Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tuesday Roundup

[Note: If you want to skip a bunch of self-indulgent fantasy hockey talk, there's a link dump below it.]

A couple of Saturdays ago I drafted a pair of fantasy hockey squads, including one - the JapersRink All-Bums - in the Mirtle Hockey Blogger Invitational league (check out Wyshynski's squad here, with links therein to a couple of other teams).

Having the eighth pick in the 18-team, 20-man roster draft (head-to-head scoring, with the following categories: G, A, +/-, PIM, PPG, PPA, GWG, SOG, W, GAA, SV, SV%, SHO), I knew I'd be missing out on the top forwards, but would have a chance to grab a good goalie. Considering that goalies will account for five of the thirteen scoring categories but only two or three of any given team's roster spots, drafting a netminder was definitely my strategy going in. And so the draft started:
  1. Alexander Ovechkin
  2. Evgeni Nabokov
  3. Sidney Crosby
  4. Evgeni Malkin
  5. Martin Brodeur
  6. Vincent Lecavalier
  7. Dany Heatley
Despite guys like Dion Phaneuf, Jarome Iginla and everyone on the Red Wings still being on the board, I snagged Roberto Luongo, basically feeling that I'd be better off with Luongo and whomever I get in the second round than with one of those skaters and the best goalie left when my pick came up again.

The first round progressed without a single goalie being taken before Miikka Kiprusoff went with the last pick of the round, which got the wheels turning in my head - there were some other goalies I liked a lot, and if I took a second goalie with my second pick, it would force most of the teams picking after me to take at least one goalie, leaving a similar forward available with my third round pick as I would have gotten with my second. The picks continued with a predictable run on goalies, and as my pick came up I was salivating at the chance to steal Chris Osgood, but no dice - he went with the pick right before me, leaving me with a choice of Pascal Leclaire, Niklas Backstrom and a bunch of similar forwards. I took Leclaire.

Sure enough, what followed was another run on goalies, with six of the 14 picks before my next one being netminders. The best goalie available when it got back to me was Vesa Toskala, but of course I wasn't looking G. I was looking for the best skater available... which was Chris Pronger. So through three rounds, I was set in goal with probably the best goaltending in the League (if Leclaire can stay healthy), and I had a top five defenseman.

I spent the rest of the draft scrambling a bit for forwards and often taking the best available player (frequently a defenseman), and here's what I ended up with, by round:
  1. Luongo (G) - see above
  2. Leclaire (G) - see above
  3. Pronger (D) - see above
  4. Nathan Horton (C, RW) - dual eligibility is nice, and someone's gotta score for Florida, right?
  5. Shane Doan (RW) - looking forward to seeing what he can do with a real center
  6. Daymond Langkow (C) - I never like drafting dudes whose value is so dependent upon linemates, but Langkow was the right pick here
  7. Kris Letang (D) - with Gonch and Whitney out, Letang will get all the ice he can handle
  8. Markus Naslund (LW) - reborn on Broadway? I hope so
  9. Sheldon Souray (D) - solid pick here, but always an injury risk
  10. Ryan Malone (LW) - hopefully he gains C eligibility
  11. Wojtek Wolski (LW) - another injury risk with pretty good offensive upside
  12. Shea Weber (D) - love this guy
  13. Bill Guerin (RW) - my first major "ugh" of the draft
  14. Kyle Okposo (RW) - here's where I became the first person in fantasy hockey history to draft Islanders in back-to-back rounds
  15. Tim Connolly (C) - yet another injury risk with offensive upside
  16. Chris Clark (RW) - this pick may have been made with my heart rather than my head, but the Captain has looked good in the preseason
  17. Tuomo Ruutu (LW) - hey, guess what? An injury risk!
  18. Jared Boll (RW) - needed a goon, but didn't need one with a broken hand
  19. Janne Pesonen (LW ) - already cut for Aaron Voros
  20. Paul Ranger (D) - already cut for Stephen Valiquette... hey, I heard a rumor about a Lundqvist injury
I'm not thrilled with my offensive depth (or my team's durability), but I tend to go more for guys who help across the board (G, A, PIMs, +/-) than specialists, as these players are more easily replaceable should injuries come up and they still produce even when their offense goes cold. Obivously, I like my goaltending and have solid defense.

So what do you guys think? If there's any interest, I'll keep you guys posted and may even ask for some advice along the way.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Alex Ovechkin and the Caps are the number one reason to watch the NHL this year.... Damien Cox chimes in on AO vs. Sid.... MediaPost chimes in on AO's latest endorsement deal.... Ken Campbell saw the Karl Alzner cut coming back on Thursday.... Ross McKeon predicts 80 goals for AO and a Finals appearance for the Caps (I guess working the refs pays off).... Allan Muir sees a second-place Southeast Division finish for the Caps.... Linda Cohn is the lone contrarian at ESPN picking against the Caps in the Southeast (though she's got Ovi winning the Hart somehow).... The Caps open the season eighth in CBS's Power Rankings, seventh at TSN.ca and Yahoo! and 10th at CNNSI.... Finally, Cristobal Huet's agent, Steve Bartlett, was on XM204 last week.


wittcap79 said...

