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Peter Mueller's potential

Peter Mueller, 22, had 37 points in 69 games split between Phoenix and Colorado last season. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Peter Mueller, 22, had 37 points in 69 games split between Phoenix and Colorado last season. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The first Wednesday of every month throughout the summer, I’ll take your fantasy hockey related questions. Lots of events to react to from the past month and we’ll also take a look at different problems that crop up in fantasy leagues. Let’s get to some letters!

I'm in a 10-team keeper league and have Jamie Benn and Peter Mueller on my team. I want to keep them because of the potential, but I'm afraid I may have to drop them to be competitive next season, seeing they both play on mediocre teams. How many points do you think each will get next year?
Guy, Dieppe, N.B.


You can count on each of them to get at least 45 points, but pencil Benn in for closer to 55. Mueller is a wildcard, though, because of his recent injury history, specifically concussions. If he plays a full season, I really think he’ll top 70 points, but obviously there is some risk he won’t reach that mark.

I'm working on my keeper situation for next season and have a couple guys on the fence. I'm choosing between either Tyler Bozak or Peter Mueller (leaning towards Mueller since he can be C/RW in my league), and Andrei Markov or John Carlson. There’s no denying Markov's talent, but between his propensity towards injury and Carlson's bright future, not to mention Markov's higher trade value...Any words of wisdom?
Ross, Bryant, Wisc.


I think you have the right idea looking at multi-position eligibility in the Mueller/Bozak case and so I agree with the way you are leaning. Markov carries a pretty big risk so I would go for Carlson in that instance, even though it may be three years before he starts doing what Markov does. But Markov may not do what Markov does anymore thanks to that knee of his.

I'm in a 12-team points only keeper league, and we're able to keep 10 players. I've got M-A Fleury, Cam Ward, Martin St-Louis, Marian Hossa, Joe Thornton, Nik Kronwall, Brian Rafalski, Paul Martin, Antoine Vermette and Tomas Plekanec as my potential keepers. I also have Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Michael Frolik, Josh Bailey, Patrice Bergeron, Alex Tanguay and Dan Hamhuis as possible keepers. Do I stick with my original list, or should I replace Plekanec, Vermette or Martin with one of the other players listed? Thanks. Always love the insight.
Dustin, Victoria, B.C.


The only name that jumps out at me that you should keep is Frolik. When I look at your list, the weakest two players are Vermette and Plekanec. Since Plekanec beat Vermette by five points last season, you have to favor him. So we’re down to the question of Vermette vs. Frolik. Antoine should be a steady producer in that 60 to 70 range, whereas Frolik is a player on the rise. I believe Frolik will top 50 points this season and within three years he will have a point-per-game campaign. That’s a level Vermette doesn’t have in him. If you want immediate points, stick with your plan. If you don’t mind taking the 15-point hit now for better payoff in the future, make that swap.

Is Alexander Radulov returning to the NHL for the 2010-11 season? If not...when?
Brad, Whitby, Ont.


Absolutely not next season: He will finish the last year of his contract in the Kontinental League. I think it’s 50/50 we see him back in 2011-12. He just won the KHL playoff scoring title and if he does so again in 2010-11, it’s hard not to think the Russian professional league will back up the Brinks truck to Radulov’s house and throw sacks and sacks of money at him to keep him there. Would he walk away from as much as $7 million or more per season to play the final year of his (sub-$1 million) entry level deal with Nashville? Wow, I think I just convinced myself he’s not coming back at all!

I run a small keeper league and one of my managers is dropping out. I have some guys interested in joining the league. The trouble is we did an expansion last year and the guy who got into the league didn't end up with a very good team. The guy dropping out has a stacked team and won last year and is set up good for the next few years. Is it fair to the guy who came in with expansion if I put the managerless team up for auction? Or should I have the new manager go through the same rigors of the expansion draft and building a team up from the other managers’ non-keeper list?
Joel, Carstairs, Alta.


Interesting dilemma. We have a bidding system in place in our keeper leagues. The expansion team would have several secret bids submitted, to be opened at a certain date. As well, an established team getting sold goes through the same process. If the team is strong enough, the bid amounts will rise. If it’s a team that is guaranteed to win a couple hundred bucks in the first year, then bidding a few hundred on it would be a no-brainer, since the profits are obvious. In your case, without those levers in place, I would hold a vote amongst all the GMs in the league giving them a few options:

1. The new owner joins with that team as is.
2. The expansion owner gets the option of that team and the new owner gets the expansion team.
3. Half of this strong team gets returned to the open market for all to draft. That new owner would get enough picks after the draft to fill out his roster, as needed.

After the first round of voting, take the top two options and have a re-vote. If you get 70 percent of the vote on one of the options at that point, you’re good to go. If not, hold a group pow-wow and try and get someone to swing their vote one way or the other (like a jury). But you need most people on board.

Hi Dobber, I'm new to fantasy hockey and want to ask which type (hockey pool vs. rotisserie) and which platform (yahoo, ESPN, cbssportsline, hockeydraft.ca, etc.) do you suggest for a beginner? For me, it is confusing with all the different rules and providers. In case there's no definite answer, perhaps you can recommend some resource (homepage, magazine, etc.) that contains a good introduction. Thank you.
Bernhard, Aachen, Germany


Welcome Bernhard! Warning – once you go down this path, you won’t be able to turn back. Fantasy hockey hooks you and then you’re stuck for life!

What I would recommend for newcomers is for you to join with a group of friends and keep the rules simple. Stick to a one-year rotisserie league. The one most commonly used is probably Yahoo. The draft can be hosted online and you can choose the categories – you may want to keep it simple and limit the categories to just five or six – maybe goals, assists, penalty minutes, wins and shutouts. Also limit the transactions to weekly so you have more time to react to trends. The roto-style game awards you points the higher you rank in your league in a given category. For example, if your league has 10 teams and your team has the most goals, you get 10 points. If you have the fewest goals, you get one point. Add up the points for each category and you get your total points.

After you’ve tried your hand at a one-year league, you may want to try a keeper league. There are lots of keeper league rules you can browse through here. And the forums over at my site, DobberHockey.com, always have a league or two starting up and looking for people to join.

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 the first Wednesday of every month throughout the off-season. To send the Dobber your question, click HERE.

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