Rambling about my draft, Ottawa’s tough luck, Halak Attack and more …
Last Fantasy Guide update was Sunday. I also updated the Draft List. At this point, updates are daily, so just re-download the Guide and/or Draft List as needed. Lots happening right now and if you want to stay up to the minute before your draft, login and grab the Guide for the latest. Today’s update will be later this afternoon.
The NHL news seems to pouring out of Ottawa right now, compared to the other cities. Mark Stone, Curtis Lazar…and now Clarke MacArthur. Stone has a concussion and is day to day, and as I mentioned in the Guide, my expectation is that he will only miss a game or two of action, if that. Lazar has mononucleosis and I really have no idea about that one. He still has a couple of weeks so I’ll leave his projection where it is and just monitor the situation.
MacArthur is the big one. Not in terms of player value, but in terms of injury magnitude. He suffered his fourth concussion in 18 months during what was pretty much his first return to competitive pro hockey. His teammate, Patrick Sieloff, took him out with an illegal check. Now I wonder if MacArthur will play again ever, let alone in the season. All the best to him. From a fantasy standpoint, I don’t think he’s even worth the risk.
As for Sieloff, Bobby Ryan apparently tried to fight him immediately after. And later, Chris Neil went after him. Sieloff was then removed from practice “for his own safety”. If you recall, Sieloff was the player the Sens acquired for Alex Chiasson. Bet they regret that deal now!
Former Senator Jared Cowen is now off the Maple Leafs’ roster. Apparently, the strategy is to just go ahead with the move, and if it’s wrong then suffer through the fine and the cap adjustment. Either way, he’s gone.
Minor things that I’m sure will turn out okay – Johnny Boychuk has been out with a “nagging injury” to his upper body. They will re-evaluate him, but it sounds as though they’re just playing it safe and that he won’t miss any regular season time. Cal Clutterbuck left practice with a LBI. So far, it doesn’t seem serious either.
Nick Bonino took a shot off his foot and left practice. But this is another case of “not serious”. Or so they say. But for fantasy purposes I won’t let the ‘reportedly’ minor news impact my player rankings.
NHL teams have begun their cuts. So far, no significant prospects have been released from camp, but I’ll discuss them here (and note them in the guide) when the ‘real’ names start coming out.
In an interesting move, the Blackhawks burned a contract by signing a 19-year-old free agent who wasn’t drafted. Alexandre Fortin had modest point totals in the QMJHL (43 in 54 games), he’s not overly big (6-0, 180), and doesn’t play an aggressive brand of hockey (17 PIM). Chicago drafted nine players back in June, so they have plenty of prospects and had plenty of opportunity to draft Fortin. But I guess they saw enough in him. He’s eligible to go back to the QMJHL.
I had my first two drafts on the weekend. First off was the Forecaster League, where it’s Keep 12, 14-team, points-only but with a small portion of points awarded for PPPts, Hits and SOG besides the regular goals and assists. I’m a recent three-time champ, but I finished a distant third last season so I’d like to get my crown back.
C – Brassard
W – Ovechkin, Benn, Fabbri (C), Radulov
D – Carlson, Barrie, Yandle, Suter
G – Bishop, Talbot, Quick
I love keeping three stud goalies. Really covers me off and I don’t have to worry about goalies in the draft. Because my other draft on Sunday has a pre-draft party Saturday (during the Forecaster online draft) each year, I try to get rid of my later picks. So in this year’s 13-round draft I was done after eight rounds. Done in an hour!
My goal was obviously to draft centermen and because the pickings were actually slim, I prioritized them. I also learned a lesson last season when I only had one C/W eligible player. It made things very tough to have flexibility each week. My first pick was 12th overall and so to me the best centers available were, in order: Matthews, Trocheck, Little, Teravainen, Miller, Couturier, Kesler, Spooner, Wennberg, Zetterberg, Ennis.
First Round: Matthews, Laine Puljujarvi, Dubnyk, Neal, Lehtonen, Tkachuk, Ladd, Luongo, Trocheck, Ryan, Little, Lucic, Ward
Comments – As you can see, a few owners are desperate for goaltending. I don’t ever want to be an owner like that. It happened once, and made the entire season suck. Now I’m extra, extra cautious with goaltending. Three proven, guaranteed starters are a must. I grabbed Little.
Strategy – Now I know I have just one pick in the second round, and then I don’t pick until the fifth round. At which point I have nine draft picks between the fifth and eighth rounds. The next guy on my list available, according to my Fantasy Hockey Geek rankings and my projections, was Adam Larsson. So my thinking is that nobody will take Larsson for a long time. He just might slip to the fifth round. So I turn my focus back to center. It’s between Teravainen, Miller and Couturier. A quick poll of the guys in my other pool drinking beer and it was unanimous – Teuvo. Both Miller and TT are C/W whereas Couturier is just C.
Second Round: Zuccarello, Henrique, Mason, Sharp, Lehner, Muzzin, Teravainen, M. Smith, Kesler, Hagelin, Palmieri, Provorov, Seabrook, Iginla.
