As I sit in front of the computer sipping a celebratory beer typing this review, I find myself reminiscing about how I ended up here. Of course I had a good draft and a little luck along the way. A lack of serious injuries and the early pick ups of free agents Pascal Leclaire, Chris Osgood and Mike Green were instrumental in my success.
In the days preceding the draft, I knew that I could be faced with a tough decision. Outside of Crosby, then Luongo, who should be next? I was hell-bent on taking two goalies within my first three picks as the two goalies would account for forty percent of the categories. But which goalie to take after Luongo? For me it came down to Brodeur, Kiprusoff or Lundqvist.
After last season, Brodeur would have been the easy pick, but over the summer the Devils changed coaches and lost their top defenseman and top centre. I thought that they might take some time adjusting to all those changes. They did, but it only lasted about ten games! I foresaw Kiprusoff and Keenan potentially having issues and wanted to steer clear of any problems. In the end my first pick was Lundqvist.
The Rangers and Lundqvist were smoking hot in the second half of last season and I reasoned that they only made themselves better with the acquisitions of Gomez and Drury. The Rangers got off to a horrible start, but Lundqvist was stellar. Sure in hindsight, Nabokov or Brodeur would have been the way to go, but Lundqvist’s double-digit shutout count almost single-handedly won the Shutout category.
On the lighter side, Dobber started 12 different goaltenders this year in a futile attempt to fix his ailing goaltending stats.
As this was a one-year pool, I wanted to stay away from unproven rookies and guys with a history of missing games. Steady, proven production was what I was after. This was my first Yahoo draft and the picks were occurring much more quickly than I had anticipated. Ninety seconds between picks was not something I was ready for. In the end, all the preparation that went in to my draft list is what saved me.
The sole reason I picked up Leclaire and Osgood was because I screwed up on draft day in not following my plan of getting two goalies in the first three rounds. Ilya Kovalchuk was available with my third pick and I just couldn’t pass on him. When it came back to me for the fourth round, there were no starting goalies worthy of that pick, so I went with Gonchar. My screw up on draft day led me to desperately look for starting goaltenders from the beginning, when most others were sticking with what they had drafted in goal.
When it was commented that I was winning because of my pick ups, I plugged everyone’s draft picks into a spreadsheet. Then I put up everyone’s best rosters from draft day to see who fared the best at the draft table; free of pick ups, trades or poor roster management. With that as a measuring stick, The Comish and Angus had the best drafts by far. Lanky (7th to 3rd) gained the most when trades and transactions were factored in, while Angus dropped from 2nd to 4th.
The Comish was out front from almost the very beginning. It looked like it might be a laugher early in November when The Comish held a 30-point lead on the field. But that big of a lead could not be held in this company. By the end of November the gap had closed to 16.5 points and even further narrowed to 11.5 points at the close of 2007. Both Angus and Notch were in hot pursuit.
January saw the lead shrink to as little as five points and then bounce back to 16.5 by the end of January. Lanky joined the chase team with a huge month and he continued his charge in February, moving all the way up to second place, only 10.5 points back.
The lead at the end of March was down to six points and The Comish was running high in games played, while the chase teams had saved some games until closer to the end of the season. It was a tough April for yours truly as the lead was slowly whittled away almost every day. In the end, the point spread was only 4.5 points. It was a close race at the finish.
I’m already looking forward to next season and what is sh