The DobberHockey Experts draft was conducted last Wednesday (October 3rd). The draft was held a few weeks later than usual this year (for obvious reasons). Drafting with a lockout in effect is difficult, but it didn’t affect my strategy all that much.
All week long at DobberHockey, we will be profiling the rosters hand selected by the 16 participants. Today, hear what Mac Vincent, Steven Strawson, Steve Laidlaw, and Anthony Lancione have to say about their teams, and their competition in the DobberHockey Experts League in 2012-13.
- DobberHockey Experts League
- 16 Teams
- Powerplay Points
- Shots on Goal
- Goals Against Average
- No limit on number of free agent acquisitions
- $100 for free agent auctions, which are conducted once per week during the season (weekly blind bidding)
- Start 4 C, 4 LW, 4 RW, 6 D, 2 G
- 2 IR Spots
- 5 Bench spots
- Jeff Angus
- Darryl Dobbs
- Glen Hoos
- Gates Imbeau
- Ryan Ma
- Russ Miller
- Peter Hadley
- Mac Vincent
- Steve Laidlaw
- Anthony Lancione
- Russ Bitely
- Chris Wassel
- Michael Amato
- Steven S (Mabus)
- Jacob S (Smackavelli)
- Eric Daoust
After reveling in the top two all of last season save for a March collapse, offensive depth became my most heightened priority for my sophomore entry in the DH top tier. I felt I was able to secure said depth with a myriad of high octane talent, including the likes of Manhattan's new dynamic duo: Nash & Gaborik, P.Kane, Briere, Krejci, Franzen to name a few.
The award goes too...Johnny 'Flash' Quick. The man was an absolute success last season. Breakout hopeful Jonathan Bernier never had much of a chance to strut his stuff during the J.Quick show. After leading the league with 10 shutouts and a GAA of 1.95 that even Cy Young would be impressed with, the champion netminder was a lock for me at the 7th overall selection.
A Pick I Regret:
Simon Gagne in the 16th round. I probably could have let him slide another three or four rounds and still nabbed him. After sticking with him in a couple pools all year last season, despite being the poster boy left winger for the concussion club, I felt an internal need to get some value back this year. However I probably jumped the gun a tad.
A Player I Wanted:
I had my eyes set firmly on Highly touted youngster Mikael Granlund for the kickoff of the draft. I waited one round to long to make my move though, as Dobber pulled the trigger in the 14th. I had no choice but to immediately go with the #2 prodigy on my list to soften the blow, Vladdy Tarasenko.
Draft Day Risers:
Although I was not able to bring into the fold a certain super prospect in Minny, I felt I could compensate by going for a few hot or miss prospects this season. Namely, the afore-mentioned Tarasenko, Mikhail Grigorenko, CHL leading goal scorer from 2011-12, Emerson Etem and Sens prospect, Mark Stone. I'm counting on Tarasenko + one of the other three to crack an NHL roster as soon as the league resumes!
GM Ron A.K.A. Between the Lines, has just returned to the top division of the DobberHockey hierarchy and went buck wild stacking his roster with a top heavy offensive collection of forwards. However his strategy also including neglecting to pick his first goaltender until the 221st pick of the draft. Ballsy indeed!
Unfortunately for 'The Commish', I'm not yet convinced that Lindback will simply be handed the keys to the Limo by Stevie Y. Young stud Dustin Tokarski really turned some heads spearheading Norfolk's unbelievable run to the AHL Calder Cup Championship this past spring & Mathieu Garon will do his usual part in stealing starts. Moreover, aside from an impressive trident of Benn, Pavelski & E.Kane, the rest of this roster leaves me underwhelmed. I hope the best for all my competition, however I regret to say I feel a drop from middle of the road to the bottom quadrant of the league by April.
Best Team Drafted:
GM. Lupul On My Clitsome might just have to be labeled enemy #1. With 2 solid netminders, in Ward and Bryzgalov, the latter of which I expect a bounceback season from, along with a strong supporting cast in all positions, LOMC might just be the marked man this season. Honourable mentions: Ryan Ma for the repeat and quite frankly, yours truly. Love my squad.