Comments – Again I can see the desperation. Goalies. Not me though, right? I get Teravainen. I admit I winced a little when Provorov went. It would have been nice to draft that stud later.
Strategy – Now I can drink my beer, chat with my buddies and watch the Team Canada game. No picks for three rounds, and my list is already set up in Fantrax so I’ll see what’s left after things get close. I am, however, keeping an eye out for Larsson slipping down to me. I’ll post the order of the players picked, for those curious. For those not – I’m sorry for boring you. I’ll be brief!
Third Round: R. Miller, Buchnevich, Spooner, Vlasic, Cammalleri, Fowler, Goligoski, Greiss, Skinner, R. Smith, Nyquist, Markov, Rakell, Maatta
Fourth Round: Leddy, N. Schmaltz, B. Campbell, Tatar, Rask, Zetterberg, Stastny, Larsson (D’oh!), Ellis, Nielsen, Chara, Foligno, Marleau, Trouba
Comments – Well Larsson needed to slide seven more spots to reach me, as I picked first in the fifth round. I also pick 12th…I think if the guy who took Campbell thinks he’ll have a resurgence in Chicago, he has another think coming.
Strategy – I need two defensemen and four wingers and a center. It would be nice if a couple more centers had wing eligibility too.
Fifth Round: Matheson, N. Ritchie, Ekholm, Stralman, Boedker, Jokinen, Zaitsev, Ceci, Yakupov, Burakovsky, Hartnell, J. Miller, R. Strome, Namestnikov
Comments – I got Matheson and Miller, who is C/W. I thought Strome (also C/W) was a great pick here.
Strategy – I didn’t pick until the 11th pick of the sixth round, 81st overall. But then I picked seven times between 81 and 110. And then the draft is done. So I’m focused! Another informal poll around the room had Wennberg ranked above Johansson even though Johansson was both C/W. So I was eyeing Wennberg. And I also wanted a more proven defenseman and Green was probably the best one left (not that I have high hopes for Green).
Sixth Round: Reimer, Horvat, Niemi, Niskanen, Soderberg, Domingue, Mi. Stone, Nurse, Coyle, Bonino, Wennberg, Green, E. Johnson, Lack
Comments – Got my two guys, and two defensemen I was considering along with Green, Phaneuf and Pulock, were taken (EJ and Stone) by others.
Strategy – Five picks left. Need a winger and defenseman. Couturier is also still on the board, a guy I was looking at in the second round.
Seventh Round: Gaborik, Bjugstad, Phaneuf, Khudobin, Dubinsky, R. Murray, Lee, Perreault, Martinez, Jaskin, Vrana, Johansson, E. Staal, J. Schultz
Comments – I got a promising winger in Lee, and I decided Perreault as another winger because he is also C/W. Then when it came to my third pick that round I decided against Couturier again because of his injury issues and the fact that he’s only a C whereas Johansson is C/W. My roster is about as flexible as it gets and that’s really worked for me in the past in this league. I do like Couturier’s outlook in terms of points-per-game, I want to be clear on that.
Strategy – Two picks left and I want a defenseman in case Matheson starts out slow. I don’t like the proven ones who are left other than Myers, but I think highly of Pulock. Another unproven guy…but between the two of them, one should work out reasonably well I’m thinking. And for the other spot I would like another forward and ideally it would be a rookie with a lot of upside. Available: Zacha, Aho, Dubois. I’m also still eyeing Couturier.
Eighth Round: D. Pouliot, Zajac, Boychuk, Myers, J. Staal, Pulock, Brouwer, Couturier, Kunitz, Rust, Severson, Aho, Williams, Kempny
Comments – I got Pulock and Aho (C/W). I thought Brouwer was a great pick here as I suspect he’ll be on that sweet line in Calgary to start and I have a hunch it will click. He wasn’t on my radar in this round but in hindsight he should have been.
C – Brassard, Wennberg, Little, Teravainen (W)
W – Ovechkin, Benn, Radulov, Lee, Fabbri (C), Miller (C), Perreault (C), Johansson (C)
G – Bishop, Talbot
D – Carlson, Barrie, Green, Suter, Yandle, Matheson
Bench – Aho (C/W), Pulock (D), Quick (G)
After the Draft: We get 40 moves per season. I still have two bench spots and five “minors”. After the draft was done I put in claims but have to wait until the waiver process is completed on Monday night. But in order I put in a claim for: Maroon, Pavelec, Slavin, Jarnkrok. Hopefully I get two of them. Last year when I did this I got Palmieri! Wasn’t drafted last year! Shocked me, too.
And then for my ‘minors’ claim I put in for Keller and Brossoit. In this league, if you’re in contention, those minor-league guys are usually just trade bait since you rarely keep them.
Wednesday I’ll describe my Sunday draft, rather than cram both in now.
Jaroslav Halak has been lights-out in the World Cup (I’m so pissed off I exposed him to expansion in my league and lost him). At this rate, Thomas Greiss will be completely fantasy-useless this season. Which likely would be it for ever getting useful in his career.
Lou Lamoriello on Mitch Marner (starting at 2:30):
RIP Jose Fernandez
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