10 Worst Picks From the Expert’s Draft

by Tom Collins on October 13, 2014

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The Top 10 (Bottom 10?) worst draft picks from our experts league

A couple of weeks back, many of the writers here on Dobber Hockey participated in an experts league draft, and while it was a lot of fun, it was more interesting to see everyone’s draft strategy.

The 11-GM roto Yahoo league is made up of four each of centres, left wingers and right wingers, six defencemen, two goalies and four bench players. The scoring categories are goals, assists, plus-minus, power play points, shots on goal and hits for the forwards and defencemen, and wins, goals against average and saves for goalies.

As for my team, it’s pretty bad. I missed the first half of the draft because of Bell screwing up my Internet connection, and when I logged on, I had no defence, two horrendous goalies (Mike Smith and Steve Mason), and a bunch of Band-Aid boys (Evgeni Malkin, Jason Spezza, and Pavel Datsyuk). So whenever you see an update from one of the writers, it’s safe to say I’m probably in last place.

As for the others general managers, it was a pretty good draft, but it wasn’t perfect. There were some reaches and some bad picks. I realize everyone has their own strategy, and so maybe the picks make sense in their heads, but for me, these picks weren’t that great.

 

Here were the top 10 worst draft picks from the expert draft.

 

10. Brad Richards, 12th round, 124th overall, chosen by Chris Wassel

There’s been a lot of hype of Richards moving to Chicago, but we still need to look at the facts. Richards won’t be getting top power play time, like he did with the Rangers, and he also won’t be shooting the puck as much as he has in the past. He doesn’t hit, and his points-per-season has gone down for five straight seasons. He won’t be rejuvenated in Chicago, and with Ryan Callahan, Jason Pominville and Paul Stastny still available, there were much better options still available in our draft.

 

9. Semyon Varlamov, round two, 16th overall, chosen by Anthony Lancione

I’ll never understand the need to choose a goalie so high when they only count for three categories, and you can choose goalies later on that is pretty much on the same level. But even if one wanted to take a goalie early, there were much better options than Varlamov, who will be hitting a wall this year as the Avalanche come back to earth. Carey Price was chosen with the next pick, and Marc-Andre Fleury, Sergei Bobrovsky, Cory Schneider and Corey Crawford were also taken within the next nine picks.

 

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8. Dany Heatley, round 18, 197th overall, chosen by Brad Wilson

Many of us here at Dobber are familiar with the man most commonly referred to as Dany Heatley’s corpse. While there is not much risk at taking Heatley in the 18th round, there’s not much reward either. He was already injured going into our draft, and Heatley’s fantasy stock is falling as fast as his hockey skills. Last year, Heatley managed just 12 goals, 28 points and a minus-18 in just 76 games. He doesn’t even shoot the puck anymore, taking just 110 shots last season.

 

7. Eric Staal, fifth round, 49th overall, chosen by Tom Collins

This was one of my autodraft picks, but it still counts as a bad pick. I’ve always thought Staal was overrated, but the 29-year-old is showing serious signs of declining (and that was before his injury on Saturday night). Staal’s shots-per-season has gone down the last four seasons, and his plus-minus is horrendous (his combined minus-38 from 2010-11 season to last year is tied for the 21st worst in the entire league). He only has 11 power play goals the last three seasons combined. And he doesn’t hit. In other words, if he’s not getting power play assists or even strength points, he’s pretty useless.

 

6. Lubomir Visnovsky, round 18, 194th overall, chosen by Tom Collins

Apparently the 18th round was horrible, as this is the second of three choices from that round to make this list. I thought Visnovsky would have been a great sleeper defenceman, playing on the power play with John Tavares in New York. But he was injured the day of the draft (a bad sign), and with his injury history (he’s only played in 70-plus games twice in the last six seasons), there was no reason to choose him at this stage. Even though I needed defencemen, there were still much better options on the board at this stage, including Dougie Hamilton, Andrej Sekera and Olli Maata, all taken within the next 12 picks.

 

5. Ondrej Palat, round 8, #79th overall, chosen by Russ Miller

This was a pretty big reach for a 23-year-old sophomore, especially when you had left wingers like Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, and Daniel Sedin were gone in three of the next four picks. Palat had a great season last year, but to expect him to repeat that this season may be a stretch. While his hits should increase as he gets more ice time, I expect his goals and plus-minus to be down, and with Steven Stamkos there for a full year, for Palat’s shots should also decrease.

 

4. Radko Gudas, round 17, 182nd overall, chosen by Steve Laidlaw

With no penalty minutes or blocked shots, last year’s fantasy darling is basically a one-category wonder in our league this year: hits. He doesn’t score much, and doesn’t play the power play. Even if a general manager needed to fill in the hits category, to do so at the expense of five other categories is a little much.

 

3. Evgeny Kuznetsov, 10th round, 100th overall, chosen by The Contras (I think is Demetrios Fragopoulos from ‘The Contrarian’?)

Maybe in a keeper pool, this pick would make more sense. But in a one-year league, this was much too early to be taking a rookie. The next four picks were Jakub Voracek, Kyle Okposo, Patric Hornqvist, and Tomas Hertl, who all would have been better choices than Kuz this season. The next non-goalie rookie chosen was Jonathan Drouin, all the way down at the start of round 20.

 

2. Jonathan Quick, First round, 11th overall, chosen by The Contras (Demetrios Fragopoulos?)

Quick was the third goalie taken off the board, but I think it was a bit of a reach. I understand Contras’ reasoning. He had back-to-back picks, and after these two choices, he wasn’t picking again until 33rd, so maybe he wanted to get a goalie early. But with goalies only counting for three of nine categories, I thought it was a big reach, especially since he wasn’t picking until 20 picks later. In my mind, it would have been better to take an offensive talent like Seguin, Hall or Kessel and then get “stuck” with a goalie like Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi or Pekka Rinne in the fourth to sixth rounds.

 

1. Jordan Staal, round 18, 191st overall, chosen by Austin Wallace

As the second Staal on this list (trust me, I probably would have put Marc Staal somewhere if someone had drafted him), this choice was a bit of a doozy. Maybe if Staal was healthy, there could be some value in getting him in a late round, but this pick will never deliver. Staal is out with a broken leg for at least three months. And the draft happened a week after the injury. Even if Staal was playing, let’s not forget who he is: A 50-point-or-less guy that doesn’t shoot a lot, doesn’t get enough power play points, and doesn’t have a great plus-minus. Even a fully healthy Staal at this stage would have been a reach. 

 

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