For the next couple of weeks I thought I’d go back and revisit a few of my pre-season columns to see where I stood, while comparing them to now.
Right Wings are incredibly deep and yet left wings are not
- Advice: Don’t overreach for RW, if you have the opportunity to draft a LW ahead of a RW, DO SO! I would probably go as far as an extent to say draft your first two LW before you even make your first RW pick. As you can see the talent pool of the lower ranked RW are fairly deep that you could easily find a 55-65 point player on the WW post-draft, but I can’t say the same for LW though.
- I was pretty spot on with this one. 21 right wings hit the 55-point plateau compared to just 19 left wings, so not a big difference there. The noticeable difference was the number of fantasy-worthy players. There were 52 “fantasy worthy” righties that tallied above 40-points, compared to just 42 lefties, so there were plenty of “late round” options available after the draft.
Center, as always, is as deep as ever
- Advice: Same situation as with the RW, if there is a LW sitting right in front of you, go after him before taking the C. If you look above, there isn’t much difference between the 30th drafted C compared to the 20th or perhaps even the top 10.
- Once again pretty much hit the nail on the head, 27 centermen hit the 55-point plateau and 54 tallied 40+ points to be deemed “fantasy worthy”. Definitely much more “prevalent” than the either wing position.
Much like last year, the goalie hype seems to have died down this year, as draftees are holding off on picking up goalies early and electing to wait into the mid-rounds, (rounds 4, 5 or 6), to draft their first goalie.
- Advice: Generally speaking you probably should have two solid goalies by round nine, and a third by round 10-12. You don’t want to be left with a Brian Elliott/Kari Lehtonen/Steve Mason/Jonas Gustavsson as your number two goalie.
- Many poolies were happy with their early picks (Roberto Luongo, Ilya Bryzgalov, and Pekka Rinne), but there were plenty of disappointments as well (Martin Brodeur, Jimmy Howard, and Tukka Rask). On the bright side, poolies who waited to snag surprises like Sergei Bobrovsky, Michal Neuvirth, Kari Lehotnen, Carey Price and Tim Thomas were very well rewarded. Once again this just proves how fickle the fantasy goalie market really is. You win some, you lose some.
“Big named Dobber favourites” on the back end are still relatively unknown to the general public.
- Advice: A favourite of mine, Tobias Enstrom, I’ve managed to snag in quite a few of the mock drafts with an average draft position of 108.
- Guys like Jamie McBain, Stephane Robidas, Marek Zidlicky, Erik Karlsson, Tom Gilbert, P.K. Subban and Paul Martin have been left largely undrafted or were drafted very late in many mock drafts, so there are plenty of late round steals available.
A few of our Dobber favourites panned out and a few fizzled out. Enstrom, Karlsson and Subban worked out, but McBain, Robidas, Zidlicky, Gilbert and Martin didn’t.
Now, onto the good stuff!
Drew Doughty – D – Los Angeles Kings
Don’t get me wrong I think this kid is definitely talented. His stat line of 59 points, plus 20 rating, 54 PIMs, 31 PPP and 142 SOG last season speaks volumes. The problem is that he’s being overreached in many drafts. There are plenty of similar alternatives being drafted 3-4 rounds later like Niklas Lidstrom who has a three-year stat line average of 59.3 points, plus 31 rating, 31.3 PIMs, 29 PPP, and 187.3 SOG or Dan Boyle’s two-year stat line of 57.5 points, plus six rating, 61 PIMs, 30.5 PPP and 196.5 SOG, (both being drafted 50 spots later). Doughty’s value is just way too inflated for me to spend my second round pick on him.
I mentioned this during my column last week, a lot of the reason for DD not meeting expectations were due to his sky-high expectations from the beginning of the season. He finished with a line of 40 points, plus 13 rating, 68 PIMs, 15 PPP, and 139 SOG, which ranked him as the 14th best blue liner in Yahoo! leagues. Not exactly the big payoff we were looking for from the high price investment. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Jimmy Howard – G – Detroit Red Wings
I brought this topic up last week. Basically it comes down to my lack of trust in him heading into this season. There have been too many sophomore slumps in recent history to blindly enter this season thinking that Howard will be immune. According the mock draft results, he’s being drafted just behind the big four of Ryan Miller, Roberto Luongo, Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist which is a huge investment for a potential bust candidate. If I’m in a position to select a goalie in the 21-30 slots, I’d probably go with a “safer” option in Ilya Bryzgalov instead.
