a choice between him and Bobby Ryan, who would you go for? Lastly, what kind of player do you see Nikolai Kulemin becoming? Would a poor man's AO be out of the question?
Richard, Lakewood, Colo.


Hi Richard, I still think Mueller has the talent to get to 90 points and I feel last season was just the dreaded sophomore slump. He is an excellent ‘buy low’ candidate in keeper leagues and should bounce back to 55 or 60 this season. After that, look for five- to 10-point jumps for the next few seasons. However, I would probably take Ryan over him. Ryan has obviously had more recent success and that plays a big part in a player’s trade value in fantasy leagues.

As for Nikolai Kulemin – the man would have to be pretty darn poor. If he can ever click with a top playmaking pivot, Kulemin could score 35 goals. He is the type of player whose production will depend heavily on who he plays with.

Hey Dobbs, I am in an 18-team computer simulation keeper league. I have the third overall pick and we select rookies from the previous season. I am sure Steve Mason will go No. 1 and based on the team picking second’s needs, he will take Steven Stamkos. My question: Drew Doughty or Zach Bogosian? When it comes down to long-term, defensive ability and points, who do I take?
Lee, Calgary


Both are very promising, but I really like the situation for Doughty in Los Angeles. That team is on the cusp of making great strides offensively.

If goals are worth one-and-a-half, assists worth one, goalie wins worth two, does making a goalie shutout worth three sound right? Should a shutout be worth more than a win?
Sash, Windsor, Ont.


Three points sounds right. I believe shutouts should be worth more than a win. If you are setting up a league, take last year’s results and insert different formulas for goalies. If it gives you five goalies (give or take) in the top 20 scorers, but none in the top 3, then you have a pretty good formula. Try it for two seasons ago as well – that one should give you a goalie as the top scorer thanks to record years from Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo.

Hey Dobber, I've got a question about a few 'fringe' prospects I'm hoping for a little insight on. When I say fringe, I just mean guys who likely won’t have a huge impact this year, but could be good down the road. Darren Helm, Evgeny Grachev and Jiri Tlusty: Helm's going to have a full-time roster spot with the Red Wings, but will he ever get off the third or fourth line? Grachev's been mentioned as a possible future 40-40 guy and a top-sixer with the Rangers, but will he see a roster spot this year? Tlusty had a great American League season, especially the latter half. He'll likely have a full-time roster spot, but is hoping for 50 a little too much to expect? What about his ceiling? Thanks!
Logan, Calgary


Hi Logan, I think Helm is a fantastic hockey player, but I don’t think he’ll be anything beyond an elite third-liner. Grachev could be a 40-40 player; he has wonderful upside. I also think it’s reasonable to assume he has a real shot at a spot in the coming year. Tlusty’s ceiling is the high-70s, but I wouldn’t count on that this year or next. This season look for 40-45 points.

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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