August 31, 2013

Mike Schmidt




I want to take an opportunity to introduce myself to those of you unfamiliar with my work in the past. I've spent the better part of the past two years writing for DobberBaseball and filling in from time to time on DobberHockey. Dobber has asked me to take care of the Ramblings for a couple of days this week, so I'm excited for the opportunity to share a few of my thoughts.


My wife, Kyla, and I live just outside of Madison, WI. Other somewhat relevant facts about me include the following:


1. I'm a longtime and long-suffering fan of the Minnesota Wild 

2. I enjoy running and attending minor league baseball games in my spare time 

3. I'm passionate about writing, fantasy sports, premium beer and hip-hop music

4. I can recite the U.S. presidents in order – forward and backward


Alright… I won't waste any more space writing about myself. Let's get to the fantasy hockey…


Click here to purchase the 2013-14 DobberHockey Fantasy Guide. Dobber, Angus, Amato, Laidlaw and others really put together some great content this year. Everything you want – from strategy and stats to sleepers and busts – is all in once place.


Speaking of Angus, check out his goodbye column from Thursday.  On a personal note – Jeff's work achieved must-read status in my book shortly after I stumbled upon DobberHockey during the 2009-10 season. His contributions will be missed.


Teemu Selanne signed a one-year deal worth $2 million to remain with the Anaheim Ducks for the 2013-14 campaign. The upcoming season will mark his 21st and final (?) year in the NHL. It will be great to watch one of the great ambassadors of the game give it another go-round.


The Bruins rewarded GM Peter Chiarelli with a four-year contract extension this week. While I think he'll come to regret trading away potential franchise player/budding offensive superstar Tyler Seguin, Chiarelli should be commended for the roster he has assembled in Boston. Exhibit A is the 2006 NHL Draft, his first with the organization. Boston acquired Tuukka Rask via trade and selected both Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic in that draft. Chiarelli then signed all-world defenseman Zdeno Chara just week later. Those moves set the foundation for six playoff appearances and one Stanley Cup championship over the course of the next seven years.


An annual fantasy hockey resolution of mine is to stop targeting goalies that don't have a clear path to regular playing time. However, I usually convince myself one guy or another is primed to beat out the competition and shine in an exclusive role. For example, I talked myself into burning an early-round fantasy draft pick on Cory Schneider in one league a year ago. You can imagine the pangs of regret I felt during my almost-daily task of checking to see if Schneider or Roberto Luongo was that evening's starter in net for Vancouver. However, this year I will (or at least plan to) exercise more patience and self-control during my drafts. My strategy will be to load up on skaters and try to take two or more workhorse starters with later selections.


Here are three I'm targeting (based on expected production and where they are projected to go in drafts):


Antti Niemi – His track record (.917 save percentage in 213 games played) as a successful starter is enough to suggest he's a viable candidate to finish among the top five at the position this year.


Roberto Luongo – Among best value picks at the position this season, Luongo is being ranked far too low on many draft lists despite being a proven vet with a stranglehold on a starting gig on a very solid team.


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