This year, I’ll be taking a weekly look into what my team (Wild Frontiersmen) is doing in the SBN Yahoo Fantasy Hockey Invitational (Western Edition). I know these types of columns can sometimes make your eyes gloss over because, really, it’s all an effort by yours truly to show how smart/stupid he is and open up the flood gates for a lot of really awesome trash talk.
With my SBN allegiances tied to the Minnesota Wild this allowed me the open door to join the league. If you’re not familiar with how things are run in fantasy hockey… Well you might want to just come back and visit another time.
In this league, I’ll be competing with my two cohorts on Hockey Wilderness as well as these other tremendous writers at SBN whom I all suggest that you strongly bookmark their pages (links at the bottom of this entry).
Our draft was conducted over a week ago and while it wasn’t quite the standard trash talk fest, I will say that thanks to the random draft placement generator I had the fourth pick overall. Considering there are 16 teams in this league, picking fourth is pretty fantastic but my main thought being in this position was, “Aw crap, that means I won’t get any of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby.” My thinking here being that if you have a top three selection you get one of those guys and guarantee yourself a ton of points. This meant it was time to form a plan.
In this league, depth is huge and goaltending is a precious commodity since you have to start two goaltenders or potentially lose out on points in your head-to-head matchups. My plan here was to try and take the league out a whole new door, by picking up dominating goaltending and then duke it out for the offensive points by being sneaky with the sleeper action. My plan of action here was to fall back on either picking up Roberto Luongo or Miikka Kiprusoff or Evgeni Nabokov first and then maybe, perhaps, getting Martin Brodeur or someone else that plays a billion games in goal on the way back around in the second round and then get a relatively quick turnaround for my third round pick and start loading up on offense.
It was a great plan if I do say so myself, of course, my new nemesis in the league, Dirk Hoag from On The Forecheck, one of the more brilliant numbers guys at SBN and anywhere else on the Internet for hockey, was picking third. As expected, the guys from Nucks Misconduct snag Ovechkin first and the guys from The Cannon take Malkin second. Dirk, however, must have been operating out of the same playbook I had designed for my strategy as he snags Evgeni Nabokov with the third overall pick.
Now, I won’t get upset at him for this because, hey, if he appears to be running with the same idea I had how can I get mad? I get to select Sidney Crosby fourth and get off to a rousing offensive start with my team. I will say that’s a nice booby prize but sometimes the best laid plans just don’t come to fruition. So, my Plan B is shot and now Plan A.5 is in order and, again, Dirk would come back to snipe me in the third round. I had Panthers goalie and semi-fantasy stud Thomas Vokoun in my queue ready to go… Until he disappeared from my list because On The Forecheck was on fire blowing my spot up.
Unreal. So instead, I put my team’s faith and goaltending power in the shaky demeanor of Marty Turco. I now also have to root for a resurgence of the Dallas Stars on top of all that so I can do well in this league. Christ.
I give a ton of credit to Dirk as well as to James Mirtle of From The Rink for being really smart drafters (“smart” meaning “they made picks I would make”) and Mirtle, in particular, was in my head sniping out selections a round or two ahead of where I was thinking to pick them. Thanks… Jerk.
Without further ado, here is the final roster for the Wild Frontiersmen.
Yes, that is indeed THE Ray Emery as my other starting goalie. My centers I couldn’t be more tickled about as Lecavalier was my 2nd round pick and my sneaky sleepy choices here include Ville Leino with the Red Wings and Josh Harding who may or may not get more work in Minnesota.
Brenden Morrow I was simply giddy about finding still on the list in the 9th round because in past leagues and seasons, Morrow was always a great guy to have for both goals and PIMs.
Potentially Brutal: Yes, my defense kind of sucks a bit, but so does most everyone elses. Thankfully, defensemen aren’t judged on their own and are simply there to help try and boost the +/- ratings… Which makes me wonder why I thought Bryan McCabe was a good idea. Hmm. At least there’s Matt Hunwick lurking on the bench to take someone’s spot away. Cough…
Fingers Crossed: Brendan Morrison should be centering the second line in Washington and that could yield some nice results… Or Morrison will prove that his career has fallen off the map completely and be worth nothing while I scour the free agent list for a replacement. If he’s healthy and the Caps wingers can pot some goals, Morrison should be able to bounce back well.
Don’t sleep on them: Patrik Berglund and James Neal are two young guys that I’m hoping can build off really solid rookie campaigns. Neal was a 20+ goal scorer (24-13-37) for Dallas and really emerged when Brenden Morrow went down for the season and Berglund was an offensive spark plug for the Blues (21-26-47) and there’s more than enough room for growth there for the young Swede in St. Louis.
This league is a lot more different than any other I’ve participated in in the past in that there’s so many teams and everyone basically knows the same things so this is a real nice mental test as far as the draft goes. There’s no doubt that there’s a huge amount of luck that goes into picking a good team as well, but staying well scouted is what helps folks out later on in the draft.
The plan here is to keep this updated to show off on a weekly basis but if you’re curious and want to see how everyone is doing in the league on your own, there is a link to check it out yourself so feel free to scope it out.
Blogs represented in the league:
NHL – From The Rink
Minnesota –Hockey Wilderness
Columbus – The Cannon
Edmonton – Copper & Blue
Detroit –Winging It In Motown
Nashville – On The Forecheck
St. Louis –St. Louis Game Time
Vancouver –Nucks Misconduct (sweet name)
Colorado –Mile High Hockey
Phoenix –Five For Howling
San Jose –Fear The Fin
Chicago – Second City Hockey