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Preparing for the 2013-14 season

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the first overall pick in 2011, has an incredibly high ceiling, but hasn't played a full 82-game season yet. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the first overall pick in 2011, has an incredibly high ceiling, but hasn't played a full 82-game season yet. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

I hadn't planned on a mailbag so early, but I've been getting a lot of mail over the summer and it's hard to ignore the tremendous excitement that's building among fantasy owners.  Let's get to some letters!

Hi Dobber, I've been running a fantasy keeper league (16 player roster, 6 keepers) for five years now and the 14 team owners all seem to enjoy it. However, the one problem I have with it is trades are very hard to come by. About half the owners are open to trading, the other half aren't. Part of the problem is that some of the less knowledgeable poolies are afraid they're going to get taken, even if the trades would benefit both teams. Another part of the problem is that people are more comfortable solving their teams' deficiencies from the waiver wire. I have limited the number of waiver transactions to 15 per season (up from the previous 10 due to a majority vote), but even that doesn't seem to entice people to trade more. Do you have any ideas on how I can get more trades happening in my league?
Tak, Halifax, N.S.


Hi Tak, I think one step you can take is to increase the number of keepers. If you make it more difficult to draft a star player, the owners will look for other means of acquiring one. If you have 12 keepers instead of six, then the owner is looking at a very stagnant team from one year to the next if they're not making any trades. I'm in three keeper leagues and two are full keepers (keep everyone) and the other is keep 12.

Another trick is to have two trade deadlines. Offer unlimited trades up to the middle of January. After that, they have only three trades allowed before the final trade deadline in late February.

Hey Dobbs! I've got Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Logan Couture, and I can only keep one of them, who do you think is worth keeping?
Sam, Toronto, Ont.


I would prefer RNH. His upside is higher and his downside is still pretty good. At worst, he gets hurt every year and manages 60 points in 70 games, but at best he can top 90 points. That's a level Couture won't reach.

Hey Darryl, I need some help for keeper selection, please... I face the dilemma of choosing between Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Joffrey Lupul, Jeff Skinner and Tyler Seguin in a keeper league that rewards almost all stats, but where emphasis is on offense. I plan to stay in this league a few more years... I need to select three keepers from the group above. Any ideas are very welcome.
Dennis, Cologne, Germany


This is a tough one because my general rule is to keep the healthy guys. That would mean dropping the Band-Aid Boys Lupul and Skinner. But Lupul has shown, over the past two years, that he has tremendous upside, perhaps even Top 10 in the league. In this case it would mean keeping him over Krejci, which would mean losing out on all those faceoff wins - and I can't do that. So sure, stick with my rule of thumb and keep the guys who are most likely to play the full season.

I'm in a keeper league, trying to acquire a skilled RW. I can get either Bobby Ryan or Jordan Eberle in a trade involving draft picks. Who should I trade for? Who has more fantasy value? (goals, assists, +/-, hits, shots, etc.)
Jared, Ottawa, Ont.


Hi Jared, give me Eberle here. The Oilers will play a more free-wheeling, offensive-oriented game.

Hey! I'm in a keeper league with a farm team system. Our stats included G, A, shots, PP and SH points, +/- and PIM. We have a regular draft and a rookie draft. My question for you is that I have the 5th overall pick in the rookie draft this year. I imagine MacKinnon, Drouin, Jones and Barkov will go 1st through 4th. Who should I take 5th? I was going to go with Nichushkin, Horvat or Mantha. Any suggestions?
Steve, Montreal


Hi Steve, I'd take Valeri Nichushkin hands down. I would even consider Nichushkin fourth, depending on my needs. After Nichushkin, it would be Calgary's Sean Monahan.

Hey Dobber, I've read multiple times where you state that WINS are the most important Goalie category. My Goalie categories break down as follows: (W) 15 (GA) -10 (SV) 1 (SHO) 15. I just made a move to exchange Craig Anderson for Corey Crawford straight up. I figure Crawford is ready to assume a full-time role and on arguably the best team which should result in WINS! His peripherals were pretty good last year too. Anderson may be the better talent, but Crawford is in the better position. My Goalies now are: Rinne, Crawford and Bernier; I'm a self-loathing Leaf fan and have been high on Bernier for a while now. Finally the waiting has paid off. I don't expect a Vezina worthy performance from Bernier, but is he a decent keep (we only start 2 tenders per night)? The current owner of Reimer is willing to offer me Holtby or Pavelec straight up for Bernier. If Holtby or Pavelec are going to end up top 10 material, I'd be dumb not to take it. But if not, I'd just enjoy watching Bernier establish himself as a No. 1 in Toronto (roll of the dice). But I don't want my White/Blue glasses clouding the obvious. What to do?
Brad, Guelph, Ont.


Brad - do that deal for Pavelec. He is the guaranteed starter, as opposed to battling for the top job. And now he's in a Conference that ensures he will see less of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin. Pavelec is your guy and a great goalie dark horse.

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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