I had my first of two fantasy hockey drafts on Tuesday night; a small league that I have had with a group of friends for four years. In the first edition of the Union and Blue Fantasy Fix I went over the importance of pre-draft prep and draft guides that can help you prepare for the upcoming season.
Before my draft I studied the fantasy guides and had several cheat sheets prepared for draft night. What I failed to keep in mind was organization and the clarity of the information. The text on my cheat sheet was small and the pages were not numbered and this made it difficult to read during the draft. While your cheat sheet may seem clear during your prep work, things can get hectic and confusing when you have 60 or 90 seconds to find information and make a draft choice.
I lucked out and got the first overall pick in Tuesday night’s draft and decided to make Alex Ovechkin the newest member of the Cleveland Barons. ESPN has Stamkos ranked first overall, but our league also counts PIMs, Hits, and Block Shots. Ovechkin will be worth much more to me in the Hits category. It is very easy to focus on the Goals and Assists columns, but Hits, PIMs, and Block Shots can turn a non-offensive talent into a good fantasy player. Ovechkin is a gifted goal scorer, but the hits will only further add to his fantasy value in our league.
Of particular interest to Blue Jackets fans, the first CBJ selected was Sergei Bobrovsky in Round 5. Bob was the 34th pick overall and the 5th goalie selected. I had the opportunity to select Bobrovsky with the 33rd pick in the 5th round, but I decided to pass and take Jimmy Howard instead. I know, shame on me for taking a Wing over a Jacket, what kind of fan am I? Relax CBJ fans, I have no affinity for the winged wheel, I just had a hunch on Howard! Rankings are not gospel (though my goalie cheat sheet had Howard ranked 3rd) and sometimes it pays off to act on your hunches.
My only Jacket selected in the draft was Marian Gaborik in the 9th round with the 65th pick. I was honestly surprised that Gaborik was still available, but since our league is not very deep there was a lot of offensive talent still available on the board later in the draft. Gaborik will be the main driver of the Jackets offense and is surrounded by some great young talent.
Keep in mind that no two fantasy drafts are alike and the selection habits / scoring format of your league could greatly affect who is available. The important thing is to go with the flow and adjust your draft strategy accordingly. I wanted to wait until later in the draft to get a goalie, but the Tier 1 goaltenders started flying off the board in the 3rd and 4th round.
Early next week I will be taking part in the Fansided NHL department’s league draft and I plan to learn from some of my mistakes made during the first draft. I will recap that draft in next week’s Union and Blue fantasy fix, as that will be the league I will be primarily focusing on in these posts.