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Shoot for the top

Ottawa goalie Pascal Leclaire's inability to stay healthy makes him a fantasy risk. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

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Ottawa goalie Pascal Leclaire's inability to stay healthy makes him a fantasy risk. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

Sometimes we’re so immersed in micro-managing we can’t see the forest for the trees. Winning is everything in fantasy hockey. Let’s get to some letters!

Have an opportunity to make a trade...either Brad Richards or Henrik Sedin for Pascal Leclaire. Have plenty of other firepower in forwards (Kopitar, Savard, Huselius, Hejduk, Malone, Neal), but my goalie situation is less than stellar...i.e. Ray Emery and Dan Ellis are my starters. Should I make this trade?
Frank, Gatineau, Que.


Disclosure – long-time readers may be aware, as far as fantasy hockey goes, I am not a fan of Leclaire. I don’t like fragile players on my team and I can’t think of a more injury-prone goaltender, besides maybe Rick DiPietro. I also happen to like Brian Elliott’s potential. So given that bias, I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. The answer is no. You can use that firepower to acquire a better goaltender.

Hey Dobber. I'm in a one-year points-only fantasy league with a salary cap. During the season, we are allowed four trades, two by the midpoint and two more during the second half of the year. I've already used one of the two. Now I'm trying to figure out if it would be worth it for me to trade Brent Burns for M-A Bergeron since the latter has been putting up pretty decent numbers (goals from D-men get me two points) and is a really cheap option. With this trade, I would free up well more than $2 million, which could potentially help me down the road. Thanks for your opinion on this tough decision.
Simon, Ottawa


That sounds like a solid swap, Simon. I don’t think Burns will get it going this season and while there is a risk with Bergeron, his upside is pretty big. It’s still a tough call until you look at the money aspect of the deal, which sways things in Bergeron’s favor.

Hey Dobber, look forward to your advice all the time. I'm in a seven-team keeper league that is points-only and requires two of each position. I've been offered Pavel Datsyuk, Dion Phaneuf, Mark Streit and Brian Rafalski for Jeff Carter, Brent Burns and either Cam Barker or Christian Ehrhoff as well as my second and third round picks for next year. I already have fairly established keepers and it would be tough for me to keep Datsyuk if he doesn't perform this year. So my questions are: Is Datsyuk going to be able to keep up the almost 100-point seasons he is known for? Or is Detroit suffering too much across the board for that to happen? And am I undervaluing my picks? I expect to win this year if I do this trade, but I can't see my next year going too well unless I draft incredibly well. Finally, I am wondering if Ehrhoff is the real deal or is it better for me to keep Barker?
Scott, Edmonton


A lot to address here, but first thing’s first: “I expect to win this year if I do this trade”

Then do it. That’s why we play fantasy hockey, to win. Keeping an eye on the future is nice, but seize the immediate victory if it is there. You can save for the future all you want, but too many intangibles can ruin things down the road, so you need to take the win when you can get it. Consider the draft picks as payment for your victory. Now, on to the other questions.

Datsyuk – he may slip to 80 this season, but that doesn’t make him any less of a keeper. He is an elite player and is a keeper no matter how bad of a season he has.

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Ehrhoff – he may be the real deal, but Barker definitely is the real deal. Go with “definitely” over “may be” and stick Ehrhoff in that deal.

Dobber, What's going on with Vincent Lecavalier and do you think he's going to snap out of it?
Matt, Maine


I hate to say it, but I don’t think he’s going to this season. I think he still has a couple of 100-point seasons in him, but you certainly won’t see that this year. His current pace is for 68 points, but I don’t see him getting fewer than 75. But I’m sure that’s not what you or a million other poolies are looking for.

Hey Dobber, I enjoy your mailbag column. Can you rank your top five rookies for fantasy purposes? Thanks!
Craig, Fairfield, Calif.


1.    John Tavares – he’ll be one of those rare 100-point players and probably pretty soon.
2.    Semyon Varlamov – look for several 40-win seasons on a dominant Washington team.
3.    Michael Del Zotto – a great offensive defenseman who seems destined to top 60 points more often than not.
4.    James van Riemsdyk – if it wasn’t for the early signs of possible injury problems ahead, he would be No. 2 on this list.
5.    Matt Duchene – it was close between Duchene, Jamie Benn, Evander Kane and Tyler Myers, but I like the young Av’s long-term upside the most.

I am looking at offering Martin Havlat and Adrian Aucoin for Devin Setoguchi and Kris Letang in a keeper pool. Feels like I am giving up too much, but at the same time the youth picked up would be great and I need access to Pittsburgh and San Jose’s offenses. Scoring is points only.
Middle of the Pack, Victoria, B.C.


To me it looks as though you aren’t giving up enough. If I were the other owner, I would decline your offer. I would prefer Setoguchi to Havlat because Havlat is an IR regular (not that Setoguchi is an iron man, but he still beats Havlat in that department). I would prefer Letang over Aucoin because he is on the rise, whereas the veteran could soon hit that wall that usually signals the end of an elder statesman’s career. Pony up more to get this deal done – you’ll thank me for it.

With Ales Hemsky injured for the rest of the year, I have to pick someone up. Who would you suggest and who would you go with from: Jason Arnott, Antoine Vermette or Tomas Plekanec? I'm in a one-year head-to-head league.
Alex, New York


I would take Plekanec – I think he’ll flirt with 65 to 70 points this year. Vermette should get to 65, so it will be close, but I like Plekanec here. As for Arnott, injuries will ensure he falls far short of 65.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Mailbag will appear every Wednesday throughout the season. To send the Dobber your question, click HERE.

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