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Projecting P.K. Subban

P.K. Subban had eight points in 14 post-season games with the Canadiens last year. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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P.K. Subban had eight points in 14 post-season games with the Canadiens last year. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Mailbag will be bi-weekly going forward – every two weeks I’ll take your fantasy hockey related questions. Training camp is just around the corner and fantasy drafts can’t be far behind. Let’s get to some letters!

Dobber - Pascal Leclaire, Carey Price and Steve Mason all had great rookie seasons, but ended up with disappointing sophomore attempts. Knowing that, Jimmy Howard is more experienced at age 26 and with a very strong team, but with such a sophomore spook hanging around the NHL what do you foresee for Howard?
John, Los Angeles


The above three examples did not have nearly the team in front of them Howard has in Detroit. I’m pretty confident Howard will play well enough to flirt with 40 wins.

Hey Dobbs, What do you think of Mikkel Boedker's upside and how soon can he start producing? I am being offered Ville Leino in a points keeper league (with max five-year contracts). Can Boedker out-produce Leino this year?
Bernard, Toronto


I would rather roll the dice on Leino, Bernard. I don’t think Boedker will make the Coyotes - it will be close, but I think the re-signing of Lee Stempniak puts the kibosh on it. I also think Brett MacLean is ahead of Boedker on the development curve. Boedker will still be a good one, but you won’t see him in the NHL full-time for another year and you won’t see fantasy numbers for three years. Whereas with Leino, you’ll know by December if he’s the real deal and you could be rewarded handsomely.

Hey Dobber, I noticed Phoenix is paying Patrick O'Sullivan’s buyout. Why? Was it not Edmonton that decided to buyout his contract?
Econ316, the great white north


The Oilers traded him to Phoenix for Jim Vandermeer. The Oil wanted Vandermeer, whereas the Coyotes were going to buy him out. O’Sullivan’s buyout was cheaper, so Phoenix took the buyout on their payroll and gave up the player they didn’t want, anyway.

Do you think the offense will continue to decrease for the likes of Derek Roy and Jason Pominville in Buffalo? Also why has Columbus not gone after a center for Rick Nash? This blows me away!
Stuart, Calgary


I think Roy will turn it around. He’s a 70-plus player and a hard worker. As for Pominville, I think his big 80-point season was a little high and now the market correction has him back to the expected low-60s range.

In Columbus, I don’t think they’ll ever get a top pivot. Calgary never got around to it for Jarome Iginla. It’s hard to land a top pivot and when one becomes available GMs seem to be reluctant to go hard after him. The same as in fantasy hockey, GMs are afraid of losing a deal or overpaying for a player. But sometimes that’s what you have to do if you want the right piece.

What can we expect from P.K. Subban and Jamie McBain this season? Points production? Any power play time? Thanks.
Joe, Ottawa


You can expect top power play time from each of them, as well as Calder consideration. Bold words, I know, but I’ve seen enough of them to be fairly confident. Each will post the best rookie defenseman numbers we have seen since Dion Phaneuf tallied 49 points in 2006 (or Tyler Myers’ 48 last season).

Since you are the expert here, I was just wondering what your predictions are for this season. Who will finish first in the Eastern and Western Conference? Maybe the players you think will finish in the top 10, stat wise? And what goalies do you see with the most wins? Thanks, I greatly appreciate it.
Dan, Aurora, Ont.


I think Philadelphia and Vancouver will win their conferences. I think Pekka Rinne and Jimmy Howard will have the most wins, due to their backup goaltenders (or lack thereof). Roberto Luongo will get his wins, but Corey Schneider will not be left to rot on the bench - he is too valuable. So while Luongo will be among the leaders in wins, he won’t be first.

My top 10 scorers:
1. Alex Ovechkin
2. Sidney Crosby
3. Evgeni Malkin (yep, I went out on a limb with the first three)
4. Nicklas Backstrom
5. Henrik Sedin
6. Daniel Sedin
7. Zach Parise
8. Alexander Semin
9. Ilya Kovalchuk, Steven Stamkos, Eric Staal (tied)

I have a full list of 500 predicted players available for sale over at my site dobberhockey.com.

I am in a one-year drafting type of hockey pool every year. The league ranges from 11-18 people and we each have to have nine players and a goalie. I am very good at our playoff pool and have finished top two in the past four years, but I seem to finish in the middle of the pack of the standings in the season pool. I study magazines, hockey Internet sites, compare stats and predictions and mix it with my own personal opinion and basically study intensely until our draft. What is your best advice for someone who is very serious and studies a lot about it? What can I change or add to my hockey pool knowledge?
Matt, Dauphin, Man.


At this point, Matt, I would say you have done what you can. It looks as though the pool is very basic, so you have no way of reacting to an injury or a slump. With nine players, one injury means you’re toast. Keep doing what you are doing and eventually you’ll get the bounces.

With the work you put in, it is better suited for a rotisserie league. Try and get some friends to join one or look online (again, to shamelessly plug my site, Dobber Hockey has a section in the forum for this very thing) for people who will join in with you. That way, you can react to trends and injuries and you can actually use your knowledge to get a leg up.

I started my fantasy hockey life the same as you did, but at some point you need to take it to the next level and really use what you’ve learned.

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 other Wednesday during 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.

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