On Sunday evening, 16 of the greatest minds in fantasy hockey (or so we pretend to be) gathered in front of their computers for the first ever fantasyhockey.com/Kukla’s Korner League fantasy hockey live draft.
I created the fantasyhockey.com league back in 2007 as a place for writers and friends of fantasyhockey.com to compete. Out of all the leagues I compete in, this one has probably been the most intense as far as bragging rights go, as participants want to look worthy in front of their fellow fantasy hockey writing colleagues. Now that I am a writer for Kukla’s Korner, I decided to expand the league for fellow KK bloggers to compete as well – hence the new 16-team league.
To keep the writeup brief, I will first show off my team (called the Vancouver Giants), and then provide my objective critique. Then I will list the draft results by round. Without further ado…
1 -6 Henrik Sedin(Van – C)
2 -27 Carey Price(Mon – G)
3 -38 Alexander Semin(Was – LW,RW)
4 -59 John Tavares(NYI – C)
5 -70 David Backes(StL – RW)
6 -91 Erik Karlsson(Ott – D)
7 -102 Logan Couture(SJ – C)
8 -123 Steve Mason(Cls – G)
9 -134 Joe Corvo(Bos – D)
10 -155 John-Michael Liles(Tor – D)
11 -166 Matt Moulson(NYI – LW)
12 -187 Brian Gionta(Mon – RW)
13 -198 Rick DiPietro(NYI – G)
14 -219 Patrik Berglund(StL – C)
15 -230 Simon Gagne(LA – LW)
16 -251 Ryan Ellis(Nsh – D)
17 -262 Cody Hodgson(Van – C)
18 -283 Cody Franson(Tor – D)
Best pick: How could I possibly go wrong with my first-round pick, Henrik Sedin. For the next ten rounds or so, I had to make drafting goal-scorers a priority because of his assist-heavy point totals. But at least I know that he will also take care of me in plus/minus and power-play points (this is a standard category league). If I had to pick one player than I think will exceed his draft-day value, that player would be Logan Couture. Thirty goals last season is a sign of things to come, and I don’t foresee a sophomore slump. I also received a text message compliment after the draft for my Steve Mason pick, as he will post better numbers if the Blue Jackets’ offseason acquisitions pay off.
Worst pick: Have you ever had one of those “panic picks” where you see that there is ten seconds left and you don’t have anyone in queue? In the 13th round, I faced such a dilemma. In case you are wondering whether I am crazy, yes the name of Rick DiPietro shows up. I generally don’t read a lot of criticism when it comes to my picks, but numerous league members gave it to me following the pick (and deservedly so, looking back). My reasons, you ask? I was chasing goalie wins, Ricky D should be the Isles’ starter to start the season, and I had to pick between he and the other Isles’ goalies. If you’ve played fantasy hockey for the past few seasons, you don’t need me to explain to you why he’s not a great pick here. But maybe I’ll get lucky. But asking Ricky D to stay off IR is like asking Tony Romo not to blow a big lead.
Sleepers: I had lots of fun in the last few rounds finding names of players who are not guaranteed to produce this season, but have massive upside potential. Of these names, the two that stand out the most are Cody Hodgson and Ryan Ellis. Because of the Ryan Kesler injury, Hodgson is expected to center the Canucks’ second line to start the season. This is the best audition that he has ever received with the Canucks. Meanwhile, high-scoring OHL defenseman and World Junior regular Ellis could very well start the season with the Predators. Don’t expect tons of icetime in the beginning, since he will be behind Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and Jonathan Blum on the depth chart. But don’t be surprised to see him sneak in some second-unit power-play time.
The entire draft results are posted at Kukla’s Korner.