Mock Draft Series
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John started us off yesterday with his mock draft commentary. John drafted late in the first round, while I had an early draft spot, 2nd overall. Going late did give John the ability to secure two very solid players right off the bat. While I definitely see the merits of starting late in a serpentine style draft, you can’t complain when you get the opportunity to secure one of the undisputed big 3.
1.02 (2) C Evgeni Malkin, PIT – This was a no-brainer. Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, and Malkin will be the consensus top 3 in every draft this year. Malkin scores more goals than Crosby, and this gives him the edge in our pool, which places slightly more emphasis on goals. Drafting at the top leaves me waiting awhile to make my second pick, but it left me with one of the three supreme studs of fantasy hockey. Malkin’s numbers have improved every year he’s been in the league, and he doesn’t miss games; definitely a player to build your team around.
2.13 (27) C Nicklas Backstrom, WAS – 5 goalies and 3 defensemen have been drafted at this point, both of which really surprise me. My approach with goalies, particularly in leagues that don’t care about GAA or save %, is if you can’t get a stud early, try for a sleeper later. The same is true of defensemen. Roberto Luongo, Martin Brodeur, Evgeni Nabokov and Mikka Kiprusoff were my top 4 goalies with our league settings, and they’re all gone. Green is the only defensemen I would take this early in the draft. With them off the board, at this point I decided to adopt a wait and see approach with the defensemen and goalies. That being said, I was happy to nab Backstrom here. I firmly believe Backstrom has 95+ point potential this year. He and Malkin give me a formidable 1-2 punch on offense.
3.02 (30) RW Martin St. Louis, TB – RW actually doesn’t strike me as a terribly deep position this year. Beyond Jarome Iginla, Alexander Semin, and Corey Perry, I don’t see any bona fide fantasy studs here. Those 3 were long gone at this point in the draft. I actually had St. Louis ranked ahead of both Marian Gaborik and Patrick Kane in my RW rankings, largely because of his consistency. With Gaborik and Kane getting taken in the bottom half of the 2nd round, I felt I needed to solidify myself at one of the thinner positions.
4.13 (55) RW Martin Havlat, MIN – This was one of the most gut-wrenching decisions I made in this draft. I actually had Havlat ranked ahead of Gaborik, and this appeared to be an awesome opportunity to turn a position I was worried about, RW, into one of the strengths of my team. The new Wild coaching brass are preaching offence, a departure from Lemaire’s defence-first approach, and Havlat is a lock for first line duty alongside Mikko Koivu. I normally avoid injury prone players at all costs, but the positives far outweigh the risks here in my opinion.
5.02 (58) LW David Booth, FLA – The last round and a half have produced some pretty interesting picks. Marty Turco, Chris Osgood, and Steve Mason just got drafted. This is definitely a trickle down effect from Niklas Backstrom, Henrik Lundqvist, and Cam Ward being taken in the late 3rd round. Don’t make this mistake on draft day. If you can’t get a true stud in net, you’re better off waiting. The difference between a guy like Marty Turco, and say, Jonas Hiller is going to be pretty near negligible at season’s end, and Hiller might even have more upside. I was pretty happy to get Booth at this spot, and LW was starting to look thin. He’s a young player with a 30 goal season under his belt, and he’s a lock for top line duty.
6.13 (83) D Sheldon Souray, EDM – At this point in the draft, Souray is a steal. Our league only counts goals and assists, and weights goals more heavily than assists. This puts Souray well ahead of guys like Brian Rafalski and Duncan Keith, both of whom were chosen a few spots ahead of me. Souray has 20 goal potential, a rare trait in a defenseman.
7.02 (86) LW Alex Tanguay, TB – This may turn out to be my favourite pick of this draft. Tanguay has big time sleeper potential, as I’ve already mentioned in my sleepers article. He signed a one year deal, and should get the chance to play with some big-time offensive players like Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier. I wholly expect him to outperform the likes of Milan Michalek, Scott Hartnell, and Jason Blake, all left wingers selected ahead of him in our draft.
8.13 (111) G Carey Price, MTL – I’ve been preaching patience with goalies all along. I started the day with a list of keepers I thought I could nab late that should put up decent win and shutout totals. The list included Ray Emery, Simeon Varlamov, Mike Smith, Carey Price, Pascal Leclaire, Jonathan Quick, and Jonas Hiller. John beat me at my own game, and nabbed Hiller and Varlamov, two of my favourites, just ahead of me. With my list getting picked away at, it was definitely time to move on goalies. Price should get more starts with good health and a new coach, and I do expect the Habs to be much improved from last year.
So far that’s Malkin, Backstrom, St. Louis, Havlat, Booth, Souray, Tanguay, and Price.
At this point, I’ve assembled a very solid forward corps in an offense-heavy pool, and am more than happy to round out the goalie and defence positions with some sleepers and young guns.