September 28 2015

by Dobber on September 28, 2015

Rambling about draft strategy, Brad Boyes, Florida line combos, the latest cuts – and more…

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Back from my first two drafts of the year. Saturday night was for my Forecaster League. It's my seventh year in that league, I won three of the last four years with last season finishing second by four points. My draft position was pretty weak, but my keepers (keep 12) were very strong – including three excellent goaltenders in this 14-team league (Bishop, Halak, Quick). So the strategy was to use my 10 picks (13 rounds) on skaters. And to me, that's a win. While everyone has to address their goaltending, I can pluck the top skaters out there. I kept three defensemen (Carlson, Green, Barrie) so I wanted four more very good defensemen. Six and a spare – always have insurance. You'll notice I did that with goalies as well, with two plus a spare. On the waiver wire, forwards are the easiest to find. Especially centermen. So my strategy was to get a couple of the top forwards, but definitely four of my first seven picks would be defensemen. And I would have the minimum four centermen. That's the one position where I won't worry about insurance. It would also be nice to have a couple of C/W eligible guys too, for flexibility. So, with that in mind, here we go:

McDavid, Eichel, P. Kane were the first three picks. I won't go into details about the guy who dropped Kane and then picked him up again because he had the second and third picks. But it was discussed in the forum.

Vrbata, Wideman, Lucic, Tatar, Jones went next. Then the guy with the 2/3 picks also had 9-thru-12. And he took Howard/Anderson/Lack and then Pastrnak. My turn, I take Patrick Sharp. Seven picks later I grab Patrick Marleau.

And there's my two forwards. I'm now focused fully on D. Categories are points, with tiny bonuses (0.10) for SOG, hits, BLKS and PPPts. I like Michael Del Zotto for this. Better than Ryan Suter. But you and I both know that Suter is probably going to get picked. Whereas MDZ will slip through. So I take Suter in the third round, and sure enough MDZ slid to the 4th round. I don't pick for two rounds, but now I'm eyeing Cody Franson, but I also see Noah Hanifin is still on the board. Now, regardless of how Hanifin will do – I know that I recently traded Ekblad for a 1st, 2nd and 3rd. So I'm thinking 30-point guy, good for coming off the bench the odd week, but great trade value. And again I think that the better player will slip deeper and the 'name' guy will be taken soon. So I draft Hanifin in the 6th round, 83rd overall (remember, it's a Keep 12 so 83rd is really 251st). Then I get Franson in the 7th round. And BAM, I have my four defensemen, seven in total.

The list of quality forwards is getting slim. But I am KING for G and D. KING. And that is key. Because I have Ovechkin, Benn and Giroux leading my forward group. So with great G, great D, and those three F…I can surround them with a bunch of stiffs and still compete. So I'm feeling pretty good, and not just because I’m on my seventh beer (I was at a draft party for my other league at the same time).

Robby Fabbri is still on the board and I love that prospect. I don't think he'll be a huge help this year, maybe like Hanifin a good guy to pull off the bench. But also like Hanifin, he has upside and immediate sleeper potential. And of course trade value. So in a sea of 45- to 50-point players, I'll take the kid who is guaranteed to have the best trade value of what's left. I close it out with Chris Stewart in the 8th round and Alexander Semin in the 9th round. Two risks with high reward, and both look promising at the moment. I'll try to shed the risk early if they get off to a good start.

I shut the lap top off with 30 guys in my queue – my next pick is late in the 13th round and at the rate this draft is moving along, that could be Christmas. More on that later.

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Two hours later, I open the lap top to see who I wound up with. It was Benoit Pouliot, who I think has a career year this season. Nice. So my team is:

C – Brassard, Giroux, Marleau (W), Fabbri (W)

W – Benn, Ovechkin, Hudler (C), Pouliot, Semin, Sharp, Stewart, Zetterberg

D – Barrie, Carlson, Del Zotto, Green, Franson, Suter, Hanifin

G – Bishop, Quick, Halak

I still have three reserve spots available due to having traded away draft picks. So I attacked the waiver wire. Hoping for three of Jordan Staal, Kyle Palmieri, Antoine Vermette, Sean Couturier or Josh Bailey. We get 40 moves per year so this would burn three of them.

