Recently, Fantasy Hockey Scouts was asked to join an experts keeper league by Eric over at NHLTradeTracker.com. We were taking over a team who elected not to rejoin. First, let's take a look at the best competition that I've ever been up against:
- Three teams from Rotoworld
- TSN.ca - Cullen
- Dobber Hockey - Miller
- Kukla's Korner - Ian
- The Sports Forecaster
- Yahoo! - Matt Romig (last season's winner)
- NHL.com - Cubeta
- SiriusXM - Flowers
The league's format is a 12-team rotisserie style with keepers. The categories are goals, assists, +/-, PPP, shots, hits, blocks, GAA, SV%, and wins. You'll notice the conspicuously missing PIM category. This is the first league I've ever participated in where PIM was not a factor. Each team had four keepers with a max of just one goalie. I was lucky enough to inherit a team that included the likes of Pekka Rinne, John Tavares, Erik Karlsson, and Jordan Eberle. It was tough to pass on keeping Jonathan Toews, but I felt like the four I chose were a no brainer. I netted the last pick in the draft which I was fine with.
The pace of the draft was interesting. It seemed each team had their own style of either making a quick pick within 10 seconds or taking the full 90 seconds. I was also interested to see two separate position runs early on in the draft. There was a goalie run almost immediately. Of the first 18 picks, 9 of them were spent on goalies. I joined in on this run, taking Braden Holtby with my snake pick. A couple of rounds later there was a run on defensemen. Between the third and fifth rounds of the draft (not including the keeper rounds) there were 13 defensemen taken in the span of 25 picks. I was glad to get multi-cat stud, P.K. Subban to open the fourth round in the middle of that run.
The hits and blocks categories put a premium on the Gabriel Landeskog types. So for me, Evander Kane was the obvious choice when my first pick came up. I continued the trend of taking players who can contribute in the hits category while still putting up points with my early picks of Max Pacioretty, Joffrey Lupul, and Wayne Simmonds. Later on in the draft, the likes of Ryan Malone, Brian Boyle, and Steve Ott gave me more of the same, albeit without the same scoring punch.
Another facet I was interested to see was where and when rookies/prospects were taken in this draft. Justin Schultz was the first such player taken at 128th overall (this number includes keepers). This is likely due to his assault on the AHL this season (18+30=48 in 34 games). I was the next to take a rookie when I went for Nail Yakupov at 133rd overall. The third one taken was Brendan Smith at 146th overall. There were plenty of rookies taken in the top 200. In order, they were Vladimir Tarasenko (160th), Jonathan Huberdeau (161st), Mikael Granlund (168th), Jakob Silfverberg (171st), and Ryan Ellis (196th). This gives you a good idea of how the experts rank prospects and their chances to contribute this season.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience in an experts league. I believe I did well for myself as I drafted a lot of the players whom I have high hopes/expectations for this season. I'll be making a few posts on our FHS site about this league throughout the season. Below is a full list of my draft. How do you think I did?