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Mid-season maneuvers

Ilya Bryzgalov didn't start the Winter Classic and has a 3.01 GAA and .890 SP. (Photoby Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Ilya Bryzgalov didn't start the Winter Classic and has a 3.01 GAA and .890 SP. (Photoby Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mid-season drafts are here. In keeper leagues, it’s also time to make the big decision – rebuild or go for it? Let’s get to your letters!

In a one-year roto league with usual stats...getting motored (9th place) lacking goals and ppp. Any thoughts as to who I should abandon or trade? My team is: Center - Joe Thornton, Mikko Koivu, Derek Roy. Wingers - Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Ilya Kovalchuk, Chris Stewart. Defense - Souray, Liles, Enstrom. Goalies - Quick, Vokoun. Bench - Matt Moulson, Pavelec and Hiller. On paper I thought I had a great team but I'm just floundering. Should I make a move or should I continue to be patient assuming they will eventually get it together? The FA market has the likes of Zajac, Oshie, Olli Jokinen, van Riemsdyk. Would love to trade a goalie as opposed to drop one as starters hard to come by in this league, but don't think I'll get much for Pavelec or Hiller right now.
Scott, Bowmanville, Ont.


Wow, Scott, talk about a who’s who of underachievers! At a glance, a couple of names jump out at me who are notorious for stronger second halves – Thornton, Roy and Kovalchuk. You can set your watch to a big final 40 games from them. Between those three and Ovechkin’s turnaround (he’s a superstar who can’t slump like this for much longer), you’ll eat away the gap between your team and the top team in PPP and G. That being said, you need to do something and at least shake things up a little bit. I notice you didn’t list any defensemen on the FA market, but Souray needs to be stashed on the IR and you need to pick up a guy such as Zach Bogosian or even Matt Niskanen, who I’m guessing are available (given that a player like T.J. Oshie is available). If you have a comfortable lead in PIM, I would bench Stewart and dress Moulson, who is on a tear right now – goals and PPP right there for you. See what the market is for Tomas Vokoun and move him for a defenseman. Having four goalies is great, but not in such a shallow league where every roster spot is precious.

Hey Dobbs, I'm in a 20-team, one-year league, where goals, assists, hat tricks and GWG count for one point. Wins are 2 and shutouts 1. Right now I'm in the middle of my pool standings and want to drop a few players. Players that are underperforming for me right now are J. Hiller, D. Bolland and M. Backlund. Keeping in mind that I'm only allowed to drop two players for the entire year, who would you drop and who would you pick up out of M. Smith, J. Hansen, C. Glencross, D. Zubrus, N. Foligno, and T. Bozak?
Hayden, Vancouver


Hey Hayden, I would drop Bolland and Backlund and pick up Glencross and Hansen. Unless your goaltending is weak, in which case I would grab Mike Smith.

I'm currently sixth in a 10-team H2H keeper league (keep five players, C, LW, RW, D, and G) that tracks G, A, P, +/-, PIM, PPP, SOG and FW. Although I consistently win my share of the offensive categories each week, I need to improve my goaltending if I'm going to go anywhere (tracking W, GAA, SV% and SO). I've got Tim Thomas, Ondrej Pavelec and Jaroslav Halak in net. I've received a trade offer of Niklas Backstrom for Scott Hartnell. If I accept, I'm left with Taylor Hall, Patrick Marleau, Ilya Kovalchuk and Matt Duchene at left wing. Hartnell is having a monster year and I'm wondering if he can continue. I know you need to give something to get something, but how do you see the rest of the year play out for Backstrom and the Wild?
Mark, Toronto


Discounting faceoffs and shots on goal, Hartnell actually ranks second in the entire league in rotisserie rankings of the six main categories (per my Frozen Pool tools) for this season. “Monster year” is an understatement. Yes, you have to give something to get something and yes you have to land a goaltender (because who knows how long this St. Louis situation will drag on for) – but if you’re going to trade Hartnell you need to make sure you get yourself a Top 5 goalie. I don’t rank Backstrom there. You need more.

Is it time to give up on Eric Staal? He always seems to pull off at least a 70-point season but right now do you think he can? Also, is Bryzgalov a good fantasy goalie?
Brad, Philadelphia


Staal has 15 points and is a minus-6 in his past 17 games. He is also known for stronger second halves. But if your league counts plus/minus, you shouldn’t expect to recover from this. His points will turn around and seem to have already done so.

Bryzgalov, in the off-season, was quite possibly my favorite fantasy goaltender. The Flyers will bring him a truckload of wins. But as of today, things haven’t quite turned out that way. Not starting the Winter Classic was a big statement - and 1A/1B situations are a fantasy nightmare.

Hi Dobber! I thought Jared Cowen was supposed to be a defensive kind of guy. Now he's seeing time on the PP and putting up interesting numbers for a young player. Are his numbers in December an indication of what to expect or is he just on a good streak?
Thomas, Cookshire-Eaton, Que.


Hi Thomas! I thought the same thing about Cowen, but I always figured he would be good for 35 points. Kind of like a Marc Staal in that sense - known for his defensive acumen, but will put up modest numbers in that 30-to-40 range. I still don’t see Cowen getting anything like 50 points in a season, but he’s starting to sell me on potentially becoming a 40-point guy. December was a great month for him and it will be tough to duplicate.

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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