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I hope the rambling above gave you some strategy tips, or some things to think about. But one more thing. Be prepared. Some of the guys at this draft weren't prepared at all. Which is ridiculous. I ran the Fantasy Hockey Geek Draft Kit to get my list. Then I went through and tweaked it, moving rookies up on the list to better spots. Then I plugged in 180 guys in the Fantrax ranking. I didn't care if they were in the EXACT perfect order, all I wanted was for the right player that I'm looking for to be in the right vicinity of my remaining picks when I need him. As I described above, I'll often jump ahead or jump back on the list to take guys who won't slip down to me next round. But the point is, I was prepared. A lot of these guys were not. There was time out after time out. And one GM you could almost guarantee that he was running the clock to 2:50 before he picked with 10 seconds left, every time.

It's rude. Seriously, get your shit together. If you don't care enough to be prepared, then go check boxes in your local newspaper's hockey pool. It was so bad that after my Suter pick, I put Del Zotto in my queue and walked away for 20 minutes. I heard the siren telling me that Fantrax made the pick for me, because I wasn't on the lap top at the time because I was sick of waiting. As a result of that, when it was time for my pick everyone else had to wait the full three minutes because I was nowhere around to click the 'plus' sign and draft him. Had they been prepared, cut the timeout bullshit, I would have been glad to sit at the lap top and click MDZ after two seconds. Instead, I let the auto feature do it after the full three minutes.

At your draft make your picks quickly. In the later rounds, you're trying to decide between 50-point player X and 50-point player Y, when odds are you'll be dropping him and replacing him via the wire before November. So don't sweat it, just pick one. /rant

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Rather than clog up the Ramblings with draft talk, I'll get into my other draft on Wednesday.

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CUTS

Here are yesterday's cuts of note. You can get the full list here.

ARI – Brendan Perlini, Craig Cunning ham, Lucas Lessio, Christian Dvorak. Of note, I had Lessio not making this team initially (in the Fantasy Guide) but he would be a very early call up and then stick. I suspect that will happen after, say, Dylan Strome gets a nine-game trial and is then sent back to junior.

BOS – Zane McIntyre, Malcolm Subban, Jakub Zboril, Jake Debrusk. Of note, the two goalies being sent down tells me that the Bruins are rolling with Jeremy Smith! Smith is 26 and has yet to play an NHL game. But he's coming off of a terrific bounce-back AHL season for Providence (0.933 SV% in 39 games).

CGY – Bill Arnold, Morgan Klimchuk, Oliver Kylington, Emile Poirier, Jon Gillies. No surprises here as these guys are all several years away. Except perhaps Poirier who could be just one year away.

CHI – released Jan Hejda

EDM – Bogdan Yakimov, Laurent Brossoit, Tyler Pitlick. The latter player was placed on waivers.

MIN – Ruslan Fedotenko (waivers), Jared Knight (waivers), Leland Irving (released), Michael Keranen, Zac Dalpe (waivers).

MTL – Michael McCarron, Bud Holloway (waivers), Christian Thomas (waivers). I wonder if the Leafs will roll the dice on Steve Thomas' son. Just musing – he hasn't done much in three years as a pro. You can read more on Thomas here.

NJD – Raman Hrabarenka, Reece Scarlett, Joseph Blandisi. The latter had a great camp, to the point where I added him to the prospect odds chart for New Jersey in my Guide. Hrabarenka getting cut says to me that David Schlemko has opened some eyes.

NYI – Scott Mayfield. Well…it's looking like Ryan Pulock has made quite the impression. He'll have to beat out Brian Strait to make this team, but there are only eight defensemen left in camp so he's obviously close.

