Last night, I joined a former co-worker at several spots across the Fantasy landscaped, as I drafted my 2015 Fantasy Hockey team in a 10-team experts league on Yahoo! Sports. This league is run by Daniel Dobish at RotoExperts.com, who I worked with at CBSSports.com, OPEN Sports and RotoExperts.com.
I’ll be the first to say I’m no Fantasy Hockey expert, but I have played one on TV.
In all honesty, my Fantasy Hockey knowledge dates back pretty far, but it’s not necessarily as deep in recent seasons.
I’ve been playing Fantasy Hockey dating back to 1998, and I started writing Fantasy Hockey articles online in 2001 at my old site, FantasyRef.com, which I sold when I joined CBSSports.com in 2003.
Back in the 2006-07 NHL season, I served as the Fantasy Hockey writer at CBS for a season, and I’ve written plenty of articles at other times. With that said, I haven’t written any Fantasy Hockey content in at least half-a-decade, but I’ll share with you what I do know!
This was a 10-team league on Yahoo!, with the following lineup requirements: 2-C, 2-LW, 2-RW, 4-D, 2-G, 4-Bench and 1-IR spots. The scoring for this league goes as follows (no differentiation for scoring by defensemen):
- Goals: 3 pts
- Assists: 2
- Plus/Minus: 1
- Penalty Minutes: 0.5
- Powerplay Points: 1
- Shots on Goal: 0.4
- Wins: 4 pts
- Goals Against: (-1)
- Saves: 0.2
- Shutouts: 2
My 2015 Fantasy Hockey Team
So we’ll go pick by pick and I’ll explain my process, and share some players I’m mad I missed out on!
1.03 Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins: I drew the third overall pick, and I was resigned to the fact I’d miss out on Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, the two consensus top picks, once again this season. I expected to draft Steven Stamkos, who I believe the obvious third-best player, but I was also excited because I’m a huge Lightning fan (I stand 6-foot-2!). But goaltender Carey Price went with the second overall pick, so I had to go with Crosby here.
Dobish mentioned he still would have taken Stamkos over Crosby in this spot.
”Stamkos isn’t made of glass.” – Dobish
2.08 Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago: As a Lightning fan, I had to deal with Kane’s ability in the Stanley Cup Finals last year, so I’m happy to take him here. Obviously, this is a risk since Kane is in the midst of being charged in a rape case. I’m not going out and buying a Patrick Kane jersey, but if he plays all season, I got a first-round talent in the late second round.
3.03 Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anaheim: This was the spot I had planned to take Oilers super-rookie Connor McDavid, but alas, Neil Parker of TheFantasyHockey.com picked him one spot before me. So I went with Getzlaff, but in hindsight, I wish I went with either goalie Ben Bishop or a winger, like Taylor Hall or Rick Nash.
4.08 Tuuka Rask, G, Boston: Three goalies went between my picks (seven goalies were gone by now), so I went with the Bruins’ goaltender. He has 70 wins in the past two seasons, and he lost an inordinate amount of overtime games (13) last year, which I expect to see turn around this year. His rising GAA is a concern, but that defense in front of him has to be better.
5.03 Zach Parise, LW, Minnesota: Again, ready to take Max Pacioretty with this pick, but Parker snaked me again. The 31-year-old winger has six 30-goal seasons in his background, including 33 goals last season. His plus-21 and 259 shots on goal last season look good, too.
6.08 Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay: He came out of nowhere last season, essentially being the great rookie that Jonathan Drouin wasn’t, and he finished as the team’s third-best goal scorer. Let 2015-16 be his first of many 30-goal seasons!
7.03 Jaroslav Halak, G, N.Y. Islanders: I felt I had to pull the trigger on my second goalie, so Halak gets the nod. The Islanders are going to be good for years to come, and Halak serves with Thomas Greiss as a goaltending dynamic duo.
8.08 Alexander Steen, C/LW, St. Louis: in hindsight, had I waited on Getzlaf above, I could’ve taken Jack Eichel, who I like a lot, in the eighth round (just after Steen). Steen’s another 31-year-old winger, but he’s coming off two very good seasons I need him to triplicate.
9.03 Jaden Schwartz, LW, St. Louis: May the Schwartz be with you! Back-to-back left-wingers. Sweet. The difference here is Schwartz’s Fantasy game is on the rise – and I’m hoping to see a 30-goal season out of him in his third full year.
10.08 Sam Vatanen, D, Anaheim: The top defenseman for the Ducks is now the top defenseman on my Fantasy team. Vatanen is fully healed from a leg injury last season. I chose to wait on defensemen because they don’t get bonus points if they score, and there’s no other position that provides great potential off the waiver wire like defensemen. It’s like the tight ends position of Fantasy Hockey.
11.03 Torey Krug, D, Boston: Well, now I’m definitely invested in this Bruins defense improving in front of Rask. With Zdeno Chara slowly being pushed off to sea in a Viking funeral, Krug has a chance to be the best defenseman in Boston.
12.08 Steve Mason, G, Philadelphia: Damn, I hate the Flyers. It pains me to take one, but I needed a backup goalie that I can move in once in a while. He’s coming off one of his better seasons in the league, but he lost his goaltending coach to Dallas.
13.03 Ondrej Palat, LW, Tampa Bay: Hey, I got two of the Triplets! Just not the most important one (Tyler Johnson went in Round 5). Palat was one of their best forwards in the playoffs, and I’m hoping to see him improve on his 2013-14 breakout season.
14.08 Dennis Wideman, D, Calgary: Wideman does a little bit of everything, and he does a whole lot of nothing. Hoping to see another 170-plus shots on goal.
15.03 Jarome Iginla, RW, Colorado: I’m actually kinda looking forward to making Iginla my first cut. The Lightning took him out for the 2004 Stanley Cup, and I’ll probably cut him for a hot skater in Week 1.
16.08 Erik Johnson, D, Colorado: Back when I wrote Fantasy Hockey regularly, Johnson was a young stud … and now I’ll be lucky to see a 30-point effort out of him. I’d like to see the 2013-14 version of him, with 30 assists and 157 shots on goal.
As I said, Dobish will be posting something on this experts draft and my 2015 Fantasy Hockey team over the next couple days over at RotoExperts.com, so keep an eye out for the full breakdown soon!
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