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FHS Ultimate Fantasy League Draft Review and Draft Strategy

As we sail into August and the hockey doldrums, aside from the CBA negotiations which won’t be meaningful until the 11th hour, there isn’t much news out there for puck addicts.

Fortunately, for the crew at FHS we had a new fantasy league on which to focus our hockey analysis energies, The FHS Ultimate Fantasy League. Cam, Luke, Mike, Jay and I (Diomedes7) are all owners as well as writers and loyal readers from Kitchener, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Chicago, San Jose, Dallas, Pittsburgh, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Japan, and Norway.

The basic settings are:

Format: Dynasty with Salary Cap and Contract Structure (ELC, RFA, and UFA)
Teams: 20
Rosters: 33 (23 active, 10 farm)
Starters: 4LW, 4C, 4RW, 6D, and 2G + 3 Bench

Player Acquisition System: FAAB - Free Agent Auction Bidding
Match ups: Weekly: Monday-Sunday
Scoring: H2H - Each Category

Categories: 10 for Skaters (G, A, Pts(2*G + A), PIMs, Hits, Blks, FO%, SOG, DEF, and STG), and
4 for Goaltenders (Wins, SO, GAA, Save%)

Our Inaugural Veteran Draft started on July 14th and should conclude today or tomorrow (July 29th or 30th). Naturally, we all think our teams are outstanding. Loyal reader, fantasy hockey draft guru, and poker champion, lampshade9909 has kindly offered to give us an objective analysis of the first 8 rounds of the draft as well as some generally applicable draft advice. Cheers!

--Dio

Draft Strategy Rules:

  1. BPA - Very early in the draft it’s essential to target the BPA (best player available) regardless of position.
  2. Multicat Players - Always draft multi-cat players before non-multi-cat players. Drafting multi-cat players to maximize your statistical production per roster spot is how you win at fantasy hockey. Exactly how multi-category is this player? Is he a Byfuglien type of player, where he’ll get lots of Hits, blocks, PIMs, and SOG whether or not he gets 30 points or 60 points? Or is he a Henrik Sedin type of player where he’ll get lots of assists, points and a good faceoff win percentage, but that’s about it…
  3. Media Darlings - It’s also extremely important to NOT think about a player’s stardom and to NOT jump on free agency acquisition band wagons or trade bandwagons until you take a deeper look. Which brings me to Rule Number 3: Focus on stat production and team chemistry (which directly influences stat production), and forget about everything else! Yes, Zach Parise is on every NHL news article after signing with Minnesota, but what kinds of numbers is he putting up? Will his numbers go up or down from Jersey? I'm not going to be a fortune teller and throw numbers at you, but I will say that his fantasy numbers with these stat categories will not be worth a 1st round draft pick. Pass on these Media Darlings in the early rounds.
  4. Positional Requirements - In the middle and late stages of the draft, draft the BPA but also consider positional needs. But don't overcompensate. The last fantasy hockey league that I won, I came out of the draft with 9 centers even though I could only start 4 on any given day. Anyone who glanced at my roster would have said "You're crazy you can't even start half those guys!". My reasoning was that these players were just too good to pass up that round in the draft, and many of them were guys very likely to be given multiple positions within the first month of the season (IE: Dubinsky, Ott, Ruutu, etc).
  5. Preparation - Think about key situational decisions ahead of time so that when a tough decision comes it’s not catching you off guard. Let’s say you just drafted a Tier 1 multi-cat defenseman and you’re plan for this round was to draft a Tier 1 goalie. But you suddenly noticed a Tier 1 multi-cat forward has dropped down the charts and is now undrafted, is it worth skipping the Tier 1 goalie and settling for a Tier 2 goalie later on down the road to grab that Tier 1 multi-cat forward?
  6. Goalies, Goalies, Goalies - Always have a plan, and a backup plan, for how you will draft goalies. Consider many different routes you might take.
  7. And more on Goalies - Don’t draft goalies solely on numbers. Things to look at in goalies aside from stats: How does their team play, defensively or offensively? Goalies tend to put up better G.A.A’s and SV%’s in defensive systems than in offensive systems. Just ask Mike Smith or Ilya Bryzgalov. Phoenix’s goalies produce better stats than Philladelphia’s goalies or Tampa Bay’s goalies, that’s just a fact based on the team’s playing styles. It’s also important to evaluate Swings, Runs and Draft Momentum (see Rule #8).
  8. Swings, Runs, and Draft Momentum - Always be aware of the swings. We’ve all seen them. All the top forwards are drafted, then the goalie bubble pops and goalies go like hot cakes! Be aware of the swings and how they affect the draft flow. Have a plan for how you will adapt to swings.

