So my annual hockey playoff pool was the other day.
As always, I went in with a sound strategy that got decimated pretty quickly. I picked what I believe will be the final four teams — Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit and Chicago. But a lot of other people had the same ideas, and I had to switch to other teams throughout the draft.
But that’s the sign of a good draftee. See what’s happening and adjust.
Some background: I ended up with the first pick overall. It was a six-team draft, and 14 rounds.
So here are my picks and my thinking behind it.
Round 1, pick 1: Sidney Crosby. I had the first pick overall. I knew it would be Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. I decided to go Crosby just because I had Malkin in two different pools this year.
Round 2, pick 12: Alexander Ovechkin. I was right about Pittsburgh. Three other Pens are gone before my next pick, so I decide to drop them as a team completely. Two Blackhawks are also gone, so I’m going to drop them from my list of contention. I chose to go with Washington because Eastern teams usually go faster in our pool than Western teams.
Round 3, pick 13: Nicklas Backstrom. Back-to-back picks are great. It allows me to grab two players from the same team, so I can always grab the two best ones. Backstrom was better than a point-per-game, but missed most of the season due to injury. If Washington has an upset, I’m good to go.
Round 4, pick 24: Alexander Radulov.I was right about the Eastern conference going first. Fifteen of the first 23 picks were from Eastern conference teams. But three Blackhawks and two Red Wings are already gone. So I give up on them as potential teams to choose from, and go with the Predators.
Round 5, pick 25: Shea Weber. The best scoring threat on the Predators after Radulov. Easy choice.
Round 6, pick 36: David Perron. As no St. Louis Blues were gone yet, I decide to start picking up those players. Perron came back this season after missing a year due to a concussion. So I wanted to snap him up.
Round 7, pick 37: David Backes. Top line player on the Blues. Easy call.
Round 8, pick 48: T.J. Oshie. No one else has chosen any Blues players (most think they will be upset by the Sharks), so I decide to stock up on them.
Round 9, pick 49: Andy McDonald. Almost a point-per-game guy. This is four Blues in a row. People are starting to make fun of me.
Round 10, pick 60: Ryan Suter. I wanted another Nashville player, so I go for the best scoring option on the team. Sadly, it’s not a forward.
Round 11, pick 61: Jason Spezza. Ugh. This pick is giving me nightmares. No one else has chosen any Sens, so I decide to pick up a couple starting with Spezza.
Round 12, pick 72: Alex Pietrangelo. Graham snatched Erik Karlsson from me one pick before this, so I decide to choose the all-around better defenceman (and my fifth Blue).
Round 13, pick 73: Ryan Johansson. Same reasoning as Suter. I wanted another Capital, and Mike Green is not a viable option as this point, and Alexander Semin is gone. So I go for the second-line centre.
Round 14, pick 84: Milan Michalek. Ugh. Another pick that makes me sick. But I wanted two Sens players, because what’s the point of having one if they win the first round?