"The most prolific goal-scorer of the past three seasons has finally found a team and coach to match his enigmatic personality on and off the ice"

Enigmatic? That's how he describes AO...really?

Enigma - something hard to understand or explain

Energetic, enthusiastic, ecstatic, exciting, sure, but enigmatic? He's clearly never met Ovie before.

The Peerless said...

Newsday reported that Lundqvist took cortisone shots in each knee in August. He says he's fine, one (well, I) wonders if it is a chronic condition he's going to have to deal with.

Ryan said...

I STILL can't understand why people keep badmouthing Theodore.

As it has been pointed out on this very website, NO TEAM OUTSIDE OF TAMPA GOT WORSE PRODUCTION FROM ITS GOALTENDERS LAST YEAR than the Washington Capitals. Theodore literally CAN'T DO ANY WORSE.

Its called "research" people...please attempt to do so before you write articles.

JP said...

@ Peerless - I knew about the shots, but heard a fairly credible further rumor last Friday that he was going to shut it down for six weeks or so. Obviously, that didn't come to pass.

@ Ryan - The "Caps defense and goalie are questionable" is tired and lazy journalism.

JP said...

Oh, and @ WC: "Enigmatic" is xenophobic code for "European" - it seldom actually refers to a real attribute of the player to whome it's applied.

tg said...

Well, Linda Cohn also has the Rangers winning the East. So I would take what she said about the Southeast with a grain of salt.

Aldo said...

She probably did Melrose when he was at ESPN.

Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tyler said...

Congrats JP! It must be pretty cool to be in a league where goals aren't a stat. One quick question: If goals don't count, why were people drafting AO, Iginla, etc.?

@ Aldo: Your comment is offensive. Grow up.

JP said...

@ Tyler: I don't get it - goals are a stat ("G"). In fact, so are Power Play Goals ("PPG") and Game Winning Goals ("GWG").

Or is the joke that I have no goal scorers? If that's the case, well, I agree. But take a look at the how the teams that drafted AO and Iggy look in goal -

* Ovechkin (first overall pick), Ellis, Vokoun, Anderson
* Iginla, Osgood, Toskala, Smith

I'd rather have Horton, Luongo, Leclaire and another forward.

Rage said...

I had to autodraft due to the Skins game, and I blew it. I ended up with Toskala, Vokoun and Lehtonen. Not pretty.

I'm hoping to grab Tim Thomas on waivers, but that's sort of like hoping the fed lowering interest rates is going to save your highly leveraged investment bank.

Rage said...

And I also got Malkin (yuck) and Yahoo autodrafted Johan Franzen ahead of Nicklas Backstrom. So I'm salty.

Ryan said...

@ JP

Its also emblematic of how certain teams get a "rep" (New Jersey is boring, The SE Division is terrible etc etc)...unfortunately, the defence and goalie thing happens to be ours. I CONSTANTLY have to point the goaltender thing out (in between comments by Wings fan boys), and do so every single opportunity I get

wittcap79 said...


LOL, well in that case I guess it's perfect. I guess not understanding is my fault since I married my 'enigmatic' (according to the xenophobic def) wife.

Hooks Orpik said...

Not a bad draft, JP...I followed your lead of back-to-back players from bad teams when I took Andy McDonald and Keith Tkachuk almost without realizing it.

wittcap79 said...

Bucci's East preview is up on ESPN.

The Caps forwards are "a mystery" after Ovie. Yet he goes on to make 25-30 goal predictions for everyone on the Pens not named Sid/Evgeny...I guess the Fedorov/Semin and Clark/Nyls/Flash lines won't be able to score. How do you call one group "a mystery" and declare that Jordan Staal is going to score 30 goals???

Hooks Orpik said...

wittcap -- As primarily Malkin's winger Staal scored 29 goals as an 18 year old rookie. When Staal was sophomore he was the 3rd line center and scored 12 goals.

This year he's back on the wing and has been getting some #1 unit PP time too.

What Bucci said was: "after Ovechkin, is there enough to be a factor in the playoffs? That is the great mystery for the Capitals." I think that's a fair question coming into the season.

B19 said...

I kinda had the same approach in my fantasy hockey league. I've got Nabokov at pick #14, and Leclaire in the 5th round.

wittcap79 said...

@ Hooks -

Your defense of his Staal comment is certainly fair. Although, I believe just a 'lil bit of research would have turned up a pretty solid argument that the Caps strength @ forward is anything but a mystery. Out of the top 9 the only 2 that really are difficult to predict are Kozlov and Laich.

wittcap79 said...

(in my mind at least)