September 30, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-09-30

Extensions for Krug, Smith and Eakin, a couple rookie defensemen pushing for roster spots and more…

 

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Exciting night of fantasy hockey for me last night. We held the annual DobberHockey Experts League draft, which proved to be very challenging. The league is shallower than in the past with just 11 of the writers participating but that should make for a more challenging pool with real talent sitting on the waiver wire.

 

We made some changes moving to a daily starts league with a cap on games played per position and a cap on free agent pickups. So while the waiver wire is deeper this year, figuring out how to use it will be more challenging.

 

We're banking on the daily setup to make things more engaging than the weekly arrangement we had before. We also hope that the limited free agent pickups will spark more trading.

 

I don't have a ton of hard-hitting analysis on the draft yet, I'm still decompressing from that stressful event (first draft of the year so it was nerve-wracking, but in a good way). I'm sure there will be plenty of coverage on the league as the next couple of weeks unfold and our writers get a chance to talk about it. I know I'm planning on having more to say for Thursday. Either I'll put together some sort of column or just break it down in the ramblings.

 

Either way, expect to hear a lot about this league throughout the year. I know that I'll be touching on it quite a bit and hopefully the rest of the staff will follow suit. Do you feel like this is something that you'd enjoy?

 

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The Leafs made some more cuts yesterday, among them, Petri Kontiola, their big offseason acquisition from the KHL. This comes as a bit of a surprise. I figured Kontiola was a shoe-in for a spot somewhere in the top-nine forwards. Instead he looks like the first injury call-up, which based on the Leafs current injury situation might not be that far off.

 

Regarding that injury situation, Cody Franson fell in a big way in the Experts draft. He fell all the way to the 11th round, as the 24th defenseman off the board. That actually isn't so bad in that context, but this is a league that counts hits, a category where Franson shredded last year.

 

We still don't know the severity of his injury but it seems serious. Add the questions about his abilities as a two-way defenseman and that's enough to make him drop a long way.

 

Back to Kontiola though. His demotion means that Peter Holland has a real shot at making this team. It also means that Mike Santorelli has a spot in the top-nine. There likely won't be much power play time for either guy, which will keep them from being valuable in most leagues but they are progressing from where they stood this summer with Kontiola pencilled in as the third line center.

 

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Looks like Lubomir Visnovsky's season is getting off to a bad start as he's hurt again, suffering from back spasms. I haven't studied the matter but back spasms strike me as one of those injuries that never really goes away. It's especially disconcerting given the injury problems Visnovsky has had over the years and especially since landing on Long Island.

 

I've given Visnovsky a little bit of love as a sleeper pick. If he could stay healthy he could get like 50 points. Doesn't look like that's in the cards so my other sleeper pick, TJ Brennan, gets that much more interesting.

 

I snagged Brennan with a late pick in the Experts draft, hoping for a vicious combination of hits and top unit PP time. If he doesn't hit, well, he's only a bench player for me.

 

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