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Off-season moves

Nicklas Backstrom had 88 points in 82 games with the Capitals last season. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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Nicklas Backstrom had 88 points in 82 games with the Capitals last season. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Free agency…entry draft…players moving all over the place. How does all this impact your league? Let’s get to the letters!

After John Tavares, how would you rank this year's draft class for potential offensive upside from 1-5? (Goals and assists only). Thanks; love your pieces here and on DobberHockey!
Cory, Ajax, Ont.

Asking about “potential” is different than asking who I would like to own in a keeper league, so what I will do is give you two lists. I will only look at forwards, as defensemen do not have the same potential and many fantasy leagues don’t differentiate based on position.

Here are the five players after J.T. whom I would like to own in a keeper league that counts strictly points:

1. Matt Duchene, Colorado
2. Brayden Schenn, Los Angeles
3. Nazem Kadri, Toronto
4. Jordan Schroeder, Vancouver
5. Evander Kane, Atlanta

The above list factors in the wait time (you don’t want to wait too long for the dividends) and the likelihood they will reach star status.

Here are the five players after J.T. who have the most potential for some monster numbers – they just may never get there and are considered high risk/high reward:

1. Alexander Avtsin, Montreal
2. Duchene, Colorado
3. Schroeder, Vancouver
4. Tomas Tatar, Detroit
5. Chris Kreider, N.Y. Rangers

An honorable mention goes to Edmonton’s Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, whom I would put sixth on both lists.

Hi Dobber, I am in an 18-team keeper league where forward goals and assists are worth one point, D-men goals are worth two points and assists one point. I hold the first and sixth overall picks in the upcoming draft. Who would you take (Tavares/Hedman/Duchene)? Would you trade the No.1 pick for Zetterberg or Backstrom (Was.)? I also have Mike Green, do you think it is worth trading him now to take advantage of his monster season, or is the best yet to come? Thanks, love the Mailbag and your insights...Keep up the great work!

Nelson, Fort St. John, B.C. 

Thanks Nelson! First of all – the best is yet to come for Mike Green and he should not be traded in any league or any format. The second important point I’d like to make is that you can’t put a price on proven stardom. I would trade the first overall pick for Nicklas Backstrom. Sure, Tavares could be a bigger star, but he’s not right now and Backstrom will be a 100-point player for years to come. Finally - and I gave it away in the last sentence - but there is no question I would select J.T.

Hey Dobber, a quick "who should I keep” question: I’m in a 10-team roto league that ranks G, A, Pts., PIM, plus-minus, PP points, SH points and shots. With my final spot I need to decide between Simon Gagne, Andrei Kostitsyn and Ryan Suter. Gagne is having off-season surgery, which could lead to a slow start, whereas Kostitsyn is coming off a tough year. I threw Suter in there because he is an excellent D-man, but I'd probably be better off keeping another left winger other than Alexander Semin.
Matt, Adelaide, Aus.


Since you list two defensemen already amongst your keepers (not published), I think you are correct in your assessment that you need to go with a left winger. Gagne would be my pick, as he has that “name” that will appeal to your fellow owners in trade talks come October. So in this case I would recommend keeping a player for his trade value rather than what he could do in the coming season.

Hey Dobber, I have a tough judgment call to make in a keeper league: 14 teams, five keepers each (any position), G, A, Pts., plus-minus, PIM, PP points, W, GAA and saves. I've got Rick Nash, Alexander Semin, Thomas Vanek and Cam Ward for certain, but can't decide whom to choose from Paul Stastny, David Backes and Tomas Vokoun. What do you make of Backes? How much more offensive upside? PIMs sustainable? Stastny seems like the safest bet, but injuries are a concern and that supporting cast is iffy. Who would be your pick? Thanks a bunch, love the column. Cheers.
B.N., Edmonton


I would take Backes. You already have a good goalie protected and Backes has an upside of about 70 points. His penalty minutes will be sustainable, too. Stastny’s injury history worries me a little as well, but he doesn’t offer the multi-category return of a Backes anyway.

Hey Dobber, the Blues are a young up-and-coming team; do you think Lars Eller, Brett Sonne and Aaron Palushaj can make the team this year in a top-six forward role? What is the upside of these players fantasy-wise in points-only leagues?
Daniel, Moncton, N.B.


Hi Daniel, the Blues are indeed up and coming, I fully agree, but I don’t believe any of those three will make the team and play in the top six. I think Palushaj could make the team and play on the third line and I think Eller and Sonne are a year away. Long-term, Eller and Sonne have potential for the high-70s and Palushaj should top out in that 66-71 range.

My son (12) wants to start playing fantasy hockey. If he signs up now will it be for the 2009-10 season? Is he better off waiting until closer to the season starting? Is he old enough to do this on his own? I know nothing about how it works. I would very much appreciate any info you can provide me. Thank you!
Kim, Pittsburgh


Hi Kim, your son will love it! Playing fantasy hockey isn’t something you need to sign up for way in advance – there are hundreds of thousands of fantasy leagues out there, from simple pools where you just choose players every October, to complicated pools where you keep your same players every season and make trades, draft picks and waiver-wire pickups. You can have him sign up for a one-year league online with some friends, or just join a public league. Sites such as Yahoo.com have a fantasy section where he can get his feet wet in a public one-year league. By next year, he’ll be hungry for something bigger and better and will have a full understanding of what his options are.

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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