Hello, everybody. Tonight was the draft of the first (of hopefully many) Bleacher Report Fantasy Hockey Pool. The League’s Commissioner is Senior Writer of B/R, Mike Kent. The pool consists of 12 B/R members, who are broken up into four divisions, appropriately named: Conway, Banks, Goldberg, and Bombay. The league is hosted by Yahoo! Fantasy Sports.
League settings are as follows:
Yes (4 divisions)
Playoff Seeding Options:
Division winners awarded top playoff seeds
C, C, LW, LW, RW, RW, D, D, D, D, G, G, BN, BN, BN, BN, IR
Forwards/Defensemen Stat Categories:
Goals (G), Assists (A), Plus/Minus (+/-), Penalty Minutes (PIM), Powerplay Points (PPP), Shots on Goal (SOG), Faceoffs Won (FW)
Goaltenders Stat Categories:
Wins (W), Goals Against (GA), Saves (SV), Shutouts (SHO)
As mentioned, the much anticipated draft was tonight. Unfortunately for me, I was unable to attend. However, I was sure to rank my players and fill the pool of players I did not want (Corey Perry). That being said, I came home and was very satisfied with my team.
Now I present to you a round by round breakdown of the draft. Please refer to this link for the full results of the draft, so I do not have to post them in this blog post.
My pick: I received the seventh pick of the draft, and Yahoo! autodrafted Pavel Datsyuk for me. With the seventh pick, I love this pick. I think Datsyuk will finally break the 100-point plateau this year. You can’t win pools in the first round, but you can lose them. I put myself in a good position not to lose with Datsuk.
Steal: The only way there could be a steal in any draft this year is if the Big Three move out of the top-three positions. In this case, they did not, so this is a push.
Reach: Drafting Alex Semin at the 10 spot is little bit of a stretch. He may not even be in the top two in scoring on his own team.
My Pick: With the 18th pick of the draft, I autodrafted Joe Thornton. Yahoo! has ridiculously ranked Jumbo Joe at No. 41, which has allowed managers to steal him in the third or fourth rounds. I did not want to take that chance so I made sure to bump up Thornton into the top 15 when I pre-ranked my players. I get a top five scorer with the 18th pick. Nice.
Steal: Drafted at No. 22, Martin Brodeur. The goalie of the decade is the fifth goalie off the board at the end of the second round. With Jacques Lemaire in town, the Devils will play stingy defense, which hurts the offensive talent, but helps the goaltender. Austin’s Team now has Sidney Crosby and Martin Brodeur. Geez.
Reach: You can’t blame a guy for getting a hometown guy, but I have to give the gears to our commissioner for drafting Marian Gaborik. Judging from his blog content and his team name (Mike’s Rangers), Kent is obviously a Rangers’ fan.
Gaborik has the potential to be a top-five scorer, but Gaborik was born on the Injured Reserve. Can’t use a high pick on an undependable player. Sorry, Commish.
My Pick: Martin St. Louis. Not a bad pick. I would have liked Eric Staal, but I needed a winger. I am content with the 70-80 points that St. Louis can bring to the table.
Steal: Dany Heatley at No. 27. Another great pick by Austin’s Team. Heatley’s reputation has taken a hit this offseason, but still does not change the fact that he can score. With Thornton, Heatley has the potential for 60 goals. Great third round value. Austin’s Team continues to impress. Eric Staal at No. 34 is the second best steal of the round.
Reach: Patrick Kane at No. 25. I like Kane, but there were better options for the first pick of the third round.
My Pick: With the 42nd pick of the draft, I took Simon Gagne. Not a bad pick, but I think he will miss a few games. I don’t like taking injury risks with high picks, but Gagne is a proven scorer. I would have liked Franzen here, but he was taken three spots before.
Steal: A defenseman that can dominate SOG and PIM’s is Zdeno Chara. He has a lot of value in this type of league. He was taken near the end of the round. Kudos levinakl.
Reach: I have a problem with the Devils under new coach, Lemaire. This is why drafting Patrik Elias is a reach. Not only is Elias going to miss the first few weeks of the season, he has to deal with Lemaire
My Pick: OMFG!!! Jason Blake?? Are you F’n kidding me? How did this player sneak through the Players to Avoid List?!?!?! I would have rather had Sergei Berezin instead of Blake. Shea Weber was taken right after Blake. I needed a defenseman, why didn’t Yahoo! clue in. Gahhh.
Steal: The Motherpuckers must have been doing cartwheels I passed on Shea Weber. Like Chara, Weber will rack up PIM’s and SOG. He is also a budding point producer.
Reach: Chris Osgood was taken with the first pick of the round. He will win a lot of games, but his GAA is not always up to par. I would have rather taken Marc Andre Fleury - the guy just won the Stanley Cup for Pete’s sake.
My Pick: Thank Ricky that Ryan Miller was still available. Huge fan of Miller. I got a reliable goalie who is a lock for 30+ wins. Miller helped me win a pool two years ago, and he will surely help me out again this year.
Steal: There are two picks I liked this round. Austin’s Team continues to draft well with Andrei Markov at the end of the round. And one pick later, levinakl take Tomas Vanek. Nice.
Reach: Ryan Smyth at No. 64. Good character guy, but has touched 70 points once in his career. Not a real PIM guy either. He has looked good in Los Angeles in the preseason, let’s see if he can translate to the 82-game schedule.