Draft Analysis, by round... after the jump

1st Round:

1 - Donnie - Evgeni Malkin

2 - Clint - Steven Stamkos

3 - Mike - Sidney Crosby

4 - Elliot - Alex Ovechkin

5 - Sheldon - Claude Giroux

6 - Mark1 - James Neal

7 - Alex - Jonathan Quick

8 - Roy - Erik Karlsson

9 - Greg - John Tavares

10 - Tim - Henrik Lundqvist

11 - Andrew - Daniel Sedin

12 - Jay - Corey Perry

13 - Brad - Tuukka Rask

14 - Luke - Zach Parise

15 - Max - Ilya Kovalchuk

16 - Dio - Cory Schneider

17 - James - Shea Weber

18 - Cam - Jamie Benn

19 - Mark2- Alex Pietrangelo

20 - Kyle - Pekka Rinne

Overview: The first several picks were very solid. The middle and later picks were where things got fuzzy. Several "sure thing" goalies were drafted in the first round. Remember, goalies taken in the 1st round are meant to be sure things. Time will tell as to whether or not the Rask or Schneider picks pan out to 1st round worthy selections. But in 20 team fantasy league’s you have to make moves like this in the first round. There are only so many Malkin’s and Crosby’s to go around. Rask and Schneider both look like they will pan out, and they are on teams that play very solid defensively and should for many years to come. The Quick, Lundqvist, and Rinne picks are very safe for the foreseeable future (With Rinne’s value perhaps decreasing somewhat given Suter’s departure from Nashville).

Best Pick: I love the Karlsson pick at number 8 by Roy. He’s the 1st Defenseman to go in the draft, and I’m sure many owners were cursing after his name dropped off their short lists. Karlsson has proved he’s NHL fantasy hockey worthy for these stat categories. With the amount of Gs, As, Pts, DEFs, STGs, he’s producing, he may very well lead this fantasy hockey league in sheer production. Though Daniel Alfredsson is aging, Ottawa plays a very offensive minded style of hockey and won’t be pulling a Washington Capitals and suddenly change that (I’m referring to the style of play that changed in the Capital’s game that is attributed to guys like OV, Semin, Green dropping drastically in production…)

Being Picky: I would have picked a few guys ahead of Giroux/Tavares/Parise/Kovalchuk simply because there were other guys available who should get more stats. I would have looked up Letang/Pietrangelo/Weber before that group of forwards. Parise and Tavares just aren’t multi cat enough. And since Parise is on a new team with a new system, I would avoid him in the 1st round. At the end of the draft you need to look at your 1st round pick and say "Yes, he’s the best player on my team and the best player I could have possibly selected without a doubt."

Shocker: Letang didn’t go in the first round! He had a monster year despite his injury situation. The high-score-potent-Penguin’s didn’t land a big named free agent this summer, but that won’t stop the great scoring chemistry between Letang, Crosby, Malkin, Neal and anyone not named Letang/Crosby/Malkin/Neal in Pittsburgh. Had I been aiming for Karlsson in the first round and missed, I would have drafted Letang shortly after. Letang may even out produce Karlsson in terms of sheer numbers!

2nd Round:

1 - Kyle - Rick Nash

2 - Mark2 - Marc-Andre Fleury

3 - Cam - Kris Letang

4 - James - Carey Price

5 - Dio - Jonathan Toews

6 - Max - David Backes

7 - Luke - Ilya Bryzgalov

8 - Brad - Jordan Eberle

9 - Jay - Jason Spezza

10 - Andrew - Anze Kopitar

11 - Tim - Scott Hartnell

12 - Greg - Dion Phaneuf

13 - Roy - Ryan Nugent Hopkins

14 - Alex - Ryan Callahan

15 - Mark1 - Nicklas Backstrom (C)

16 - Sheldon - Jimmy Howard

17 - Elliot - Jaroslav Halak

18 - Mike - Evander Kane

19 - Clint - Ryan Miller

20 - Donnie - Taylor Hall

Overview: This is where things start getting intense. Either you’re happy with your 1st round selection or you’re not… And in some cases, all the guys you were targeting for the first two rounds have been swiped away and you’re left with guys like Chris Gratton and Stu Barnes (Ba-Dum-Ch). Not really, there are still lots of good players out there! That’s just what it feels like in your stomach when you were hoping for Tier 1 but were left with Tier 2. And that ultimately affects their mural for the remainder of the draft. Lots of 2nd tier goalies went in this round. And anyone who doesn't take a goalie by the 2nd round of a 20 team league better have a really good plan!

