Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NHL All-Star Fantasy Mock Draft

As many of you know, NHL All-Star weekend is upon us.  I believe this is the best All-Star weekend in all of professional sports.  The game is never any good, because there is no hitting, which leads to tons of scoring. However, this plagues the all-star games in every major pro sport in America.  To make up for the boring gameplay, the NHL skills competition is a lot of fun to watch, with the fastest skater, precision shooting, and the fastest shot.  Last year, the NHL vastly improved the experience by adding a fantasy draft, which is pretty much like picking teams in a backyard game.  The NHL chooses captains, with one coming from the city that is hosting the game, as well as an assistant captain for each team.  There is then a back and forth draft, with some drama and possible hurt feelings.  The draft will take place on Thursday night (tune in to NBC SportsNet at 8pm EST). 

In preparation, my friend and fellow blogger Andrew Seid (The Seidline Report) decided to have our own All-Star Fantasy Draft.  We actually did two drafts.  In the first, we each took one of the captains from this year’s game, Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara.  We then drafted the teams exactly how we believe those captains would draft, which is not necessarily taking the best players first.  We then divided the rookies evenly, though they will only take part in the skills competition.   The second draft was a true fantasy draft, where we took the players we wanted, by choosing captains first, and then choosing from the pool of all-stars.

Before I share the results, here’s a quick word on the format of both of the drafts.  We used the rules from the 2011 fantasy draft, which we assume will be used again for this year’s game.    Teams consist of three goaltenders, six defensemen and twelve forwards. Although the draft rules do not dictate a strict order in which positions had to be filled, to guarantee the final picks are not constrained by having to satisfy roster composition rules, the teams' three goaltenders have to be chosen by the end of round 10, and all defensemen have to be chosen by the end of round 15.  This is shown below as red and blue blocks.  Also, neither draft was “snake” style, where the team that picked second got to pick first in the next round.  It was instead pure back and forth in order to honor the rules of the fantasy draft.

I am posting the results of the second draft, where we chose captains and then picked players.  I got to choose my captain and assistant captain first, but then took the rest of my picks second. 

Team Seid
Team Gregus
Pavel Datsyuk - DET F
Henrik Lundqvist - NYR G
 A. Captain
Steven Stamkos - TB F
Marian Hossa - CHI F
Jimmy Howard - DET G
Evgeni Malkin - PIT F
Henrik Sedin - VAN F
Patrick Kane - CHI F
Zdeno Chara - BOS D
Shea Weber - NASH D
Daniel Sedin - VAN F
Phil Kessel - TOR F
Tim Thomas - BOS G
Corey Perry - ANA F
Jonathan Quick - LA G
Brian Campbell - FLA D
Claude Giroux - PHI F
Marian Gaborik - NYR F
Kris Letang - PIT D
James Neal - PIT F
John Taveres - NYI F
Brian Elliot - STL G
Ryan Suter - NASH D
Carey Price - MON G
Keith Yandle - PHX D
Scott Hartnell - PHI F
Jerome Iginla - CAL F
Dan Girardi - NYR D
Kimmo Timonen - PHI D
Alex Edler - VAN D
Erik Karlsson - OTT D
Dennis Wideman - WAS D
(D-MEN) 15
Jason Spezza - OTT F
Dion Phaneuf - TOR D
Tyler Seguin - BOS F
Logan Couture - SJ F
Jordan Eberle - EDM F
Joffery Lupul - TOR F
Daniel Alfredsson - OTT F
Jamie Benn - DAL F
Jason Pominville - BUF F
Milan Michalek - OTT F

I actually really like how my team turned out.  Here are some thoughts on our mock draft.
  • Since Andrew and I think so much alike, he basically picked the guy I wanted right before, which made the non-snake draft just killer. You can also get a hint at our favorite teams-we each grabbed our respective organization's representatives in captaincy or the first 2 rounds.
  • I surprised him right off the bat by choosing Lundqvist as my captain, but he is having a fantastic season and has a great personality, plus I wanted a goalie right away.  I couldn't stay away from a Blackhawk, so I chose Hossa, who is having a much better year than Kane.  Had Jonathan Toews been available for the All-Star game, he would have been an easy choice as captain.
  • I did get Malkin, who is having an MVP-type year, and last year’s MVP, Corey Perry.  After that, my three favorite picks are James Neal, Scott Hartnell, and Logan Couture. 
  • Seid’s team has much more star power than I do, and justifiably bragged about an excellent young line in Tavares, Seguin, and Eberle, which I really wanted.   Giroux, Letang, and Quick are my favorite drafted picks from his team after that young line.
  • Some poor planning on my part caused me to have to take 4 straight defensemen before the 15th round per the rules.  While I had to take Dion Phaneuf, Andrew got to grab young Boston phenom Tyler Seguin. 

You can check out the other draft, where we picked based on what the captain’s would actually choose, on Andrew’s blog, The Seidline Report.  While you are there, check out some of his other posts.  This was quite a bit of fun to do, so lock for some more cross-blog activities in the future.  Make sure to tune into the draft to see how Andrew and I picked.

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