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 Gates Imbeau and Russ Miller have to say.

The League:

  • DobberHockey Experts League
  • 16 Teams

Scoring Catgories:

  • Goals
  • Assists
  • Powerplay Points
  • Plus/Minus
  • Hits
  • Shots on Goal
  • Wins
  • Saves
  • Goals Against Average

The Rules:

  • 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

The GMs:

  • 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

Gates Imbeau 

My Team: Gates

Picking 14th was a game changer in terms of how my draft would turn out. No chance at the elite group of skaters, nor the top ranked goaltenders. So if you can’t match up with the opposition in terms of obvious strengths, you might as well tackle the weaknesses. That is exactly the route I took after selecting Daniel Sedin, Mike Smith and Henrik Sedin with my first three picks.

In the fourth, I reached for Phaneuf to be part I of my II blue line anchors (the latter would be Ryan Suter in the eighth round). Their combined plus/minus should even out and provide a good balance across the board. To complete the core of my team, I selected Ondrej Pavelec and Dany Heatley – getting a save machine and my dual eligibility (right) winger.


The start of my second wave included Jakub Voracek, Brandon Dubinsky, Drew Stafford and Luke Schenn. Both Voracek and Dubinsky will be provided with every opportunity to succeed when the season finally starts and I hope to be the beneficiary. Stafford fits in well as my third right winger and Schenn helps Phaneuf boost up my hits.


Next up were Travis Zajac and Brian Gionta, two previously injured players. With extra rest, there should be little doubt that these guys can return to form once the season kicks off. Gionta will be counted on providing goals and especially SOG while Zajac fills an apparent gap at C. Capping off part II of the second wave includes a duo for my favorite picks and the remainder of the draft includes my regret pick, a monster hitter, a few sleepers as well as some extra goalie depth to use as trade bait.


Favorite Pick: Sedins

When players like David Backes, Patrick Sharp, Dustin Brown and Scott Hartnell were flying off the board moments before my pick,  how could I not reunite the twins? Henrik Sedin at 47th overall was a pleasant surprise. My next duo of favorite picks came in the form of Dan Hamhuis (211) and Rich Peverley (238). After venturing off to fill other categories, I was able to come back and secure two players that fit the mold of my team to a tee. Hamhuis’ back-to-back plus-29 seasons made it easier to draft last year’s league leading hitter in Matt Martin and I am a big Peverley fan. Injury cut his season short, so if he regains that magic, I will be very pleased with that selection.

Pick I Regret:

Anton Khudobin. I had Antoine Vermette queued up for three or four rounds. A split second decision changed the rest of my draft. I knew Dobber was going to pick him up, and I knew this was my last chance – yet I made the move anyway. Pengwin7 nailed it when he mentioned that a shortened season would mean less need for backup goalies. Over a full season, I wouldn’t be too worried, but obviously that is no longer the case. C’est la vie. If anything, I hope that Tuukka Rask goes down so that Ma fails to repeat as champ.


Another player I wanted to pick up was Marcus Foligno. I was fully ready to select him over Brian Gionta at 206th but Glen snagged him up at 203rd. I recently ranked Foligno quite high in my roto guide and I wanted to back that up. I knew he was going to slip, but I failed to estimate just how far. Being only a few picks off had me feeling a little bitter. Kudos to Glen, Marcus will serve him well.


Draft Day Risers:

Erik Karlsson (12) & Shea Weber (15). Nothing wrong with picking up those two fine defensemen, in fact I am happy to see that position held in such regard. Takes guts to draft a D with a first round pick, so kudos! The top tier of blue liners went off the board fairly quickly so I was happy to land Phaneuf in the fourth at 51st overall.

And Fallers:

Fantasy hockey and NHL13 see Pavel Datsyuk far differently. Datsyuk and Zetterberg to no surprise fell in the draft, landing at 64th and 68th, respectively. But nothing beats Joe Thornton falling at 92nd. Ma mentioned I should have taken Thornton over Heatley at 83rd overall, but I am happy with my decision. 

Best Team Drafted:

Ma and Angus. Can’t brush off the defending champ. If his drafted team is not up to par, he will quietly trade for his needs and rocket himself up to the top tier of teams in no time. As for Jeff, not only did he draft a stellar team, he was publishing articles and posting the ramblings at the same time. Nice.  

