Ramblings: Mock Entry Draft, Explaining Connor Hellebuyck (Aug 13)

by Ian Gooding on August 12, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Mock Entry Draft, Explaining Connor Hellebuyck (Aug 13)

Mock Entry Draft, Explaining Connor Hellebuyck, plus more...

For those of you in keeper leagues that have some sort of entry draft format, you may be interested in the following draft results from my keeper league. The player’s real-life drafted number is in parentheses.

  1. Nico Hischier (1)
  2. Nolan Patrick (my pick, acquired for the 5th and 7th picks) (2)
  3. Miro Heiskanen (3)
  4. Cale Makar (4)
  5. Casey Mittelstadt (8)
  6. Cody Glass (6)
  7. Owen Tippett (10)
  8. Elias Pettersson (5)
  9. Gabriel Vilardi (11)
  10. Michael Rasmussen (9)
  11. Timothy Liljegren (17)
  12. Kailer Yamamoto (22)

The top four picks went exactly as planned, but there was some movement after than when you compare with the real NHL draft. But the thing about these types of drafts is that the picks won’t mirror the real NHL draft, nor should they. You are trying to maximize fantasy returns.

That being said, I have no problem with any of these picks. The guys in this league seem to know what they are doing. Mittelstadt has as high an offensive ceiling of any forward save for Hischier and Patrick, and he could have easily gone fifth overall in the real-life draft.

Tippett might be viewed as one-dimensional, but so is Phil Kessel, who could be perceived as better for fantasy teams than real-life teams. I was having a discussion with the owner who drafted Tippett, as he thought that Tippett could make the Panthers this season. I don’t think that happens with Radim Vrbata and Evgeny Dadonov both being brought in to Florida, but Tippett’s upside as a goal scorer can’t be ignored. For more on Tippett and his background, check out this long-form article from Sportsnet.

Vilardi plays more of a two-way game than Tippett, but he could have easily been picked in the top 5 of the real-life draft as well. I should mention that the same owner added all three of Tippett, Vilardi, and Yamamoto, as he just took over this team and wanted to make it much younger by trading for draft picks. It’s like buying three lottery tickets instead of just one, which is what I believe you should do with prospects if you can.

Both Liljegren and Yamamoto could have been drafted higher in the real NHL draft, so I don’t think their selections are reaches here at all. In fact, you could even argue that they could be in the fantasy top 10 of draft-eligible prospects. If Liljegren had nothing more than bad luck last season, then he could be running the Leafs’ power play before you know it. The only issue with Yamamoto is his size, as he has put up over a point per game in the WHL over the past two seasons and could potentially fit in very well in Edmonton.

In fact, the only real-life top-10 draft pick not selected in this draft was Lias Andersson, who was thought to be an off-the-board pick for the Rangers at seventh overall. He was listed as around the 18-19th pick in the Dobber Prospects Report, which can be explained by the fact that he is a two-way forward that appears to have a better real-life game than fantasy game. So I don’t know that I’d be rushing to add him.

Want more prospect rankings? You’re just going to have to get them from the Dobber Prospects Report.  


Don’t have your 2017-18 Fantasy Guide yet? Go get it by clicking on the link here.

I was assigned the Goalies to Watch article, where it’s not always easy to predict the next breakthrough goalie. Finding the next Cam Talbot is a roll of the dice, as it can take a goalie longer to evolve than a skater, so our hopes might be too high too early.  At the same time, who knew that AHL-bound veteran backup Peter Budaj would suddenly turn into one of fantasy’s top goalies last season? An NHL season can take all kinds of unexpected twists and turns, as evidenced by the Jonathan Quick injury on the Kings’ opening night.

Judging by the comments on one of the Facebook posts for the Fantasy Guide, my most debatable selection in my article seemed to be that of Connor Hellebuyck. Why on earth would I list Hellebuyck in such an article when the Jets just signed Steve Mason to a two-year deal and a cap hit of over $4 million? Doesn’t that make Hellebuyck the backup?

I wasn’t thinking that Hellebuyck would be a Vezina Trophy candidate when I selected him, but I’m sure most of you didn’t think Sergei Bobrovsky would be one either at this time last year. Again, goalies are harder to predict than scorers. Sure, you know that Braden Holtby and Carey Price are going to win a ton of games and post favorable ratios, but a Budaj or a Bobrovsky will also sneak into the mix and singlehandedly turn a fantasy team’s goaltending around.

My thinking was more along the line that you shouldn’t completely forget about Hellebuyck, especially when he was so highly coveted in keeper leagues just a season or two ago. Even though Hellebuyck’s ratios weren’t great (2.89 GAA, .907 SV%), he was still good for 26 wins (tied for 15th). And he just turned 24 after a season in which he played 56 games. In other words, grab him when the crowd isn’t zeroing in on him anymore, particularly in keeper leagues.

What about the theory in which bringing in Mason actually helps Hellebuyck? You could argue that Hellebuyck wasn’t ready to be a starter last season at age 23. After all, his ratios (2.34 GAA, .918 SV%) were significantly better in just 26 NHL games (plus 30 more at the AHL level). Although the Jets couldn’t waste another minute with Ondrej Pavelec in net, Hellebuyck couldn’t handle all those games.

Timeshares generally aren’t beneficial for either goalie. Even assuming a timeshare could be a generous assumption, given that Mason is the more experienced of the two goalies and should be the stronger bet to start opening night. But if Mason starts about two-thirds of the time, would you be okay in owning (or at least spot starting) a goalie that plays about 30 games, yet posts ratios similar to Hellebuyck’s during his rookie season? I might find room for such a goalie as a G3 in a 12-team league. He’ll be better for your multicategory team than the Hellebuyck of last season – I’ll say that much.


Right now might be a dead time for hockey happenings, but fantasy hockey leagues are slowly starting to wake up. Case in point: CBS already has its 2017-18 fantasy hockey set up, which means that there’s another rankings list for you to pore over. Keep in mind that this one is for a single-season league.


The fantasy sports version of this happens when you offer a small deal and for some reason the other owner wants to trade you their much better player for the same price. You take that deal in a heartbeat. Oh, and if Mike Milbury wants to join my fantasy league, I’ll let him in any day of the week.

Rest in peace Bryan Murray.


For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.


  • Steffen Knippel

    I had the pleasure of interviewing Bryan Murray for CKCU-FM in the 70s, when he was coaching the Pembroke Lumber Kings. He’s always been a gentleman. RIP.

  • John

    Speaking about the guide and Vrbata. Why if he is going to a better team with better linemates would he drop 14 points?

  • Jonathan

    A bit surprised that Suzuki wasn’t picked in the top 12…