James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Swimming in playoff pools

Tuesday, April 30, 2013



Conveniently enough for this column (and not quite as conveniently enough in the sense that I had to be the first guy pulling the trigger in the draft), I received the top pick, so we can start with my team. Here’s the old battle axe:


Round      Pick      Player Name      Pos      Team     Pick Type

1    1     Evgeni Malkin     F     Pittsburgh Penguins      MANUAL

2    20     Carey Price     G     Montreal Canadiens      MANUAL

3    21     Marian Hossa     F     Chicago Blackhawks      MANUAL

4    40     Anze Kopitar     F     Los Angeles Kings      MANUAL

5    41     Viktor Fasth     G     Anaheim Ducks      MANUAL

6    60     Brent Burns     D     San Jose Sharks      MANUAL

7    61     Drew Doughty     D     Los Angeles Kings      MANUAL

8    80     Zach Parise     F     Minnesota Wild      MANUAL

9    81     Michael Ryder     F     Montreal Canadiens      MANUAL

10    100     Ryan Suter     D     Minnesota Wild      MANUAL

11    101     Derek Roy     F     Vancouver Canucks      MANUAL

12    120     Justin Williams     F     Los Angeles Kings      MANUAL

13    121     Jaroslav Halak     G     St. Louis Blues      MANUAL

14    140     Mikko Koivu     F     Minnesota Wild      MANUAL

15    141     James van Riemsdyk     F     Toronto Maple Leafs      MANUAL

16    160     Zack Kassian     F     Vancouver Canucks      MANUAL

17    161     Brian Gionta     F     Montreal Canadiens      MANUAL

18    180     Niklas Hjalmarsson     D     Chicago Blackhawks      MANUAL

19    181     Ben Scrivens     G     Toronto Maple Leafs      MANUAL

20    200     Devin Setoguchi     F     Minnesota Wild      MANUAL


The useful stuff comes with my second pick rather than selecting Geno first overall, I’d say ...


Carey Price was easily the best goalie available after a staggering run of netminders. To me, it’s important to draft goalies who have a strong hold on jobs even in the regular season, but it’s downright crucial in the playoffs.


Price also dictated one of my investment teams: the Canadiens. Getting Anze Kopitar in a thrifty spot helped to push me toward the Los Angeles Kings (my Stanley Cup dart throw … er, pick).


My biggest gamble - one I’m not totally sure I’d recommend - was buying in on the Wild. It all started with the irresistible (for me, at least) value of Zach Parise at 80 and continued with nice values for Ryan Suter (100th overall) and Mikko Koivu (140th overall).


Look, I don’t really think the Wild are going to beat the Blackhawks. Still, I think I did the best I could to place myself in a high-risk, high-reward situation. The Canadiens and Kings could very well make deep runs (Los Angeles is my reluctant Stanley Cup pick) while the Wild represented bold gamble values.


Again, it’s all about adapting on the fly. This edition of the strategy probably has a lot to do with the fact that I was making “sandwich” picks.


Still, I think the core of the idea is valid: get the best players from a handful of teams and cross your fingers that the right pieces fall into place.


Goalies wise, I grabbed Price and then took a few weighted risks on threatening backups with the hopes of one or two working out. If you can get two starters who are likely to make decent runs, do that instead, though.




Here is Corey Griffin’s team:


