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Who to keep and who to drop?

If Alex Ovechkin continues on the tear he finished last season, linemate Nicklas Backstrom will stand to benefit. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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If Alex Ovechkin continues on the tear he finished last season, linemate Nicklas Backstrom will stand to benefit. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Draft time! Our favorite time of year, since it's when we actually put our teams together (one-year leagues) or make big changes to our teams (keeper leagues). Let's get to some letters!

Hey Dobber, I run a roto keeper league (nine teams, 10 keepers, 3 must be rookie/sophomore to help people build their teams). But have come across 2 issues this year.

1a. My own keeper status: I won my league last shortened season after making a buy low trade for Ovi. Possible Keepers: Crosby, St. Louis, Hall, Ovi, Getzlaf, Pietrangelo, Doughty, Subban, Crawford, Luongo. I can keep 1C, 1LW, 1RW, 2D, 1G, 1 Utility.

1b. But this stems to the second issue I have. My team is stacked and should be the odds on favorite to win again. This has been a fun league with friends, but a few teams seem less interested since their teams aren't doing as well. What would you do if you were in my position? I could keep worse players (allowing some great talent to be in the draft) or I keep my best players and hope people don't quit after this season if their teams don't perform as good. Any advice?
Blaine, Rochester Hills, Mich.


Hi Blaine, that is indeed a tough spot. As both commish and champ you are in a good spot, though. You can put forth a rule that all champions are to keep just nine players - while everyone else can keep 10. Furthermore, the last three teams in the standings can keep a prospect (under 25 NHL games) in addition to their 10. Since you are the champion, you can make this effective immediately and nobody will raise a fuss. Your knowledge and strong team base will keep you a favorite to win again, but the gesture will keep the league intact and make rebuilds from weaker teams a little easier.

As for your keepers, they should include Sidney Crosby (C), Alex Ovechkin (RW), Taylor Hall (LW), P.K. Subban (D), Alex Pietrangelo (D), Martin St. Louis (U) and Corey Crawford (G) over Luongo.

Hey Dobber, I am in a 4 keeper head to head league with G, A, +/-, PIM, SOG, FOW, PPP as player scoring categories. I am planning on keeping Erik Karlsson, Rick Nash and James Neal. I need to choose one of RNH, Joffrey Lupul, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz or Shea Weber as my 4th. Any thoughts?
Eric, Saskatoon, Sask.


Hi Eric, I would keep Weber as my fourth. But I would also rather keep Eberle over Nash. Nash is a big name in hockey, but the numbers don’t match the hype. Eberle is less proven and is a risk, but to me the upside will be worth it.

Hi Darryl, I'm happy to read your mailbag again, off-season's way too long! I'm preparing for my keeper league draft where goalies are rewarded two points for a win and a bonus point for a shutout. We dress two goalies a week and I currently own Rinne and Smith. Which of these should I go after for my third stringer? N. Backstrom, S. Bobrovsky, R. Miller, B. Holtby, D. Dubnyk, A. Lindback or O. Pavelec. Thanks!
Thomas, Cookshire-Eaton


Thanks Thomas. As a third-stringer, Bobrovsky is a great pick and your triumvirate will be one of the better ones in your league. Sure, he'll now be facing the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos and Ovechkin this year, but the guy just won the Vezina Trophy!

Hey Dobber, I'm allowed to keep two forwards between Tavares, Hall, H. Sedin in my league. There's only five categories for them which include goals, assists plus/minus, shootout goals and penalty minutes. I'm more than likely keeping Tavares and stuck between Taylor Hall and H. Sedin…who would you keep and let go? Thanks
Jared, Ottawa


Hey Jared, as tough as it is to turn my back on Hall, the safe play here is to go with the durable Henrik Sedin. The guy plays 82 games each year, while Hall has been somewhat questionable in the injury department.

Dobber, Should one take into account things such as contract years and Olympic camp invites when drafting? We always hear about how guys might play with a little extra if they're playing for a big payday or the chance to make the Olympic team. Is there anything to that? Or is it just a fan-driven myth? Thanks for the advice!
Chris, Kampong Gajah, Malaysia


Hi Chris, I wouldn't. Not while drafting. That would be called "over-analyzing" and it usually does more harm than good. However, in my mid-season trade discussions I would take that into consideration because fatigue will play a factor in the final two months of 2013-14.

Who should I keep in my pool? Toews or Backstrom (Wash) or Taylor Hall? Pool is points only: 1.5 for goals, 1 for assists. 1 extra for power play goals or assist. Thanks
George, Montreal


Hi George, I would keep Backstrom. The downside isn't so bad, but the upside - if Alex Ovechkin continues what he was doing the final 30 games last year - is tremendous.

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.

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