The sophomore slump did hit Howard, but luckily he was backed by the high-octane Red Wings’ offense to help salvage the wins column despite sub-standard peripherals stats (2.79 goals-against-average and .908 save percentage). Unfortunately if you owned Howard you were pretty much sacrificing two stats for just one, which isn’t exactly an ideal trade-off for fantasy purposes. Those who waited and took Bryzgalov instead were definitely rewarded more so than those who gambled on Howard. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Alex Burrows – LW – Vancouver Canucks
“Torn Labrum” is the two major words that you need to remember about Burrows. I know LW is a very shallow talent pool, so grabbing a good one is a priority, but the risk attached with selecting Burrows just isn’t worth it. Vinny Lecavalier, Zdeno Chara, and Mike Richards all underwent a similar procedure and all had down seasons the year after the surgery, so I wouldn’t doubt that Burrows would follow a similar suit especially considering his dependence on physical play. I really do like Burrows’ across-the-board stats, but with the prospect of him missing out on the first two months of the season, the price tag attached just isn’t worth it. I’d much rather wait a few rounds and snag a late rounder in Brendan Morrow instead.
Overall, it wasn’t a terrible season for Burrows, but it definitely wasn’t one that is going to get poolies overly excited. He finished on a 0.66 point-per-game pace, which would have translated into a 54-point campaign over a course of a full 82-game season, but unfortunately it was still well below the 67 points that he tallied in 2009-10. The PIMs, plus/minus and SOG are still pretty fantasy significant, but it’s the one PPP (and 1:01 PP ice-time per game average), that’s hurting his overall fantasy value. If you went with Morrow instead, you pretty much would have broken even (trading PPP for plus/minus), but saved yourself five rounds worth of draft positioning. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Erik Johnson – D- St. Louis Blues
On average Johnson has been selected as the 11th overall blue liner in most Yahoo! mock drafts. He does have plenty of potential, but that’s all that it really is, potential! Even last season’s stat line of 39 points, plus one rating, 79 PIMs, 15 PPP and 186 SOG isn’t exactly all that spectacular and certainly isn’t enough to justify taking him over proven veterans like Brian Rafalski, Tomas Kaberle or Brian McCabe.
Once again I was pretty on the ball with my EJ prediction. Last season, he had a bit of a dip in production and many poolies were hoping for a rebound year, but he managed to sink even lower too much disdain. He finished 2010-11 with a stat line of 29 points, minus 13 rating, 56 PIMs, 10 PPP and 161 SOG, while splitting time between the Blues and the Avs. Plenty of poolies must have been kicking themselves selecting EJ over the likes of Rafalski, Kaberle or McCabe. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Dustin Penner – LW – Edmonton Oilers
Penner started off blazing hot with 30 points in the first 27 contests of last season, but then slowed down dramatically with just 33 in the final 55. Last year he pretty much had full reigns on the number one LW slot in Edmonton. This year he has plenty of competition with the new kid duo of Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi, so definitely don’t head into 2010-11 thinking similar numbers as last season.
Penner was on average selected with the 16th overall pick in Yahoo! drafts during the preseason. At the end of the season he finished as the 52nd ranking left winger, which isn’t exactly the most wise investment piece of the season. Many poolies were expecting a boost in production when he was traded to LA at the trade deadline, but he managed to post just six points in 19 contests with his new team. Penner is a big boy who just doesn’t play like one, Don’t fall into that trap for next season. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Patric Hornqvist – RW – Nashville Predators
I potentially could be kicking myself at the end of the season because of this pick, but two factors have led me to this conclusion. First, is that Horny is being a tad overrated in Yahoo! mock drafts, (drafted on average 91st overall). Second, is that RW has an extremely deep talent pool that if you missed out on him, you could find 10-15 other RWers that have similar potential. I’d rather wait a bit and snag someone with similar fantasy value and use my mid-round pick in a shallower position.
As mentioned during the pre-season, Horny was probably the most unsafe pick in my opinion. He was on average, selected as the 19th overall right winger and he finished pretty much bang on par ranking 23rd. The problem with RW, as stated during the pre-season, is depth. I could probably list 10-15 RWers that finished around the same ballpark in production as Horny, but you could have waited four or five rounds later. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Taylor Hall– LW- Edmonton Oilers
I’m just not that big into drafting rookies for one-year fantasy leagues. Malkin (85), Kane (72), Ryan (57), and Duchene (55) were the rookies that led their respective years in scoring. There is an adjustment period for youngsters to adjust to the NHL level, which prevents them from having consistent optimal production throughout the year. Hall might be an exception since the Oilers will give him plenty of opportunities to succeed, but I’m a conservative fantasy player and would much rather have a Brendan Morrow, Wojtek Wolski, or Alex Frolov in my pocket than an unknown quantity in Hall.