Round      Pick      Player Name      Pos      Team     Pick Type

1    2     Patrick Kane     F     Chicago Blackhawks      MANUAL

2    19     Corey Perry     F     Anaheim Ducks      MANUAL

3    22     Dustin Brown     F     Los Angeles Kings      MANUAL

4    39     Brian Elliott     G     St. Louis Blues      MANUAL

5    42     Craig Anderson     G     Ottawa Senators      MANUAL

6    59     Derek Stepan     F     New York Rangers      MANUAL

7    62     Andrei Markov     D     Montreal Canadiens      MANUAL

8    79     Nazem Kadri     F     Toronto Maple Leafs      MANUAL

9    82     Pavel Datsyuk     F     Detroit Red Wings      MANUAL

10    99     Tomas Plekanec     F     Montreal Canadiens      MANUAL

11    102     Kevin Shattenkirk     D     St. Louis Blues      MANUAL

12    119     Ryane Clowe     F     New York Rangers      MANUAL

13    122     John Erskine     D     Washington Capitals      MANUAL

14    139     Tyler Bozak     F     Toronto Maple Leafs      MANUAL

15    142     Lars Eller     F     Montreal Canadiens      MANUAL

16    159     Ryan McDonagh     D     New York Rangers      MANUAL

17    162     Kyle Clifford     F     Los Angeles Kings      MANUAL

18    179     Mika Zibanejad     F     Ottawa Senators      MANUAL

19    182     Kyle Palmieri     F     Anaheim Ducks      MANUAL

20    199     Cody Franson     D     Toronto Maple Leafs      MANUAL


Take a gander on the players Michael Finewax ended up with:


Round      Pick      Player Name      Pos      Team     Pick Type

1    3     Marc-Andre Fleury     G     Pittsburgh Penguins      MANUAL

2    18     Jonas Hiller     G     Anaheim Ducks      MANUAL

3    23     Jarome Iginla     F     Pittsburgh Penguins      MANUAL

4    38     Bobby Ryan     F     Anaheim Ducks      MANUAL

5    43     Paul Martin     D     Pittsburgh Penguins      MANUAL

6    58     Ryan Kesler     F     Vancouver Canucks      MANUAL

7    63     Sheldon Souray     D     Anaheim Ducks      MANUAL

8    78     Francois Beauchemin     D     Anaheim Ducks      MANUAL

9    83     Troy Brouwer     F     Washington Capitals      MANUAL

10    98     Alexandre Burrows     F     Vancouver Canucks      MANUAL

11    103     Brandon Sutter     F     Pittsburgh Penguins      MANUAL

12    118     Jannik Hansen     F     Vancouver Canucks      MANUAL

13    123     Andrew Shaw     F     Chicago Blackhawks      MANUAL

14    138     Tomas Vokoun     G     Pittsburgh Penguins      MANUAL

15    143     Jason Garrison     D     Vancouver Canucks      MANUAL

16    158     Craig Adams     F     Pittsburgh Penguins      MANUAL

17    163     Alex Galchenyuk     F     Montreal Canadiens      MANUAL

18    178     Rafael Diaz     D     Montreal Canadiens      MANUAL

19    183     David Desharnais     F     Montreal Canadiens      MANUAL

20    198     Christopher Higgins     F     Vancouver Canucks      MANUAL


(Note: Maybe I should’ve taken the leap with Marc-Andre Fleury, even if I think he’s a flawed netminder. I’ll move on before I get too envious.)


Now consider his team-building philosophy:


I decided to take goaltending with two early picks as I saw that won it last season so getting Fleury and Hiller, two goalies on teams that should go to the Conference finals, will help. Since the pool is weighted in that first round points are what they are, the second round is doubled, the third round tripled and the Cup Final quadrupled, I went with Pittsburgh players and Anaheim players with some Montreal and Vancouver players sprinkled in. Of the 20 picks, none of my players finished lower than third in their Conference. If form holds true (and unfortunately it rarely does in the Stanley Cup playoffs) I should be in the mix. Grabbing Desharnais, Galchenyuk and Diaz late could be really good if Montreal has a deep run.


Finewax conveniently explains the league’s scoring system:



Per Goal:                           2.0

Per Shot on Goal:              0.1

Per Assist:                         1.0

Per Penalty In Minutes:      0.2

Per +/-:                               0.5

Hat Trick:                            5.0

Power Play Goal:               1.0

Power Play Assist:             1.0

Short Handed Goal:           3.0

Short Handed Assist:         3.0

Game Winning Goal:          2.0

Hits:                                    0.5

Faceoffs Won:                    0.0

Faceoffs Lost:                     0.0



Per Save:                 0.1

Per Goal Allowed:   -1.0

Per Win:                   3.0

Per Loss:                 -1.0

Save % >= .920:      0.0

Shut Out:                  5.0


Per Round Scoring Multipliers:

Round One:                1.0

Round Two:                2.0

Conference Finals:     3.0

Stanley Cup Finals:    4.0



Jump to soak in more playoff pool ponderings.


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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.
Email :James O'Brien

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