I like the Jaroslav Halak pick late in the 2nd round. I’m a firm believer that it’s only a matter of time before he’s the stud number 1 goalie in St Louis. But for now, he’s a Tier 2 goalie, with the potential to be Tier 1, who may be in for a time share.

Best Pick: Letang, by far. He was drafted just a few selections into the round, but will produce the most bang for the buck. See the Shocker for Round 1 as to why he’s the best pick.

Being Picky: I feel a lot of solid multi-cat defenseman were left hanging in this round. Phaneuf was taken, but Byfuglien, Chara, Edler were all left hanging. They aren’t essential to draft in round 2 and can wait till later rounds if you know your opponents are passing them up as well, but instead of taking guys like Nicklas Backstrom (Center) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, you really have to look up the multi-cat defenseman. They just produce so many more stats in so many more categories.

Shocker: These are the days of Evander Kane > Patrick Kane. Evander is more multi-cat and his scoring is picking up with age. You can count on him for a lot of shots, hits, and even a few PIMs. His points and STGs are on the rise as well. Can’t say that much about Patrick. He’s really only getting some points, shots, and PIMs. Even his points are mostly made up of assists which are slightly less valuable. Hats off to Mike for taking the right Kane, though there were some great multi-cat defenseman on the table who I would have picked first. However, he did come up solid with Brett Burns in the 5th round as his first defenseman.

3rd Round:

1. - Donnie - Mike Smith
2 - Clint - Gabriel Landeskog
3 - Mike - Cam Ward
4 - Elliot - Dustin Byfuglien
5 - Sheldon - Zdeno Chara
6 - Mark1- Tyler Seguin
7 - Alex- Anders Lindback
8 - Roy -Niklas Backstrom
9 - Greg- Antti Niemi
10 - Tim - Pavel Datsyuk
11 - Andrew - Kari Lehtonen
12 - Jay - Milan Lucic
13 - Brad - Eric Staal
14 - Luke - Alex Edler
15 - Max -Phil Kessel
16 - Dio - Dustin Brown
17 - James - Bobby Ryan
18 - Cam - Miikka Kiprusoff
19 - Mark2 - Jordan Staal
20 - Kyle - Logan Couture

Overview: With a lot of multi-cat players still left on the board, managers must scoop them up before they start addressing positional needs (Unless we’re talking about goalies here). With 40 players off the board, you have to love Donnie starting this round off by taking Mike Smith. It’s round 3 and he doesn’t have a goalie, why not take a guy who is playing for a highly-structured, defensive minded team? If Phoenix can make Bryzgalov look good, then they can make a career starter out of Mike Smith too right? I like this pick, let other teams use their 1st round pick on the Tier 1 goalies, while you nab a 3rd round Tier 2 goalie who’s stats are a direct result of the defensive minded team in front of him.

Best Pick: I’m giving this award to Elliot. Dustin Byfuglien is a Tier 1 defenseman in disguise. The past two years he has shown why, producing multi-cat stats to just about every category. This may be the best pick of the draft! I could actually justify someone taking Byfuglien in the 1st round, but I wouldn’t knowing that most guys won’t take him until much later. Excellent pick by Elliot.

Being Picky: Lots of solid multi cat players were taken in this round. Not much to argue with. I personally would have liked to see Lucic, Edler, Getzlaf, and Subban all go before Seguin, Datsyuk, and Ryan. Seguin is doing very well in Boston, but he’s just not multi-cat enough. Datsyuk is an excellent veteran, but his points are mostly assists and he’s just not as multi-cat as guys like Lucic, Edler, Getzlaf, and Subban.

Shocker: Getzlaf and Subban weren’t drafted?! They both had pretty bad season and are playing on teams that many think are in shambles. But as far as I can see, both of these players have no where to go but up from last year’s performance. Subban had a bad sophomore year last year and still produced enough to be Tier 2 multi-cat defenseman.

