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What to do with Erik Johnson?

Erik Johnson, the first overall pick of the 2006 draft, has eight points and a minus-3 rating through 26 games this season. (Photo by Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Erik Johnson, the first overall pick of the 2006 draft, has eight points and a minus-3 rating through 26 games this season. (Photo by Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just two weeks away from the Christmas break and poolies are jockeying for position - let’s get to the letters!

I have Erik Johnson in my 12-team Head to Head league. He's not done much to this point and I was wondering if it was a good time to drop him. The pickings are slim in my league and the top D-men available are Ed Jovanovski, Roman Hamrlik, Andrej Meszaros, Cody Franson, Paul Martin, Ryan Suter, Carlo Colaiacovo, Cam Fowler, Kevin Shattenkirk and Toni Lydman. I've put a couple trades out there but nobody is biting. Would you hold on to Johnson and his potential for a while longer or make a move?
Michael, Chicago


With those players available, no wonder nobody is biting. Why trade for a player when they can pick up a better player off the wire? Drop E.J. now and pick up Shattenkirk before somebody else does.

Hey Dobber, I have to wonder if Joe Thornton is ever gonna return to his former glory? Post-lockout year he dominated and has progressively gotten worse and worse every year since.
Scott, Edmonton


He won’t dominate to that level again, but I think he’s settled into that 85 to 100 point range. He may tease us with a 105-point season, but for the most part he’ll be in that range I noted above.

Mr. Dobber: I have Alex Semin in a points-only keeper league and am wondering what you believe the odds are on the following three options: he re-signs with Washington; he signs with another NHL team; or he bolts for the KHL.
The Duke, Buffalo, N.Y.


Mr. Duke: I would say one percent, 90 percent and nine percent, in that order.

Dobbs! Looking forward to reading your take on our hockey pool dilemmas this week. Here's mine: with Sharpy lightin' the lamp on a regular basis I'm in a position to maybe sell him high. I have an offer on the table of Patrick Sharp for Jonathan Toews. Would it be a smart idea to go with my instincts on this one and pull the trigger? Also what's your take on Erik Johnson this season? Will there be a turnaround? Not what I was expecting out of him at all with just seven points in his past 22, my patience is running thin.
Badger, Kamloops, B.C.


Badger! I would absolutely do that deal. While Sharp is a very underrated player, I don’t see him as an 80-point guy. He’ll slow down at some point. Whereas the steady Toews should top 70. As for E.J., it looks as though Alex Pietrangelo and Carlo Colaiacovo are shouldering the offensive load from the blueline (and Alex Steen, on the power play). I would make a move if you can and replace Johnson.

Hey Dobber, Love the column. I just traded away Mike Cammalleri for Ilya Kovalchuk, was that a bad move? I had Cammalleri projected as my fourth/fifth winger. I'm dominating in assists, but always falling short on goals. I'm hoping for a return in the long run as I am in a keeper league.
Mike, Cranston, R.I.


You did well to buy low on Kovalchuk. He’ll kill your plus/minus for the foreseeable future, though, so if you count that stat you may want to actually consider benching him. But as a keeper he is a massive upgrade from ‘Cammy’ and in the long run your move was a smart one.

I'm in a one-year head-to-head league. P, G, PPP, +/-, Hits, PIM, W, GAA. I drafted pretty well in terms of skaters, but I'm regularly dropping two "games" a week in the goaltending categories. Our league is only eight guys so I didn't think there was much of a drop off from the top goalies to the No. 8 and No. 9 guys drafted. I picked up Kipper and Marty Turco. I was banking on Turco backstopping a pretty good Hawks team, but now that the Hawks are playing like they should it’s with Corey Crawford in goal. It’s a shallow team C,C,LW,LW,RW,RW,D,D,G with only six bench spots. I'm wondering if I should pick up a third goalie and drop one of my skaters so that at the very least I could have an opportunity for more wins. The best goalies available are Sergei Bobrovsky (slowing down a bit), Michal Neuvirth or Semyon Varlamov, Kari Lehtonen (streaky) and Antero Niittymaki. Candidates to drop include Brandon Dubinsky, Ville Leino, Tyler Myers (would leave me with only two D), Mike Ribeiro. I was also thinking a possibility might be to drop Turco and add both Caps. Thoughts? Much appreciated.
Jim, Minneapolis


Drop Turco, no question. I’m not sure how your waiver rules are, or if there is a limit, but if it is pretty liberal I would pick up Bobrovsky for another two weeks until the situation with Michael Leighton is resolved, at which point I would swap out Bobrovsky for yet another ‘tender. But if transactions are limited, then I would pick up Varlamov. If transactions are extremely limited, then I would go with Lehtonen, as he is a steady starter who has a secure hold on the No.1 job.

Hi, I'm in the third year of a deep four-year keeper league. We count G, A, SHG, HT, +/- (for 0.5pts). On a roster of 20, we must have six defensemen. Should I drop Tomas Kaberle and pick up Kevin Shattenkirk? Do you think Shattenkirk will get demoted back to the AHL this year, and if not, can he keep up this pace? Thanks for the advice!
Andrew, Edmonton


Shattenkirk will not be sent back to the AHL - not the way he’s been playing. I would make that swap because when Dion Phaneuf is in the lineup, Kaberle struggles - and Phaneuf will be back soon.

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

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