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Bizzaro world

Antero Niittymaki has been the better of the two goalies in Tampa this season. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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Antero Niittymaki has been the better of the two goalies in Tampa this season. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Penguins have stopped scoring, the Red Wings are out of the post-season and Anze Kopitar is walking away with the scoring title – widening his lead on Patrick Marleau of all people. If you called all of those things, then kick back and enjoy your fantasy league winnings. The rest of you – let’s get to some letters!

Hey Dobber, injuries had me dropping fast down the ranks in my one-year Yahoo pool. Currently have Jason Spezza, Danny Briere and Evgeni Malkin out...and every one of my D-men has the flu! Help! Need to know who looks best out of Ryane Clowe, Antoine Vermette, Jarret Stoll or Tomas Plekanec? Hoping for a 60-point player.
Jordan, Vancouver


Vermette will flirt with 60 this year. He is finally having the season I envisioned him having last year.

I was wondering what you thought of Martin Havlat this season. I drafted him originally because I love his skill and love to watch him, but so far he has done nothing but disappoint. Does he have a chance of putting up any kind of good numbers with a team like the Wild? Or should I just let him go?

Sam, Florence, Mich.


I did an interesting piece on Havlat and Marian Gaborik (http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/24780-Fantasy-Pool-Look-Gaborik-going-the-wrong-way.html) in the spring, basically indicating they had two choices.

One, they could play at a high level and probably get hurt. Or two, they could play a safer game and remain healthy.

On one hand, I figure Havlat could go all out and average 75 to 85 points in 55 to 65 games. Or he could be a 65- or 75-point player and get in 75 or 80 games. Judging by last season and this campaign so far, he has chosen Option 2. If healthy, he’ll still flirt with 70 points in 2009-10.

I am having serious goalie trouble. I have two goalie spots and the league counts W, GAA, SP and SO. I have Ryan Miller, Carey Price and Mike Smith on my roster, and free agent options include Antero Niittymaki, Ty Conklin, Tuukka Rask, Martin Biron, Vesa Toskala and J-S Giguere. Would you stay put? Drop one or both of Price and Smith? If so, who would you suggest to pick up?
Grant, Windsor, Ont.


I would swap Smith out for Niittymaki, as I think Niitty has won the job in Tampa. None of your other options are any better than Price at this point, so give him more time.

Keeper league. Positions are F, D, G. What to do with underperforming guys like Alex Kovalev and David Krejci? There are guys sitting on the waiver wire such as Justin Williams, James van Riemsdyk, Plekanec, Ryan Malone and Rich Peverley. Do I wait them out or try to cash in on some of the hot hands? Also, I have underperforming D-men such as Erik Johnson, Dennis Wideman and Mark Streit. Do I risk one of the underperforming, but proven D-men for the likes of Ed Jovanovski or Alex Goligoski?
Scott, Ottawa


I’m not sure what your expectations were for E.J., but that guy has had an excellent season so far. I would definitely swap out Wideman for Goligoski. The latter will clear 50 points this season, whereas the former will probably stop at 45. Definitely switch Kovalev for Peverley. I think Kovalev will get 65 points this season, but so will Peverley – and I’m starting to wonder if Peverley will get to 80. He seems to be producing no matter who the Thrashers put him on a line with.

Hey Dobber, I have an open spot and am looking to pick up an insurance forward to help this year and if he has any future value that is a bonus, too. Here are the players I am considering: Tomas Fleischmann, Ryan Malone, Tomas Plekanec, Jeff Tambellini, Matt Moulson, Eric Belanger or Mikael Samuelsson. Who is the best pick to help this season? Who would help this year and in the next few years?
Nelson, Fort St. John, B.C.


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I like Fleischmann and Moulson the best here. Both should get to the 60-point mark this campaign and there is no reason why they can’t build on that in years to come. If I had to pick, I would go with Moulson because his points could increase as linemate John Tavares develops into a star.

Why hasn’t rookie Jamie Benn been mentioned as a possible rookie of the year? He is on fire. How many points do you see him having this year and what’s his potential in two or three years?
Josh, Toronto


For what it’s worth, Josh, I had Benn ranked fourth on my Calder list in the DobberHockey fantasy guide. He had a monster junior career and he nearly made the Stars lineup in 2008 – now he is looking pretty comfortable on Dallas’ first line. I think he’ll finish in the 50- to 55-point range this campaign and in three years could flirt with 80.

I have Brandon Dubinsky, who is now injured. I also have Jakub Voracek (who seems to be improving) on my team. These are my two worst players. I have been looking at Peter Forsberg (hoping he returns), Tomas Fleischmann, Mike Fisher, Steve Reinprecht or Jarret Stoll as a replacement to Dubinsky and/or Voracek. What do you think of these replacement players? Do you think I should also drop Voracek?
Colin, Victoria, B.C.


Don’t drop Voracek and grab Fleischmann to replace Dubinsky. As for Forsberg, if someone offered me him and a second round draft pick in exchange for my fourth round pick and nothing else – I would say no. Even though I would get a better draft pick, I still wouldn’t want him on my team. That means, essentially, even if someone paid me (by moving me up in the draft) I would still decline.

It’s not worth the headache. Let’s say he returns to the NHL and gives you a point every game. Which games will he play? If you recall from his last stint in Colorado, he was missing games left, right and center. You will also recall poolies were getting almost no warning as to when he would or would not play. So you will have him dressed and active, using up a spot…and then he’s scratched. Or you’ll have him on your bench and he suddenly returns. Either way, this does more harm than good. No thank you.

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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