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Go for it or rebuild?

Jacob Markstrom has had knee injury problems, but he's still Florida's goalie of the future. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Jacob Markstrom has had knee injury problems, but he's still Florida's goalie of the future. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

We’re into February now and a lot of fantasy teams are preparing for their two- or four-week playoff season. Others are paying attention to the NHL trade buzz as the deadline approaches. Let’s get to some letters!

Hey Dobber, I joined a head-to-head keeper league this year (we keep 10 players, 22 player roster size). I'm sitting in second place and have a real chance at the title in my first year, but I've been told that the teams in contention often trade elite young players for guaranteed studs close to the trade deadline. I have Nugent-Hopkins on my minor league roster, where I can keep him for next year until having to call him up for 2013-14 and only having to "pay" him 2 dollars out of a 150-dollar cap for three years beyond that. As you can see, he could be a big part of my team for a significant time span at a cheap cap hit. I'm torn between moving him for some guaranteed points in the playoffs... or keeping him to see what his performance ceiling actually is. From watching him this year, it looks like that ceiling could be very high. Any thoughts?
Adam, Kitchener, Ont.


Hi Adam, what a great cap hit for the expected production of RNH. I think his ceiling is very high. That being said, if assured victory is there, then take it…but it must be assured. Do not trade this asset if you believe there is a reasonable chance you will fall short of the championship. And not only should you acquire all the immediate help that RNH can bring you, but I would suggest insisting on a couple of draft picks. That hedges your bets in the event (hopefully slim) that you do fall short.

Hey Dobber, I'm currently sitting near the bottom of my 16-team keeper league. Given that this year is essentially a write-off, which young up-and-coming goalies do you think should be targeted by someone in my position? Of note, my roster currently includes Bernier (worried he'll never get traded) and Markstrom (worried about recent slew of knee injuries), however, I'd like to add another via trade (i.e. Holtby, Harding, Enroth, etc.) or free agency (i.e. Jack Campbell, Matt Hackett, Leland Irving, Ben Bishop, Kevin Poulin, etc.).
James, Ottawa, Ont.


Hey James, I would see what the market is on Bernier and then look to move him. Don’t worry about Markstrom, in two years he’ll be a legitimate top NHL goalie. But you’re right about Bernier and how he’s rotting on the bench for so long. I would also target two of these four goalies: Holtby, Harding, Enroth and Hackett. At this point, they have the best chance of paying off sooner (two years from now) rather than later. If Bishop is traded, he becomes a worthy prospect as well.

Who do you like better in this trade? Keeper league: PTS, +/-, PPP, SHG, GWG, SOG, FW, HITS. Ryan Johansen or Dave Bolland? Thanks a lot Dobber, love your stuff over on dobberhockey and with THN.
Tom, Kingston, Ont.


Thanks Tom - Johansen by a wide margin, since this isn’t the post-season when Bolland shines. Granted, Bolland gives you solid faceoff wins, but this time next year Johansen will give you twice the hits and more points than he’s offered this season. And I haven’t given up on Johansen as a center in the long term, either.

Hey Dobber, I'm in a 12-team keeper league (C, LW, RW, D, G, UTIL). Every year we have an option to keep a rookie player without being penalized one of the roster spots listed above. I checked the waiver wire and saw Craig Smith, Colin Greening, Carl Hagelin and Ryan Johansen all available in the rookie category. How do you project each of their offensive potentials for next season and over their career? Are any of these guys potential 80-90 point guys?
Marc, Toronto


Hey Marc, I think that’s an aggressive hope, but if you look to 70-80 points instead I believe Smith and Johansen could do that in the long term. However, Smith won’t be doing that in Nashville unless something drastic happens, such as a new coach, or the arrival of Alexander Radulov.

Hey Dobber, I'm in Year 1 of a five-year keeper league and my season is basically shot due to injuries, so I'm starting to look to next year. Long term, would you take Adam Henrique or Matt Duchene? I'm thinking of trying a 1-for-1 trade while Duchene is still on IR.
Ryan, Calgary


Hey Ryan, put me down for Duchene. Henrique has been an extremely effective rookie who has exceeded the expectations of many, including myself. However, I still don’t see him becoming a 75-point player, whereas Duchene should be (with upside for even more).

Hey Dobber, I am in an eight-man keeper league where we keep 10 guys. Head to head points only. Start six forwards and four defense a week. Which six forwards and four defensemen would you keep? Here are my players: D. Sedin, A. Ovechkin, E. Staal, B. Richards, M. Gaborik, J. Spezza, T. Hall, R. Nugent-Hopkins, M. Richards, J. van Riemsdyk, S. Weber, K. Letang, D. Phaneuf, N. Kronwall, D. Kulikov, C. Fowler
Brett, Regina, Sask.


Hey Brett, I would keep:

Ovechkin, RNH, Daniel Sedin, Gaborik, Spezza, Hall at forward.

Letang, Weber, Fowler, Phaneuf at defense. But I would be active in upgrading Phaneuf for a more trustworthy keeper.

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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