Last month, I introduced a new feature here on this blog. I began to chronicle my hockey pool (actually one of a whopping four that I'm a part of...) and try to provide some advice. Just in case you don't feel like clicking in the link and/or do not have every post here memorized, I'll recap my fantasy team at the beginning.
C - LeCavalier, Jokinen, Staal, Gomez, Prospal, Horton
RW - Jagr, Guerin, Radulov, Knuble, Vrbata
LW - Holmstrom, Brown, Chimera
D - Rafalski, Schneider, Campbell, Redden
G - Nabokov, Budaj, Dubielewicz
And a reminder that in each game you can dress 3 each of C, RW, LW, G, plus 4 D and 2 other Forwards. Obviously, looking at this line-up I had way too many Centres, and no chance to sub out any of my Left Wingers or Defensemen. Clearly some work needed to be done.
So over the course of the past month I've made the following moves:
C - Horton LW - Brashear
G - Dubielewicz G - Price
RW - Vrbata RW - Armstrong
LW - Chimera D - O'Brien
RW - Armstrong LW - Clowe
Place Schneider on IR D - Aucoin
C - Gomez RW - Goddard
First off I have to start by saying that I am a HUGE idiot. I cut Nathan Horton in exchange for Donald Brashear. Yes, you read that right. It's ok to laugh at me, really it is. I wasn't totally sold on Horton, he's had a few disappointing seasons, and I felt that this would be another. Plus I needed at least one more Left Winger, and Brashear seemed to be the best pick, especially given our pools emphasis on Penalty Minutes (more on that to come). I am glad that I was the one able to snag Price when I did. The Habs have been slow starting him out, but I'm pretty convinced that he'll see more ice time as the season goes on. Vrbata hasn't done much this season, so I'm glad to get rid of him. I added Armstrong because I thought that I could use him as trade bait (another guy in my pool raves about him all the time). I didn't have much luck shipping Armstrong away as part of a package for a Left Winger, so I ditched him and found Clowe, who I was surprised to see still available. Having a few spare Left Wingers, let me ditch Chimera and get a defenseman known for racking up the penalty minutes in Shane O'Brien. Speaking of Defense, when one of my top projected D-Men went down I had the chance to put him on IR and pick up Adrian Aucoin, who seems poised for a renaissance in Calgary. Lastly, I got sick of Scott Gomez's underachieving and cut my loses (after thinking great things about him at the start of the season) for yet another goon.
I also made several attempts at swinging trades, trying many times to get rid of Guerin, Campbell, and Brown who I all had bad feelings about. Luck for me, everyone else seemed to have bad feelings about them as well as I ended up with no takers. These three players have been putting up huge numbers for me so far, especially Campbell. I am kind of worried now that Dustin Brown has just signed a six year contract his motivation may slip a bit and he won't be getting so many points.
Going back to why I added Brashear, the league has an interesting scoring system where the points are awarded as follows:
- For skaters, they receive 1 point for each goal and assist scored. With an additional .5 scored if it was a Power Play Goal, Power Play Point, Short Handed Goal, Short Handed Point, or Game Winning Goal
- Also for every point of plus/minus, they receive 0.75 of a point, so if they are +10, they get 7.5 point, however, if they are -10, they loose 7.5 points.
- For every penalty minute, they receive an additional .5 of a point.
- Goalies receive 2 points for a win and an additional 3 points for a shut out.
Looking at this, I immediately notice that gaining .5 points for a penalty minute gives a ton of value to all goons out there, thus my recruitment of Brashear, O'Brien, and Goddard. Sure I made a huge mistake in ditching Horton (who actually has more penalty minutes than Brashear), but I think that my logic was sound.
So I guess my advice for this month, is know the inside and outs of how your pool's scoring systems. My love of goons seems to be paying off for me so far, as I am a solid 58 points ahead of 2nd place (and WAY above 11th place), I hope that I can stay strong for the whole season, I know that there are a lot of games left to play.
While the advice, seems obvious, it is incredibly important for staying ahead of everyone else . If you are in a Head-to-Head League, then make sure you know who you are getting matched up against, and how you can beat them. If you are in a Rotisserie League, pay attention to every category, especially the ones where a quick turn around can happen, such as Short Handed Points or +/-, where the difference between players is often pretty minimal. Find players who can produce in the category you need and ditch ones who can't. While goals and assists are a much sexier option, sometimes a tough defenceman can be just as useful as a first-line centre, and probably much more available.
While I still regret dropping Horton (especially since Yahoo now lists him as a C/RW) I still acted in the best interest of my team. If I don't win this pool, it will be because of this move, no questions asked. If I do win the pool, it will be because of the thought process that went into that move, even if it didn't pay off.
So for any of you out there, hope that your first month has gone as well as mine (I currently sit 1st or 2nd in all four of my pools). Except if you are in one of those pools with me...then I hope that your team starts to really suck...especially if you are Troy...to everyone else, happy pooling!
Until next time,