James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Rotoworld's own Fantasy Draft

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thursday was one of the should-be awesome nights of the hockey year as the 2012 Fantasy Draft took place. Unfortunately, with four Ottawa Senators and enough Swedish players involved that both sides had a lot of friends to appease, the drafting process was actually quite bland. It ended up being a friendship fest, which meant that plenty of players dropped and fell based on who their buddies were.


(Tim Thomas must have hated the politics of it all.)


To give you a jazzy alternate to reality, this Daily Dose features a fun little Mock Draft between Rotoworld’s Associate NHL Editor Ryan Dadoun and your Daily Dose troublemaker, James O’Brien.


Dadoun ended up with Team Alfredsson and the No. 1 pick, so we’ll go pick-by-pick. Some important notes first, though:

  • We’re basing these picks on fantasy value, not how they’d fare in an All-Star Game.
  • The actual Fantasy Draft rules apply: each team must have three goalies by Round 10 and six defensemen by Round 15.
  • Dadoun’s team starts with Daniel Alfredsson and Henrik Lundqvist while mine beings with Zdeno Chara and Joffrey Lupul.
  • Just like any honest draft, the picks snake, so after Ryan picks one guy, I picked two, then he picked two and so on.
  • These comments were being made as the picks were selected, so keep that in mind.
  • This draft took place a little while before the actual one happened, but as you can see with selections like Hartnell, things ended up wildly different in many cases anyway.

Dadoun 1. Scott Hartnell - He won't lead the league in points, but he excels in every major fantasy category. He could end up with 40 goals and 150 PIM, plus he's entered the break with a great plus-18 rating and a more than respectable 16 power-play points.  Malkin was the other guy I seriously considered, but Hartnell's well-rounded contributions and his LW eligibility gave him the edge.

O’Brien 1. Evgeni Malkin - He's the hottest player in the NHL right now, is firing shots on goal, should carry the torch with Sid out indefinitely and even has Kris Letang firing him passes again.

O’Brien 2. Jimmy Howard - I'm not 100 percent sure Howard is the most talented goalie in this bunch, but he's leading the NHL in wins and doesn't face competition from a backup (which gives him an edge on everyone but struggling Carey Price and already-taken Lundqvist).

Dadoun 2. Daniel Sedin - With Sedin and Hartnell, I'm solidifying my LW early.  Sedin has slowed down lately - which by his standards means he's just below a point-per-game this month - but the twins should be Art Ross Trophy contenders once again.

Dadoun 3. Henrik Sedin - I couldn't resist.  I look at most of the other top forwards left (Stamkos, Neal, Hossa, etc), and they each have one little thing that gives me a moment of pause.  I don't have that with Henrik, he's been fantastic and healthy for years and I see more of the same from him after the ASB.

O’Brien 3. Jonathan Quick and 4. Tim Thomas - These are moves based purely on the context of this draft. Goaltending is the most precious commodity in fantasy hockey and I looked at what's left: two great guys vs. one guy who's losing his job (Brian Elliott) and one guy who's struggling mightily (Carey Price) and decided to go with scarcity. Of co­­urse, this opens me up to some serious balance issues, but I'm talking myself into thinking that 'm being super shrewd.

Dadoun 4. Claude Giroux - As mentioned before, he has one thing that makes me nervous and that's the fact that he suffered a concussion earlier this season. Justified or not, I can't help but wonder if this will turn into an unfortunate trend for him as it seems to with other players. Having said that, his potential as a 90ish point guy with RW and C eligibility made me feel like he's still a worthy pick at this point.

Dadoun 5. Erik Karlsson - I worry that I'm reaching a little by taking a D at this point, but there's so many great forwards in this pool and Karlsson is a unique talent.  He's tied for 13th in the NHL in points while no blueliner finished in the top-25 last season.

O’Brien 5. Shea Weber - Fear not, Ryan, because you stole my fifth pick! (Blast!) Speaking of blast(s), Weber can fire the puck like few other than, well, my team captain. He's in a contract year, so motivation won't be a worry.

O’Brien 6. Steven Stamkos - I guess I just need to resign myself to a team that's center-heavy, huh? Stamkos is arguably the most reliable goal scorer in the NHL now that Alex Ovechkin is in some sort of mid-career crisis. I'll go to war with Geno and Stammer, if by "War" you mean a contact sport that tends to get compared to military events too often.

Dadoun 6. Pavel Datsyuk - To me, this is another what you see is what you get pick and I tend to look at that as a good thing.  He's typically an above point-per-game guy with a fantastic plus/minus rating and appealing power-play point numbers.  It's weird to think that, as great as Datsyuk is, he's actually even more useful to the Red Wings than he is to a fantasy owner.

Dadoun 7. Corey Perry  - Definitely a gamble, but the Ducks are heating up and Perry was great after the ASB last season.

O’Brien 7. Kris Letang - Speaking of gambles, how about Letang? He's averaging almost 3 shots per game and had 100 PIM last season, so I think he'll do more than score. (Even though he should score plenty.)

O’Brien 8. Marian Hossa - For some reason, Hossa slips under the radar - relatively speaking - in Chicago, but he does a little of everything (including a ridiculous +24 rating).

Dadoun 8. Carey Price - James took the best goaltenders out from under me.  Luckily I started off with Lundqvist.

Dadoun 9. James Neal - Speaking of guys slipping under the radar, how about the guy tied for second in goals?  He also has 47 points and 19 PPP, making it hard to believe that it took Alex Ovechkin opting out of the game to get him into the draft.  Plus, fantasy owners won't complain about the fact that Neal has 58 PIM so far, although I see him falling shy of 100.

O’Brien 9. Jamie Benn - Ryan took James Neal, so why not go with the guy who justified Neal being traded? Like Neal, Benn puts up a nice combo of SOG, points and PIM (45). I'm not worried about his recent surgery messing that up.

