The first ever Bleacher Report Fantasy Hockey League had its draft last Saturday, and I was fortunate enough to be apart of it. I think on the whole, I have a pretty good team, that is nice and balanced:
Round Pick Player
1 (10) Evgeni Nabokov
2 (20) Vincent Lecavalier
3 (37) Marc-Andre Fleury
4 (48) Jonathan Toews
5 (65) Ales Hemsky
6 (76) Brent Burns
7 (93) Pierre-Marc Bouchard
8 (104) Vaclav Prospal
9 (121) Ray Whitney
10 (132) Tomas Kaberle
11 (149) Lubomir Visnovsky
12 (160) Nikolai Zherdev
13 (177) Wojtek Wolski
14 (188) Phillipe Boucher
15 (205) Mikko Koivu
16 (216) Sergei Samsonov
17 (233) Kevin Bieksa
18 (244) Steve Bernier
19 (261) Robert Nilsson
20 (272) Tim Connolly
My first round pick may seem to be a shocker, and a questionable pick, but I think it was the right one. Based on my past experience in fantasy hockey, I realized that a good starting goalie was key to victory. Since this league had 14 people in it, that meant that 28 goalies would be selected, and maybe more if some people wanted three goalies.
Having the 10th overall pick, most of the elite players had been taken, so I decided to take a goalie. Most people pick either Martin Brodeur or Roberto Luongo in the first round. These two were still on the board, but I decided not to take them because I do not have confidence in their teams.
One of the categories is wins, and i think San Jose is going to do very well this season, while Vancouver and New Jersey will struggle to make the playoffs (although in the past two years I passed on Brodeur for the same reasons, so who knows?). I will be taking a slight hit in the save percentage, but will make it up with GAA.
My second pick was a no-brainer in Vincent Lecavalier, who is guaranteed to score at least 40 goals and 90 points. In the third round, I picked up Marc-Andre Fleury to finish off my goalies, and be able to take some good players while everyone else would begin to start scrambling for goalies.
In the fourth round, I took Jonathan Toews. I believe that he will score at least a point per game on the resurgent Blackhawks, and 30+ goals is very realistic, seeing as he scored 24 in 64 games last year.
I started to panic in the fifth round because a lot of the wingers I wanted were going pretty quickly. So i took Ales Hemsky. While this is a homer pick, I do believe Hemsky will score at least 80 points this year, and I felt quite confident in taking him. Later on, I picked Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Vaclav Prospal, and Ray Whitney to shore up my wingers.
On defense, I first picked Brent Burns, who had a breakout campaign last year with 43 points. Hopefully he will continue improving and maybe hit 50 points this year. I also took Tomas Kaberle, even though he plays on the Leafs. He managed 53 points on a terrible Leafs team last year, and should be good for at least 45 this year.
I took a flyer on Lubomir Visnovsky, hoping that last year's 41 point season was an anomaly, and that he will bounce back playing for a much better team in the Edmonton Oilers than the Los Angeles Kings. I am also hoping for a bounce back season from Phillipe Boucher, who managed 14 points in only 38 games last season due to injuries.
I decided I needed to shore up my forwards, and took Nikolai Zherdev, Wojtek Wolski, Mikko Koivu, and Sergei Samsonov. Hopefully they can all maintain the paces they were at last year, and in Wolski's case, improve.
I decided to take Kevin Bieksa with my fourth last pick because I felt like I was lacking in the penalty minutes. I then took a risk with my last three picks in Steve Bernier, who hopefully score at least 20 goals playing alongside the Sedin twins, Robert Nilsson, who with increased ice time can improve on last years 41 point campaign, and Tim Connolly, who might finally stay healthy for a season.
I think that I should be ready for my first matchup against Jason Klau, although a little tweaking here and there may be needed as the season wears on.
UPDATE: Feeling that LW was too weak, I traded Zherdev for Thomas Vanek. That leaves my RW a little weaker, but if Bernier plays with the Sedins, he should score at least 20 goals, and I am fine with that.
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