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Concussion concerns

Sidney Crosby has only played eight games this season because of a concussion after being limited to 41 games last season. (Getty Images)

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Sidney Crosby has only played eight games this season because of a concussion after being limited to 41 games last season. (Getty Images)

We’ve hit the Christmas break and while it’s a time for joy and celebration it’s also time to hide from the family whenever you can to get a few minutes and evaluate your team. Time to rebuild? Go for it? Let’s get to your letters!

In my league, Alexander Semin has been dropped and is now a free agent. I'm wondering if I should replace either David Jones or Brandon Dubinsky with Semin?
Joshua, Calgary


I don’t see a whole lot coming from Semin this year, but I would still make that move. The payoff could be huge and it’s not like “one-goal” Dubinsky or “injured again” Jones are doing much either.

Full Keeper. Pts/PPP/SOG/PIMs A few quick questions. Upside on Jeff Skinner? What's wrong with Tyler Ennis (Sabres depth/sophomore slump)?What to do with him? Sell high on Jonathan Toews or is he an elite fantasy player now?
Rig, Antigonish, N.S.


I think Jeff Skinner can be a point-per-game player and perhaps a shade better than that. As for Ennis, there are a couple of things wrong. First, he had a few unlucky bounces before getting hurt, so two months into the season he had just one point. Second, the Sabres made an unnecessary, owner-placating, ill-advised signing in Ville Leino. They didn’t need another skilled body up front and all it has done is take ice time away from the likes of Ennis, Nate Gerbe (currently injured) and Luke Adam. And that’s if Leino was playing well! Since he’s not, things are even worse than that. Ennis is doing a little better now, but I fear he won’t take a step forward over last season. Maybe next year.

As for Toews, he is on pace for 86 points and that’s close to where his range is. I would say 75 to 85 for Toews, so he’s only marginally above that.

Hey Dobber, I'm in a one-year, head-to-head fantasy league. I have Jonas Hiller, James Reimer, and Nikolai Khabibulin. Ondrej Pavelec, Steve Mason, Brian Elliott, Cory Schneider, and Al Montoya are the top free agents. Should I drop any of my goalies for them? I am also wondering who has the most fantasy value between Ryan Smyth, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Radim Vrbata, Evander Kane, Ray Whitney, Jordan Eberle, and Ryan Callahan. Thank you and Merry Christmas!
Andre, San Francisco


Hey Andre, Merry Christmas to you too! I would drop Hiller for Elliott in a one-year. When Jaroslav Halak finally wrenches the starting job back you can always drop Elliott again and pick up someone like Montoya (or even Hiller). But since you have two starters already and can afford to toy with that third spot, then do so. As for the other question - it’s RNH all the way, baby! Barring an injury he will finish with the most points in that group. But this depends on your weakness - if you need penalty minutes or shots as well, then Kane is a great option.

Hey Dobbs, I am currently in a one-year, head-to-head league. I recently read your article on Sidney Crosby and his concussion problems. Before this I had contemplated trading him, but after that I was certain. I moved Sidney Crosby, Sheldon Souray, and Matt Moulson for Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, and Ryan Callahan. I then picked up Jason Garrison to replace my D-man. Do you think I made a smart move? Thanks.
Jacob, Sunny Corner, N.B.


In a one-year league I think you did fine, but I would not have moved out Souray so quickly. He was doing nothing with Alex Goligoski out of the lineup, but now that Goligoski is back and has taken a couple of weeks for his hand to fully heal, I think the two of them will start to roll. That would be the time to move Souray. But you did well in adding multi-cat studs like those three and Garrison is an adequate replacement on your blueline.

If you need a goal-scorer would you trade Joe Thornton for Loui Eriksson? Thank you.
Ari, New York


Yep.

Hey Dobbs, thanks for your response last week. I feel like we got off to a bit of a rough start though. In a keeper league how does the NHL's current lack of action against cheap shots and fights affect the value of players like Sidney Crosby and now Claude Giroux? Do you still value them as 90-plus-point players or do you consider that both (mainly Crosby) are now going the ways of Paul Kariya? P.S. Good thing I didn't trade Roberto Luongo ;)
Marc, Toronto


Hey Marc, no problem - and look at this, you’re in again! Actually, I didn’t receive too many letters this week. Blame the holidays. I think with the added diligence with concussion treatments, anyone is at risk. More players will miss time and more players will miss longer periods of time. Jeff Skinner, Claude Giroux, Chris Pronger, Sidney Crosby and Milan Michalek this month. Maybe Phil Kessel, Steven Stamkos and Brooks Laich next month. Who’s to say? But what was a minor headache last year that a player would play through is something that would take a player out of action for a couple of weeks as a precaution this season. Nobody is safe, so you should probably proceed as you normally would. The only exceptions would be if a player is out a couple of times in the same year, such as Crosby.

Hello, I'm in an 11-team "total points" keeper pool (keep 15 players) that uses the following categories for goalies: Ws (+5), Ls (-2), Saves (0.2), GA (-1) and SO (+3). I'm currently exploring the possibility of acquiring Carey Price in exchange for Pekka Rinne or Antti Niemi. Niemi and Rinne have been excellent for me, however they're both nearing 30 whereas Price is still just 24 so I like his upside in a keeper league. Having said that, I'm still torn on whether I should be trying to make this trade and if I do, which one of my goalies I should be parting with. I'm a little worried that the Preds in particular will take a step back next year and thinking that now may be a good time to sell high on Rinne.
Serge, Ottawa


I would do that move for Niemi in a heartbeat and not because of age. Price is guaranteed to get at least 65 starts for each of the next few years, barring injury. Niemi doesn’t carry quite that guarantee. As for age - I don’t let it influence my trading if we’re talking about 30-year-olds. And as for “selling high” on Rinne, I don’t believe you would be selling high at all. Rinne is another elite own in fantasy leagues. He’ll be doing this for the next few years. You can bank on it.

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. Also note that the mailbag is up every two weeks, so keep that in mind when sending in your questions.

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

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