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Mid-season advice

Tim Thomas leads the NHL with a .945 SP and 1.80 GAA. (Getty Images)

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Tim Thomas leads the NHL with a .945 SP and 1.80 GAA. (Getty Images)

For many leagues, the mid-season draft is this weekend or next. Are you prepared? Need a second opinion? Let’s get to the letters!

I am in a one-year, points-only league with a salary cap. I am vying for first in my division, but my major contender for first made a trade and picked up Sidney Crosby. We have similar players on our team, but the recent pickup of Crosby is the difference of a few points. Do you think I should trade Artem Anisimov or Wayne Simmonds (they are my low men out right now, by only a few points)? I was thinking of Clarke MacArthur (TOR) or Anthony Stewart (ATL) because my funds are limited. Or should I trade T.J. Oshie when he returns from IR and use some extra cash to score another forward?
Dave, Salem, Ohio


I think you should make a move, Dave, and I think swapping Simmonds for MacArthur will gain you points. I do think Simmonds is picking up his game, but MacArthur has more offensive upside. Absolutely trade Oshie. He’s a good player, but his upside is overrated in fantasy circles. With the extra cash I know you could dress a superior, underrated player (from a points-only standpoint).

I'm in a 12-team league and have Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick, but we start only one goalie. I could really use a good winger or two. Which of these guys, if either, is less likely to keep up what he’s doing? Should I trade one to upgrade somewhere else? I'm somewhat new to it, but my impression is that goalies are just too valuable in fantasy hockey.
Nicholas, Newark, Del.


Thomas is the best bet to trade. Not that I think he’ll falter, but Tuukka Rask is starting to play some great hockey and I can see the split in starts go from 80-20 to something closer to 60-40 as the Bruins ride the hot hand. Whereas the Quick/Jonathan Bernier split will continue as is.

I have the option between Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Josh Bailey, Sergei Kostitsyn and Jeff Tambellini to fill my LW in a Roto pool. Which one do you think will work best?
Chad, Peterborough, Ont.


Put me down for Kostitsyn. With any of these guys, you would probably have to switch them out again in three weeks anyway, but I like what S.K. is doing right now in Nashville.

Looking long-term between goalies Corey Crawford (CHI) and Jonathan Bernier (LA). I can only keep one. In your opinion, which of the two has a bigger fantasy upside?
Stu, Calgary


Not even close, Stu. Bernier is going to be a star in this league and quite possibly a superstar. You may have to wait a couple of years for Los Angeles to shed either him or Quick before you get the starts, but as far as upside goes, he’s the man.

I'm sure I've overlooked your answer to this a dozen times, but what's a good way to get started with this fantasy business?
Kriss, Olympia, Wash.


Kriss, if your writing skills are decent and you find your hunches in fantasy leagues work out more often than not, you need to be persistent and active in the fantasy hockey community. Approach fantasy websites and volunteer your services – then take the initiative and push a fantasy-themed article on all of them. One of them is bound to review it and give you a shot. At the very least, they’ll remember you for later. When that happens, be active in their forum and follow up with an email every couple of months. Once you latch on with a regular column, make sure you don’t miss a week. Be the most reliable and consistent writer on staff. Use that to springboard onto other gigs with other sites. Within two or three years, you should be getting enough notice to pick up the odd paid freelance job with a magazine, depending on the quality of your work. In short – it’s a lot of work and dedication, but you can never give up. If you have that in you, you’ll do fine.

Hey Dobber, I need your help. I'm in a 12-team, head-to-head league and I want to propose a trade to obtain Dustin Byfuglien where I'd give Drew Doughty in exchange. In your opinion is it the right move?
Michele, Bologna, Italy


Hey Michele, in a one-year league it is definitely the right move. In a keeper, it’s not as cut-and-dried. Doughty is a safe bet to be a high-scoring superstar, whereas Byfuglien is still new at this big-time scoring thing.

Hey Dobber, I am currently in third place in a points-only league with 10 teams, 15 players each, six of which are keepers. I just recently pulled the trigger on two big deals to get Evgeni Malkin and Joe Thornton, but traded away much of my depth in the process. I have only one add/drop remaining and I am sick of holding onto Simon Gagne who is doing nothing for me. I am considering dropping either Gagne or Nathan Horton given Boston's offensive depth and the apparent spreading around of points. The top free-agents available are: Patrik Elias, Jamie Benn, Shane Doan, Stephen Weiss, Jeff Skinner, Chris Kunitz and Bryan Little. I need some expert advice on which player is likely to be a solid second-half producer so I can pluck ‘em off the wire and make a move for first place. Thanks in advance!
Jordan, Vancouver


Hey Jordan, you made great moves in acquiring those two stars. Both Malkin and Thornton are in for big second halves. As for Gagne – get rid of him ASAP. Stick a fork in him for this year. He’s done. Your best bet in a limited keeper for the second half is Weiss. That guy is money in the bank for 60 points year in and year out. The fact he started the season so slowly means he will get more of those 60 points later in the year.

Need some mid-season help in your fantasy league? Pick up Dobber's Mid-season Fantasy Guide at DobberHockey.com

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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