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Stuck in the middle

Alexandre Burrows has two points in the first three games this season playing on a line with the Sedin twins. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Alexandre Burrows has two points in the first three games this season playing on a line with the Sedin twins. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The first week is behind us and already some poolies are panicking. Let’s get to the letters!

Dobber, who do you see playing with the Sedins this year and reaping the benefits? Also, who has the inside track on Tampa's big line?
Carson, Ajax, Ont.


So far it has been all Alexandre Burrows on that top line in Vancouver. He has two points in three games, which is pretty good – but the Canucks have been losing, so there is bound to be a shake-up.

Mikael Samuelsson will almost certainly see some time there, as will rookie Sergei Shirokov. Whoever is on that line when the team starts winning will hang onto the job for several games. By season’s end, you will see that Burrows winds up playing with the Sedins for 50 percent of the shifts, with the rest being split between the two mentioned above, as well as Steve Bernier, Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler.

That’s just the way the NHL works these days – trios are a rarity. It always seems to be duos who stick together, with the third man changing constantly.

On that note, it is a similar situation over in Tampa. Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay will be together all season and coach Rick Tocchet really wants Steve Downie to succeed there. He will have every opportunity to do so, but at season’s end, I believe you will see him play about 40 percent of the shifts with them, while Martin St- Louis will see spot time there, as well as Ryan Malone, Drew Miller and Stephane Veilleux.

I was just offered Victor Hedman for Derick Brassard. I am very tempted to accept the trade. It’s a keeper league and my other centers are Mike Richards, T.J. Oshie, Patrick Berglund and John Tavares. My ‘D’ is Jay Bouwmeester, Brian Rafalski, Zach Bogosian, Brooks Orpik, Mike Komisarek, Luke Schenn and Alex Pietrangelo.
Ross, Antigo, Wis.


I would take that deal, Ross, especially with your team. You can spare the pivot and your defensemen really fall off after your four best.

Head-to-head league, 10 teams (no keepers). My goalies: Cam Ward, Tomas Vokoun, Marty Turco, Kari Lehtonen. While I'm happy with my team, particularly my forwards, should I be concerned about not having a true Tier-1 goalie? If so, any suggestions about how to acquire one?
Matt, Topsham, Maine


I’m always concerned if I don’t own a top goalie, but I consider Ward a Tier-1 type by most standards. I would also consider Turco and Vokoun solid Tier-2 guys, so you’re covered. Play Ward every week and roll with the hot hand for the other spot.

Hey Dobber, long-time reader, first-time writer. Non-keeper roto-league; 20 managers. We start two goalies and I have Jimmy Howard and Ryan Miller. Question 1: Do you see Howard being as useful as Ty Conklin was last year? Question 2: Since Marian Hossa can go on IR for the time being, who is the best option at center to get me some useful combination of all categories skaters are graded in (especially FW, plus-minus, PIMs)? Matt Lombardi, Mike Comrie, Brendan Morrison, Jarret Stoll, Valtteri Filppula. I know...quite the shady cast of characters, but that is all that remains in such a deep league. Thanks!
Mark, Mississauga, Ont.


Jimmy Howard – I do think he can be as useful as Ty Conklin, but he won’t be. Keep in mind the Red Wings are a different team this year. They’re still a 100-point team, but that’s a far cry from the 112 they ended with last campaign. All the same, you need to land a second goaltender. Howard is a backup and, as such, won’t give you many starts.

Marian Hossa’s replacement – Potentially, Comrie could give you 60 points and 80-plus penalty minutes. I think I would take a stab at him, especially on a temporary basis. I don’t believe he will be a plus-minus liability as in the past. I like Filppula and Lombardi for breakout seasons, but they won’t help you with penalty minutes.

I'm in a 10-team keeper league looking for a final player for my team (non-keeper spot). I'm in a good position to finish at or near the top this year. With that in mind would you suggest: Mark Recchi, Jason Blake, Scott Hartnell, Michael Ryder or Nikita Filatov? It's a points-only league.
Steve, St. Catherines, Ont.


In your situation, I would go with Filatov hands down. The best of those other guys will only top him by 15 points, but Filatov is unquestionably one to keep long-term. There aren’t a lot of players in this league with the ability to get to 100 points, but he is one of them. Look for around 50 points this campaign and then increase that by 15 each ensuing season until he posts in the 80s and 90s on a regular basis.

Should I trade Mike Ribeiro and Milan Hejduk for Mike Cammalleri and then pick a center up like Derick Brassard?
Mike, New York


I’ll make two assumptions – one, this is not a keeper and two, this is roto-style. Yes, you should do that. Cammy is a huge upgrade to Hejduk and Brassard will replace Ribeiro nicely. Wingers are harder to replace than centermen, so even if the fragile Brassard gets hurt, you can replace that spot again just as easily.

Hey Dobber. Just looking at my team and trying to plan my next best moves. (12-6-2, points only, single-season pool). These are my question-mark players: Tim Connolly, Justin Williams, Ville Leino, Matt Niskanen, Craig Conroy. Who would you be most concerned about for this season? By the way, thanks for the advice last year. I wrote in a couple of times and rode your advice to a win in the pool.
Steve, Toronto


Thanks Steve. I am least concerned with Leino on your list. I think he’ll have an outstanding rookie campaign en route to topping 45 points – perhaps as high as 65. Naturally, I am most concerned with Connolly, who can’t seem to stay healthy for even 70 games, let alone 80. He is worth keeping though, because you never know. Conroy, however, is not. I know he has a couple of points to start the year, but the 38-year-old has averaged fewer than 40 points per season over the past three years.

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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