The Hockey News Fantasy-Guide: Ten Mistakes Made On Draft Day

Lesedauer: ca. 4 Minuten

We’re going to assume you’re not the person who shows up on draft day

with a copy of last year’s stats and wings it. The fact you’re reading

this means you’re prepared to put out a little more effort.

You can use the list and player profiles we provide as a resource and

you won’t go far wrong, but one thing about hard-core poolies is they

want to know things others don’t. They want an edge.

That’s where we have to be careful not to outsmart ourselves. You make

mistakes and hopefully you learn, but when we learn that logic and

available information doesn’t necessarily equal reality, that’s where

we get our real edge. These are some of the common mistakes we make –

or have made in the past – and how to avoid them.

1. Don’t pick too many players from your favorite team. Otherwise,

you’re picking with your heart, not your head. Of course, that’s the

team you know best – which gives you some advantage – but it also means

your hopes for that player can cause you to overestimate his potential.

In any event, once you pick a player from any team, he automatically

becomes a favorite.

2. Don’t rely on exhibition game stats. They mean nothing. Fourth

liners play on the top line; players who will never play on the power

play get sent out with the man advantage; third-string goalies are in

net. Last year, for example, the top four pre-season goal-scorers were

Jon Sim, Josef Vasicek, Brandon Bochenski and Dany Heatley. One out of

four is not a good percentage. Moreover, Olli Jokinen, Jonathan

Cheechoo and Vincent Lecavalier combined for zero goals in 13 games –

probably averaging less than 10 minutes a game.

3. Don’t forget to keep a list handy of your injury sleepers.

Otherwise, you’re going to miss them – or pick them too soon. Let’s use

Patrik Elias as an example. He played just 38 games last season, but

scored 45 points – that projects to almost 100 points. He would be high

on your list this year, but you don’t want to waste an early pick on

him if you know a lot of people in your pool are just going down the

stats list. You have to figure out how late it’s safe to let him slide.

If you play it right, you could get a couple good picks before snaring

Elias just as your foes see him on their radar.

4. Don’t listen too closely to camp reports. “So and so looks great,”

says the coach. When’s the last time you heard a coach say a guy was

terrible? Teams have plans for players heading into camp and unless

management is blown away, they don’t change much.

5. Don’t get too excited about older Europeans coming to the

NHL for the first time. Sometimes it works (think Marek Zidlicky) and

sometimes it doesn’t – Eero Somervuori got the better of us a few years

ago. Nobody knows how quickly a skilled European will adapt to North

America and the NHL, so don’t risk too much on them despite all the

praise you might hear.

6. Forget about an unknown who looks as though he’s going to play on a

line with a big scorer. Oh look, Bochenski has a great pre-season and

is playing with Jason Spezza. Looks like a gold mine. It wasn’t. We all

get caught in this trap and it’s hard to resist, but try to name the

last no-name player who lasted on a line with a big-name player. And

no, Lonny Bohonos doesn’t count.

7. Don’t play it safe with your late round picks. That’s the

time to speculate because pools are often won with the unknown, not the

known. You may know a guy who’s a reliable 30-point scorer, but then

there’s this other guy who may get 10 points or might blossom into a

60-point man. If it’s late in the draft, take a chance on a breakout.

8. If you have to take a certain number of forwards, defensemen and a

goalie, get your defensemen first. There’s only so many prime offensive

defensemen. Moreover, figure out the worst possible goalie you could

get stuck with. Say there are 10 people in your league and everybody

has to take one goalie. The 10th goalie won’t be significantly

different than the fifth, so wait until the end.

9. Shut up. It’s not your responsibility to help less prepared drafters

at the table. You did the work, they get what they deserve.


10. The biggest mistake you can make at the draft table is letting others see this publication. Keep it to yourself and win.

By Murray Townsend

To get the inside edge in your hockey pool, pick up The Hockey News Fantasy Pool Guide from

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