4th Round:

1 - Kyle - Patrick Kane

2 - Mark2- Ryan Getzlaf

3 - Cam - PK Subban

4 - James- Drew Doughty

5 - Dio - Max Pacioretty

6 - Max - Patrice Bergeron

7 - Luke - Ryan Kesler

8 - Brad - Wayne Simmonds

9 - Jay - Joe Pavelski

10 - Andrew - Ryan Suter

11 - Tim - Patrick Sharp

12 - Greg - Jason Pominville

13 - Roy - Henrik Zetterberg

14 - Alex - Mikko Koivu

15 - Mark1 - Patrick Marleau

16 - Sheldon - Jarome Iginla

17 - Elliot - Steve Ott

18 - Mike - Jeff Skinner

19 - Clint - Roberto Luongo

20 - Donnie - Johan Franzen

Overview: This round was filled with lots of solid picks. Getzlaf, Subban, Pacioretty, Kesler, Pavelski, just to name a few, are all solid picks. Every pick in this round was either good or great. Hopefully guys are still drafting BPA at this point. After all, this will only be the 4th player on your team. Now if you have one goalie, and two forwards, you may want your 4th pick to be a multi-cat defenseman. So position is starting to come into play at this point of the draft.

Best Pick: Subban. A young multi cat defenseman whose best years are ahead of him and despite having a bad sophomore year, he's always going to be good for hits, blocks, PIMs, SOG, and a fair amount of points and STGs. Subban’s scoring potential is magnified, in this league especially, with goals, points, DEF, and STGs. Combine that with the fact that his stats are going nowhere but up, and you have an excellent draft selection that would even be 3rd round worthy. Consider Subban a Tier 2 mult-cat defenseman with the potential to be Tier 1.

Being Picky: Not much to be picky about here. Everyone did a great job selecting in this round. I would have liked to see a few other guys go before Bergeron though. Kesler comes to mind. He’ll produce more stats than Bergeron in most all categories. Kesler did have an off year mostly due to injuries. Hope that he picks it back up this year. Kesler should be looked at as a Tier 2 multi-cat forward.

Shocker: Roberto Luongo 79th overall? He hasn't been that low on a fantasy draft in years. I'm not saying he should have been drafted earlier, it's just shocking to see his name so low on a draft chart after all these years! Depending on when/if he gets traded, this is a goldmine of a draft pick. I would love to have Luongo as my 2nd goalie in a 20 team league regardless of where he plays.

Rounds 5:

1 - Donnie - Mike Green

2 - Clint - Brad Richards

3 - Mike - Brent Burns

4 - Elliot - Jeff Carter

5 - Sheldon - Chris Kunitz

6 - Mark1 - Kevin Shattenkirk

7 - Alex - Dan Boyle

8 - Roy - Marian Hossa

9 - Greg - Niklas Kronwall

10 - Tim - Keith Yandle

11 - Andrew - Marian Gaborik

12 - Jay - Henrik Sedin

13 - Brad - Matt Duchene

14 - Luke - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

15 - Max - Braden Holtby

16 - Dio - Jonas Hiller

17 - James - Matt Moulson

18 - Cam - Mike Richards

19 - Mark2 - Brad Marchand

20 - Kyle - Mark Streit

Overview: The fifth round is filled with solid picks and questionable picks. D-men Boyle, Striet, Yandle, and Burns should prove effective in many categories. Look for Brett Burns to make a statistical improvement over last season, now that he has a year under his belt in San Jose. I like the Mike Green pick. If he can be healthy he is a solid multi-cat defenseman even though Washington has transitioned away from the heavy offensive style of play.

Best Pick: This is a toss up between Cam’s pick of Mike Richards and Dio’s goalie pick of Hiller. Cam may have found a diamond in the rough in Richards this round by picking possibly the best multi-cat center available. Those who picked Matt Duchene and Henrik Sedin ahead of Mike Richards should revisit Draft Strategy Rule #2 and the value of multi-cat players. Also, look for Mike Richards to improve statistically this year after getting a good year under his belt in LA. He probably won’t be achieving better than point per game ever again, but he could easily get close. Combine that with his potential for hits, blocks, PIMs, STGs, and we have ourselves a winner!

