How to lose a World Junior Hockey Pool in 10 easy steps

So I entered a world junior hockey pool that someone posted online at Dobber Hockey’s website.

Resolute photo, via Wikimedia Commons

Want to know how to win a World Junior Championship pool? Don’t take Nail Yakupov over Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

It was just for fun, no prizes, so I decided to enter a team.

And I’m not doing so well. I made some big mistakes, and it’s costing me dearly.

Below is my roster, and some quick comments on why I chose such a player and how it’s hurting me.

Just some quick rules so you know a bit of background: Points only, goalie wins count as two points, with an extra two for a shutout. An overtime loss is one point. We had to choose 12 forwards, six defencemen and two goalies. Plus a captain (from a list of six).

Finally, you couldn’t take more than five players from any one country.

I made my original list about five days before the deadline, and then planned to go through it before submitting it. But I never got a chance to do so, and just submitted what I had without double-checking. I made some mistakes I wish I had caught.

Note, the stats are as of yesterday (Sunday). I didn’t include the games on Monday, because some of them are still going on as this is published.

This how you lose a world junior championship pool in 10 steps:

1- You choose the wrong captain.

There were six players to choose from (Alex Galchenyuk, Jonathan Huberdeau, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mikhail Grigorenko, Nail Yakupov and Filip Forsberg).

What made this interesting is you couldn’t take the rest of the guys. So if you chose RNH, you couldn’t take Yakupov as a Russian forward later.

I had it down to RNH and Yakupov. In the end, I selected Yakupov because I figured I could easily find five Canadian players to choose from instead of Russian players.

Of course, RNH ripped it up in the first game, finishing with five points. Yakupov has only four points so far total (in three games).

2- You take a player from Latvia, and that guy isn’t even playing.

I thought it would be fun to take someone from Latvia, especially knowing a first-round pick of the Sabres last year was available. So I took Zemgus Girgensons. I didn’t realize he wasn’t playing in the world juniors until about three days after the tourney started.

3- You select Nathan MacKinnon

He has one point in three games. Lots of Canadian players are scoring, just not the potential #1 pick next summer. If only there were another potential #1 pick to take…

4- You take Seth Jones.

Oh yeah. He’s expected to be one of the top two picks at NHL draft in June too. And a defenceman to boot. I thought he would tear up the juniors. But he has only two points in three games. It’s not bad, but it’s not what I was expecting.

5- You don’t take the team Canada goaltending.

I stayed away from Malcolm Subban because I was already full of Canadians (three forwards and two defence), and I figured he didn’t look good before the tourney, so he had the best chance of being replaced. But I should have chosen P.K.’s brother. Even when he doesn’t look good, he’s getting wins. I figured there would be more of a timeshare if he continued to struggle.

6- You take Radek Faksa

Just as a heads up, I will misspell this guy’s name for an eternity. But he has one point in three games. If he was playing better, I’d probably learn to spell his name properly. On the other hand, I still can’t spell Vincent Lecavalier’s name properly without looking it up.

7- You take Olli Maatta

Missed the first game due to being sick, he now has no points in two games. My defence is killing me (which you’ll read about shortly).

8- You don’t take Ryan Strome.

Tons of Canadians to choose from. And I somehow miss the guy who is second in tournament points with six. But hey, MacKinnon has a point, right?

9- You think too much about the defence.

I ended up taking Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Murphy. One I own in a keeper pool, and the other I want to own in the keeper pool. Combined, they have one point.

Next time, I’m just choosing the best players for forwards and goaltenders. On defence, I’ll just fill the slots with players from other countries. They can’t do worse than some of the guys I chose this year. It would be better to have the top five Canadian forwards than to have three of the top forwards and two underperforming defencemen.

10- You take J.T. Miller.

One point in three games? No wonder the States are doing so poorly.

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