Ramblings: Low Plus Minus – Athanasiou, Hronek, Labanc (May 29)

Ian Gooding

2020-05-29

In case you missed it, I wrote about the NHL's return to play plan. This article was intended as a follow-up to Dobber's article from March on the NHL season being paused. Developing a contingency plan to finish a season that was cut short because of a pandemic wasn't something we expected to do when the season started, yet here we are. It's difficult to find a precedent on what to do, so we just have to do the best that we can.

A Twitter follower mentioned that I didn't really cover the combined regular season/playoff pool scenario. Honestly, I've never participated in this type of league, as Dobber has. It's always been one or the other for me, which is why I didn't cover that scenario at length. Something like this could be interesting and exciting, should your league members decide that the shortened 2019-20 season wasn't enough. As I mentioned yesterday, you may need somewhere else to record your league results if Yahoo or ESPN consider your league as completed and you don't. Something like a Google Doc or a forum or another website or document that everyone will have access to would probably work.

Something that will make this type of league particularly unique is the player pool. If you're linking the playoff pool to a regular-season league, you'll have to decide what to do about players that miss the playoffs. In a single-season league, it's fairly straightforward. Drop players from the seven non-playoff teams. Then hold some kind of draft to fill those slots with waiver-wire options from the playoff teams, with the number of picks per team dependent on empty roster slots. I don't like the idea of a free-for-all first come, first serve here, which is how waiver wires normally work. Make it as fair as possible.

Keeper leagues will be a bit more challenging. If there is a way to expand roster sizes to allow for additions, then do it. If you have some kind of minor league roster, allow for easy callups. I don't think a team should be penalized because it has Jack Eichel and Anze Kopitar as its top two centers. If those were the rules in place before COVID-19, then fine, you can leave it that way. Targeting players from playoff teams is already part of the strategy. But if this is a new addition to your league, don't make it easier for some to participate than others.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you're going to need a contingency plan on anything involving a playoff pool. In other words, what's going to happen if the whole shebang shuts down partway through because of an outbreak? Whoever the leader is at that point wins? X number of games constitutes a season? Scrap the whole thing? Revert to the regular-season results, if you're combining the two seasons? You know that another cancellation (or even a non-restart) is a possibility now, so you HAVE to have a "what-if" outlined to every single participant if you plan to extend your fantasy season.

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This might be stating the obvious by now, but the NHL has announced the winners of four awards as a result of the season being completed.

Art Ross Trophy: Leon Draisaitl (110 points)

Rocket Richard Trophy: Alex Ovechki