I am very excited to be taking part in the Dobber Experts League. Unfortunately, the lockout has left me as unprepared as I’ve ever been for a draft against one of the most knowledgeable groups of managers I’d ever had the pleasure of competing against. This will be tough, but I’m up for the challenge. I arrive at the draft with just the essentials, my trusty spreadsheet of player values based on the league settings, some full beer and an empty bladder.
This is a 16 team league that starts 2 goalies and has saves and wins as categories, so the importance of goalies increases drastically compared to standard leagues. You can either take your goalies in the first three rounds or you need to swing for the fences later. I have been lucky over the past few years grabbing Price in the mid rounds 3 years ago, Thomas 2 years ago and Lehtonen last year. Ryan Ma also was fortunate to grab Mike Smith last year with my “swing for the fences” strategy and I believe it was one of the key factors in his victory in this pool over the other experts.
I drew the 16th overall pick though, so I figure the only way an elite goal scorer drops to me is if the experts are clicking the wrong buttons or if they are going heavy on goalies. If they go heavy on goalies, there is no way I get a solid goalie in the third round, since between 7 and 10 goalies go on average during the first three rounds in this type of pool. This is going to be interesting.
As expected, the elite forwards go before my pick, and so do the elite goalies. This means I can a) toss in the towel and hope the lockout lasts all season, or b) pull up my big boy underwear, take a big chug of beer number 2, and pretend that this was my plan all along. Put your hand up if you are also usually the first guy in the draft room to be on beer number 2.
Ward and Bryzgalov (picks 16 and 17)
Howard, Miller, Price and Smith were allthere as well. I picked the guys I liked best, but there are many reasonable arguments for why one of the other guys would be better. I own Miller and Howard on my keeper squad, and whenever possible I avoid having the same guys on multiple teams if I value them relatively equally. I go back to my beer since I don’t pick again for over 30 picks.
Quiz – who were the two players last year that had over 250 shots and 200 hits? If you guessed Ovechkin and a rookie from Colorado, you are probably already a Landesgok owner.
Landeskog and Pietrangelo (picks 48 and 49)
We start 6 D in this league, and the number of powerplay point producing D is limited, so I typically value D more than anyone else in these leagues. Pietrangelo is young and was already in the top 10 among D in Goals, Assists, PPP and SOG. He’s also on my list with Jovanovski of guys with last names that sound like first and last games.
Throw in the fact that I should lead the league in guys named Gabriel, and it looks like I’m firmly establishing myself in the name wars. My fingers are now crossed that I can land another player with a girl’s name or a player whose name makes it sound like he’s doing something vulgar to a Star Trek character.
Hossa and Shattenkirk (picks 80 and 81)
Sweet mother of all that is good in the world!!! I can throw in the towel and officially win the name wars title. I immediately take Clitsome and Stoner out of my draft queue. For every day of the lockout, I think Shattenkirk should tweet out his favourite nicknames or a humorous take on his name. I need to find this guy on twitter to make sure this isn’t already happening.
After adjusting to Hitchcock’s system, Shattenkirk was on fire. He’s young and he finished the year with 16 points in his final 20 games and fished in the top 10 in D in our system. I’m hoping he is even better this year. Marian Hossa started skating about 30 seconds before I made this pick, and I was desperate for a RW, desperate for goals, and....well, let’s just say I was desperate for a lot of stuff. “Shattenkirk on Mabus” – is it too early for a name change?
Now I get into “it’s time to fill my holes” mode. I prefer to go for people that fill holes without creating new holes (I’ll change the subject before Google starts redirecting some unintended traffic). Seabrook is great at +/- and hits. I am in need of goals, so I reach for Yakupov. He has as much scoring upside this late in the draft as almost anyone. Lecavalier in the 10th round is nice value. It’s ok to get your hate on for under-performers, but at a certain point in the draft they have value. As a reference, please look back at your 2011 draft list and circle the name Spezza.
