Help me draft my NHL fantasy team
October 2, 2005 6:39 PM   Subscribe

MeFi hockey geeks: Help me dominate my hockey pool.

I'm in a hockey pool with the following rules: Draft seven players (1 centre, 2 wingers, 2 defense, 1 goalie + 1 extra attacker) with $30 million. (You can draft anyone irregardless of other player's picks.) Player cost is the same as salaries on the first day of the season. Points are awarded for goals (25); assists (25) and other stats; goalies get 50 points for a win and other accomplishments. You can drop and add players at will; costs float based on league demand and stats.

Obviously, the game rewards not only smart drafting of good players but also playing the market by buying low, selling high.

So: Who to pick? Will small snipers on quick teams flourish in the promised no-hooking rules of the "new" NHL or should I go with established blue-chippers? Will the Penguins/ Flames/ Sens really be as good as promised or will the Red Wings and Devils continue to dominate?
posted by docgonzo to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
Spezza, Spezza, Spezza at 1.1. Some other bargains - Heatly at 3.5, Stillman at 1.8, Recchi (playing with Lemiuex and Crosby) at 2.3, Gomez at 2.2, Ribiero at 1.2, Ryder at 1.0, Arnason at 1.2, Gonchar at 3.5, Zidlicky at 1.1, Berard at 2. That should free you up to pick up some expensive guys that should dominate, like Richards at 3.4 (and in a contract year), Kovalcuk (depending on of he signs and for how much), Naslund at 6, Bertuzzi at 5.3, Nash at 3.5, Hossa at 5,
Don't forget about Lemiuex, Bondra, Ovetchkin, Zherdov, Samsonov, Patrice Bergeron, Gaborik, O'Neill, Vyborny and Lindros, as either rookies, young players getting better, or veterens coming off an off season.

As for goalies, don't forget about Burke and Graham on Tampa now that Khabibulin is in Chicago, Also, Joseph might be a steal in Phoenix. Hasek in Ottawa is interesting too, and only at 1.5. Aebisher might have a great value too at 1.9. Brodeur was still my top pick even at 5.2.

I would draft cheap players with lots of upside first, then pick up the blue chippers later. I think the penguins will be horrible, so stay away. They have no defense, Thibeault is not a good goalie, and Crosby will take time before he's force, IMO. Between LeClair and Lemiuex, they might only get 30 games in. I also think Calgary is overrated, and was lucky to make the finals two years ago. I'd say the best teams in the league are Ottawa, Boston, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Detroit, Vancouver, Colorado. The rules will make a difference, but not enough to overlook players that have consistently performed for the last few years, especially not in a pool with only 7 picks. Actually, with that few players (an average of 4m+ per), you probably shouldn't look for too many bargains, and stick to established players.
posted by loquax at 7:16 PM on October 2, 2005

On defence, Jovanoski will get a lot of points, especially with Sopel gone. Sopel himself could be a good pick as well, fairly cheap and offensively skilled. Loquax is right, you don't really need any real bargains. Take Crosby as a rookie for 0.8 and you can load up with 6 players at average 4.5 million each. Bertuzzi will be motivated, and it will be harder than ever to stop him with the new rule enforcements. I'd consider Daniel Sedin as well, led the Canucks in preseason scoring, and the twins will be hard to stop coming out of the corners now -- also they just look physically stronger than ever.

Other rookies: Ovechkin, Parise, Vanek.

I don't think Calgary will be as good as advertised, Edmonton looks average, the Wild will really suffer from the new rules (but Gaborik might be a good take), and the Avalanche will be down from past levels (but look at Tanguay as a bit of a bargain in waiting. )

And yeah, Spezza Spezza. And/or Heatly. Mario has a chance at a good season if the league is less physical, if so, will lead the league in scoring. Nash is ready to go, but will he ever get any assists? Satan will flourish in NY .... Thornton and Samsonov would be good picks. Stay away from Leafs....

Goalies -- the best goalies based on stats might be Luongo or DiPietro or Khabibulin? Brodeur will suffer from smaller equipment and losing key players off his defence -- I think the Devils have peaked and their division is more balanced than ever.

But, ifyour scoring for goalies is mostly wins-based its really a crapshoot this year.... take the combination of good team, cheapish, and lots of ice-time. In my book, thats points to Esche (Flyers) or Raycroft (Bruins).
posted by Rumple at 8:37 PM on October 2, 2005

I just looked at your league and the salaries re not real, so all bets are off -- Sedin will cost you 4.5 million not what he actually makes -- around 1.5 ... basically you're playing against an expert prediction ....
posted by Rumple at 8:54 PM on October 2, 2005

salaries re not real, so all bets are off

Oh, yeah. Never mind my numbers too then.
posted by loquax at 9:06 PM on October 2, 2005

Be carefull with sportingnews. They let players buy extra trades. I loved smallword before they bought it. I used to routinely get into the top 100 even in sports I didn't like (stats and understanding the market). Now I just can't afford to compete against the fanatics.

If you do the sports sites every night. Look for undervalued players who have a big night. Pick them up right away and then dump them quick once everybody else has jumped on them ( they typically regress back to the performance level that undervalues them). This will boost your market cap.

You have to two goals - to maximize your points and maximize your market value. To maximize your points pay close attention to the schedule - more games in a week is an easy and popular trade strategy. This was my main strategy. With three trades I would use 2 to rotate big salary players to maximize games played. I would hold 1 trade in reserve for injuries or if I saw a big opportunity for cash.

Also, it is critical that you stay on top of injury/suspension news. If a player is injured ditch him fast - their replacement is often a good choice since they will be cheap and the playing time will boost their value.
posted by srboisvert at 4:19 AM on October 3, 2005

Hey, be sure to look at some of the veterans who took big pay cuts to stay with their teams. Yzerman at 1.7M comes to mind (I'm not saying draft him, I'm saying look at other players like that). If you need a Red Wing, get Datsuyk.
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:57 AM on October 3, 2005

Be carefull with sportingnews. They let players buy extra trades.

I'm in a Sportingnews pool, and we've decided to disallow buying trades. There's no way to enforce it but we know everyone in the pool, so the honour system should work. What a stupid feature for a free league.

As for strategy, what srboisvert said. You want to maximize money while scoring points. I'm told it's a good strategy to concentrate on money for the first few weeks so you can cash in on the big-name players once the season is in full swing. Focus on underpriced players more than productive players. In the early game, you want to be constantly flipping players back to the market for more than you paid for them. Then once you've got stockpiles of cash, deploy them on the Iginlas and Lemieuxs of the league. Ride the bandwagon and cash in often. +/- and goalie stats count for a lot in this league too, so pay special attention to those. (It is my first time playing on Sportingnews so I have no first-hand experience to back it up.)

Players? In the past I've found that getting good defensemen is one of the more helpful strategems. They contribute a lot more to +/- and PIM than do scoring forwards. In the productive D-men category, you can't go wrong with Chara, Niedermayer, and Pronger. I also second (third, fourth?) the Spezza recommendation as he is poised for a breakout year. Others are saying Heatley, but how about the third member of that line, Brandon Bochenski, who leads the team in scoring?

With the new rules nobody knows who's going to be good. Judging from preseason, special teams are huge, and power play specialists could be worth their weight in gold. Look into Lemieux, St. Louis, Alfredsson, Hull, Shanahan (bonus PIM, too), Havlat, Bondra, and so on. Teams? In the East I like Ottawa, Philly, Boston, Tampa Bay, and the Islanders as a dark horse. West, give me Calgary (I believe the hype), Vancouver, Detroit, Nashville, and San Jose.
posted by Succa at 6:19 AM on October 3, 2005

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