Cage Match Tournament – who is the best multi-category stud in fantasy hockey?
I'm excited to bring you my first ever Cage Match tournament! For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, it's where you – loyal Cage Match readers – get to have your votes counted in settling a fantasy hockey debate. The tournament starts with four brackets of eight players per bracket that meet in individual face-offs until each bracket has one winner. The four bracket winners will be narrowed to two finalists, who'll then do battle in a championship match, from which a victor will be crowned.
I wrestled with what debate to tackle in my inaugural tournament, before deciding on something that’s becoming increasingly important in more and more fantasy hockey leagues – multi-cat players. Yup – all of you will vote to determine the best multi-cat player in the NHL today!
How the Categories/Players were selected
Before I get to the brackets, I'll explain how I arrived upon the categories. In the end, I decided to focus on Hits, Blocked Shots, PIMs, and Shots, since every defenseman and forward can technically contribute in each of these four categories. I didn't count faceoffs or power play points, because clearly not every NHLer takes draws or plays with the man advantage. And I didn't include plus/minus, which all too often is highly team-dependent.
Each of the 32 players is a valuable contributor in at least two of these four categories, with better seeds (i.e., the #1 seeds) being those who I felt either had the best overall contribution across the board, or who do exceptionally well in several but not all four. I purposely didn't include guys who are outstanding in only one of these categories, since after all this is about MULTI-cat guys.
You'll also see that I didn't include any superstars (most notably, Alex Ovechkin) since I was worried their fame and name recognition would unfairly skew the voting. Plus, part of the idea of multi-cat players is to find hidden value beyond points. That being said, if two players were otherwise pretty even when considering their contributions in all four of the categories, then I did give better seeding to the player who scores more.
The good news is if you think I omitted someone who's more deserving of inclusion, I'm giving you a chance to fix my mistake (more on this below) before voting actually begins in connection with next week's column.
I want to leave voting up to you as much as possible, but I also want to point out and clarify a few things. You can allow past performance and/or future potential to influence your vote. In a similar vein, you can feel free to treat the voting as if it's for either a one year league or for a keeper league. In fact, part of the reason I arranged the brackets the way that I did was to get a good mix of players to cover all types of leagues.