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Ovechkin or Crosby?

While Alex Ovechkin is on pace for his worst offensive season yet in the NHL, Sidney Crosby's health remains a major concern and has limited him to just eight games. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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While Alex Ovechkin is on pace for his worst offensive season yet in the NHL, Sidney Crosby's health remains a major concern and has limited him to just eight games. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Mid-season drafts are wrapping up and mid-season deals are being finalized. Do you need to make a change? Let’s get to your letters – including the question of the year: Crosby or Ovechkin?

Dobber, I’m in a roto keeper league (keep nine players) and I am in second place, although the leader looks hard to catch. I can only play 4 centers but I currently have Crosby, Backstrom, E Staal, Tavares and Nugent-Hopkins in my squad as well as several DPP such as Pavelski and Briere. My question is which one of these centers would you try to trade rather than being stuck with 5 centers worth 'keeping.' Any suggestions for a winger I could snare for one of these guys? Love your work.
Steve, Melbourne, Australia.


Steve, since you’re keeping nine players of which four will be Crosby, Backstrom, Tavares and RNH and two are, I assume, goaltenders, that means you have three spots left for Staal, Pavelski, Briere and your defensemen, as well as any other winger you didn’t mention. That tells me, from a futures standpoint, one of those three guys is expendable and all three are underperforming right now. We all know the risks with Crosby, so moving him would be “selling low” as well. Since all leagues and league personalities are different, the return for him could be anywhere from a young potential superstar plus good picks (I was turned down in one of my leagues offering up Nugent-Hopkins for him)… to as little as a couple of young risks (in another league I was offered Nikita Filatov and Alexander Radulov for him).

As you can see, it varies wildly and nobody can put their finger on precisely what you can get for him. But put him on the block and see what your options are. If it’s a lot, then go for it. You need wingers, so I would insist that one of the bottom dwellers in your league give you a package of two wingers along the caliber of a Loui Eriksson/Thomas Vanek plus a middle-round draft pick.

I suggest this only because you are going for it, because if you don’t have a shot at first then you may as well hang onto the greatest boom/bust that fantasy hockey has seen in more than a decade - Sidney Crosby. If your league is one of those in which nobody is willing to give anything for him at all, then you have to move Staal for an Eriksson/Vanek type and add a draft pick if that’s what it takes. Staal is going to have a big second half, but regardless, he is the least valuable of your five pivots.

Hey Dobber, I am in a 12-team keeper league. I am wondering about James van Riemsdyk and how patient I should be with him. I have a solid core of young guys including Seguin, Couture, Del Zotto, Schneider who will help me build for the future. I want to make a serious push next season, and everyone else on my team seems to be poised for a great year coming up, but I'm just not sure whether JVR should be among them. I am not 100% sure if he'll be one of those "key guys" in Philly over the next couple seasons, or whether others (such as Hartnell, Jagr) have stolen his thunder, thus reducing his fantasy value. I understand that power forwards take time to develop, but I am torn between keeping JVR and trading him. Thoughts?
Ken, Vancouver


Hi Ken, if you are comfortable with your youth corps at the end of a rebuild there is no reason to keep yet another young ‘potential.’ I think JVR will be fine and is already taking that next step, but he has been dogged by injuries and my fear is that, given his style of play, those injuries may continue to crop up. If you can get an established player who will help you next year, I think you should go for it.

Hey Dobber, just one simple question: Is Adam Henrique for real? I've watched this kid a couple of times and he seemed real enough, picked him up as a replacement for injured RNH in a 12-team keeper H2H with standard scoring, but is he worth keeping beyond this season? Already got a slew of promising youngsters (Seguin, RNH, Hall, Landeskog) and would have to drop one of the "older" guys (J. Staal, C. Stewart) once RNH comes back.
Richard, Czech Rep.


Hey Richard, I consider Henrique a probable 55-point player with 70-point upside and the capability of increasing that potential to between 65 and 80 if he continues to play with superstar wingers. Yes, he’s for real in the sense that even if he is surpassed on the depth chart over the next couple of years, he’s still going to be good for 55 points.

Hi Darryl, I’m in a keeper league and have been sent a trade involving Ovechkin for Crosby. I’m out of the money right now but not far off. I don’t want to screw myself over for the next few years but I’m concerned with Crosby’s head woes.
Bob, Barrie


The million-dollar question! I’m in a similar situation in that I own Crosby in one of my three keeper leagues and the person who owns Ovechkin is near the bottom. He feels that I should give more than Crosby because “you can fix an attitude better than you can fix a concussion.” I feel he should give more than Ovechkin because a) Crosby has a better upside and b) this deal would secure the first overall draft pick for him, so he’s essentially getting Nail Yakupov as well.

We’re both right. If I own Ovechkin and I’m in the top half of my league, I wouldn’t move him for Crosby. Not a chance. But if I’m in the bottom half and there are other intangibles that help me, such as drafting Yakupov, then a trade for Crosby is something I would consider. I would hedge my bets by expanding the deal and try to land draft picks and good prospects for a player who isn’t part of my rebuild plan, but the essence of the deal would be those two players and the peripherals would help me, but not really hurt my trade partner.

It’s also a matter of risk tolerance. I tend to take risks and enjoy the boom or bust thrill. But some people like to play it very safe. My way could get me first place within a couple of years, while the safe way may take seven or eight. But the safe attitude is more of a sure thing. In the end, if you aren’t comfortable taking risks, then acquiring Crosby may not be right for you. But his trade value will never be lower than it is right now and even if the worst were to happen and he retires, he still retains trade value in fantasy hockey (Alexander Radulov is still owned in all three of my keeper leagues and Mario Lemieux was kept for another two years, and even traded, after he retired).

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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