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Jumping the gun

His team has yet to win on the road and Eric Staal has struggled with five points in 13 games this season. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

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His team has yet to win on the road and Eric Staal has struggled with five points in 13 games this season. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Marian Hossa will make his season – and Chicago – debut and owners are scrambling to make room. Let’s get to some letters!

I am in a 20-team league with full NHL rosters. I have been feeding at the bottom of the league all season so I felt drastic measures were needed. I ended up trading Evander Kane for Robert Lang and Jonathan Cheechoo and just completed a deal sending Alex Ovechkin, David Moss, Steve Sullivan and J-S Giguere away, getting back Vaclav Prospal, Keith Tkachuk, David Backes and Pekka Rinne. I need the assists, faceoff win categories and some extra goaltending numbers. How do you think I fared?
Struggling, Kingston, Ont.


Whoops. You should have flipped me an email before those deals…not after. Although leagues this deep are generally keeper leagues, I can’t imagine you agreeing to those deals in a keeper. So I will assume it’s a one-year rotisserie league. Only in a deep fantasy league like yours would Cheechoo find a home, but he’s still marginal. I like the Rinne for Giguere swap and I think Backes is bound to improve, but that doesn’t make up for the loss of Ovechkin. He’ll be a top-three scorer this year, which means his best weeks are still ahead of him. You were a bottom feeder because Ovie was hurt and Sullivan was slumping. A deal needed to be made, you were right about that, but nothing this extreme. More patience next time – it’s early!

Hey Dobber, I enjoy your column. Should I try to sell high on Eric Staal or hold onto him? If I trade, what kind of value should I seek in return? Thanks for the advice!
Craig, Fairfield, Calif.


Hey Craig, thanks. I wouldn’t consider Staal’s current value as “high.” Of all the days to sell him over the past seven or eight years, today is probably the worst. If you want to deal him, wait until he strings together a few solid weeks and proves himself once again to be among the elite. Obviously that’s the time you would least want to part with him, since he’d be helping you so much, but that’s the beauty of fantasy hockey – finding the strength to trade away hot players who you think will cool and picking up duds who you think will turn it around.

Dobber, I look forward to your weekly mailbag replies. I'm in a non-keeper league where I have two positions for right wing and capped at 82 games per position. I have Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen. Who's my best bet to fill in for most of the season until Franzen gets healthy? Players available for that position are pretty thin: Michael Frolik, Martin Havlat, Bryan Little, Ales Kotalik, Nik Antropov, Nathan Horton, Jakub Voracek, Daniel Cleary, David Backes, Mike Ryder, Joffrey Lupul, Drew Stafford, Dustin Byfuglien, Wayne Simmonds or Claude Giroux.
Joel, Carstairs, Alta.


Thanks Joel. First I will rule out some of the easier ones – Cleary, Lupul, Simmonds, Byfuglien, Stafford and Ryder. I just don’t see the upside this year. I think Backes will turn it around, but wouldn’t chance it when those other guys are available. I’m wary of Havlat because of his fragility and his numbers haven’t been great.

With Rich Peverley and Max Afinogenov rolling, I don’t think Little will pan out this season. So that leaves Frolik, Kotalik, Antropov, Horton, Giroux and Voracek. I’m not convinced Kotalik can keep this up and I don’t see Voracek getting to 60 points under Ken Hitchcock this year. Of the four who remain, I think you could do well with any of them, but my personal choice would be Horton. He has 16 points in his past 13 games and has performed strongly in several statistical categories.

What do you think of David Krejci and Corey Perry for Nicklas Backstrom (Washington) and Brad Boyes? I’m in a one year H2H league.
Alex, New York


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Although I believe Perry will slow and Boyes will heat up, I would rather have the Perry/Krejci side of this deal. Perry is giving you so much in so many categories that even a slowdown would put him ahead of Boyes. Backstrom and Krejci will each heat up and although Backstrom will get somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 points in the next 60 games versus Krejci at around 50 in 60, I don’t think that gap makes up for what you give up with Perry. All those shots and penalty minutes to go with a breakout season offensively…

Hey Dobber, I really enjoy your insight on the fantasy hockey world. I am in a one-year, head-to-head league with G, A, PIM, PPP, SHP and GWG as the categories. What is the deal with Martin Havlat this year? Should I ride him through this slump or pick up another right winger? Currently we have Langenbrunner, Kovalev and Afinogenov available. There are no restrictions on the number of waiver moves you can make.
Kevin, Buffalo


It’s tough to drop a player of Havlat’s talent, but with Afinogenov available and clearly very comfortable in Atlanta, I would make that switch.

Hey Dobber I have a question for you. I am in a 12-team keeper league, points only, and I am near the bottom of the standings right now. We have a draft coming up in three weeks and we can only pick two players left of who wasn't drafted so I was wondering who you would pick out of these guys: Mike Fisher, Evander Kane or Matt Moulson? I am going to get a shot at one of them seeing where I am in the standings. I am thinking Kane. Would you do that? Thanks Dobber.
Brett, Regina, Sask.


As much as I believe in Matt Moulson (I think he’ll get 65 this year and even more in the future alongside John Tavares), in a keeper league, you just can’t deny Evander Kane. He may only get 50 points or so this season, but his upside is much higher than Moulson’s and he won’t rely on linemates to help him get there.

Hey Dobber, I'm in a one-year, head-to-head league and I have been sitting on Marian Hossa all season. Now that he'll be back this week I have to activate him from the IR and drop another roster player. Of my skaters, I consider Anze Kopitar, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle, Matt Carle, Alex Goligoski and Stephane Robidas as no-brainers to keep. Who should I drop from the following: Bill Guerin, Justin Williams, Vaclav Prospal, Jason Demers or Wojtek Wolski? Thanks!
Eric, Los Angeles


Hi Eric, I’d be dropping Guerin here. And don’t be so quick to rank the likes of Robidas and Carle ahead of Demers. Those are two defensemen I would be shopping right now. Robidas had the bulk of his points (four) in one recent game, but you have seen his well-established career point totals – and he is far ahead of that pace. Carle has just two points in his past 10 games and while I do see him settling in the 42- to 48-point range, he’s a little ahead of that pace right now and some poolies really covet that. Demers, meanwhile, should also finish in that range, but is more consistent. He doesn’t score his points in bunches.

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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