Next came Carlson. Nothing against John, but this is my biggest regret pick. Have you ever done the walk of shame through a campus residence? Everything seemed like a good idea at the time, but still, at the end of the day, you are doing the walk of shame.
Here is the logic behind my walk of shame. I don’t want to take two C in a row because the position is so deep. The top guy on my list by a significant margin was Kesler though. I looked on Rotoworld and interpreted his comments to mean “I’m so injured, I can’t leave the couch and my wrist is barely strong enough to get the 15 bottles of beer a day into my mouth”, so I passed on him. One instant later, Kesler goes, and everyone in the draft room erupts in applause. Is there any feeling worse than that?
Picking Babchuck a couple of years ago and having the draft room yell in unison that he was playing the year in the KHL was bad, but this feels worse. Note: I felt similarly later in the draft when I needed a RW so I picked Kennedy even though I wanted Granlund. F-Bomb central after Dobber picked Granlund. Loud F-bombs. Not a good scene. Hopefully Dobber quits reading this article before the point, because I’m about a week away from trying to convince him to accept an offer of Kennedy for Granlund.
My final picks included a couple of very solid back-up goalies that could easily be the starters if they play well (Vokoun and Emery). These could be homeruns if they acquire the starting jobs and a Fleury/Crawford owner is desperate for a goalie. I also grabbed some young guys (Huberdeau, Couturier and Connolly) – I couldn’t think of a joke to add to this sentence that wouldn’t get edited or elicit a “too far” or a “too soon” response. They have upside, but they are easy to drop if they suck.
I’m also very happy with the value I got in my Voynov (240) and Hamonic (177) picks.
Overall, I don’t think I lost the draft with this team, but I’ll need to be active early on the waiver wire, because many of my long-shot picks won’t pan out, and I’ll need to replace them with some scoring. Luckily I have a lot of balance in all other categories, so I will have more flexibility than that former gymnast that keeps making you stare into the yoga room.
There are a lot of teams out there that should be in the running. To single out a couple of owners, Amoto getting Crosby at pick 6, Howard at 27, then Kopitar at 38 feels unfair. Why does Crosby drop to 6th in the league where I pick 16th? Oh yea, karma. Karma gets me every time. If my strategy is sound though, I’ll likely see Lord of the Rinks name at or near the top of the pack, as we seemed to have a similar strategy, loading up on D and G in the early rounds with Lundqvist, Chara, Niemi, Iginla, Doughty and Alex “you should see me swim” Semin.
Now that this draft is over, owners, agree that you won’t roll back salaries on existing contracts. Players, agree to keep the cap where it is until revenues grow to be a 50/50 split. That’s where we are getting to, and you both know it. We don’t need to lose a season to figure this out. For a free flight to New York and some duty free beer, I will agree to mediate this for you. Just PM me on the Dobber forums.
I love the Dobber Experts League. For starters, it’s the only rotisserie league I play in, which makes it a nice way to change it up each year. It’s also an opportunity for me to lock horns with some of the best and brightest, which makes for a formidable challenge. I’ve never come close to winning the Dobber Experts League in any tier but I really think this is my year. I’ve improved each year I’ve competed in different aspects of my game. This year I knew I’d draft well because I did last year so I had that confidence going in. For me the difference between contending or not will come down to attention to detail for the full length of the season. No weeks off for me this year. Luck is going to be the ultimate deciding factor – it always is in such a competitive league – but I know if I stick with it for the full season that I will be hanging around.
For a much more extensive review of my experience at this year’s draft please check out my blog. If you don’t have all that much time on your hands then hopefully this rundown will suffice.
Overall I would grade my draft a success as I executed my draft strategy nearly to a T. My plan was to grab an elite goaltender first, which I did with Pekka Rinne. After that I sought out well-rounded players who would help me fill categories across the board. This worked well for me as I feel I will score very well in the peripheral skater categories. Finally, I spent my last four picks on backup goaltenders. At no other position can a player gain value faster than in goal because of the scarcity of starting positions available. With Tim Thomas, JS Giguere, Nikolai Khabibulin and Jonas Gustavsson I am sitting on a goldmine waiting to erupt.
