September 27 2015

by Ian Gooding on September 27, 2015

Blackhawks news, Dobber Hockey Experts League draft

Just when you thought the Chicago Blackhawks couldn’t afford to sign anyone else, they ink Brent Seabrook to an eight-year extension worth $6.875 million (Cap Friendly).

So that means the Blackhawks have basically built their team around six players: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Seabrook, and Corey Crawford. Each of the members of this core is now locked in for a minimum of five more seasons, earning at least $5 million per season. The Hawks’ depth will really be tested this season, and the team’s scouting will need to continue to produce above-average drafts if they are to stay a contender.

But I can’t explain this Patrick Kane situation anymore. And honestly, I have no idea where to project him fantasy-wise. So I’ll leave it to someone like Eric Macramalla, who explains the bizarre twist in the Kane saga for Forbes magazine. You can draw your own conclusions from there.

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Many writers and regulars at Dobber have already weighed in on the Dobber Hockey Experts League draft held last Sunday, so now it’s my turn. Since I’ve only written for Dobber since March, this is my first season inside the circle. I know that the folks here know their hockey, so I’m clearly in tough. That being said, I’ll weigh in on each of my picks, good and bad and in between. What this means is that this will probably be a longer Ramblings than my usual.

For more discussion on this league (along with some serious number crunching about who did the most reaching), you can check out the thread over at the Dobber Forums. If you’re not in any way interested in the league, you can at least check out my list and compare it to where you drafted any of the following players.

Team Name: The Goods

1. (12) Phil Kessel (Pit – RW) – I’ve always said that Kessel’s fantasy game is better than his real-life game. I don’t have a strong opinion about him personally one way or the other, but he simply came across as the best player available here. With a year of Sidney Crosby feeding him passes, how can I say no to the strong possibility of 40 goals on the wing?

2. (15) Pekka Rinne (Nsh – G) – I debated between Rinne and Braden Holtby here, as this seemed to be a good time to draft a goalie. You can find out my reasons for drafting Rinne here. By the way, I wrote that article for Today’s Slapshot before the draft.

3. (38) Anze Kopitar (LA – C) – Again, best player available, and I felt as though I needed a center. And a d-man, which would have to wait until Demetri made his two picks sandwiched between mine. Kopitar is consistent year after year, although his 16 goals and 64 points last season represented a down year from what is usually 25+ goals and 70+ points. An overall team rebound might help, too.

4. (41) Kevin Shattenkirk (StL – D) – There’s that d-man that I need. Last season Shattenkirk was on pace for 64 points, including 36 power-play points, if not for injury. Okay, that output likely wouldn’t happen, but Shattenkirk was ranked #28 for this league’s settings according to Fantasy Hockey Geek (although goalies are listed separately). So I figured this was a good time to draft him.

5. (64) Andrew Ladd (Wpg – LW) – I ignored hits last season in another experts’ league that I play in, and I paid the price. I’ve never been a huge Ladd guy in fantasy leagues, and I wouldn’t have drafted him this high if not for the hits total. His 212 hits last season was the second-most on the team I drafted. Ladd was also ranked #45 by the Geek, so I also liked the value.

6. (67) Daniel Sedin (Van – LW) – At pick 64, I had three players in the queue: Ladd, Sedin, and Alexander Steen. So at pick 67 I chose Sedin over Steen. Why? Because I’m a Canucks’ homer. That’s why. Not just that, but also because Sedin finished in the top 10 in scoring last season. So that should count for something. The Sedins didn’t seem all that popular in that draft, so maybe the Geek had them ranked way down? Not really – Daniel was ranked #58.

7. (90) Tyson Barrie (Col – D) – Although I won my salary cap keeper league last season, I regret not bidding more to keep Barrie on my team. With all the young scoring talent assembled in Colorado, another 50+ point season from Barrie is a strong possibility.

8. (93) Jake Allen (StL – G) – This isn’t the only league that I own Allen in, so I’m hoping he grabs more starts that Brian Elliott. Needless to say, I felt I needed a goalie here, and he seemed like the best option. In other words, I probably reached. In case you’re curious about Elliott, he was drafted at number 99.

9. (116) Chris Kreider (NYR – LW) – Someone on the Forum said that this was my best value pick. I’d like him more if he had a little more icetime (averaged 15:42 last season). But like Ladd, I had an eye on hits (162 last season) with this pick. Plus, he’s still at the age (24) where his point total should improve again.

