Marian Gaborik sustained a thigh injury just before the Olympics and is expected to miss the first two games for Slovakia. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Olympic hockey is in full swing. While we do get to see some elite action, unfortunately this also means the standings in our fantasy leagues are the same today as they were yesterday. And they’ll be the same tomorrow, too. That doesn’t stop fantasy owners from talking trade or thinking about roster changes, so let’s get to some letters!
Hi Dobber, points-only keeper league, counts playoffs. With our trade deadline/roster lock looming March 3, here is what I've got to play with: C - Pavel Datsyuk, Mikko Koivu, Mike Ribeiro and Brendan Morrison, LW - Ilya Kovalchuk, Chris Kunitz and Milan Michalek, RW - Bill Guerin, Tomas Holmstrom and Loui Eriksson (LW/RW), D - Nicklas Lidstrom, Erik Johnson, Kyle Quincey and Kurtis Foster, G - Marc-Andre Fleury and Chris Mason.
1.Who do you see as eight keepers for next season?
2.Will Lidstrom retire?
3.Where do you think Ilya will sign?
Cale, Windsor, Ont.
Hi Cale, my keepers would be Datsyuk, Koivu, Ribeiro, Kovalchuk, Eriksson, Johnson, Mason and Fleury. The most difficult choice is between Lidstrom and Mason. Lidstrom is 39 and is set to become an unrestricted free agent. I think the Wings will sign him for at least another two years and I think there is enough gas in his tank to get to 55 or even 60 points one last time. I would be surprised if he retires. But your league requires 26 goalies (13 teams) and you need to make sure you are safe at that position.
As for where Kovalchuk signs, I’ve narrowed it down to 29 teams: anybody but Atlanta. I kid, of course, as you can rule out several more teams based on salary situation and roster development. I would rule out Pittsburgh, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Jose and Detroit. Any of the other 23 teams are fair game.
I'm struggling to decide who my keepers should be. We can only keep four skaters and one goalie. Keepers had to be drafted after the sixth round and you can only keep a guy three seasons. So with all the funky rules in mind, who should I bank on for the next three years and why? My eligible keepers are Henrik Sedin, Olli Jokinen, Nathan Horton, Rene Bourque, Michael Frolik, Mike Knuble, David Backes, Patric Hornqvist, Andrei Markov, Niklas Kronwall, Joe Pavelski, Jaroslav Halak, Ondrej Pavelec, Rick DiPietro, Mike Ribeiro and Ales Hemsky (11-team roto, G, A, plus-minus, PIM, SOG, PPP, GWG, W, GAA, SV, SP, SO).
John, Fredericton, N.B.
Although I like Halak better, you will have to go with Pavelec because I think he will be Atlanta’s starter next year, barring a free agent move. You will need to keep Sedin because he’ll almost win this year’s scoring title (yes, I am predicting he won’t get the lead back from Alex Ovechkin). Markov is another no-brainer because he is a top-scoring defenseman.
To me, the other two spots are between Kronwall (another solid defenseman), Backes (for multiple categories), Frolik (great upside) and Horton (finally breaking out, prior to his injury). Since Kronwall is fragile, I will rule him out. Take Horton because he has the potential to be an 80-80 guy (points-PIM). So the last spot will have to be your call – Frolik if you don’t mind waiting on him for one more year, or Backes if you think penalty minutes with points are very hard to come by in your league.
Hi Dobber, what are your thoughts on Karri Ramo? Should I sign him as a potential prospect for my keeper league or will he stay in the Kontinental League?
Denis, Moncton, N.B.
It would depend on how deep your league is, but it would have to be exceedingly deep if you were to consider signing Ramo. If 60 goalies are already signed in your league, perhaps Ramo should be considered for your farm system. I think we may see him in the NHL again, but it won’t be as a starter in the near future.
Hey Dobber, got a keeper question for you. My league is points-only for skaters and wins and save percentage for goalies. We keep 12 players. A forward is a forward; position (LW, C, RW) is not an issue. We cannot keep more than two goalies. That being said, there are the obvious ones, but I need to know who you would keep to round out the 12 or if there would be any upgrades I should try to make via trade. I am currently in seventh (of 10 teams) and don’t see myself making it into our playoffs. Here is my roster: Marian Gaborik, Derek Roy, Phil Kessel, Wojtek Wolski, Alex Tanguay, Evgeni Malkin, David Perron, Jakub Voracek, Brooks Laich, Tim Connolly, David Krejci, Paul Kariya, Mike Green, Kris Letang, Ryan Suter, Christian Ehrhoff, Tomas Vokoun, Semyon Varlamov, Carey Price and Jimmy Howard.
K. Y., Manitoba
My 12 would be: Price and Varlamov in net (but I am thought by many to have too much faith in the future of Price – if you are among the masses, then by all means go with the reliable Vokoun instead).
Skaters would be Green, Malkin, Gaborik, Voracek, Kessel, Connolly, Roy, Wolski, Letang and Suter. That means you should be dealing Krejci, Ehrhoff, Howard and Perron for picks. I would also be looking to trade Gaborik and Connolly, as they are in classic ‘sell high’ positions. If you could package those guys with one of your unprotected players such as Krejci, you could really upgrade yourself on the wing. Could Gaborik and Krejci or Connolly land you an Ilya Kovalchuk or a Henrik Zetterberg? That’s the kind of high-powered upgrade I would be on the hunt for.
Dobber I am in a keep-three roto fantasy pool and would just like your opinion on who to keep. My team is: C - Paul Stastny, Mikko Koivu, RW - Marian Gaborik and Martin Havlat, LW - Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk, D - Zdeno Chara, Mark Streit, Kurtis Foster and Joni Pitkanen, G - Ryan Miller, Bench – John-Michael Liles, Tomas Vokoun, Steve Mason and Tomas Fleischmann, IR - Kevin Bieksa.
Also, based on your keepers, what positions would you target in the first and second round of next year’s draft (12th and 13th pick)?
There is no question I would keep Ovechkin, Kovalchuk and Miller. Since you are only keeping three, the draft should be deep, so I would be targeting a right winger with my first pick, unless for some silly reason Mike Green is available. Then I would be targeting a top defenseman.
Mikko Koivu or Jason Spezza for the rest of the season?
Put me down for Spezza, with 25 points to Koivu’s 20 down the stretch.
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.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.