Jonas Hiller comes in a close runner up. Dio picked a solid workhorse goalie with an appetite for starts. The Ducks improved their D corps this off-season by trading away turnstile Lubomir Visnovsky and releasing depth defenceman Brookbank while signing free agents Bryan Allen and Sheldon Souray and drafting Hampus Lindholm at #6 overall. They also signed a legitimate back-up in Victor Fasth. He should spell Hiller and keep him fresher. Look fora return to a save percentage at or above .920 and a higher % of wins per starts this season. Getting Hiller in the 5th round of a 20-team league represents a boatload of value.

Being Picky: Matt Duchene was picked too early. Colorado is retooling their franchise and I just don’t see Duchene, or Stastny either for that matter, as dominating fantasy players any time soon. Duchene isn’t multi-cat and that really hurts his value. Even if Duchene has a 90 point season, the fact that he isn't multi-cat takes him down a few rungs.

Shocker: Lots of great multi-cat defensemen undrafted! Brad and Jay still don’t have a defenseman on their rosters yet and probably should have nabbed one by now.

Round 6:

1 - Kyle - Loui Eriksson

2 - Mark2- T.J. Oshie

3 - Cam - Martin St. Louis

4 - James - David Krejci

5 - Dio - Dmitry Kulikov

6 - Max - Dany Heatley

7 - Luke - Joffrey Lupul

8 - Brad - Tyler Myers

9 - Jay - Brent Seabrook

10 - Andrew - Joe Thornton

11 - Tim - Paul Stastny

12 - Greg - Andrew Ladd

13 - Roy - John Carlson

14 - Alex - Duncan Keith

15 - Mark1 - Erik Cole

16 - Sheldon - Jason Garrison

17 - Elliot - Thomas Vanek

18 - Mike - David Clarkson

19 - Clint - Matt Carle

20 - Donnie - Mike Fisher

Overview: A mix of young and veteran players get taken in these middle rounds. Throughout my fantasy hockey experience I’ve noticed that some owners struggle in the mid-late rounds because they simply only pick popular names that they know. And since they haven’t researched a wide range of players, they are missing out on a great deal of quality players. An example of making this mistake is the pick of Tyler Myers. Myers has been inconsistent and has not proven himself to be multi-cat. But since he was a Calder Trophy winner, his name has been splashed all over fantasy hockey causing some owners to pick him simply based on his name even though there are better options out there (Seabrook, Del Zotto, etc). Owners who pick the "great" picks rather than the "decent" picks, will win in these mid-late rounds.

Best Pick: Dmitry Kulikov. He’s already a Tier 2 multi-cat defenseman and has the potential to be Tier 1. His scoring touch is great for this league’s stat cats and he’s got some hits, blocks, PIMs to go along for the ride. Look for him to keep improving on a yearly basis until he reaches his ceiling. His ceiling will certainly depend on how Florida develops as a team over the next several years.

Being Picky: Right after I pointed them out in Round 5 for not having any defenseman, Brad and Jay both go and nab their first defenseman. The Seabrook pick was an excellent pick, but the Myers pick left a little to be desired. Seabrook is very multi-cat with a nice scoring touch.

Shocker: Nothing too shocking. Matt Carle is an interesting pick as Clint’s #1 D-man. He’s going to a team in Tampa Bay that is certainly high-octane, however, he could have some competition for PP time. We won’t know how this shakes out until the season is underway.

Round 7:

1 - Donnie - Ryan McDonagh

2 - Clint - Luke Schenn

3 - Mike - Michael Del Zotto

4 - Elliot - Dan Girardi

5 - Sheldon - Ondrej Pavelec

6 - Mark1- Jack Johnson

7 - Alex - P.A. Parenteau

8 - Roy - Craig Anderson

9 - Greg - Zach Bogosian

10 - Tim - Brian Campbell

11 - Andrew - Adam Henrique

12 - Jay - Brian Elliott

13 - Brad - Semyon Varlamov

14 - Luke - Devan Dubnyk

15 - Max - Victor Hedman

16 - Dio - James van Riemsdyk

17 - James - Blake Wheeler

18 - Cam - Shane Doan

19 - Mark2- Brayden Schenn

20 - Kyle - Tobias Enstrom

Overview: Lots of quality players still left! But with manager’s shuffling notes and stat sheets, they won’t last much longer. Too many good picks to name here. Jack Johnson is a great pick because he could easily become a multi cat defenseman in Columbus. His ice time will be through the roof for a long time. Del Zotto has a golden opportunity on the Ranger’s roster. He’s a Tier 2 multi-cat defenseman with the potential to become Tier 1. Brayden Schenn is a multi-cat forward with Tier 1/ Tier 2 potential. It will be interesting to see how his role in Philly changes as the years go on.

