This will be my first (so long as Cam & Jay approve of it) post here on the FHS site. This site helped me place 1st in both of my non-keeper leagues last year so I'd like to help keep the content highly useful rather than highly useless. Since there is not a lot of hockey news to talk about at this juncture, I thought I'd share some of my drafting strategies.
Have a Plan
I've always had a plan going into the draft. This plan should have as much to do with the people you're drafting with as it does the stat categories. Are you in a group that tends to take goalies early? Have you noticed that the stat categories for goaltending or defense are more or less weighted than a standard league? Whatever the case is, have a plan of how you want to mold your team, especially in the early rounds. And obviously, keep that plan to yourself.
Take the Best Player Available
I know that I'll get some debate on this. You can't be irresponsible with this. By no means should you take a 3rd goalie in the 4th round if you already have 2 goalies and the best player available is Carey Price. I believe firmly that the value of the player you draft is even more important than the positional need. So what if you already have 2 LW's but no RW's. If there is a LW out there that's a steal for the current round, take him. Trades and Free Agents are there for you to address positional need once the draft is over and the season begins.
Wait on the Centers
Smart people like you and me know that Center is the deepest position in fantasy hockey, right? So take advantage of that fact. Let everyone else use their top round picks on guys like Joe Thornton, Brad Richards, or Jonathan Toews. Your elite defensemen, wingers, and goalies will easily net you guys like these in trades if you so desire.
Head to your man cave, if you have one. Head to the bedroom and shut the door behind you, if need be. Pay for your wife or girlfriend to go out to dinner and drinks with her friends, if you have to. Don't have your friends over for the draft, either. Just make sure you're alone with little or no distractions. It's important to be focused on the draft. There's nothing worse than having someone queued up, then having him drafted the pick before yours. It's happened to all of us, probably numerous times during the same draft. So if you don't have a backup player or 2 in your head, that 90 seconds may not be enough for you to make the smartest choice.
Target a Group of Sleepers for the Late Rounds
The FHS Breakout Bible should do nicely, here. Make sure that you're not just sorting by points from the 2010-2011 season and taking guys like Eric Belanger or Lauri Korpikoski just because they scored 40 points last year. Fantasy Hockey is all about the upside. You don't want players who obviously reached their ceilings last year.