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Bug bites

David Backes has two points and is minus-3 in 12 games this season. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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David Backes has two points and is minus-3 in 12 games this season. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The volume of letters to the mailbag is at an all-time high! That happens when the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Sergei Gonchar, Eric Staal, Andrei Markov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Roberto Luongo, Daniel Sedin and Marc Savard all get hurt in the same month – people panic. So let’s try and ease the pain by tackling some letters…

Should I trade David Krejci and Bryan Little for Patrick Kane? I'm in a one-year head-to-head league.
Alexander, New York


Just knowing minimal details, I think dealing a center and a right winger for a substantially more valuable right winger is a good move. In most leagues you can pick up a 55-point pivot off the wire to replace Krejci.

Hey Dobber, I really enjoy your weekly fantasy mailbag column. I'm in a roto pool that goes by basic stats: G, A, GWG and plus-minus. With the recent injury to Simon Gagne, would it be wise to pick up Claude Giroux? If so, who do you suggest I drop, Patrick O'Sullivan, Alex Tanguay, Ryane Clowe, or Brandon Dubinsky?
Mike, Hamilton, Ont.


Thanks, Mike. Yes, I think that will be a good move. Giroux has seen his ice time rise since Gagne’s absence and his production will rise accordingly. I would probably dump Clowe, although Dubinsky is a close second. The Marian Gaborik factor leans me in the direction of keeping Dubinsky over Clowe.

Dobber, I'm in a one-year pool, goalies get two points for a win and three for a shutout. What's the deal with Niklas Backstrom and the Wild? Should I hold onto him or should I try my luck with Craig Anderson? Also, do you think the hype around Brent Burns is overblown? How many points do you expect him to get this season...if he stays healthy?
Fleming, Nanaimo, B.C.


Make the switch in net. Granted, Colorado won’t continue their torrid pace, but I still like their chances of getting more W’s than the Wild over the next 65 or 70 games. As for Burns – I do think he is overhyped by some fantasy analysts. The talent is there, but I wonder if he’ll ever get 50 points as a defenseman. If the Wild ever move him back to forward I would expect him to pick up between 50-65 points. As for this year, count on him matching his career high of 43.

Hey Dobber, I am in a one-year league where goalies count for five of the 11 categories, which is why I picked three in the draft. I have Pascal Leclaire, Chris Osgood and Tim Thomas. I was offered Henrik Zetterberg for Thomas. My current centers are Joe Thornton, Andy McDonald and Mike Comrie. Should I pull the trigger?
B. Van Funky, Singapore (originally from Calgary)


Nope. You don’t want to go the next five months riding Band-Aid Boy Leclaire and a stumbling Osgood. I know Thomas is slumping and McDonald hasn’t done much, but both of those players will turn around soon, I’m sure.

Dobber, I'm in a keeper league, standard roto, and I'm wondering what to do with Peter Mueller. I have him under contract until 2011-2012 so it will cost me money to dump him. There are guys out there who might be better, at least for the rest of this season. What do you think his upside is?
Ron, Mt. Camel, Ill.


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It’s still only his third season – and he’s only 12 games in, too. I like to give players four full seasons before even considering writing them off. A lot of people were writing Jeff Carter off as a 60-point player before last year’s (his fourth) 84-point explosion. Carter wasn’t scratched at all in his third year and he still posted 53 points. Mueller, on the other hand, hasn’t played like he could even hit that mark and has a long way to go to reach his vast potential. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but you should probably stick it out until next season and then see what kind of start he has. I’m afraid he’s probably not going to bounce back with anything decent in 2009-10. I still believe he can be an 85-point player…eventually.

Hey Dobber, I'm in a standard Yahoo roto league where points are awarded for goals/assists. My forwards are injury-plagued and I need to add some help up front. I'm thinking of dropping Slava Kozlov and picking up one of the following available guys; Shawn Horcoff, Scott Hartnell, Tomas Plekanec, Antoine Vermette, Bill Guerin, Matt Moulson or Jarret Stoll. In your expert opinion, who looks best?
Jordan, Vancouver

If positions do not matter, I would go with Vermette, as I think he is having his breakout season. If positions do matter go with a winger – Moulson.

I'm wondering if it's time to give up on David Backes? It's a keeper league, but I'm fairly set for keepers. Is it time to cut Backes loose? Two points in 12 games is bad enough, but he's not even putting up PIM! He's on pace for 54 PIM after netting 165 last year. Were his 31 goals a fluke? Also, please make Kovalchuk, Malkin, Luongo and Marian Hossa get better...these injuries are killing my chances at a repeat.
Brock, Waterloo, Ont.


No, Backes had five points in 16 games to start last year. I think he’ll be fine in the points department – 55 to 65, mark my words. The PIMs are concerning because he ended last campaign with 28 in his last 24 contests. He could be a 60-point, 90-PIM player this year, whereas I initially figured he would be good for 65 and 150-plus. Wish I could help on your injury front – but we’re all getting hit there!

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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