Pavelec is a player who I have analyzed closely every year. I know he hasn’t had amazing numbers, but he’s a number 1 goalie and has amazing talent. As soon as the Jets get their stuff together, Pavelec is going to put up excellent numbers. He is comparable to Marc-Andrea Fleury in style and potential. When the Penguins struggled, Fleury struggled. When the Penguins improved, so did Fleury’s statistics. As a result he’s become a high quality Tier 2 goalie. Look for Pavelec to do the same if the Winnipeg Jets develop over the next couple years.

Best Pick: Michael Del Zotto has a huge upside and is already an effective use of a roster spot. The Rangers are tooling up their team for another run for first in the Eastern Conference and Del Zotto is a big part of that. Easily the best pick in this round. Great job Mike!

Being Picky: Not much to be picky about. Great picks all around.

Shocker: Devan Dubnyk finally goes! With Edmonton’s surge I’m surprised he lasted this long. With all the young guns in Edmonton, you wonder who will be in the crease when they are enjoying future success. Dubnyk’s name come’s up, but it’s still anyone’s guess. Non-the-less, it’s a good stab at getting a potential Tier 2 goalie. Maybe he’ll solidify the starting job this year?

Round 8:

1 - Kyle - Alexandre Burrows
2 - Mark2 - Martin Brodeur
3 - Cam - Vincent Lecavalier
4 - James - Ryan O`Reilly
5 - Dio - Mark Giordano
6 - Max - Justin Faulk
7 - Luke - Stephen Weiss
8 - Brad - Christian Ehrhoff
9 - Jay - Jonathan Bernier
10 - Andrew - Ryane Clowe
11 - Tim - Cam Fowler
12 - Greg - Patrik Elias
13 - Roy - Alex Goligoski
14 - Alex - Ryan Malone
15 - Mark1 - Corey Crawford
16 - Sheldon - Michael Ryder
17 - Elliot - Danny Briere
18 - Mike - David Perron
19 - Clint - Tyler Ennis
20 - Donnie - Brenden Morrow

Overview: Again, too many good picks to talk about them on an individual basis here. A lot of owners are filling their needs with multi-cat players and young players with a great deal of potential. Jonathan Bernier is an interesting gamble pick. Alex Burrows, Vinny, Lecavalier, Mark Giordano, Justin Faulk, Patrick Elias, Alex Goligoski, Danny Briere, are all solid picks. Christian Ehrhoff is looking to make an improvement on last year’s poor performance now that he’s gotten a year under his belt in Buffalo.

Best Pick: Ryan Malone. He had only a decent year last year and still statistically out produced many players that were taken before him in this draft. An often overlooked multi-cat forward who’s good for Hits, PIMs, Points, STGs, SOG. And after Steve Downie got traded out of Tampa Bay, Malone’s ice time and scoring went up! He’s always going to get the Hits and PIMs, but give him an better opportunity in Tampa’s top 6 and he’ll average 50+ points per season easy.

Being Picky: Corey Crawford is a gamble. Esp. as a #1 goaltender (yeesh). It’s hard to see him panning out as a career starter in Chicago. I figure it’s only a matter of time before he’s backing up or out of the NHL.

Shocker: Martin Brodeur finally goes! His age is catching up to him. I’m not sure what Jersey was thinking when they signed him for two more years… They may as well sign Dominik Hasek as their backup! Anyways, you have to figure Brodeur is going to put up Tier 2 goalie numbers, so good pick for 82nd overall in a 20 team league!

Rating Players:

I developed an Excel spreadsheet that rates players based on statistics to help me with my leagues. I tweaked my spreadsheet to reflect this league's stat categories and would like to share some data with everyone. Please note that I've omitted Face Off Win % statistic in this research. My reasoning is that it complicates quantifying player values and it was just easier to ignore it for now.

Malkinstats_medium

This image shows Evgeni Malkin's stats from the 2011-2012 season. Notice he only played 75 games.

Malkin82_medium

This image shows Evgeni Malkin's stats from 2011-2012 scaled to an 82 game season.

