ESPN Fantasy Hockey Rankings: No Good, Bad & Ugly

As we mentioned yesterday, we've been having a good giggle at the expense of ESPNs fantasy hockey projections for 2008/09. 

The goalie rankings are just classic... ok everyone's entitled to their opinions and fantasy hockey rankings are meant to be a little provocative, so we're not going to debate whether ranking Jose Theodore (3rd best goalie) and Cristobal Huet (#7) over guys like Roberto Luongo (#9) and Miikka Kiprusoff (#21) makes any sense but its as you go down the list that things start to get downright ridiculous:

  • They ranked Andrew Raycroft as the 17th best goalie... Ok, once we wiped down the monitor after milk sprayed out of our nose... maybe they can convince us that he's deserving of this ranking?  Here's an excerpt from their explanation, "The former rookie of the year is finally escaping the harshest hockey market that is Boston".  I guess its easy to come up with delusional rankings if you ignore what happened over the past 2 seasons or if your geographic aptitude is that poor that you get Boston confused with Toronto.
  • Not sure if Ryan Miller is sleeping with the Stuart Scott's wife or something but they have him ranked as the 30th best goalie behind guys like Ondrej Pavelec (#29), Justin Pogge (#27) and Steve Mason (#24)... three goalies who may very well not even play an NHL game this year.
  • They have Al Montoya as the 33rd best goalie ahead of guys like Dan Ellis (#39), Rick Dipietro (#42) and Kari Lehtonen (#45).  Wow, I guess they must really think Montoya's going to steal the #1 job in Phoenix and light it up this year?... but no, they projected him to play 2 games and get 1 win.
  • Having two decent backups on good teams like Brent Johnson of Washington (#95) and Brian Boucher of San Jose (#101) ranked this high is ludicrous enough... but then you look at who's ranked ahead of them... Ray Emery is ranked #85.
  • The rankings say that player projections are based on ESPN's standard game settings... don't know what these standard game settings are but only thing that we can come up with is that you get credit for Russian league or AHL stats or perhaps its some new type of fantasy hockey league that we haven't caught on to yet where you pick players and then use their stats from the previous season?

The rest of the rankings are a little more reasonable but there's a few head-scratchers amongst the dmen:

  • Phillipe Boucher is the #3 ranked dman... wow, talk about cojones ESPN, that's bold.  Ok well what's the reason?  Well they project him to get 18+35=53, 80 PIMs, 269 shots.  WTF?...269 shots?  Are they aware that Dion Phaneuf led the league last year with 263 and the next highest was 240.  Did anybody check the fact that no dman has hit 269 shots since 2002/03 when Al MacInnis had 299?  Are they aware that Boucher's average shots per 82 games over the past 5 years is 184?  There's about as much a chance of this prediction coming true as OJ Simpson ever finding Nicole Brown's "real" killer.
  • Tom Gilbert, who finished 32nd amongst dmen in scoring last year (2nd amongst rookie dmen) with 13+20=33, is ranked as the 176th best dman.  For perspective, the 176th highest scoring dman last year had 8 points.
  • We're not the biggest Roman Hamrlik fans out there but he is a decent fantasy hockey dman who had a down year last year with 26 points (ranked 55th amongst dmen) but he should be draftable in most fantasy hockey leagues.  Well apparently ESPN couldn't find room in the top 300 dmen for him, they went an average of 10 dmen deep per team, and ranked Hamrlik as the 305th best dman.  If there's 304 dmen out there better than the Hammer this year, then we'll moonwalk from Calgary to Bristol, Connecticut to say we're sorry.

So honestly, who did these rankings?  Did anyone check for a pulse?.... wait a minute, you don't think Bernie Lomax was responsible and this was somehow part of the upcoming release of "Weekend at Bernie's 3 - Bernie Goes to Fantasy (Hockey) Island"

Weekend-At-Bernies 

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