It’s a new year and I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays, but I am back to work as of today, and also thankful to have hockey back, both with the NHL in full swing, and the World Juniors into the medal rounds, there are lots of excellent games to choose between. For those of us in cap leagues, the World Juniors provide an excellent chance to scout some of the new talent coming up the pipelines, both drafted, and draft eligible this year. However, it is a very small sample size, and is the start of my fantasy resolution list for the year.
Work more on prospect research, and don’t just rely on small sample sizes.
The World Juniors provide some excellent hockey to watch and give a stage for some of the top prospects to shine on a stage with the best of their peers. However, in the small sample size, anything can happen, and six games will not make or break a prospect’s development. Patrick Pistuola is currently leading the tournament in points, but that doesn’t mean he is the best prospect there, nor does it mean he is a sure thing to produce in the NHL. However, looking at his overall body of work, there is a lot of talent, ability, and growth that he has shown, so producing on this stage is an extra feather in his cap.
Players on the flip side that have disappointed with their production such as Dylan Cozens and Oliver Wahlstrom continue to be regarded as top prospects, and you may even be able to buy low on them because they had a couple of slow games while everyone was watching. In deeper leagues with hard caps, getting in early on the rising talent can be a huge leg up on competition. Enjoy the world Juniors, but don’t use it as the be all and end all of your scouting for the year.
Take an extra night to think over trade offers.
This is one partially for me, but definitely for the masses. It is very easy to talk yourself into executing a trade, even if it is a bad one, but there are very few times where it will hurt your team to sleep on an offer, think it through a little more, and take one final look the next day to see if it still looks just as tempting. More often than not, you will be able to talk yourself out of panic trades, or big sell low/buy high deals this way, and end up with a firmer grip on the steering wheel of your season; acting instead of reacting. Very few times do offers get pulled if you take one more night to think things over, and an injury happening that night can go both ways, so there isn’t any advantage gleaned.
Even better, take your thoughts over to the DobberHockey Forums and let some other fantasy minds discuss the pros and cons of deals you are looking to make. This is especially relevant in cap leagues where there can be wide reaching impacts of a trade that can’t be dissected in one quick look at an offer.
Manage team notes better.
This is a personal way that I manage my rosters, but I find that in the larger and more active leagues, I need to keep some notes about many different aspects of the leagues. Most helpful for cap leagues is keeping track of the player salaries, both for the current year, and future years. I use excel, but also available is the new Frozen Tools Team Manager feature. Keeping the team up to date is important for a lot of reasons, especially being aware of what the salary cap situation is for trades and injuries. This has saved me from making poor cap related deals, and keeps me in the know on exactly how much room I have to squeeze in that extra player for a championship push. Many of the top owners in your cap leagues will have setups like these, and you’re only falling behind if you don’t have your own tracking setup.
An additional form of notes that I have found quite useful to track is which teams are interested in certain players I own, and on the flip side, who they may be most likely to deal. This has come in handy to know which prospect of mine I can add on to push a deal through, as I had a name noted down from a discussion with the same GM months ago. Last summer right before news broke that Tristan Jarry was going to be the second goalie for Pittsburgh out of camp, I made a trade push for him, offering one of my top defencemen prospects, and another defenceman that I deemed expendable, but I knew the other GM had an interest in. It got the deal done quickly, and it is now paying off in spades.
I find that it is easy to get into a routine every day of setting lineups, reading the daily ramblings, possibly making a trade inquiry, and then potentially watching a game. However, keeping on top of line changes, and starting goalies would be an excellent way to gain an easy advantage in player deployment, which has a large impact on production.
I was one of those who was too slow on adding Victor Olofsson at the beginning of the season, and am sorely missing out now on what would have been a terrific early add due to his continued deployment with Jack Eichel. Keeping on top of line changes such as that, as well as goalie start trends such as seeing Robin Lehner and Linus Ullmark gradually take over starting goalie duties, can make a large difference over the course of the season.
Work more on my lists and projections for you readers.
In an ideal world, there would be endless time to refine the cap rankings, and salary predictions, and I would be able to publish them in some useful formats. The cap rankings are still being tinkered with, but the general format is in good working order, and will continue to be published every second month on the 25th. Meanwhile, I am currently working on overhauling the salary projections, and am maybe halfway through now. I am hoping to have a solid list of projections out in two months, in time to be read and reviewed before the trade deadline. A bonus resolution for you guys is to keep pestering me to get those done!
If you have questions, comments, or article requests, you can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean.
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Boxing Day Wish List for Teams in the West