10. (119) Henrik Sedin (Van – C) – Wonder Twin Powers Activate! This is the first time that I’ve ever owned both Sedins on the same team in a draft-style fantasy league. I know the point total is very assist-heavy, but he finished 13th in scoring last season. I’m a fool if I think that will happen again, but I don’t think I’m as much of a fool for drafting him at this spot. And yes, you’re free to call me a fool in the comments below.

11. (142) Derick Brassard (NYR – C) – On a personal note, I have two young children who were having their bath and getting ready for bed at the time of this draft (I live on the West Coast). So Brassard was one of those picks that was made while I was away from the computer. So if he turns out to be a bad pick here, can I blame the computer?

12. (145) Johnny Boychuk (NYI – D) – Boychuk is another case of “I wouldn’t be drafting him this high if not for the hits.” Boychuk proved last season that he can provide at least some offense, but I don’t expect a repeat of 35 points. But the Geek had him at #56!

13. (168) James Wisniewski (Car – D) – An afterthought in Anaheim after being acquired by the Ducks at the trade deadline, Wiz should have an easier time earning key minutes in Carolina. He has a solid all-around game for this league, although he’s certainly earned his spot on Dobber’s Band-Aid Boy list. In spite of that, Wisniewski was ranked #65 by the Geek, so there’s potential great value here too.

14. (171) Thomas Vanek (Min – LW,RW) – I find it hard to believe that Vanek has fallen this far in fantasy leagues. At least he’ll be healthier this season. Last season he battled through two hernias and a detached groin. But the fact that he is shooting less now is concerning, as Steve mentioned in the Ramblings a few days ago.

15. (194) Nick Leddy (NYI – D) – I seem to like Islanders’ defensemen, as I drafted two of them for my team. I also thought Leddy was great value here, as he was ranked #107 by the Geek.

16. (197) Andrew Hammond (Ott – G) – At around that time I discovered that maybe drafting a third goalie wasn’t a bad idea. The Hamburgler seemed like the best option. Unfortunately, goalies drafted at this point are well into the minuses as far as FHG value goes. In fact, only 18 goalies made the cut as far as positive value goes.

17. (220) Kevin Hayes (NYR – RW) – There’s a huge bidding war going on right now in my salary cap keeper league for Hayes. Sleeper alert? A total of 29 points in 38 games post All-Star last season might be your reason.

18. (223) Alex Goligoski (Dal – D) – Same as Brassard – I had to step away from the computer for a few minutes. But I loved the value here, considering that Goose was ranked #139 by the Geek.

19. (246) Joffrey Lupul (Tor – LW,RW) – I’m not a huge Lupul guy. So this one might have been the computer too. Or else I just picked the name that seemed the most familiar. I think people do that when they have no idea who to pick.

20. (249) Marcus Johansson (Was – C,LW,RW) – I do remember making this pick, though. What stood out to me was the fact that he could play all three forward positions on Yahoo! And he might be a top-6 forward in Washington. He’s certainly an outside shot to reach 50 points.

21. (272) Brooks Orpik (Was – D) – Hits, hits, and more hits. That’s all Orpik provides. His 306 hits last season was the highest among all the players I had drafted. So why am I paying special attention to hits? It’s the one skater category that isn’t positively correlated with offensive success. So I have to be consciously aware that it exists while I draft.

22. (275) Dmitrij Jaskin (StL – RW) – From the Forums: “Reaching at this point in the draft is fine, but if anything Jaskin might emerge later in the season, and would you really hold him until then?” If you are drafting someone at pick 275, are you really reaching for him? What are the chances that you’ll hold onto a player that you draft at pick 275 anyway? In fairness, once you get this far into a draft, it’s really hard to judge a “worst” pick of the round.

23. (298) Antoine Vermette (Ari – C,LW) – At this stage I was happy just finding a player in the Geek’s top 200 to pick here. Vermette will at least be a first-liner in Arizona this season, even though he could barely crack the Hawks’ lineup during the playoffs.

24. (301) Curtis Lazar (Ott – C) – I like watching the World Juniors because they give me an idea of who some future NHL stars will be. Lazar, who captained Canada to the gold, probably won’t break the top 6 in Ottawa this season. But his 167 hits last season were more than Kreider had.

25. (324) Anton Khudobin (Anh – G) – My last pick, and the second-last pick of the draft. I was targeting Jacob Markstrom here, but he was chosen two picks before. In case you’re wondering, Marco Scandella was the Mr. Irrelevant of this draft.

Congratulations for making it all the way to the end of my list, and enjoy your Sunday.