Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fantasy Hockey Drafting Tips

With fantasy football drafts starting to kick into high gear, that means hockey season is approaching and it never hurts to start developing a good draft strategy.  I for one keep a notepad on me at work and on the last page I keep a running list of sleepers and players I'd really like.  Our friends over at Blades of Funny have already weighed in on their tips on what you should do, well now it's time for the perennial master of drafting a second place team to give you his top fantasy hockey drafting tips and reminders:

- Remember that goaltenders are extremely valuable since they compile a majority of the key statistics that you'll need to be successful.  This is why you should draft a goalie in the first 4 rounds just to make sure you are set.  In round 5 you can begin focusing on these supposed superstars like Crosby and Ovechkin.

- When in fear that an opposing player might steal your aforementioned goaltender pick, gently remind them that Evgeni Nabokov, Andrew Raycroft, and Steve Mason all won the Calder Trophy as rookie goaltenders.  If that doesn’t work, add that Jose Theodore and Tim Thomas both won Vezina Trophies.  Should be smooth sailing from here on out.

- Despite "Goals" being a scoring category, Vesa Toskala does not actually count towards it.

Pretty sure Vesa wishes he were on any team, including your fantasy team

- Always be aware of when players have retired, remain unsigned, or sign with a worthless team overseas.  Respective examples: Scott Niedermayer, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Taylor Hall.

- Team chemistry is important even in fantasy hockey.  You can rack up serious points if you are able to draft multiple line mates from a killer line such as getting a Thornton/Heatley, Stamkos/St Louis, or Ovechkin/Backstrom duo.  This being said, it might not be wise to draft Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter, particularly if Lauren Pronger is chirping in their ears.

- Keeping track of how many people you have at each position is extremely important, as most leagues will not allow you to interchange right and left wingers.  Some people, such as myself, opt for a strategy of drafting one less defenseman than allowed in exchange for carrying an extra forward on the bench.  However, under no circumstances carry 8 D-men.  That’s just absurd.

- Remember that whenever someone drafts Martin Brodeur or Kyle Wellwood, they are entitled to a free pie.

SAT analogy question - Spinach is to Popeye as Pies are to ___________ (Hint: Look up)

- Note that just because you draft Patrick Kane or Shane O’Brien, slutty, barely legal girls are not going to bust through the door, bring you alcoholic beverages, sit on your lap, and discuss the first thing that comes up.

- Drafting a good team is a balancing act.  Power forwards, for example, will put up both points and PIMS, and thus are a great way to cover multiple categories at once.  Keeping this in mind, avoid all Dallas defensemen, as heavy “minus” and high “short handed goals against” totals do not help you win leagues.

- When in need of plus/minus help it is always wise to choose players from a defensive minded team such as the New Jersey Devils.  If these players are all gone, just pick the guy that stands on the ice while Ovechkin scores all his even strength goals.

- Finally, in order to level the drafting field and make things more interesting, whenever a Montreal Canadian player is selected, all opposing team owners must do car bombs.