The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 01/14/13 at 11:48 PM ET
On Monday night I had the privilege of participating in an Experts League fantasy hockey draft. Among the participants were Scott Cullen of TSN.ca, Matt Cubeta from NHL.com, and Matt Romig of Yahoo Sports, along with a list of other participants from well-known fantasy hockey sites such as Dobber Hockey, Rotowire, and Rotoworld. Special thanks to Eric Maltais from NHLTradeTracker.com for sending me the invitation.
The rules were fairly simple: Keep four players from last year's roster, with the rest up for grabs in the draft. I was taking over a roster from someone who decided not to return for this season, so I had to make the best with what I was given.
All things considered, I believe I fared well in the draft, although I had to set the draft software to Autopick for the last four rounds because my three-year-old son asked me to read him a story before bed. (One day I hope he will participate in a fantasy league with me, kind of like Gordie Howe and his sons playing on the same team. But for now it's Curious George and Thomas the Tank Engine.)
The number beside each player's name indicates the round drafted, while K indicates a keeper player automatically selected in the first four rounds. The league has 12 teams, with stat categories of Goals (G), Assists (A), Plus/Minus (+/-), Powerplay Points (PPP), Shots on Goal (SOG), Hits (HIT), Blocks (BLK), Wins (W), Goals Against Average (GAA), Save Percentage (SV%).
C: Eric Staal (6), Mike Richards (9), Patrik Elias (11), Jonathan Huberdeau (14), Valtteri Filppula (16)
LW: Zach Parise (K), Loui Eriksson (K), Thomas Vanek (10), Pascal Dupuis (15)
RW: Phil Kessel (5), Sam Gagner (19), Kyle Okposo (21), Craig Smith (23), David Jones (25)
D: Dan Boyle (K), Brian Campbell (7), Christian Ehrhoff (13), Luke Schenn (17), Brooks Orpik (18), Dan Hamhuis (20), Jake Gardiner (22)
G: Tuukka Rask (K), Semyon Varlamov (8), Craig Anderson (12), Anton Khudobin (24)
The decision to keep Parise and Rask seemed like an easy one, but I agonized about keeping Eriksson over Joe Pavelski and Boyle over Brian Campbell. As you can see, I was still able to draft Campbell later in the draft. If I had to make the decision today, I would be inclined to keep Kessel and Staal over Eriksson and Boyle.
There were plenty of solid forwards available in the earlier rounds thanks to a run on goalies, which for some reason occurs often in leagues that I participate in. But said run meant that I couldn't ignore the goalie situation for too long unless I was okay with Rick DiPietro and Tim Thomas as my #2 and #3 goalies. It's fine to participate in a positional run on a certain position to avoid being left in the dark, but never overvalue a player because of a run. Ideally, you should draft the player that seems to be the best value at that very moment.
The added wrinkle of hits and blocked shots explained the addition of the light-scoring Schenn and Orpik on the blueline. After all, if a roster needs six d-men, then why not add some muscle? Be sure to watch for any new stats categories in your league, but more importantly, ensure that you study the stat categories that are specific to your league.
Personally, I don't think this team will win the league title. All I'm hoping is that it will hold a stronger foundation of keepers than it did when I took over. But the key here is that I'm hoping to have some fun while facing some stiff competition.
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About The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
My name is Ian Gooding, and this is The Goods on Fantasy Hockey. Given my ability to understand numbers, write sentences, and follow hockey, it’s not a surprise to those who know me that I became a fantasy hockey writer. I started writing about fantasy hockey in 2006 for fantasyhockey.com and became the site’s content editor in 2007. Looking to expand my audience, I joined Kukla’s Korner in the summer of 2011 to create the site’s first fantasy hockey blog.
A few times each week, I’ll provide an article called “Pick Six” where I will write about six players that should either be in your fantasy team’s starting lineup or bench for the upcoming game. As well, I’ll provide the fantasy takes on important hockey developments. You can also email me your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter.