Fantasy Mailbag: Is it time to trade Claude Giroux?

Darryl Dobbs
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The Steven Stamkos injury destroyed the chances of more than a few fantasy owners. But the good news is Claude Giroux seems to be back.  Let’s get to some letters!

Should I trade Antti Niemi and Henrik Lundqvist for Tuukka Rask and Carey Price?
Michael, Chicago

In a one-year format, I would say no. In a keeper format, that changes things. I would still say no if I have designs on winning this year. But if I’m throwing in the towel for this season and looking ahead to the future, I would prefer the Price/Rask side.

In my one-year league, I have a lot of depth and I’m struggling with choosing a lineup each week. That being said, I still leave Giroux in every game hoping for his play to pick up. Do you think he’s worth exploring a trade with? Who do you think I can snag in return?
Matt, Parts Unknown

It looks like Giroux is starting to return to form, Matt, since you sent in this letter over a week ago. So definitely hang onto him. If you have too much depth and you struggle with picking your lineup, I can assume that every so often you choose the wrong guys. The player with the six-point week sat on your bench while the guy who went pointless and minus-7 was active. I had an issue like this myself about three weeks ago. I had four very good goaltenders in Sergei Bobrovsky, Ben Bishop, Craig Anderson and Mike Smith. I had Anderson sitting on my bench during his best week of the season and I had Smith active during his worst week. I also had Bishop on the bench during one of his many good weeks (early on before it was clear that he was going to stay hot).

I solved the problem by trading Bobrovsky. I traded him for a weak goalie (because I like to carry four) who I knew would definitely be on my bench for the near future, plus an upgrade in two positions (wing and defense). The weak goalie I got back was Devan Dubnyk who is suddenly starting to regain a bit of fantasy value. But since that deal, I haven’t had a tough decision in three weeks. I would suggest that you make a deal to weaken a couple of your bench spots – ideally for the short term (i.e. “buy low”) – and strengthen a couple of active spots.

For the record, my upgrades were Dan Hamhuis to Jonas Brodin, and Clarke MacArthur to Dustin Brown. Those upgrades have not paid any obvious dividends yet (except Dubnyk, which was a downgrade). But in reality it did pay dividends – because I’ve rolled with Smith and Bishop ever since, whereas perhaps I would have benched one of them in favor of Bobrovsky had I not done the deal.

Hello, I am currently last place and looking for a roster shakeup. If I trade away Crosby, what should I ask for in return?
Brandon, Laval, Que.

If you’re in last place with Crosby, then you are in trouble throughout your lineup. I’ll assume this is a one-year league since it would be a mistake to trade Crosby in a keeper league if you’re in last place and in line for the first overall pick next summer. Use Crosby to fix your weaknesses. I’m guessing you’re weak in net, so add your weakest goalie to the package and land Henrik Lundqvist, who may still be undervalued due to his weak start, or if you can’t get him try to buy low on a struggling goalie like Jimmy Howard or Craig Anderson. Then again, if you’re in last, perhaps it’s because of them.

Then you upgrade two other positions of weakness. Since you “bought low” on the goalie part of the package, you can probably be aggressive with offers for a winger, defenseman and/or centerman. Trade two or three skaters who you would rank around 150 and acquire players who you would rank around 30. Without knowing specifics, that’s all I can advise. Good luck.

Hey Dobber, Love your column firstly, even though I don’t play fantasy – yet. I was looking to start a keeper fantasy league with 10-12 friends and was wondering which sites are the best sites to do this with? We would just want a simple site that keeps track of the basic stats, can orchestrate trades, has a waiver wire, etc. Easy to use and somewhat intuitive. What sites do you use? Thanks so much, keep up the good work.
Brennan, Guelph, Ont.

Hey Brennan, I use several pool managers and like to try different ones over the years, but the site that is pulling away from the pack is Fantrax. Check them out. They are expensive if you have to go “premium,” but it sounds like you won’t have to do that, so their “free” option will work just fine. You’ll love them.

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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.