TBL – Ray Emery, Anthony DeAngelo, Adam Erne, Tye McGinn (waivers). Emery getting released despite the Vasilevskiy injury is explained by the fact that the Lightning claimed Kevin Poulin off waivers. The Islanders tried to sneak Poulin to the minors and it didn't work, and now the Lightning have a young, experienced backup with a bit of upside to hold the fort until Vasilevskiy returns. In fact, when Vasilevskiy does return, I suspect they'll send him to the AHL for a few weeks to get his timing back. Poulin could well be around for the whole season.

TOR – Mitch Marner, Curtis Glencross, Devin Setoguchi. We knew Marner wasn't making the team. Sorry to see Setoguchi go – I hope he finds work in the AHL. And a little surprised that Glencross didn't make the team. I think right now the Leafs are only carrying short-term veterans like Winnik, Grabner, Spaling, Arcobello and Parenteau so that they can trade them for picks later. I thought Glencross would fall in that category. So I guess they determined that he wasn't good enough to get them a draft pick come January or February.

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Florida's line combos last night:

19.68%

EV

16 BARKOV,ALEKSANDER – 11 HUBERDEAU,JONATHAN – 68 JAGR,JAROMIR

16.49%

EV

10 BOOTH,DAVID – 42 HOWDEN,QUINTON – 17 MACKENZIE,DEREK

14.89%

EV

63 BOLLAND,DAVE – 86 BRICKLEY,CONNOR – 18 SMITH,REILLY

13.3%

EV

67 CROUSE,LAWSON – 36 JOKINEN,JUSSI – 21 TROCHECK,VINCENT

 

And you can get these line combos right here on Frozen Pool. I think that top line is going to be a thing. And how good will Jagr's veteran experience be for Huberdeau and Barkov?

I don't see Crouse making this team, but Trocheck had two points. Florida was playing against a bunch of scrubs for Dallas though, so I don't read much into that.

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In the Colorado game Mikko Rantanen played 16:44 as the Avs continue to give the 18-year-old a look. I'm still on the fence with this one, but leaning a little bit towards 'no, not this year'.

While the Avs sat MacKinnon, Tanguay and Iginla, the Kings went with their NHL roster except for Mersch and Schultz in for Lewis and Clifford. And the Kings barely won (2-1 in a shootout) and could barely score. Preseason. Keep telling yourself that, Kings fans. Preseason. Means nothing.

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Michael Hutchinson gave up six goals on 18 shots. I don't have a lot of confidence in him, and not because of this game. Sure, the Jets sat Little, Wheeler, Ladd, Stafford, Byfuglien and Enstrom. Like I said though, it's not because of this game. I just don't trust goalies who come out of nowhere. (are you listening, Hammond owners?)

Matt Dumba had four points and was plus-6! Love this guy and I think he'll surprise this season. He saw more PP time than Spurgeon so I wonder if he's the No.2 PP guy on the team already…

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The Leafs signed tryout (and former Toronto draftee) Brad Boyes to a one-year contract. He always impresses with his new team. With Boston he had 69 points as a rookie, but just 34 in 62 games his next season. With the Blues he had seasons of 65 and 72 points, but then had 42. With Buffalo he had 14 points in 21 games, but then the next season he had just 23 in 65. He signed with the Islanders and had a pretty good season. Didn't get a chance to show a decline. He tried out for Florida and impressed enough to make the team and score 21 goals. His points actually increased last year to 38, but this is a team that didn't have any 40-point players in 2013-14 but then had four of them in 2014-15, so relatively speaking his stats declined.

So Boyes makes the Leafs but I don't see 40 points from him there either. And his signing kills the hopes of prospects Zach Hyman, William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen and Nikita Soshnikov – all four of whom are still with the team. Boyes will also knock Richard Panik down the ladder, which is disappointing. But further to my note above under 'CUTS' – Boyes was signed in hopes that they can get a pick for him later.

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