|Left Wing Lock(out): Are LWs Relatively Scarce This Year?||Tweet|
|Written by Brent Lemon|
|Wednesday, 15 September 2010 13:22|
The left-wing lock was a defensive strategy popularized by Scotty Bowman and the Detroit Red Wings in the 1990s. In essence, it was very simple. If the opposing team gained possession of the puck, the left-winger would drop back with the defensemen. It helped reshape the Red Wings into a team that could frustrate opponents defensively as well as bury them on the scoreboard.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Are we in fact facing anything out of the ordinary with this year's crop of LWs?
Like many of you, I've been messing around with Yahoo's mock draft tool for the past little while (if you haven't yet, give it a shot here…it will even email the results to you afterwards). Not only is it educational to plunk yourself into any draft position of your choosing, but, if you’re like me, it’s endless fun to use ridiculous aliases to draft under (so find a way to say ‘hi’ if you see something childish like 'AnneMurrayMissesBryanMcCabe’sCanOpener’).
Yet, as much fun as I was having being sacrilegious, I was disappointed with my drafting results. While I was privately congratulating myself for any number of steals, I felt I was consistently getting out-manoeuvred when it came to drafting LWs.
After several more iterations of questionable drafting, I read Ryan Ma's “Enlightened You Shall Be (2010)” piece last week. If you haven't read it yet, you should. Ma concludes that "right wings are massively deep and left wings are crazily not!" All I can say is, thank you Ryan for putting that down in pixels before I went insane.
Now, there are lots of outstanding LWs to choose from. And Momma Ovechkin herself would tell you that today’s finest fantasy player is an LW. Folks like Ilya Kovalchuk, Daniel Sedin, Zach Parise, and Rick Nash are no slouches either. But I think Ma is on to something.
Here is a look at how the LWs are stacking up in some pre-season rankings.
The two draft lists differ in their rankings, sometimes significantly and Dobber’s list employs more inclusive position listings for players, leading to some double-counting. This partly explains why there seems to be more wingers in the top 100 players from Dobber’s list. Centers dominated both lists.
So on both lists, there are more top-100 RWs than LWs. However, the more interesting (and useful) finding is the distribution of the wingers. On both lists there is a bubble of elite LWs. But both lists show the RWs appearing in greater numbers after that early bubble.
In Rotowire’s case, the LWs keep pace with the RWs until after position 30, when their scarcity increases. There are only nine LWs in the top-80 players, while there are 17 RWs – almost double.
Looking at Dobber’s list, the LW bubble is more obvious with six players who could play on the left wing in the top-10. By after the top-30 the RWs have drawn even in their numbers, and never look back.
If all that number-talk gave you a headache, then try this quick-and-easy experiment: enter a Yahoo mock draft and select autopick, then wait for the horror-show of a LW cadre that will be delivered to your mailbox. Using an autodraft feature is fraught with peril (especially if you don't modify your preferred draftees' list), but after receiving Ryan Smyth as your LW1 for the third time in a row, I think you’ll agree that LWs in this year’s draft may be a slippery commodity.
But let's not overstate the problem, left wing is not fantasy hockey's new goalie – they wont necessarily make or break your team. However, if you prefer to build a more balanced team rather than grabbing the best player available, then you’ll need to make allowances for LWs and draft them earlier then you might otherwise have done.
But how to do this in an effective manner, without letting your emotions cloud your judgment?
In short, divide up the LWs into multiple tiers (based on whatever draft list you are using, and taking into account any uneven distributions like bubbles) and then use the tiers to help you make difficult decisions in the midst of your draft.
By dividing your LWs into tiers, you ensure that you won’t miss out, but your drafting remains nimble because it linked to your competitor’s actions. If a run on LWs develops (and I predict that it will in many drafts), then you will need to act if you want to avoid having Ryan Smyth as your LW1 this year.
So no need to panic, just build some LW tiers into your draft strategy in order to avoid falling victim to a left-wing lockout.
Now, back to my mock drafts…what do you think of using ‘PucktheHST’ next? Maybe that’s offside.
Ryan Ma said:
Peter Nygaard said:
D M said:
|Last Updated on Thursday, 16 September 2010 22:33|