O’Brien 10. Dion Phaneuf - I like my defensemen to get points, PIM, +/- and SOG. Phaneuf gets a nice ration of three of those four, so hopefully plus/minus will be a wash.

Dadoun 10. Brian Elliott - Elliott has been amazing, and yet Jaroslav Halak's presence makes him stick out like a sore thumb on the All-Star roster.  I took him 10th overall because all netminders have to be taken by the 10th round.

Dadoun 11. Alexander Edler - Time to scoop up another D.  He gets plenty of power-play ice time on a team that excels with the man advantage.  Plus he's fired an impressive 134 shots on goal, even if only seven of them have found the back of the net.

O’Brien 11. Phil Kessel - He's not the most well-rounded forward, but he takes a lot of shots and scores plenty of goals.

O’Brien 12. Keith Yandle - I'm pretty sure he's over his big contract hangover. Too bad he's on a team that doesn't exactly score like hot cakes, though.

Dadoun 12. Brian Campbell - Am I the only guy that thinks of Stewie Griffin from Family Guy drunkily calling OJ Simpson 'Juice' when I think of Campbell?  Juice, Soups...no? Okay, well Campbell's plus/minus going forward is as suspect as the Panthers are as a team, but he's still a blueliner that knows what to do with all the power-play ice time he's been getting.

Dadoun 13. Ryan Suter - Hey look, we split up Weber and Suter.  Is that foreshadowing of things to come?  Either way, Nashville's competitiveness plus the fact that Suter's contract will expire at the end of 2011-12, should give Suter plenty of motivation down the stretch.

O’Brien 13. Patrick Kane - It's been an up and down year for Kaner considering his goal slump, but he's one of the best wingers in the game.

O’Brien 14. Kimmo Timonen -  I need one more defenseman and Timmonen is the best offensive blueliner on a Flyers team that scores a lot. I trust him more than Dennis Wideman, by a touch.

Dadoun 14. Dennis Wideman - Seems to have found himself again in Washington.  He has 34 points in 48 games and if some of Washington's stud forwards break out after the ASB or Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) returns, then Wideman could be in for a great finish to the season.

Dadoun 15. Dan Girardi - I'm stuck with Girardi because he's the only D left and all D need to be taken by the 15th round.  He's great in league's that use hits/blocked shots as categories, but he's nothing special in standard formats.

O’Brien 15. Jarome Iginla - Iggy is struggling but he's a classic strong finisher and can bring a nice mix of peripheral stats. Could be especially interesting if he gets traded to a real contender.

O’Brien 16. Tyler Seguin - There were plenty of solid choices here, but Seguin's eye-popping +34 rating puts him over the top. Almost certainly unsustainable, but the team around him is dominant so I expect that stat to remain strong.

Dadoun 16. John Tavares - The Islanders might still be struggling to become a playoff contender, but Tavares has turned into a top-tier talent.  I think his point-per-game pace is sustainable and it doesn't hurt that he ranks fourth in the league in shots on goal.

Dadoun 17. Jason Spezza - With him, Alfredsson, and Karlsson on my side, I'm pretty sure I know who the crowd would be cheering for if these teams actually faced each other in the All-Star Game.  I think back-to-back injured seasons have caused some people to sour on Spezza, but I still see him as a 75-85 point player when healthy.

O’Brien 17. Marian Gaborik - No doubt about it, Gabby is an enormous injury risk. Still, he's been healthy most of this season and he's clicking with Brad Richards.

O’Brien 18. Jason Pominville - One of the few bright spots in Buffalo not named Thomas Vanek. Not sexy from a peripherals standpoint, but he's the best guy left in the draft IMO.

Dadoun 18. Jordan Eberle - The Oilers might not be a success story this season despite their hot start, but at least they've been fun to wath.  Eberle is worthy of his place in the All-Star Game despite his late selection in our pool and he's a very appealing guy to own in keeper leagues.

Dadoun 19. Logan Couture - In my opinion, the last two forwards in the draft are a significant step down from everyone else.  Couture is a solid goal scorer who is lackluster in most other categories, but I see him as more reliable than Michalek and a bit less of a one-trick fantasy pony.

O’Brien 19. Milan Michalek - This leaves Michalek as Mr. Relatively Irrelevant from the Rotoworld Mock Fantasy Draft. He's scoreless in his last four games and has struggled a bit since shaking off a concussion, but hey, 23 goals in 47 games isn't terrible. It's just not All-Star material.




So here are the team rosters by position

Team Dadoun/Alfredsson

Forwards: Alfredsson, Hartnell, Sedin twins, Giroux, Datsyuk, Perry, Neal, Tavares, Spezza, Eberle and Couture.

Defensemen: Karlsson, Edler, Campbell, Suter, Wideman and Girardi.

Goalies: Lundqvist, Price and Elliott

Team O'Brien/Chara

Forwards: Malkin, Stamkos, Hossa, Benn, Kessel, Kane, Iginla, Seguin, Gaborik, Lupul, Pominville and Michalek

Defensemen: Chara, Weber, Letang, Phaneuf, Yandle and Timonen.

Goalies: Quick, Thomas and Howard.




Interesting stuff, huh? I'd bet it would come down to categories (Will there be hits and blocked shots? Time on ice? How many goalie stats will there be?), as Ryan's team has oodles of offense while mine is all about goalies, snipers and balanced D-men. (Seriously, though, Ryan's offense is stacked.)


Let us know how you feel about the teams in e-mail form or via Twitter (my handle is @cyclelikesedins; Ryan's is @RyanDadoun) if you have the inclination.


For an updated list of injuries around the league, click here. For other Daily Dose posts from this week, check out the archives.

James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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