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New beginnings

Paul Kariya played only 11 games last season because of injury. (Photo by Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Paul Kariya played only 11 games last season because of injury. (Photo by Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s like Christmas Eve for hockey fans and there are plenty of last minute fantasy drafts to boot. Is there a more exciting time of year? Let’s get to the letters!

Hey Dobber, regarding your keeper player rankings (http://www.thehockeynews.com/listings/47-Keeper-League-Player-Rankings.html), do you recommend using them if the league format is beyond just straight points? The league I am in is G, A, plus-minus, PIM, PPP, SHP, and GWG for forwards and defensemen.
Alex, Dallas


I would still use the rankings as a guide, keeping in mind that it only measures points. In your particular league you would bump up the value of players who spend a lot of time in the box as well as those who score more goals than they get assists.

Keeper league, points only – Patrick Marleau or Alexander Semin? 
Vincent, Sherbrooke, Que.

It’s a close call, but I would take Semin and his upside over Marleau and his more consistent health.

Dobber, I'm in a keeper league (five skaters, one goalie). I’ve discovered it’s tough to find top-four defensemen after draft day, so I plan to keep Sergei Gonchar, Brian Campbell, Dan Boyle and Zdeno Chara. As my fifth skater I am keeping Anze Kopitar. My question to you is whether I should drop one of my ‘D’ for one of these guys: Alex Tanguay, Steve Sullivan, T.J. Oshie, Derick Brassard or Nikita Filatov?
Laurent, Ottawa


I would keep Filatov and drop Chara. I know it’s hard to find a good defenseman, but in a year or two it will really pay off for you.

Goals are worth two and assists are worth one. Who do I keep, Ales Hemsky or Devin Setoguchi?
The Dude, Toronto


Setoguchi. His linemates are Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley, so his upside is through the roof this season.

What type of season do you predict for Paul Kariya, Steve Sullivan and J-S Giguere? I’m wondering if they are worth picking up in my league?
John, Windsor, Ont.


I think Kariya will flourish in St. Louis with a deeper team and improved linemates; he showed signs of that in limited action last year. Conservatively, I would say 75 games and 70 points, but he could go as high as 80. For Sullivan, I think he can give you 60 points in 65 contests. Anything above that would be gravy, but there is a risk there with his health and age. As for Giguere, I don’t think he will get as many starts as Hiller, but he should still flirt with 20 wins.

I don't understand how Jaromir Jagr, a washed-up UFA, makes your fantasy player rankings and Miikka Kiprusoff and Steve Mason are both left off the list. What rope are you smoking? I think you must be using the cheap stuff.
Adam, Thorold, Ont.


That is exactly what I do before I sit down to go over my rankings, Adam. Is that wrong? Actually, I can’t believe you didn’t notice the entire rankings list is without goaltenders. If I included them then of course those two would be on there. As for Jagr, you’re preaching to the choir, but he is still owned in all three of my keeper leagues and is still getting traded (for actual assets in return). I can’t ignore that fact. However, he’s fading from the list slowly, as more keeper-leaguers catch on to what you and I in our smoke-filled haze already knew long ago.

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Hey Dobber, I’m in a roto keeper league. Our prospect draft is coming up and I’m looking for a goalie. Who looks to be the best goalie in a few years: Jacob Markstrom, Chet Pickard, Thomas McCollum or Jonas Gustavsson? Am I missing any players who should be on this list?
Scott, Hamilton, Ont.


You have the only name I care about – Markstrom. He’s the best goalie not in the NHL right now and he has the brightest future among the goalies you listed.

I have to decide who to protect as a fourth forward in my keeper league. I have Loui Eriksson and Travis Zajac. Both had almost identical point totals last year and are the same age. Who has better short-term/long-term upside?
Andrew, Barrie, Ont.


That is a tough one. I would lean towards Eriksson because his points were less reliant on linemates, whereas Zajac really benefitted from Parise.

As a fifth defenseman, who would you rather own, Matt Hunwick or Alex Goligoski? I play in a 16-team head-to-head league with multiple categories.
Troy, Vancouver


Hands down Goligoski. His upside is far higher and I feel more comfortable about him getting the games and ice time than Hunwick.

In a keeper league, I have several players I think might be worth dropping to pick up Jakub Voracek: Patrick Marleau, Patrik Berglund, Ville Leino, Chris Kunitz and Jimmy Howard. Who, if any, should I dump? Thanks.
Jack, Toronto


I am not sure what your goaltending situation is, but to me the obvious choice is to drop Howard. If push came to shove I would drop Leino for him, too.

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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