Malkinrating_medium

This image shows Evgeni Malkin's player rating after run through my formula gauntlet. As you can see his rating came out as 16.68 and is highlighted in red because it's very high compared to all other players. The exact math is layered in pages of Excel spreadsheets, so I won't bore you with it. But it's basically taking Malkin's stats on an 82 game pace and compares them to all the other player's stats and quantifies a rating. There are many ways to do this all of which, if done correctly, should provide fantasy hockey owners with a great tool that helps aid in decision making during a draft.

Ratingsofdraftedplayers_medium

This image is a screen capture of the first 50-some skaters take in the draft. Take it with a grain of salt while understand that this was done using only statistics from 2011-2012 and ignored Faceoff win %. These numbers support my "Evander Kane > Patrick Kane Theory", and my "Pass on Parise in the 1st round Theory", and my "Dustin Byfuglien > Henrik Sedin Theory", and my "Mike Richards > Brad Richards Theory", etc.

Key notes from this data:

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkin is rated so low because he's just not multi-cat at all. Even if he scores 100 points, his lack of PIMs, Hits, Blocks, SOG, etc will take his value way down. But you also need to factor in his age, potential, team chemistry, and FO% into the equation. So these stats alone aren't enough to rate him an 8.53.
  • Ryan Callahan is a 15.16! And he does it without taking faceoffs or getting DEF points, wow!
  • Ryan Getzlaf scored a 10.35; however, he had one of the worst statistical years of his career. Is he a buy low right now? I think so.
  • Drew Doughty and Mich Richards are in the same boat as Ryan Getzlaf. Bad year but still scored pretty good. Drew Doughty and Mike Richards are in interesting situations, both had pretty bad years so the natural inclination would be to think they will do better this year, right? The problem there is that their team plays a very defensive style of hockey that involves low scoring. So it's hard to see their value going up too much higher.
  • The highest scoring players tend to be defenseman, but don't forget that FO% isn't considered here. So bump up skilled centers like Jonathan Toews and slightly bump down centers who are absolutely awful in the faceoff circle (because they will actually hurt your chances of winning the FO% category since they are bringing your average down)
  • I could analyze this data all day, I'll leave more for discussion in the comments.

Wrap up: The mid-late round draft picks are what separate the managers who did their homework from those who didn’t. Let’s say you took 20 fantasy hockey owners and had them do 20 different drafts, one draft for each starting pick position. For example: Owner A might draft 1st overall in the first draft, then 12th overall in the second draft, then 8th overall in the 3rd draft, repeat until every owner drafts at every position once. After doing all these drafts and comparing Owner A’s 20 different rosters, you would notice an interesting pattern. The first several rounds would all be somewhat different, due to the fact that Owner A drafted 1st overall in the 1st draft, 12th overall in the second draft, 8th overall in the 3rd draft, and so on… but once you reach the mid-late rounds, the picks start lining up identical. Some of them may differ slightly, but they will be very similar. And all those mid-late picks come directly from the homework and research you do before the draft. It’s the mid-late picks that make or break your draft. Anyone can pick Malkin or Crosby in the 1st round, but it takes a very skilled fantasy hockey player to make that Claude Giroux pick in 2010, or Anze Kopitar in 2007, Kris Letang in 2010, or even a veteran like Patrick Marleau in 2008.

Giroux’ development was hard to foresee. He was buried behind center’s Daniel Briere, Jeff Carter, and Mike Richards. The interesting thing about Giroux’ situation was he actually blew up before Carter and Richards were traded! Letang’s was very interesting. For those who only look at statistics, they would say he came out of nowhere. A 17 point season in 2007, two ~30 point seasons in 2008 and 2009, and then a booming 50 point season in 2010! What statistics don’t tell you is that Letang was buried in the depth chart for Several years. Gonchar, Whitney, Goligoski were all battling for ice time with Letang at one point or another. Once the depth chart was opened up, Letang exploded in statistical stardom. Kopitar’s situation was pretty obvious to see for a few fantasy owners, but since the LA Kings were not a winning team, Kopitar was able to have a huge rookie year without having much media attention around him. Marleau’s was a classic example of a good veteran goal scorer who had an awful year in ’07. Sports analysts started writing him off, and he bounced right back in ’08 and was an excellent mid-late draft pick!

So the question becomes, who are these gold mine mid-late draft picks today?

What would be your strategy in a draft like this?

Any picks that you loved/hated?

Which team(s) do you think fared the best/worst to this point in the draft?

Let ‘em hear it!

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