As you may or may not know, Im part of Mirtle's second annual hockey blogger/writer invitational. With some of the heavy hitters discussing how their various drafts went recently, I figured I'd get in on the action.
First, the league: 17 of the best bloggers and pundits around. Twenty rounds in the draft with 90 seconds between each pick. Something like 400 players were chosen in total. Scoring categories included: goals, assists, +/-, PPG, PPA, PIM, SOG for skaters and Wins, GAA, SV%, SV and SO for goalies.
Lucky me, I chose 16th.
Eric Staal, Valtteri Filpulla, Mikko Koivu
Staal was my first rounder, basically because the pickings were getting slim in terms of first line difference makers by that point in the pool. Filpulla and Koivu came much later in the draft and Im basically banking on both of them taking a step forward with their respective teams this year. Im especially bullish on Koivu who had great underlying stats in a checking role for Minnesota last year.
Corey Perry, Mike Knuble, Todd Bertuzzi and Alexander Semin
Perry was my third round choice - another guy I expect to improve. Also useful because he tends to generate numbers in all categories, including PIM. The rest of the wingers were chosen well into the draft, including Bertuzzi whom I picked up around the 14th round if I remember correctly.
Utility forwards and bench players:
Joe Pavelski, Nigel Dawes, Steve Bernier, Alex Burrows, Dustin Boyd and Antti Mientinen.
A lot of one dimensional players and long shots that will probably spend large swaths of time on the virtual bench. I picked up Burrows to inflate my PIM totals and I like the potential of guys like Pavelski, Dawes and Boyd to potentially have break-out years. I picked up Bernier with of my very last choices, mainly with the hope he'll have an "Anson" year with the Sedins.
Brent Burns, Michal Rozsival, Dustin Byfuglien and Roman Hamrlik.
Outside of the very best guys (Phaneuf, Lidstrom) blueliners tend to be less impactful so I left my first choice (Burns) until about the mid-way point and chose a majority of the other guys near the end. I think the Byfuglien pick is a sneaky one because he's likely to play a majority of the year as a forward (and they tend to get more goals, points, shots on net than the average defender).
Henrik Lundqvist, Peter Budaj and Curtis Mcelhinney.
Kind Henry was my second overall choice. Some of the best guys went in the first round (Kipper, Borduer) and, as I learned last year in this same pool, having a capable starting goaltender is ESSENTIAL to success. I consider Lundqvist one of the best in the game and a lock to start around 70 games and get a bunch of wins and shut-outs.
It's ironic that I ended up with Budaj as my 2nd 'tender, mainly because I've been laughing at Colorado for going with him as a starter this year. However, he was good value for where I chose him and I don't think he will be usurped by his back-up even if he should stumble a bit. Should be good for a majority of starts and the team in front of him is solid.
Mchardtospell was my throw-away final pick in the draft. It's always a good idea to have a long-shot goalie on the bench, just in case a major guy gets injured or something.
Anyways, that's my team. Im looking forward to this pool again this season. The competition will be fierce.