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Which defenseman to choose?

Dmitry Kulikov is pointless and holds a minus-5 rating this season. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Dmitry Kulikov is pointless and holds a minus-5 rating this season. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lots of surprises both good and bad as the season kicks off. And with a 48-game campaign, there's not a lot of time to react. Let’s get to some letters.

Hey Dobber. I need your expert advice on picking up a free agent. I drafted too many old boys this year and would like to drop one for a young gun in a top six role. Of the following players, who do you like to put up the most points? Our league is points only, with no positional requirements and no keeper consideration either. Brayden Schenn, Cody Hodgson, Derek Stepan or Sven Baertschi? Also, who do you like best for a goalie pick up? Martin Brodeur, Braden Holtby, Devan Dubnyk, Semyon Varlamov, thanks for your help.
J. Brook, Vancouver


Hey J. For just this season, your best bet is Hodgson. Although, he seems to be injury prone early in his career so if you prefer someone with lower risk, go with Stepan.

As for goalies, Brodeur is back behind a strong defensive system and if he stays healthy he is your best bet.

I'm an avid reader of all things Dobber and often refer to your rankings when making key decisions, whether strategic or player-choice. I am in a points-only league where D receives twice the points for goals. Opening night was great for my team as I drafted the greybeards Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr and reaped the rewards. I know they can’t possibly keep up that pace, so I have looked to shore up the weaker parts of my team. We have two waiver pick-ups and no trades. I was taken aback when Cam Fowler (picked in round 13/14) was scratched from the lineup versus the Canucks. Is there a cause to worry and look elsewhere? Any advice would be appreciated.
Stu, North Bay, Ont.


Thanks Stu. With two waivers and zero trades, I would do nothing for 10 games. That's a very limited arrangement. After 10 games, make your first waiver move. Then hang on until 30 games for the other one to protect yourself from injury.

As for Fowler, he was scratched due to the flu. He's coming off a rough season and I fully expect a rebound. Call last year a sophomore slump.

Hey Dobber, just a quick one. I'm in a one-year league and need another defenseman, so would you pick up Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Luke Schenn, Andrej Meszaros, Dmitry Kulikov, Erik Johnson or Zach Bogosian? No one guy stands out to me, but all seem adequate. Could you provide a short ranking for me?
Jordan, Portland


Hey Jordan, here is how I’d rank them in a one-year league with the usual rotisserie categories:

1. Kulikov because he has the most upside, though he gets hurt a lot. But that's what IR spots are for.
2. Johnson
3. Vlasic, though the points will dry up once the red-hot Sharks finally come back to Earth.
4. Schenn helps the most if your league counts hits.
5. Bogosian is out for another two to four weeks at least.
6. Meszaros is solid for multiple categories. But he's out for the next few weeks

I have two questions. First, what do you think about Vladimir Tarasenko? Second, when do you think Marian Hossa will stop producing well; when would be a good time to trade him while his trade value is very high as I don't believe he can keep this up for long?
Ben, Ottawa


I think Tarasenko is a potential superstar. Prior to his entry in the NHL, the only question marks in my mind were attitude, health and the threat of the Kontinental League. Well, he's here. So the KHL threat is minimized. The other two question marks, time will tell, but so far so good.

Hossa is only 34, so he can keep up this pace for two or three years yet. However, at this point in his career he is an injury risk so I would be shopping him for the next few weeks and then eventually move him to the highest bidder.

I have three goalies on my fantasy hockey team. They are Ryan Miller, Pekka Rinne and Jonas Hiller. All of my goalies are doing well except for Rinne. I can't drop him and nobody wants to trade for him. What should I do? I also have Alex Ovechkin and I want to trade him, too. Please help.
Curtis


Keep Rinne. It's their loss. Rinne is money in the bank. Nashville will get their wins and Rinne will start at least 40 games. And in Barry Trotz's system, you know his numbers will be fine. And now is certainly not the time to trade Ovechkin. He'll go on a hot streak as soon as the new coach finds the right mix of line combinations (so far he's been failing miserably).

Follow me on Twitter - @DobberHockey

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 question.

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

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