My favourite pick has to have been Rinne in round one. Things couldn’t have come together more perfectly for me. You need goaltending to win this league and in my mind there are only three truly elite starters: Lundqvist, Quick and Rinne. Rinne was the only one left when I was ready to pick, which made him a no-brainer.
A Pick I Regret:
My least favourite pick was definitely Letang in round two. Realize that I think Letang (if he stays healthy) will be the single most valuable defenseman to own in this league but the availability of defensemen later on in the draft was tremendous. I should have drafted a forward and waited on defensemen.
A Player I Wanted:
The big reason I took Letang was of course because Mac Vincent scooped up Corey Perry literally one pick before me. If Perry slides to me then I’m probably feeling 27-38% better about this draft. In other words, that was a pretty big deal! Damn you, Mac.
Draft Day Risers:
Rising… Jeff Angus
Angus’ team finished middle of the pack last season due in large part to subpar goaltending. Now I’m not sure he learned his lesson from last year going with Schneider, Dubnyk and Neuvirth (three goalies who may all be backups) but he made out with the steal of the draft (Kesler in the 10th round) and in a lockout shortened season goaltending may not wind up mattering that much.
Falling… Ryan Ma, Dobber, Peter Hadley
With Tim Lucarelli moving on, these are the other three competitors who finished ahead last season. They will naturally have to slide down when I move up to win the league.
Best Team Drafted:
… Can I say the whole league?
The reality is that luck is going to be the biggest decider of this league but with that in mind I really appreciated Ryan Ma’s approach to the draft. He locked down his goaltending early and drafted a fairly well rounded team but the nature of so many of his picks was to err on the side of high upside. You need to swing for the fences to come out ahead in these leagues and I respected his all out approach. The reality is that Ma could finish last and have simply suffered from bad luck not bad process. Only time will tell.
Granted goaltending is only one third of the equation and trades are allowed in this league but to come out of the draft with Jacob Markstrom, Ben Bishop and Richard Bachman as your goaltenders is truly unfortunate. Chris is loaded in the skater department but he’s going to need some serious luck to overcome his lack of goaltending. For the record it can be done – last season in this pool HockeyKnight finished last in two of the three goaltending spots and second last in the other one while finishing 13th out of 15 overall – but starting with rags in net is a lot like cutting off one of your legs before a race. Sure you can win but that one leg is going to have to do all the work. Good luck, Chris.
I drafted based on the scoring categories and grabbed as many multi-cat guys as I could (players like David Backes and Chris Kunitz). I also picked up some elite forwards during the draft like Jonathan Toews, John Tavares and Corey Perry. Due to a huge goalie run, I settled on taking Braden Holtby as my first goalie. Goaltending is the only thing that could hold this team back.
David Backes, I could believe he fell to me in the middle of the third round. He’s going to be a very valuable commodity in this format.
A Pick I Regret:
Possibly Ryan McDonagh, its not clear if he can be a guy that puts up 30-40 points every year yet. What we do know is he’s an excellent shutdown defenseman, but he doesn’t get a ton of hits and I would need him to at least put up 32 points as he did in 2011-2012.
A Player I Wanted:
I wanted Kyle Okposo in round 16, but Ryan Ma took him, so I had to settle on a multi-cat forward with Derek Dorsett.
Draft Day Risers:
Patrick Sharp in the third round when players like Henrik Sedin, Tyler Seguin and Gabriel Landeskog were available is too high in my opinion. Rick Nash is ranked 16th overall and someone bought into that hype, taking him in the second round, 26th overall. Instead, he could have gone for Ilya Kovalchuk, Phil Kessel or many others. I don’t see Nash as anything more than a 70 point forward.
Fallers? Not to be biased or anything, but I couldn’t believe Corey Perry fell to me in round two with the 24th overall pick. Otherwise, T.J. Oshie in round 8 was a great pick by Jeff Angus and Matt Carle in round 12 (Russ Bitely) stand out as the best players I didn’t get my hands on.
Best Team Drafted:
Who else? Dobber.