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Fantasy: Choosing Keepers Is No Easy Task

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks

Martin St. Louis has a proven track record of scoring and will help any fantasy team in many categories. Watch St. Louis highlights
Keeper league participants are the groundhogs of the fantasy hockey community, emerging from hibernation well in advance of training camp to pare down their roster in preparation for the next season's draft. This week's mailbag begins with the ever popular who-to-cut, who-to-keep question and concludes with everybody's favorite …fantasy trade talk. Drop the puck!

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I'm in a 12 team rotisserie keeper league. Our stats are goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power play goals, and shots on goal. I have to choose three of Martin St. Louis, Milan Hejduk, Alexander Frolov, Nathan Horton, Patrik Elias, Ryan Getzlaf, and Sidney Crosby. Crosby and Getzlaf are no-brainers. I'm worried about St. Louis' low penalty minutes and plus-minus. They hurt me last year. Any suggestions on the third?

-- TJ

He may not be a no-brainer in the class of Crosby and Getzlaf, but I won't hesitate at all in telling you that Martin St. Louis should be your third keeper. He has a proven track record of scoring (208-297-505), plays with All-World center Vincent Lecavalier, and will help you in more categories than the other four candidates. Why be worried about a low plus-minus and PIM when St. Louis will tally a bushel of assists, score 10-plus power play goals and take 250-plus shots? He is a gentlemanly player, with a career high of 38 PIM, so punt that category away. In 2003-04, St. Louis' Hart and Art Ross Trophy-winning season, he was plus-35, and his minus-23 last season was an aberration in a terribly lost season for the Lightning. Fantasy Guide:

For the record, I would rank the other candidates thusly: Horton, Frolov, Elias and Hejduk.


I'm in a 12 team keeper league and we're allowed to protect eight players. I have a deep roster of guys that are not great, but pretty good. I'm struggling to figure out who my keepers should be. My roster is as follows: Nicklas Backstrom, Dan Boyle, Rod Brind'Amour, Dustin Brown, Alexander Frolov, Simon Gagne, Sam Gagner, Mike Green, Niklas Kronwall, Joffrey Lupul, Andrei Markov, Jason Pominville, Brad Richards, Alexander Semin, Mark Streit, Dennis Wideman, Sergei Zubov, Ilya Bryzgalov, Jose Theodore, and Dan Ellis.

Our roster allows three centers, two left wings, two right wings, two wings, five defensemen and two goaltenders. The points system is goals, assists, penalty minutes, shots on goal, plus-minus, wins, goals against, saves and shutouts.

Thanks for the thoughts,
-- Bleener

Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle should be among the top five d-men picked in any fantasy draft. Watch Dan Boyle highlight video
Lots of good stuff to choose from here, Bleener. I think I'm a little higher on your roster than you are. Starting with the goaltenders, I rank them: 1. Bryzgalov, 2. Ellis, 3. Theodore, and it wasn't easy coming up with that decision as all three are better than decent, but not close to elite. And because of that, I suggest you keep only Bryzgalov and let the other two go, targeting a No. 1 or 1A goaltender with your first pick in the draft.

With that, I suggest your other seven keepers be: Boyle, Green and Markov on defense (WOW!) and Backstrom (C), Brind'Amour (C), Pominville (RW) and Richards (C) up front, with Semin being the next best keeper. I'm not paying too much attention to position because with keepers, you hang on to the best talent regardless of position.

I think Boyle is going to be HUGE this season, and you'll read why when the fantasy preview package hits in a few weeks. He and Green should be among the top five d-men picked in any draft, and Markov is close behind. They could combine for 50 goals and 160 points. I should be so lucky to draft such a trio when my league gets together.

The four forwards I selected for you all are projected to go up in points in the upcoming fantasy preview package. Pominville and Backstrom are youngsters with tons of upside, Brind'Amour is a war-horse Forecaster favorite who won't disappoint, and Richards a virtuoso playmaker on a loaded Dallas team I think is going to be one of the most offensive in the League. I project this quartet to each score 80 or more points and a top six forward on their respective teams.


I'm in a keeper league where we protect six players. My keepers are Daniel Sedin, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, Zach Parise, Henrik Sedin, and Mike Cammalleri. I have a guy after Malkin, and he's willing to give me Jason Spezza and Martin St. Louis. I don't really care for that because Spezza always misses around 20 games or so. I countered with Malkin and Parise for Dany Heatley and Ryan Getzlaf. I like this deal if he goes for it because Heatley could match Malkin's totals and Getzlaf will out-point Parise, or should I just keep Malkin and build around him?
-- Ron

We think alike Ron. But wouldn't it be great if we could count on Spezza to stay healthy for all 82? If so, I think I like the initial offer more than your counter. I'm reading far too many underwhelming reviews and projections about St. Louis, who I think is still a great fantasy player and second-round talent. But moving on…

Using my yet-to-be-finalized projections, I have Heatley-Getzlaf outscoring Malkin-Parise by a close margin, but the latter duo having a slight edge in goals. Of the four, I only see Malkin scoring 50 goals. Getzlaf and Parise are not yet ready to sniff that rarified air, and I have Heatley falling short of the mark for a second straight year though I have not forgotten he pumped home 50 in back-to-back seasons. But as the cliché goes, that was then, this is now.

Still, I wouldn't blame you for trading Malkin and Parise because I believe Getzlaf and Heatley have a better chance of exceeding my projections than those you're giving up. If goals and assists are valued the same in your league, I think the trade is basically a wash.


Have a fantasy question you want answered? Want advice on a trade proposal, or have a hot tip you want to share with the fantasy community? Write to us at and your question may be answered in the Fantasy Forecast.

Author: Rocky Bonanno | Staff Writer

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