Cam Fowler

 

 

Back in the early days when I was getting my feet wet as a commissioner, the midseason draft was a much-anticipated staple of our annual fantasy hockey calendar.

 

We usually made it part of the All-Star Weekend festivities, gathering together to watch the game, scarf some pizza, talk some trash and make some picks. I fondly recall watching Owen Nolan call his shot against Dominik Hasek in between selections.

 

We started with a one-round redraft draft in our first season, expanding it to two or three rounds in subsequent years. For each player you added, you had to drop one to make room on your roster. Participation was optional, but rare was the team that didn’t use all their picks – despite the fact that long-term injuries seemed to be much rarer in those days.

 

The nature of our league at the time made the midseason draft essential. These were the dark ages, when I rushed home from school each Tuesday clutching the weekly stats page, and then spent two hours ignoring homework and entering numbers into a Microsoft Works spreadsheet to update our league standings. That being the case, we kept things simple: no players on the bench, no injured reserve, no farm team and no in-season add/drops. In other words, the midseason draft was the only chance we had to replace injured players (or those who just plain sucked).

 

Not only that, but because of the structure of our league, there were always plenty of missed gems available for drafting midseason. I remember one early season in particular when Kevin Stevens was snagged with the first overall midseason pick and immediately became a top-5 player in our league, vaulting his team up the standings over the course of the last three months of the season. (Click here to read about our scoring system that made Stevens such a stud.) The midseason draft was a genuine turning point in the season, and a lifeline to struggling squads.

 

But those days are long past. As I write this, I’m trying to remember the last time I participated in a midseason draft. 1997, maybe? Whenever it was, it was a long time ago. Since then, I’ve played in close to 50 fantasy seasons in various leagues, and not one of them has included a January redraft.

 

Has the midseason draft gone the way of the dodo bird? I think it has. The reasons for this are many, but the biggest cause is the establishment of the internet and the development of online pool managers like Yahoo, Fantrax, Office Pools and the like. These sites have taken the work out of managing a fantasy league, allowing us to incorporate daily or weekly transactions throughout the season, which most leagues take advantage of. In a league that allows ongoing transactions, changes are made on the fly, and there really is no role left for the midseason draft.

 

In short, as fantasy hockey evolved, it outgrew the need for the midseason draft. Like an extraneous limb that no longer serves a useful purpose, the midseason draft steadily decreased in importance and eventually disappeared from the modern fantasy game altogether. Though I’m nostalgic for the days when I actually had a reason to be excited about the All-Star Game, the ship has sailed and there’s no going back.

 

But don’t think that means you don’t need Dobber’s Midseason Guide. On the contrary, it’s more important than ever! Rather than having to make a handful of picks in a January draft, you need to be prepared for all the opportunities and challenges you’ll face throughout the next three and a half months. The work of building a champion never ends!

 

How about you – does your league still have a midseason draft? If so, how does it work? And who is the best midseason pick-up you’ve ever made?

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Ryan Lenethen said:

DarthVain
Waiver Wire We used to run a mid season draft. It was replaced many years ago with waiver wire pick ups. This was mainly due to it becoming harder and harder for people to make the travel required for the draft, either due to families, or distance. It was also a lot of work for the commish. Our number of waiver wire picks has fluctuated over the years. It does add another element of strategy which is nice, and also allows for the immediate pickup of a needed position for example in case of injury or just bad players, rather than waiting until the mid-year.
January 03, 2012
Votes: +0

John H said:

Thai Domi
... I'm in a pool where we dropped the midseason draft when we started allowing pickups. But we've always limited the number of pickups...and the exact number always seems to be an issue for folks.

I miss the midseason draft. I think I'll propose its reintroduction, keep the limited pickups, and not have the pick (or picks if we go two or more rounds) count against the limited moves.

Has anyone ever allowed trading of picks in the midseason draft...or is it always based on the standings as of the All-Star / Olympic / whatever break?
January 02, 2012
Votes: +0

angelofharlem (Glen) said:

angelofharlem
... Makes lots of sense in leagues with no pick-ups allowed before midseason. But leagues like that are very rare these days.
January 02, 2012
Votes: +0

Jocular Hockey Manager said:

JHM
... 1 round draft - league has no pickups (play 15 players)
5 round draft - opens up for pickups after the draft, no prospects may be picked up (play 20 players)
January 02, 2012
Votes: +0

angelofharlem (Glen) said:

angelofharlem
... Glad to hear it's still alive and well for some people. I really miss it. Just out of curiosity for those who still do it - what are your rules for adding players throughout the season? I just struggle to see the point of the mid season draft if you're able to add players throughout the season leading up to the draft, which most leagues allow in some form.
January 01, 2012
Votes: +0

Chris Wassel said:

ChrisWassel
Still Alive!

I have a dynasty league that has a two round midseason draft every year. It works well for everyone involved and still is something that everyone also enjoys.
January 01, 2012 | url
Votes: +0

Jocular Hockey Manager said:

JHM
Still alive! I participate in two leagues and both have mid-season drafts. A one rounder, in which the player is UFA at the end of the season (free to be drafted again). This is a good thing, as it enhances the knowledge of the less rabid members. A five rounder, in which not all picks are used. Both create some excitement and a rash of trades.

It's an excellent concept which pools should seriously consider. Excitement, enthusiasm and interest are all generated. Everyone loves to draft! What pool doesn't benefit from all these things?
January 01, 2012
Votes: +0

Jocular Hockey Manager said:

JHM
Still alive! I participate in two leagues and both have mid-season drafts. A one rounder, in which the player is UFA at the end of the season (free to be drafted again). This is a good thing, as it enhances the knowledge of the less rabid members. A five rounder, in which not all picks are used. Both create some excitement and a rash of trades.

It's an excellent concept which pools should seriously consider. Excitement, enthusiasm and interest are all generated. Everyone loves to draft! What pool doesn't benefit from all these things?
January 01, 2012
Votes: +0
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