And Worst:

Between the Lines. A failed auto draft left this team with a huge void in net. Without any movements, he will be sitting 45 points behind easily. Sadly that is only the tip of the iceberg. A deeper look will show that this team has virtually no hitters and are prone to likely be negative players. This tacks on another possible 30-point loss. Needless to say, this team’s chances are shot well before puck drop. Only a full year lockout will save this team.
Russ Miller

My Team: Russ

Drawing the second to last draft slot drastically alters any kind of draft strategy I might have been clinging to. All of the elite players would be gone and I'd have to make a judgement call as the picks rolled off the board.  Obviously, with 16 teams, goaltending will be at a premium and I hoped to snag two undisputed starters on my team.  I ended up with Ryan Miller and Anders Lindback, so mission kind of accomplished there (sort of like when Bush declared the war in Iraq over). I always try to take a balanced approach to my drafts, preferring players that contribute across the board in multiple categories versus those single category monsters.


Thanks to the inclusion of Hits vice Penalty Minutes, I had Shea Weber as my top rated defenseman, who will contribute in every category. My fantasy squads always have a strong defensive presence, so much so that I was called a "defence whore" in one league. In addition to Weber, I drafted Michael Del Zotto, Brent Burns, Cam Fowler, Ian White, John-Michael Liles, Jamie McBain and Marc-Andre Bergeron.


Jamie Benn was the easiest pick to make. His dual Left Wing and Centre eligibility also provides roster flexibility. As Centre is the least difficult position to replace via the waiver wire, I deferred taking another one until round nine, when I couldn't pass on Derek Stepan. The rest of my Centres are Alex Steen (L), Colin Greening and Chris "Grace" Kelly.


I agonized over whether to solidify my goaltending with my fourth selection by taking either Brodeur or Pavelec, but chose Left Winger Evander Kane instead. Brenden Morrow, Steve Sullivan, Guillaume Latendresse, Chris Higgins and Wojtek Wolski round out my Lefties.


Heading into the draft, I didn't want to miss out on Right Wing as it thins out quickly, but that wasn't to be. I ended up with Joe Pavelski, Radim Vrbata, veteran (cough) Daniel Alfredsson and Maxim Lapierre to round out an admittedly weak group. 


Favorite Pick: Stepan

Derek Stepan with  my ninth pick. He'll contribute across the board, including hits and I had him ranked surprisingly amongst some pretty decent offensive players. You simply can't just look at points at the expense of the other categories. 

Pick I Regret:

Daniel Alfredsson in round 11 (hmm, #11 can you say...karma?). There is an awful lot of optimism that goes with that selection. Maybe a shortened season is just what the doctor ordered. That said, I stand by this in one year leagues; proven over unproven. All but a select few NHL rookies don't even make my draft list. Tarasenko? Not a chance. Yakupov was taken in the eighth round and I got Stepan in the ninth. Will Yak put up better numbers than Stepan in our league? Doubtful.  I had Granlund on my radar, but in this league, how many Hits, Shots on Goal, Power Play Points will these unknowns (at the NHL level anyway) get versus a known entity? Exactly, you don't know. Slow and steady will win this race.

My decision to pass on a goalie and take Evander Kane with my fourth pick may leave me with a dental impression on my derrière if Lindback doesn't run with the starting job in Tampa. There was a mini-run on goaltenders in the fifth round; Crawford, Varlamov, Holtby, Brodeur, Dubnyk and Pavelec all gone, essentially forcing my hand to reach a bit for Lindback.

A Player I Wanted:

During the draft, there were a number of picks that were cruelly (like eating an ice cream cone in front of a fat kid, it's just not right) snatched right in front of me. I was unrealistically hoping that Hartnell would slip to me, but he was gobbled up by Dobber three picks before mine. Joe Thornton was a fantastic pick at 92 by Capped. Mikko Koivu was still around in the 7th, but the Commish Office scooped The Comish. Jason Garrison in round 11, but D'ohbber grabbed him just ahead of my pick. Lastly, I was set to select Pierre-Marc Bouchard with my last pick, but one more time Dobber ruined that thought. In hindsight, I should have taken PMB with my next to last pick and tried to get Wolski with my final selection.

