Kukla's Korner

The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

First Draft of the Year

My first single-season league draft of the season came and went on Sunday, and I wasn’t a participant. (Okay, my alibi was that I promised to go to Costco and also take my two-year-old son out on his tricycle during the time of my draft – pretty lame, I know.)  In spite of my domestic responsibilities, I do plan on attending at least one live draft this season, which will likely be the fantasyhockey.com/Kukla’s Korner League, where I am the commissioner.

So what happens if you miss your live draft? Will your team be filled with a bunch of stiffs? Before I became a dad, I made a point to be at every live draft. Several years ago, I napped through the first half of one live draft and ended up with centers all the way down to Shawn Horcoff and Jason Arnott, yet no goalies. Fortunately, I was able to add the relatively unproven Marc-Andre Fleury in the final round, and he eventually turned out to be the number one goalie that I needed for victory in that league. That scare alone prompted me to attend every live draft, or at least complete my rankings in case of a power outage or a threat of divorce from my wife from participating in one too many live drafts.

At this point, I’ve figured out how to tweak the rankings to prevent any autodraft disasters (yay to Hockey Pool Geek, boo to those of you about to diss the preceding shameless plug). I ranked at least 200 players beforehand while generally moving goaltenders up the list a little, since previous drafts in this league have resulted in goaltending “runs.” Finding goaltenders will be easier this season, since there are only 10 teams instead of the 12 or 14 from past seasons. However, goaltenders are still at a premium in this league, since a minimum of four appearances are needed in order for a team to be able to win goaltending categories for the week. Otherwise, the league is a typical Yahoo head-to-head with standard scoring categories, aside from a points category in addition to goals and assists.

For what it’s worth, if you’re in an auction league, I don’t recommend missing your draft. The money that you get to spend does not usually carry over into the season. In other words, your leaguemates won’t try to bail you out in the same way that the NHL uses a cap floor to keep the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders competitive. I believe you can still prerank in auction leagues, but you may be forced to overbid on certain players without getting a feel of what relative market prices will be.

So here’s the team that my rankings and the Yahoo Supercomputer chose for me, by round:

1. Alex Ovechkin (Was - LW)

2. Anze Kopitar (LA - C)

3. Jarome Iginla (Cgy - RW)

4. Jeff Carter (Cls - C,RW)

5. Patrick Marleau (SJ - C,LW)

6. Matt Duchene (Col - C)

7. Miikka Kiprusoff (Cgy - G)

8. Johan Franzen (Det - LW,RW)

9. Erik Karlsson (Ott - D)

10. Craig Anderson (Ott - G)

11. Mikhail Grabovski (Tor - C)

12. Alex Goligoski (Dal - D)

13. Niklas Kronwall (Det - D)

14. Justin Williams (LA - RW)

15. Alexander Edler (Van - D)

16. Travis Hamonic (NYI - D)

17. Semyon Varlamov (Col - G)

18. Jamie Benn (Dal - LW)

19. Roman Hamrlik (Was - D)

I immediately exchanged Hamrlik for Brian Gionta, since I ended up with six defensemen and usually only carry the bare minimum of four in this league. As well, this league allows immediate roster transactions without the usual two or three-day waiting period established by default by Yahoo.

Overall, I’d say the computer loaded me up with scoring at all three forward positions, although I seem to lack an elite defenseman and goalie. What I find interesting is that none of the three goalies that were drafted (Kiprusoff, Anderson, Varlamov) were goalies that I had ranked higher than the Yahoo default rankings. Perhaps my leaguemates read my two articles on goalies, or I can safely assume they were chasing wins, since Calgary, Ottawa, and Colorado are not considered playoff teams by many.

Another interesting observation comes from who went first overall. I had Ovechkin ranked as my first overall pick (okay, I changed my mind from Corey Perry), but he fell to me at number four after Steven Stamkos, Daniel Sedin, and Perry. The rest of the first round unraveled somewhat unexpectedly, with Henrik Sedin, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Lundqvist, Sidney Crosby, Martin St. Louis, and Carey Price following Ovechkin in the first round.

Okay for going autopick? Size up my team by leaving your comments below, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or following me on Twitter.

Filed in: fantasy hockey, Ian Gooding, | The Goods on Fantasy Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+goligoski, alex+ovechkin, alexander+edler, anze+kopitar, brian+gionta, craig+anderson, erik+karlsson, fantasy+hockey, jamie+benn, jarome+iginla, jeff+carter, johan+franzen, justin+williams, matt+duchene, miikka+kiprusoff, mikhail+grabovski, niklas+kronwall, patrick+marleau, roman+hamrlik, semyon+varlamov, the+goods, travis+hamonic



Speaking of shameless plugs, I’m still shocked Yahoo has such terrible drafting tools.  I’m joining a new league this year and unfortunately have had to use the antiquated Yahoo site.

My regular league switched to ESPN two years ago and not only is their online draft tool far superior (you can pause the draft at anytime, make picks for missing owners and undo mistakes if need be) but their pre-draft ranking tool has the handy feature of specifying which position you want to choose for each round, and how to make the pick. 

If I want a goalie in the 3rd round I can tell the autodraft tool that, and I can also specify what stat i want to select by, so I could say best G available based on Projected wins, GAA or SV% as an example.

There is so much good competition for free pools now I figure people are still with Yahoo just because they don’t know any better or are lazy.

Posted by dh on 09/26/11 at 12:06 PM ET

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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 gooding74@shaw.ca, or follow me on Twitter.

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