Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tips for dominating the NHL All-Star fantasy draft

You finish the bottle, Alex.
I prefer to drink from a cup.
The NHL is gearing up for the first ever All-Star Game player draft, to be held next Friday in Carolina. The innovative format will see two captains appointed this week who will choose the teams for the skills competition and all-star game in a schoolyard style draft.

The draft concept has never been tried before, and it remains to be seen how much strategy the players will actually put into it. Still, fans are no doubt hoping that the two captains will spend hours agonizing over their cheat sheets, just like we do before our own fantasy drafts.

It probably won't happen that way, but just in case here are some tips for building a winning team.

A half dozen to target
These six players could be well-suited for the weekend's events, and should be moved up draft boards.

Phil Kessel - Will finally have a chance to shake his reputation as a lazy and one-dimensional player, thanks to casual fans who mistake him for Ryan Kesler.

Tobias Enstrom - Selecting him pretty much ensures that your squad will earn a narrow 1-0 victory in the skills competition's "Correctly pick Tobias Enstrom out of a police lineup" event.

Alexander Ovechkin - Has apparently been saving up all his "marquee event" success for this one game, based on his recent performances in the playoffs, Winter Classic and the Olympics.

Erik Karlsson - All-star games are often criticized for featuring porous goaltending, lacklustre back-checking, and players who can't even be bothered to pretend that they care about the outcome, so Karlsson's basically already played in 40 of them this year.

Matt Duchene - Was born in 1991, so he won't be weighed down by memories of when All-Star weekend didn't need a bunch of gimmicks to make it entertaining.

Gregory Campbell - No, he's not technically one of the players selected for the game. But let's just say he'd be a smart sleeper pick for any captains who were thinking that it might be nice to cross-check David Steckel in the head the next time they saw him without getting suspended, Sidney.

A half dozen to stay away from
These players, although talented, should probably be avoided on draft night.

David Backes - Could put his team in penalty trouble, since things like "back checking" and "shot blocking" and "breaking a sweat" are all automatic five-minute majors in all-star competition.

Jarome Iginla - May have trouble adjusting, as he has almost entirely forgotten what it's like to play with halfway decent teammates.

Steven Stamkos - May help his team during the game, but could seriously hurt your chances during the skills competition's "Actually manage to stay upright during a penalty shot" event.

Brad Richards - If you draft him, you're just going to end up spending the rest of the weekend denying media reports that he's about to be traded to other team.

Mike Green - Yeah, good luck making it to the arena on a scooter in Nascar country.

Carey Price - Is unlikely to have the opportunity to do his infamous arms-crossed pose during the game, since he typically only does that after making a save.

A few final words of advice
Keep these general strategy tips in mind to ensure your draft goes smoothly.
  • If you're drafting second, do not point out that simply alternating picks is unfair and that each side should really get back-to-back picks after round one. You're right, but nobody wants to hear about it, Pythagoras.

  • Early on, loudly ask if Evgeni Malkin has been taken, wait for everyone to scratch him off their lists, then choose somebody else instead and pick Malkin 10 rounds later. This has worked in every hockey draft ever held.

  • Be aware that if they wind up on different teams, the mischievous Sedin twins might try to switch places during the game as a light-hearted practical joke. Avoid this possibility by drafting one, then immediately pinning him to the ground and scrawling "Henrik" on his forehead with a prison-style homemade tattoo gun. (Note: Bonus points if you do this after drafting Daniel.)

  • Finally, remember that the draft will be televised, so there's a good chance that Patrik Elias' family will be watching. A few times during the first 41 picks, be sure to act like you're really considering taking him before you go ahead and choose a player who's still good.


  1. Well, atleast the last one was funny... and Mike Green cause that was hilarious on HBO 24/7. Kesler is spelled wrong... lol

  2. "Early on, loudly ask if Evgeni Malkin has been taken, wait for everyone to scratch him off their lists, then choose somebody else instead and pick Malkin 10 rounds later. This has worked in every hockey draft ever held."

    I had to laugh at this. The same thing happened in my pool with Bryzgalov and he wasn't taken until the final round. I ended up with Giguere in the last round to go with Brodeur. :'(

  3. I laughed really hard at the "mischievous Sedins" one. I'm getting weird looks here...

  4. I have to say that this was your funniest blog of 2011 so far! I loved the jokes about Jarome Iginla and Mike Green, but my favorite has to be Carey Price "striking a pose" after he makes a save. I only hope the actual All Star Game is half as entertaining as this blog. :D

  5. Um, Carey Price 'striking a pose' after he makes a save...how is this funny?

    Price: 23 wins, 2.35GAA, .920save%

    FYI, that's pretty good.

  6. Awww come on. Patrik Elias has feelings too.

  7. Ovechkin had 10 points in 7 games last year, 21 in 14 games the year before and 9 in 7 the year before. His recent performances in the playoffs have been good personally.

  8. Two shots at Ovechkin in one post? And as already explained in the comments, his performance in the Playoffs is actually quite consistent. I know you are Canadian but try not to let your bias show quite as much.

  9. @Anonymous:

    I think DGB was saying that Carey Price wasn't going to make many saves during the ALL STAR GAME, because it's basically a meaningless game where everyone scores. No one is saying that Price isn't doing a good job during the regular season, so no need to get all defensive by posting his stats. By the way, I actually enjoyed when Price did that pose after the shootout win -- it showed he had a sense of humor! :)

  10. Ovechkin is beyond sucking this year, poor russian

  11. @ what you didnt see today - I'd love to suck that bad and still put up points worthy of top-20 in the league

  12. the picture caption is the best yet again...
    great post sean..

  13. DGB: Time to change the title of your blog -- "Toronto Maple Leafs Blog" -- nope.

  14. Those damn Sedin's.


    Good one.

  15. I am upset about the price of gasoline and feel this is an excellent venue in which to make public my displeasure.

    Thank you, previous commentors, for giving me the courage to speak up.

  16. OV should do just fine at the ASG- there's no pressure, and you don't acctually win anything of real merit there.

  17. @ LOL

    I liked his Hulk Hogan pose better than the arms crossed myself.

  18. "I laughed really hard at the "mischievous Sedins" one. I'm getting weird looks here..."

    I recall one game where Henrik got waved out of the faceoff circle, so him and Daniel just skated around each other and Henrik went back in and took the faceoff. I wouldn't put a jersey swap beneath them.

  19. Shots at Ovechkin are always appreciated.