Two months may seem like a long time, but that isn’t much of a break in the fantasy hockey world.
We had the NHL draft about two weeks ago, and training camps will open in about six weeks. In those eight months, fantasy general managers will be gearing up for their drafts and trying to determine which prospects will be the next superstars.
This year may be the trickiest season ever when it comes to evaluating the 2021 NHL draft. Too many prospects played too few games for anyone to get a real sense of who could turn into an offensive dynamo.
The prospect draft in one of my leagues wrapped up this weekend, and there were plenty of interesting takeaways.
The 24-team league consists of Dobber forum members, and each roster has three centres, three left wingers, three right wingers, three forwards, six defensemen and a goalie. We have six reserve spots and 15 minor league spots. By the time our pro draft is done and the season is underway, that’s 960 players already on teams. We also have four injured reserve spots, so it can be difficult to find anyone on the waiver wire once the season begins. Rebuilding can take years.
The league is head-to-head, with points assigned in each category. For example, goals and assists are each worth one point, with a power-play point worth an extra 0.5 points. There are also points for plus/minus, blocked shots, shots, hits, PIM, and faceoffs, plus goalie categories.
Our league generally leans heavily toward drafting forwards near the top of the draft, and you'll see that to be the case for this year as well. Maybe in a bit of a surprise, one player dropped significantly from where their NHL draft position.
I won't be getting too much into the prospects, as the gang at Dobber Prospects are great at that aspect, plus there's also the Fantasy Hockey Prospects Report that was recently released. This column will focus more on the reasons why the GMs chose the players that they did.
No.1: William Eklund, selected by Windsor Spitfires
Pengwin made a trade on draft day to move up to No.1 overall, giving up third and 16th overall. It turned out to be a shrewd move, as many of the other GMs I spoke to were hoping Eklund would drop the same as he did in the NHL draft, when he was selected ninth overall by San Jose. Eklund is projected by many to be the best player in this draft. Pengwin said this was an easy choice for first overall. "Of every draft list I read, only Eklund was highly praised as a ‘dynamic’ forward in this draft," he wrote. "Being a winger, and No.9 pick, hopefully, keeps his salary reasonable long-term."
No.2: Jesper Wallstedt, selected by the James Bay Cougars
InForAPenny has to wait a few years before his team becomes competitive, so he doesn't mind waiting for a goalie to