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The worth of Nikolai Zherdev

Nikolai Zherdev has been held pointless in his first three games this season after he spent last year in the Kontinental League. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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Nikolai Zherdev has been held pointless in his first three games this season after he spent last year in the Kontinental League. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The season has only just kicked off and the mailbag is already filling up as owners start to panic – let’s get to some letters!

Hey Dobber, I was just wondering if I made the right choice taking Marty Turco over Antti Niemi (who did not get drafted)?
Josh, Oakville, Ont.


I took Niemi over Turco as my third goalie last month and after seeing the first couple of games of the season I am grateful I did. Turco is looking pretty shaky – shaky enough that I placed a waiver bid on Corey Crawford as my fourth goalie. Because you just never know…

Hey Dobber, just a couple of questions. I am in a one-year, 12-team league where goals are two points, assists are worth one and PIM are worth one and position matters. Choosing two of three, who would you take out of Marc Staal, Dan Hamhuis and Jack Johnson? Would you take Jiri Hudler or David Backes? Would you take Wojtek Wolski or Jussi Jokinen? Thanks for all your insight.
Bruce, Kelowna, B.C.


I would take Staal and J.J. for the defensemen. Backes has 55/120 upside for points and penalty minutes so I think I would prefer that (plus he is often given dual eligibility for center and wing, another bonus). I like Jussi over Wojtek. I don’t think anyone on Phoenix will get 65 points, whereas Jussi should come close.

Nikolai Kulemin makes things happen when he is on the ice. It is amazing how little he is regarded outside of Toronto. With Tyler Bozak, Kris Versteeg and Phil Kessel the focal points of the offense and creating chances, what are the odds of a 30-goal season for Nikolai?
Scott, Annville, Penn.


I wouldn’t bet big money on it, however in a room full of people laughing at the idea I would be the guy with a straight face. I think Kulemin has been a completely different player since the turn of the New Year and I see 20 to 25 goals and 50-plus points come April. His linemate Clarke MacArthur is also an underrated offensive talent and Mikhail Grabovski is a 65-point player…on certain nights (on other nights he’s a 25-point player – very frustrating). This trio can and will surprise.

Hey Dobber, Love your fantasy hockey insight. I’m in a points-only pool awarding two points for a goal or assist, one point for PPP/SHP, two for GWG, and .25 per penalty minute. I’m having a tough time deciding on who to use for my forward and utility spots. My choices are between Mike Comrie, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Jakub Voracek. Which two of those four do you think will have the most productive seasons?
Jon, Montreal


Hi Jon, my vote is for Eberle and Voracek. I’ve said since the pre-season that Eberle is my Calder pick for this year, whereas Voracek is primed and ready to bust out. I have Hall predicted for more points than Voracek, but since you’re already taking an unproven guy in Eberle, it’s best to go the safer route with the second player.

I'm in a hockey pool where penalty minutes count and where you can trade-in players. I was wondering if should trade-in Anze Kopitar for either Derek Roy or Matt Duchene. Also, should I trade-in Lubomir Visnovsky for either John Carlson, Michael Del Zotto or Jack Johnson?
Brett, Okotoks, Alta.


Kopitar will be the better guy to own out of those three. I assume you have limited trades, as those kinds of pools generally set limits. So I would wait until Visnovsky gets hurt before making such a move. Right now, any difference in points between him and Carlson or Del Zotto would be negligible.

I took Tyler Seguin on a bit of a whim, thinking the rookie crop may be outstanding this year. It's really early on, but there are some decent performers unclaimed in our one-year, head-to-head weekly league. What's Seguin's hold value?
Richard, Oakbank, Man.


Depending on when Marc Savard returns, the talented Seguin could tally anywhere from 35 to 60 points as a rookie. I would imagine your unclaimed performers include New York’s Derek Stepan. In a one-year league I would take a flyer on him over Seguin. Yes, it could burn you, but fantasy hockey is all about taking risks for the win.

Who has the greatest upside, Ryan O'Reilly, Brayden Schenn, or Peter Regin?
Brandon, Maine


No question – Schenn by a wide margin. If developed properly and with the right team system and linemate chemistry, he can be a point-per-game player. In the same circumstance, I think Regin would top out in the mid-60s and O’Reilly in the high-50s.

Hi Dobber, huge fan of the mailbag and just wanted to suggest that you do it weekly, because two weeks just seems so far away every time I read the newest edition! I have two questions for you: is this Nick Foligno's year? (will he top 50 points?) And what's going on with Zherdev in Philly? (Twelve minutes of ice time on the third line.) He was so good in the pre-season and high hopes from all for him to produce.
Jymie, Vancouver


Thanks Jymie. Yes, I think this could be the year Foligno steps up and flirts with 50 points. I don’t know if he’ll ever be a 65-point player, but he should develop into one of those reliable guys who gives you 45 to 60 year in and year out. As for Zherdev, he needs to bump James van Riemsdyk off the power play unit to start seeing more ice time. Between Zherdev, JVR and Ville Leino, you should see a rotation of responsibility based on how hot/cold they are. Not ideal for fantasy owners, but the Flyers are deep and unless they are beset by injuries, that is what you are looking at.

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.

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