My Pick: Yahoo! takes another goalie for me when I still don’t have a defenseman. With No. 79, I took Ilya Bryzgalov. Not a good pick—not with Steve Mason, Pekka Rinne and heck, even Ray Emery still out there. I would have liked Sheldon Souray or Brian Rafalski here instead.
Steal: At the end of the round, Sharks selected Rafalski. Great value pick. Should have another solid season. Derek Roy by Mike’s Rangers is the runner-up. Way to redeem yourself.
Reach: Bill Guerin was taken a little too early in my books. Sure, he’s playing with Crosby, but why go after an old 20 goals, when a young 30 goals in Brad Boyes is still out there.
My Pick: Happy to see Brad Boyes on my team this late in the draft. I think the Blues will be very good this year and Boyes will be the center of this year’s success.
Steal: This is getting embarrassing, but Austin’s Team stole another player from us. He took Olli Jokinen at No. 94. Jokinen is only one year removed from being an elite fantasy player. He should bounce back this year with a full season with Jarome Iginla.
Reach: Good round for all. No reaches. Kudos to everybody.
My Pick: Finally a defenseman! Managers have been hunting down Sergei Gonchar and taking him in the very late rounds. The reason? Yahoo! has ranked him at No. 273. Therefore, like Thornton, I made sure I bumped up Gonchar way up my draft list. I could have gotten him later, but I wasn’t there for the draft, so I didn’t want to take a chance. Beauty pick to solidify my blue line.
Steal: I am not a big fan of the Bruins, but Milan Lucic fantastically does it all. He has great linemates who distribute the puck, he has the skill to score and has the physicality to rack up PIM’s. The Motherpuckers with another good selection.
Reach: Hate to do it to the Commish again, but Mike’s Rangers took Dwayne Roloson this round. Good goalie, but may not get a lot of wins. But Roloson is on the Island now and Kent is a New York guy, so you can’t blame a guy for getting his man. Khabibulin, Hiller and even Varlamov were still out there ripe for the picking.
My Pick: Tomas Kaberle. Satisfied with this pick. The only problem with Kaberle is that he might as well have negative PIM’s. At least he will put up some points.
Steal: Mikey K (lots of Mike’s in this pool) took Dennis Wideman at a good spot. Good point production, better +/- rating. Mikey K has quietly had a good draft (Iggy, Luongo, J-Bo, Hank Sedin, Kessel, Burrows). Mike Ribeiro is also a nice pick this deep, so is Jason Pominville.
Reach: No real reaches. I hate to do this for a second time, but this round was good for all. Everyone is drafting to fill spots now. If there was a reach, it is Christian Ehrhoff, who was drafted right in front of Kimmo Timonen, who may have been a better option.
My Pick: Another defenseman! Woohooo! Brent Burns is another guy I heavily targeted. He had a majorly disappointing season last year, which has allowed fantasy managers to steal him in the later rounds. Burns has looked good this preseason in the Wild’s new uptempo style.
Steal: Tie. Bryan Little and Loui Eriksson. I like both of them. They both play on lines with playmakers and both will put up a lot of shots on goal – especially Eriksson. John Tavares is also taken. Real good value pick. Niklas Kronwall is also a nice pick.
Reach: Not really a reach, I just don’t like Slava Kozlov. You can’t deny him his 70 points last year, but I just don’t trust the inconsistency of his career point totals. He’s up one year then down the next. Up then down. He was up last year, I’m guessing he goes down again this year.
My Pick: Cam Barker. Cool. Quiet breakout season last year. He should produce points at the same rate this year. I need to find some cheap PIM’s!!
Observation: Not one forward taken in the entire round. One goalie and defensemen make up round 12. I have never seen this before.
Round 13 (Answers will become significantly shorter from here on out.)
My Pick: Danny Briere!! Woohooo! Another guy I targeted. Stay healthy, please.
Steal: Brent Seabrook for Cockoo for Kukkonen. In my opinion, the best team name in the league. Seabrook is good too.
Reach: Anton Babchuk is a steal in any KHL draft. Sorry again, Commish.
My Pick: Paul Kariya. Nice. Averaged way over a point a game last year before he got hurt.
Steal: Mikko Koivu. Unreal this guy went this late. I think he will hit the high 70’s in point production. Congrats Detroit Red Wings. Teemu Selanne and Nik Antropov are also good picks.
Reach: I don’t know. Tuomo Ruutu?
My Pick: Chris Mason. Great late pick. Shores up my backup goalie situation. Now I can drop Bryzgalov with confidence.
Steal: levinakl committed grand theft with Brendan Morrow this late. He will put up a good amount of points and also PIM’s. Big time steal. Greuel can also rely on Stephen Weiss to put up 70 points (68 assists).
Reach: Not really many reaches again. I always have high hopes for Matt Carle and he always lets me down.
My Pick: Lubomir Visnovsky. Nice depth at defense now. For not drafted a defenseman until later in the draft, I don’t have that bad of a blue line. Good on ya, autodraft.
Steal: Drew Stafford.
Reach: There is no such thing as a reach after 15 rounds.
Done. Finally. Judging by this draft assessment, I clearly think Austin’s Team has the best chance to win. I like my team. Any team with Datsyuk, Thornton, Miller, and Gonchar is good with me.
I will update you with the progress of the league throughout the season. Until then, check out the league’s Yahoo! homepage and let’s drop the puck already!