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Don't sleep on goalies

Tomas Vokoun was 22-28-5, but had a sparkling 2.55 GAA and .922 SP. (Getty Images)

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Tomas Vokoun was 22-28-5, but had a sparkling 2.55 GAA and .922 SP. (Getty Images)

Playoff pools! Keeper decisions! Etiquette! It’s all here - let’s get to the letters.

I'm in a one-year rotisserie league with eight buddies. Today was the last day of the season and a few guys gutted their rosters to pick up free agents with games today. They made moves like Sedin for Todd Bertuzzi. It seemed like a smart idea to me, but now the commish is accusing them of violating some unwritten rule. We're all new to hockey pools (except the commish). I want to know if that is an unwritten rule because I don't want to make the same mistake when I join a public league next year.
Jay, Sherwood Park, Alta.


If a league does not want stuff like that happening (it’s a form of “streaming”), then it needs to put a rule in place. Most leagues don’t and in most cases poolies take advantage. I did myself when I set my weekly roster last week - Friday, Saturday, Sunday any player who played once was dropped in favor of a player who played twice. I saved enough of my yearly budget to spend on this type of move and hoped to advance up a spot. It didn’t work, though, as I remained where I was. It’s a part of fantasy hockey and if the commish doesn’t like it he needs to put a rule in - and putting in a rule against this type of move is perfectly acceptable, too.

Hey Dobber, quick question that could probably help out a lot of people reading the mailbag and me as well. I was hoping you could provide some insight into which teams are the most likely to be upset in the first round and why.
Xavier, Ontario.


Hey Xavier, personally I think the only “sure-thing” series (if you can call any playoff series in sports a sure thing) is Washington beating the Rangers. Far too many heads would roll in Washington if the Caps were ousted in the first round for a second year in a row, especially after changing their style of play to better suit the playoffs. A close second “sure-thing” would be the Sharks beating the Anze Kopitar-less Kings; I wouldn’t touch the Kings.

I would have no problem picking players from any of the other 14 teams in the late rounds of a playoff draft. The two toughest series to call, to me, would be the Predators/Ducks and Lightning/Penguins. So if the trend of a draft leans one way or the other with those teams, I would feel very happy (and lucky) to scoop up top players from the opposite team.

Fantasy Keeper Goalies: Who do I pick up? Currently I have M-A Fleury, Jonas Hiller and James Reimer. I am worried Reimer isn't the real deal. The following goalies are available on waivers - who do I pick up? Brayden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, Jack Campbell, Anders Lindback, Devan Dubnyk. Thanks for your help!
Mike, Regina, Sask.


I would keep Reimer ahead of any of the guys you mentioned. But for a fourth goalie I would prefer to own Markstrom, as he has the most upside.

Hi, I’m in a 12-team HTH yahoo keeper league, we can keep two players regardless of the position. I've got Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, John Tavares and Cam Ward as possible keepers. Which ones would you keep?
Marty, Montreal


I would keep the twins, Marty. Although Henrik doesn’t dazzle in categories beyond assists, he is and will be a consistent top scorer. With those two you’ll have two of the top-five scorers just from your keepers.

On a side note, I’ve never understood the purpose of keeping fewer than 10 players, let alone only two and calling it a keeper league. More often than not, a league that only allows one or two keepers is a league run by the guy who owns Sidney Crosby and/or Alex Ovechkin and doesn’t want to lose them so he added that rule.

Hey Dobber, Every year I do a terrible job at drafting goalies. It seems the goalies I always want to draft are taken a few picks before mine. I am in a league that keeps three every year and was wondering if I should trade to get a goalie before the draft? I currently have Crawford, Vokoun, Roloson and Niemi on my roster. Already Bobrovsky, Price, Lundqvist, Luongo, Howard, Bryzgalov, Thomas and Ward are set as keepers. Should I target one of them or someone like Miller or Kiprusoff, just keep one of mine, or wait until the draft? Any other advice on drafting goalies? Goalies were my only headache all season. At some point all I had was Giguere, Khabibulin and Ellis and don't want to go through that again!
Mike, Cranston, R.I.


I hear ya Mike, as I had a similar problem in two of my leagues this year. In one league I had Carey Price and Semyon Varlamov as keepers and I didn’t trust that situation so I made my first pick the goalie who I thought was the best available: Michael Leighton. Oops. In the other league, my situation was even worse, but fortunately I was able to trade for Sergei Bobrovsky early and I nabbed Ondrej Pavelec off waivers when another owner got cold feet after the Thrashers netminder collapsed on the ice early in the season.

Anyway, your situation: You need to prioritize goaltending in any league because they are so difficult to acquire, especially reliable ones. One of your three keepers should be a goaltender. Vokoun is reliable, but he’s a UFA, so you need to see what team he ends up with. If, after Vokoun, you find yourself dropping a top forward or defenseman, see if you can trade instead for a goalie better than Vokoun. And at the draft make sure you get a second top, consistent goaltender even if it means using your second round pick.

Note regarding the Fantasy Mailbag – it is important to indicate whether 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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