It’s been two months since the fantasy hockey season came to an end. Plenty of time to revel in your victories or rub your wounds (I’ve had a fair amount of both, playing in many leagues). After the dust has gone, it’s an ideal time to review the past NHL Draftkings Optimizer and figure out some of the lessons learned from the last season. For those who have been involved in fantasy hockey for several years, not all of these are likely to be surprising revelations. However even 20-year experts should be reminded that fantasy seasons don’t always unfold according to the way you write your draft.
Lesson 1 — Good Old Goalies can be Good Again
After winning the title of top goalie during 2008-09, many fantasy players and coaches have written Thomas off in the middle of last seasonon the assumption that he’d be expected to fall back to the brand new Tuukka Rask. In the preview for last season’s fall “Rask is a hot, sexy choice for your first goalie choice this season however, don’t be too confident in this. Thomas hasn’t really lost his job, so long as Rask did to earn it. The situation could change this time.”
And , in the reverse direction as they did, starting from the beginning of the season to Game 7 in the Finals. It was not my intention to think Thomas to finish the way the way he did (I put him in the 20th spot). However, my cautious optimism regarding Thomas’s prospects was dampened by the opinions of the public (and the fact that he is a bit old). Instead of looking at Thomas as he really is (a skilled goalie who also has many years of experience) We all believed that his first slip-up could be the beginning of his downfall.
What can we learn from this? Are Thomas the only exception or is it a norms to be taken into consideration in evaluating your goalies for the fall? Take into consideration that Thomas doesn’t have to be the sole goalie who has a rebound from fantasy sports in his 30’s or beyond. Take a look at what Roloson has accomplished and even Brodeur after his comeback from injury this spring. It’s important to note that (outside of serious injuries) the top goalies don’t go out of their stride over the course of a single day. A minor bump should not be enough to think that a player is dirty. Remember this as you think about where you rank against the likes Kiprusoff, Backstrom, and even Brodeur and Theodore this autumn.
Lesson 2 — Location Matters
In terms of marketing, the place is a crucial factor for hockey players. It’s become apparent on two levels:
1. Fantasy players who are strong and relocate often experience an unintended setback, even when changing to the “better scenario”. Think of a few instances from last year’s season:
- Ilya Kovalchuk’s transfer to New Jersey saw him drop to just 60 points in the last season. My draft was ruined.
- Sergei Gonchar went from fantasy superstar in Pittsburgh to a shambles in Ottawa. 27 points, 15.
- James Neal was a strong goal-scoring prospect in Dallas However, he was completely dry when he came to Pittsburgh.
Apart from Dustin Byfuglien, do you know of notable fantasy players who did better than their debut season in a brand new city? It’s not often and is worth mentioning in determining where to put players like Mike Richards, Brad Richards as well as Jeff Carter in your draft rankings. Don’t bet on one of them to blow it up on their first appearance in new clothes.
The opposite side of this story…
2. Players who are struggling can often find new hope in a new house.
This is evident with the average fantasy choices that suddenly pop into the spotlight with a new club:
- Clarke MacArthur was virtually unknown in Buffalo and Atlanta and Atlanta, but he was able to establish himself as a solid fantasy player in Toronto.
- Lubomir Visnovsky’s stock began to decrease when he moved to Edmonton however, after he recovered from a calf injury in 2009 Visnovsky exploded during his debut season as a full-time member of the Ducks with a record-breaking 68 points.
- Alex Tanguay had slowly slid into obscurity over the last few seasons, playing in Montreal in addition to Tampa. The move to Calgary led to him putting up an impressive 69-point season last year.
It is therefore sensible to keep an eye on some of the players finding a new place to live in the hopes of better fantasy outcomes. Particularly consider giving a boost to Jakub Voracek, who has landed from Philly, Simon Gagne moving to LA in addition to Devin Setoguchi landing in Minnesota. You could even give possibility for an older gun called Sheldon Souray in Dallas.
Lesson 3: The top rookies don’t always the best rookies.
The 2010-11 season was the first time the focus (as it usually is) was focused on the top two players: Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. Some eyes were drawn towards the talents of P.K. Subban too, after his incredible post-season run in the autumn. In the center, there were high expectations for some young players fighting for a job, like Crawford from Chicago, Bernier in LA and a couple of youngsters from Washington. As the season progressed as the season wore on later in the year, no player (while many of them having decent seasons) placed in the top three for this year’s Calder trophy. Logan Couture, Jeff Skinner along with Michael Grabner were barely in the discussion at the beginning of the season. This doesn’t even include players who include Derek Stepan, Cam Fowler as well as Brad Marchand who all made significant contributions to fantasy football this season, despite absence of coverage from the beginning.
What can we learn from this? The first thing to remember is not to place too much trust in the draft of rookies. The number of variables that, in the majority of cases, are financial, which could alter your strategies. Additionally, as with players who are established you must comb the waivers for rookies that are a couple of weeks before the start of the season. This is when teams determine who will stay and who they’ll allow to ripen for another season within the AHL. Before that it’s too high of a risk to lose valuable draft picks for promises that never come true.
Lesson 4 : Playoff momentum is rarely carried over through the season
It’s a trend that is seen each season, but within our hearts we would like to pretend that it’s not happening. Each year , when draft time comes around we place a lot of weight to the champions of the playoffs of the previous spring only to find them falling in a flat fashion. 2010-11 was no different So, make sure you know this principle. Take a look back at the 2010 playoff winners and particularly those who wowed by their performance:
- Michael Cammalleri topped the list of the team with 13 goals in spring which helped him climb the charts of drafts. He followed that with a poor 19 goals during his regular season effort.
- Danny Briere finished 2nd in points and goals in the playoffs of 2010. A little less than 68 points was somewhat of a disappointment to fantasy owners this season.
- Simon Gagne sizzled with 9 playoff goals , and followed that up with his second consecutive 17-goal season-long total.
- The majority of fantasy players anticipated massive numbers from Ville Leino following his monster performance in the spring of last year. 53 points and 19 goals were not enough to meet expectations.