So once again, we recently held our annual keeper pool supplemental draft.
In The Greatest Hockey Pool Ever, I had only three picks this year. I tried to get an extra draft pick or two, but no one was biting. The closest I got was a potential deal that would have seen me send Evander Kane to another team for David Backes and a third round pick (this was happening in the third round, so I knew the guy I wanted was there). The other owner thought about it, but eventually decided not to make the trade. But I ended up getting the guy I wanted in the fourth round anyway, so it all worked out.
Last year, I had seven picks, and four in the first 21. It allowed me to draft a lot of youth, which were valuable in trades this past season. This year, I had a first round pick, a fourth round pick and a fifth round pick (five rounds. 50 picks total).
I had two different strategies going into the pool. Either draft all young guys, and use them as trade bait during the season, or draft older guys in an effort to win it all. I had to wait until the fourth round before I figured out my strategy, and I ended up doing a little of both.
Just so you know, our pool is straight points, and counts our top eight forwards, five defencemen and two goalies. Here was my roster going in:
Forwards: Malkin, Stamkos, Parise, Thornton, Zetterberg, Hall, Selanne, Duchene, Kadri, E. Kane
Defence: Shea Weber, Boyle, Markov, Streit
Goalies: Miller, Brodeur, Niemi
As you can see, I needed at least one defenceman (possibly two with Markov being a question mark), and I think I have a good shot to finish in the top three this year if my guys stay healthy. So you can see why I had two different strategies.
Anyways, on to my picks:
First round, #6 overall: Mikael Granlund. I was ecstatic to get him at this spot. He was my top choice, and I if I had the #1 pick, I would have had a tough choice between him and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Granlund won’t help me this year, since he’s still playing in the Finnish league (he would have been in the NHL if he didn’t have to do a mandatory military service). But that’s okay, because next year we can only protect one rookie. So he’ll count for me as a rookie for at least two years.
Note: The first five picks before me was Nugent-Hopkins, Logan Couture, Corey Crawford, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Johansen. This order threw me for a loop. I had a complete different list of what I thought was going to happen. But no matter. I still got my top choice.
Fourth round, #32 overall: Jaromir Jagr. Since I think I have a good shot this year, I wanted to go with people who are expected to do well. I was hoping to make the deal to draft Jagr in the third round, and then I would have taken Ryane Clowe in this spot. But as I mentioned, it didn’t happen. But I was very surprised Jagr made it this far. Every thing I read this year has him getting about 60 points. That’s huge in our pool, and in any hockey pool. Only 49 players in the NHL last year had 60 points or more. So it’s not as common as you may think. So to get a potential 60-point player in the fourth round was a great pickup.
The other plus side: If my team struggles for whatever reason, but Jagr does well, he makes good trade bait.
Fifth round, #46 overall: Ryan Murphy. I went back to the youth well for one simple reason. Most of the eligible good players were already drafted, many of them much higher than I anticipated. David Rundblad went seventh. Stefan Elliott went ninth. Brent Seabrook went 11th. Etc. So there wasn’t much left, especially of players who could crack a lineup this year. I didn’t want to take someone who may have a good season if everything goes perfect (ie- Sheldon Souray). I don’t know if Murphy will make the Hurricanes, but if he doesn’t, then he could be good trade bait for a more established veteran.
Overall: That’s about it. With only three picks, I still think I did pretty well. A stud forward prospect, an older player that many project to get 60 points, and a solid defensive prospect. You can’t do much better than that, especially with where I was picking.