It is that time of the year again, as the Yahoo Fantasy hockey league that I commission held its annual draft last night. Overall, I think the participation was strong again as the majority of managers were present for the duration of the draft. Even those who missed out appeared to have made changes to their pre-draft rankings in order to pick some solid teams.
In my pre-season rankings from last year, I analyzed each roster, without bias, and predicted who would finish the season on top. I actually was pretty spot on with my analysis as our champion from last season was the pre-season #1. Hopefully, that stays true again this year.
While last year, I used my personal opinion to evaluate the rosters, this year I figured I would step it up a level and try to strategically analyze each roster. To do this, I took a look at NHL.com’s list of top (projected) players in each position. Any player #1-10 was rated a 4, #11-20 a 3, #21-30 a 2 and #31-40 a 1. If a player was not in the top 40 for their primary position, they received a rating of zero.
I chose to use NHL.com’s ranking instead of Yahoo Sports ranking because Yahoo simply ranks based on last season’s stats and is more mechanical than NHL.com. NHL.com uses actual people to analyze the players, their off-season injuries, their past performance and come up with an ranking based on their collective opinions, not just what the stats tell them.
Secondly goalies were rated on the same scale, except their ratings were doubled. IE, Holtby is the #1 goalie according to NHL.com. Instead of receiving a rating of 4, he received a rating of 8. The reason for this is quite simple. Out of the 11 total stat categories, goalies account for 4 of them or roughly 36.3% of a teams scoring. Considering there are on average only 3 goalies per team that means that each goalie is responsible for approximately 12% of the scoring. The remaining 7 categories, which make up 63.7% are divided amongst 12 skaters, where each is for 5.3% of the scoring or roughly half. After each player was scored and a cumulative total was given to each team, the ratings are simply a reflection of where that team falls. So without further ado, here is the 2016-17 Piss on Eddie Shore pre-season rankings:
10) Tinted Visor Heroes – 46 points
Strengths – Top centers and defensemen that can contribute to scoring
Weakness – Only taking two goaltenders (Dubnyk and C. Anderson) hurt this manager. He is completely relying on a bounce back season from Dubnyk, while Anderson hasn’t been a solid #2 goalie in a few years.
9) All I Do Is Win – 46 points
Not really sure how this manager misses another fantasy draft. It clearly hurt him last season and looks like that could be the case again.
Strengths – Four forwards ranked a 4 including the lethal combination of Benn and Seguin.
Weakness – A bonafide #1 Gibson is backed up by two goalies (Varlamov and Lehtonen) who didn’t even make the top 40 goalies.
8) Reigning Champs – 46 points
As you can see the bottom three teams were all tied in points, however this manager gets the benefit of the doubt as he is, our reigning champ.
Strengths – Despite his low scoring, he actually has a well-rounded team.
Weakness – His expectation of players that were ranked zero (Kunitz, Niskanen, Stempniak, Bobrovsky) at their respective positions may leave some obvious holes in his armor.
7) Tea with Mr. MC – 47 points
Like usual, I am sure this manager will work himself into the top half of this league, but right now he is on the outside looking in.
Strengths – High end forwards in Ovechkin and Kopitar paired with a solid goalie rotation.
Weakness – This manager is relying on aging defensemen to get the job done. Weber is his prized defensmen, but only was rated a 3. Chara and Johnson are long shots to be viable contributors to this team.
6) Paul’s Primo Team – 48 points
Strengths – Potential. This team is young and definitely has potential. At worst they perform comparable to last season and he hangs around the middle of the pack.
Weakness – Picking up a 5th defensemen. Dumba is an overage D-man and isn’t even rated according to my analysis. Had he picked a forward ranked a 2 or more, he would have moved up a spot or two.
5) Don’t Call Me Kentie – 49 points
Strengths – Centers in McDavid, Malkin, Toews and Kesler will cover the stat categories well.
Weakness – Loyalty. This manager remains loyal to players that are oft past their prime and it showed again in his ability to draft Ryan Miller over other goalies that are sure to perform better. Hopefully for this manager Murray becomes the #1 in Pittsburgh, otherwise he may be scrambling.
4) Cherry Picking – 50 points
Another solid draft lands this manager in a high spot pre-season. Last season he found himself in a similar position and managed amicably, however, could never get over the hump and find himself within the elite of the league. Could this season be different?
Strengths – Well balanced attack that has strong ties to the Boston offense. If the Bruins are successful this season, this manager will be too.
Weakness – Hoping and praying that his young back-end provides the necessary stats to get him over the top. How will Elliot and Lehner fair this season?
3) 3INCHESOFTHUNDER – 54 points
How this manager drafted this well without being present is pretty unbelievable.
Strengths – One of only two teams to have every member of his roster rated. He has an extremely well-rounded team top to bottom.
Weakness – Goaltending. Relying on F. Anderssen and Greiss is going to be interesting. Will his offense provide enough firepower to sustain his subpar goaltending or will he have to trade some of his weapons for a stable goalie?
2) Kentie114 – 56 points
Strengths – Back-end playmakers and game changing goalies make this team one of the best in the league.
Weakness – Bounce-back candidates. Can Voracek, Hartnell, Krejci and Zetterberg contribute their share in order to take this team to the top?
1) McDavid Me Crazy – 60 points
Finally getting back to my traditional draft strategy, I find myself drafting exactly how I wanted to. Heavy in goaltending and LWs which seem to be the leanest of the positions.
Weakness – Defensemen are suspect and asking Laine and Fabbri to step up immediately could be an issue.
There you have it. For those of you wondering, no I did not know my team would have the highest point total using this format. I figured this was the most fair format and analyzed the teams as such. Picking up Huberdeau about 30 spots past his average draft pick and having him ranked in NHL.com’s top 10 Left Wings could have been the steal of the draft and is probably the only reason I scored so well.