Hall was on a 52-point pace prior to departing the season with an ankle injury in early March, which was very much in line with the leading rookie scorers of the past two seasons. I don’t think many poolies would be happy with a 42-point effort (especially when Dobber predicted 70), so I have to ding a few points off of his overall seasonal report. Expect a John Taveras-like 67 points next season, but for now it was pretty consistent with my pre-season prediction. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Nik Kronwall – D – Detroit Red Wings
Kronwall does have plenty of offensive upside, but the problem lies in his injury proneness. Recent news coming out of Detroit is that his injured knee is still giving him some of problems, and from what I can tell knee problems tend to linger unless rested properly. With him undergoing surgery this close to the start of the season, I just don’t think he has enough time to get it properly rested to survive the entire season. That, plus the fact that he ranks third on the depth charts buried behind Niklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski, I’d much rather pick up better alternatives like, Enstrom, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Joni Pitkanen, over the 29-year old Swede.
I’ve been on fire with many of my pre-season predictions and Kronwall continued the trend. He was initially drafted as the 22nd blue-liner, but finished a very disappointing 36th. I don’t know if it was his knee that gave him problems, but he certainly didn’t look as comfortable on the ice as he did during his 51-point season two years ago. As mentioned during the pre-season, Kronwall was buried behind Lidstrom and Rafalski (who both took up 56 percent of the defensive scoring pie in Detroit), so there wasn’t a lot of room for him to produce mind boggling numbers. I’m sure you would have been mightily disappointed selecting Kronwall over Enstrom, Visnovsky or Pitkanen, that’s for sure. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Mason Raymond – LW – Vancouver Canucks
Raymond had a big bust out year last season when he posted 53 points and 217 SOG in 82 contests. The problem for me is when it counted the most, during the playoffs, he was essentially non-existent with a mere four points in 12 post-season contests. Raymond also benefitted from Daniel Sedin’s foot injury during the regular season, as he picked up 13 points in 15 contests when Daniel was out of the line up, while registering just 40 in 67 when the twins suited up together. I know LW is a shallow talent pool, but I’d there are plenty of “safer” picks than Raymond.
As predicted, Raymond took a step backwards this campaign with just 39 points and 197 SOG in an injury-shortened 70 contests. The plus side is that he did spend over 71 percent of his overall shifts alongside Ryan Kesler, unfortunately it didn’t translate on the offensive front. The major reason for the drop off in offensive production could be attributed to the lack of quality ice-time. In 2009-10, when he notched 53 points, he averaged 2:04 per contest on the PP. This campaign he garnered just 1:22 per contest. More evidence to strengthen one of Ma’s Laws: ice-time = production. Right on the money on this one. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Nikita Filatov – LW – Columbus BlueJackets
If you’ve been following my forum rants/articles during the off-season, you’ll probably realize that I’m not a big fan of offense by committee teams and that’s exactly what Columbus will be in 2010-11. With the depth that the Jackets have offensively, Rick Nash, R.J. Umberger, Antoine Vermette, Kristian Huselius, Derick Brassard, and Jakub Voracek, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for Filatov to be productive in one-year leagues. Dobber thinks 40, and I think he’s spot on with that projection.
There were plenty of quality discussions regarding Filatov during the preseason here, here, here, here and here. Definitely go back and have a read if you’re bored and have nothing better to do. I pretty much hit the nail on the head with my pre-season predictions for Filatov. The top-six offensive scorers in Columbus concluded in an order of Nash, Umberger, Vermette, Brassard, Voracek and Huselius, with Filatov exiting the picture by mid-December. He finished with an uninspiring 20 points in 36 contests with the Falcons, which brings the question of whether or not he has a bright foreseeable future with the Columbus organization to the forefront. Maaasquito Bite: PUSH. I’ll give myself a push for this one only because I didn’t stick to my guns to adamantly proclaim that he was going to be a bust.
So overall I think I did well in my pre-season assessment going 9-0-1. I was pretty much on the ball with all of my predictions and hopefully some of my “biases” did come in handy.
Stay tuned next week as we analyse my Undervalued and Underappreciated column from the pre-season. Questions or comments? As always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them with you in the comments section below.