Another year of fantasy hockey!
For the time being, I am back to a single league – the keeper one I’d been playing in for the last few years. The second league was with some former coworkers and their friends. It seemed like it might be something that would have a longer life to it but I never heard back anything on it when I asked. There were definitely points last year where only maybe three or four managers were really active which may be part of the reason why. To be honest, with everything going on in life, this is probably a good thing because I can probably manage a single team in my free time.
Similar to last year’s keeper league winning team we are able to protect up to six total forwards, two D and on G for a total of nine. The roster layout remains essentially intact as well at 6 forwards (2 centers, 4 wingers), 4 d-men, 1 goalie, plus 2 manager choice per night and only 4 bench players in reserve this time for a 18 total players on-roster again. It’s a big squad when you think about it and we did discuss shortening the bench which would release more quality guys to waivers (which would make injuries easier to deal with) but the response wasn’t too enthusiastic (it never is for change).
Since we had one in and one out, the pre-draft draft was quick. I was again awarded the first pick in the general draft so it provided again with an opportunity to solidify my existing position. We, as a league, discussed again smaller holds to open up more players and fixing the lottery differently. What it came down to was we don’t want to punish success even if success seemed to be perpetuating success. Apart from my consistent top three finishes the rest of the league did shuffle and lots of players believe it was only a matter of time till they would win.
Last season ended with me in first and so here’s who I kept and a bit about why:
LW Alex Ovechkin (Wash) Because he will put up big numbers and Oshi will support opening more lanes for him
RW Phil Kessel (Pit) I am not convinced he is Pit’s answer for scoring but he should put up exceptional numbers if he’s able to find comfort in their top six
C Anze Kopitar (LAK) I am banking on a personal recovery but I don’t think LA will be better
C/RW/LW Filip Forsberg (Nash) He starts with three position eligibility but I know in the future that will shrink but his numbers should grow
C/RW Gustuv Nyquest (DET) GN is my flyer for the year, I’m not sold on him but since he’s still dual eligible we’ll see if I can find a constant slot for him
D/F Dustin Byfuglien (Win) the Jets are going to suck, the question is how well they work his multiposition ability
D Brent Burns (SJ) Right now is slotted as D, that’s fine, that’s what he is, if he does play F again great.
D Mark Streit (Phi) He’ll skate top four with PP1 duty. I am ok with this
G Braden Holtby (Was) My bank is top three or four again in the league with the guys who hopped him on the V will not produce nearly those kind of numbers and after Price (ugh) and the King…
My picks for the remaining positions:
RW Vladimir Tarasenko (Stl) dropped by some manager (the outgoing I think, I didn’t really chedk) and not picked up in the pre-draft so I took him #1
D John Carlson (Wash) also dropped and not picked up in the redraft so I took him as my second, which at the 24th pick around seemed like he went low. This is probably a function of loading up on forwards and my theory is you grab quality D early if you can.
C Tomas Plekanec (Mon) picked him up on my third based on his last few years numbers with C always being good to have and would be
G Frederik Andersen (Ana) No idea if this will pay off, but it’s the best backup available and considering the inherent need for #2s and some of the ones already taken…
C/RW Evgeny Kuznetsov (Wash) Even some inside of the beltway are curious about him, but he’s pulling Nicky B’s spot to start the season and the Caps have a top 7 to squeeze into the top 6, his numbers with Ovi are solid, with the PP are solid and with dragging corsi anchors are pretty good
RW Jordan Eberle (Edm) I really do want this pick to pay off having him again especially with the improvements to the team and the players taken above him
D Justin Faulk (Car)
D Roman Josi (Nash)
RW Mark Stone (Ott)
What’s also interesting is I started in this league five years ago and I’m still in it this season.
To recap: At the end of the first season I was in third which was pretty awesome considering I think back at how little time I had to put into it. Some of the top managers were talking about not returning (not because of anything wrong with the league, just cuz) and the rest of the guys were mostly undecided as to what to do. Low-and-behold 2011’s draft and we’re talking of it becoming a keeper league. Now here’s where the fun actually begins. From that original draft, take a look at who has remained with the team throughout – either because I retained them or re-acquired them over time:
LW Alex Ovechkin (Wash)
C Anze Kopitar (LA)
RW Phil Kessle (RW)
D Johnathan Carlson (Wash)
D Dustin Byfuglien (Win)
How seriously crazy is that for a front-five?
Now, go back and look at who I’d also let go from that first year and think about where some of those guys are – such as, image Gireax or Perry over Kessle in that same window.