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Chara or Keith?

Zdeno Chara is a beast in the NHL and in the fantasy world. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

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Zdeno Chara is a beast in the NHL and in the fantasy world. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Camps are in full swing…and so are fantasy drafts! Keepers, head-to-head, rotisserie, points-only - leagues of all shapes and sizes. And once again THN’s fantasy mailbag has you covered. Let’s get to the letters!

Hi Mr. Dobbs, I’m in a one-year head-to-head league. The draft has already been completed and I have been offered Duncan Keith for Zdeno Chara. Would you accept this trade?
Dave, Sydney, N.S.


Nope. Chara may not get you the points (he won’t, actually) that Keith will, but he is a surefire plus-minus stud. Keith could and should bounce back in that department, though it may not be to the same level. But the real reason is penalty minutes and Chara has him beat there. In fact, Chara was the top defenseman by a wide margin last season in terms of roto-ranking the basic six categories. And he was seventh overall among all skaters.

Howdy Dobber: who would you rank ahead of Sidney Crosby in a non-keeper rotisserie league with G, A, PTS, PPG, PPA, PPP, plus-minus, shots, hits and PIM?
Yaroslav, Moncton, N.B.


Three weeks ago I would have said (actually, I did say) Alex Ovechkin, Daniel Sedin, Corey Perry, Evgeni Malkin and - if there were enough goalie categories - three or four goalies. Today, after seeing how close Crosby is to getting contact clearance, I would be hard-pressed not to take him first overall. Sure, he’s one awkward hit away from missing the season, but the boost he gives your team is too much to resist.

Dobber, which five teams do you believe will see the biggest increase in goal scoring this season? At the other end of the rink, which five teams do you believe will see the biggest decrease? Thanks.
Mark, Red Deer, Alta.


1.    Pittsburgh – watch the Penguins go nutty with a healthy Malkin and Crosby entering their prime, not to mention a Jordan Staal breakout.
2.    Washington – last season the Caps established their defensive game by February and after that the offense started picking up again. Add to that a healthy Mike Green.
3.    Edmonton – a healthy Ales Hemsky (soon), Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall go a long way. And if even half of the Oilers’ kids take a step forward, the team gets 40 more goals right there.
4.    Florida – with just three 20-goal scorers last year, I estimate the Panthers brought in another 50 goals with their moves this summer. You’ll see a whole slew of them in that 40- to 60-point range.
5.    New Jersey – Zach Parise.

The other way, I have four…

1.    Philadelphia – they’ll still score a ton, but slightly less than the third-most in the league they had last season.
2.    Vancouver – injuries to start the year will drag the end total down.
3.    Phoenix – not as much as people think, but they’ll still slip.
4.    Dallas – again, not as much as people think, but losing Brad Richards hurts a little.

If you had to pick between Mark Streit and Alex Goligoski for a one-year league, who would you take? Our league is a cumulative points league (no categories), with goals, assists, plus-minus and hits. Thanks!
Matt, Maine


I’d take Goligoski, although I think both will have great years of at least 50 points.

I’m entering a brand new keeper pool league this year. It will be a real simple format (G-1 pts, A-1 pts, W-3 pts, SO-5 pts). I have only ever done one-year pools, so I am normally geared towards picking up players who will give me the most return for the current season. Who are some good players to try and grab for cheap that will give me the most return in future seasons? Any other advice on keeper pools you could offer would be appreciated as well! Thanks,
Darcy, Colwood, B.C.


You would use a very similar strategy, but with an understanding that a player’s potential and his age will cause him to rise or fall a lot in this draft. Focus on the best help for this season in the early going, with any “tie breakers” or “tough calls” you have to make going to the younger player. In the latter rounds, consider taking one or two players (depending on the size of your league and if it is a full keeper) who won’t play in the NHL at all this year, but have elite potential. Players such as Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan Strome (if he gets cut) and Evgeni Kuznetsov fit the bill. My Top 300 player rankings are geared toward leagues like this, so browse through that and adjust your list accordingly.

Hey Dobber, I'm in a one-year league and am looking to add a defenseman. Who would you take between Cam Fowler, John Carlson and Adam Larsson?
Jordan, Austin, Texas


Fowler if it is points only, Carlson if you need plus-minus as well. Nothing against Larsson, as I think he’ll be runner-up in both of those situations.

Why is THN so confident Ovechkin is going to win the Rocket Richard Trophy and many others?
Ozzie, North Bay, Ont.


THN chooses its award winners by committee. As a group, Ovechkin is a consensus favorite in many categories. But individually he may be second or even third on a lot of ballots, so the other names on the different lists vary wildly. As far as Ovechkin goes, he had 171 goals in three seasons before the last one. It’s hard to find fault in the pick, even with Washington’s defensive system. Don’t forget, part of the reason for Ovechkin’s dip in goal scoring was losing Mike Green in the second half last season. But even without Green, Ovechkin still managed 12 goals in his last 21 regular season and playoff contests, indicating he adapted to the coach’s new system and is now ready to flourish.

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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