Draft Day Risers:

Lord of the Rinks simply rocked his first ten picks, but once he took one category wonder Cal Clutterbuck, it was downhill from there for me. Lots of upside in players like Brayden Schenn, Chris Kreider, Marcus Johansson and Brendan Smith, but with potential comes unpredictability. That said, all he needs is for the bottom guys to not crap the bed and he'll be in contention.

GMG's Market Buzz pissed me off on several occasions, but that will happen when a guy drafts immediately in front of you. I took 80 seconds to decide between Miller and Smith and GMG selects Smith seconds after I take Miller. Phaneuf, Pavelec, Gionta and Peverley were all players that I really had my eye on in their respective rounds. I looked up and there they were, gone in 90 seconds.

The first real reach of the draft was Brian Elliott at 35, taken ahead of half a dozen starters. Elliott is a 1B option at best, but with great peripherals. Handcuffs are great for injuries, but getting into a 1A/1B situation is painful for the owner in a weekly start format. Other players taken too early in my estimation include Cory Schneider (20), Roberto Luongo (37), Anders Lindback (82), Cal Clutterbuck (162) and Chris Neil (187).

And Fallers:

Despite loving the fact that Between the Lines went against the grain, deciding to forego his goaltending, that decision will ultimately turn out to be a fatal one in this league of sharks. Other than that, it's tough to single out any one team as a faller...we all have our weaknesses.

Players that were selected lower than they likely should have included Scott Hartnell (44), Joe Thornton (92), Ryan Kesler (148), Jose Theodore (151), Martin Hanzal (153) and Brian Gionta (206).


Best Team Drafted:

History has proven, never rule out Ma. I usually come away thinking his drafts aren't all that great, but he ends up making some kind of weird deals that magically work out for him! This year, he had a strong draft, so look out. I also thought Dobber had his best draft since inception of the Experts league.  You're all weiners in my eyes.

Likely to Finish Last:

And Worst:

Between the Lines if he does not address his goaltending.

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Comments (4)add comment

bantees said:

... Only 14 teams were reviewed. The 4th & 6th draft order teams do not appear. What is the roster for the other 2 teams?
October 22, 2012
Votes: +0

hawkdog said:

nice work guys! I just noticed Gates is another team with Swedish twins!
my first three picks in the Smythe entry were Rinne, D. Sedin, H. Sedin.
I also think Gionta is due for a good season, but I managed to snag him with my last pick.

thanks for posting!
October 14, 2012
Votes: +0

acfurino said:

Nice going, Gates!! I think Gates drafted the best team in this experts league draft and I'm not just saying that because he's the reigning Stanley Cup Champion in my league...

- Shocked that he was able to get Henrik Sedin with his third pick. Henrik should have already been drafted. Having his brother and David Booth on the top line in Vancouver will get him 100+ points (err 90+ with the first two wks of the season gone) this year. Yes, Booth is a f*ckin stud... I think he's got one of the best mental games in the league which is quite rare nowadays/.
- Dubinsky = probably the biggest sleeper pick this year. He wasn't happy that Callahan stole the captaincy from him in New York so he's pissed off and motivated with a clean slate in Columbus. I'm expecting him to put up the best numbers of his career in Columbus and he'll probably be their best player for at least the next two years.
- How the hell was Ben Scrivens STILL available in Round 22!?

I think the only mistake Gates made in this draft IMO was drafting Pavelec. I don't think he's a good goalie and I wouldn't even put him in the top 20 NHL goalies. I think bluechip prospect Mark Dekanich will steal the starting gig from him in Winnipeg. Mark my words: Dekanich will be a top 10 goalie in the NHL.

Overall, I think Gates drafted a well-balanced team with a little bit of everything. If I was in this league then I would be looking forward to seeing Gates make some great trades throughout the year as he has done in my league.

BTW if anyone wants to challenge Gates for the Stanley Cup title in the Amazing Fantasy Hockey League (AFHL) you can contact me on our official website - - about available franchises. We're going into our 4th year (keeper league) and Gates does have a chip on his shoulder after stepping into the league only one year ago and winning the Cup just 10 months into his tenure. It's been an absolute pleasure having him in our league... Dobberhockey is fortunate to have him on their staff... dude's got a great personality and a great character.
October 13, 2012
Votes: +0

praba said:

... "Only a full year lockout will save this team"

you're killing me gates smilies/cheesy.gif
October 12, 2012
Votes: +0
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