So on Saturday night, we had our annual keeper pool draft.
I had a pretty good team going in, and I think I can contend this season. Of course, I say that every year. But just looking at my team, and I think I’m pretty good. Here was my team going into the draft:
Forwards: Malkin, Stamkos, Getzlaf, Hall, Duchene, E. Kane, Ryan, Zetterberg, Granlund, Pavelski, Kadri
Defence: Letang, Fowler, J. Johnson, Markov, Giordano, Keith
Goalies: Miller, Price
Pretty good, right? So with the draft, I just wanted players who could complement what I have. I don’t have room for rookies, as I would just drop them at the end of the season anyways (we keep eight forwards, five defence, two goalies and one rookie). So I got guys that could have good enough years to count in my top eight. And if I’m lucky enough, enough guys having career years to push me over the top.
Here were my picks and what I was thinking (Note, I plan to have a more in-depth detail on the overall draft later this week):
8th pick overall: Teddy Purcell. I wanted Purcell going in. In pretty much every way I could picture the draft going, I wound up with Purcell. He was my top choice for the spot. But when the pick came, I had a tough decision. Mike Smith was still available. I never thought he would make it down that far. I thought he would be snagged by Paul (fifth pick) or Andrew (seventh pick). Instead, they took Holtby and Lindback. So Smith was available.
So I thought about it for a couple of minutes. I wanted to get a third goalie, and I thought Smith was the best option. I had him ranked ahead of guys like Holtby and Lindback. In the end, I decided that I had a plan, and it was better to stick to it. Part of my plan was to get a goalie with a later pick (more on that later). So I took Purcell.
23rd pick overall: Scott Hartnell. I was a little surprised Hartnell fell down this far. There are a few of us who look to be trying to win it all this year, and since Hartnell plays with Giroux, I thought he would be a hot commodity. Although I did take a minute to decide (Lupul, Carter, Okposo and Perron were still available). In the end, I decided to go with Hartnell because he’s in a better situation.
WE HAVE A TRADE!
Ryan didn’t want the 35th pick. He asked if anyone wanted it. So I made a deal with him where he got my third rounder next year (which odds are will be better than the 35th pick) for the pick and the 65th pick. So it worked out for both of us.
35th pick overall: Damien Brunner. I know he’s too old to qualify as a rookie, but it’s a high-risk, high-reward pick. He’s slated to be a top-six player, and played extremely will during the lockout overseas with Henrik Zetterberg. If he sticks, he should be a decent enough player. If he sucks and drops down in the lineup, then he’ll be dropped from my team in the summer.
46th overall: Martin Brodeur. This is why I didn’t take Mike Smith 8th overall. For months, I had planned to take Brodeur with this pick. He was my target, and it was a quick and easy choice. I needed a third goalie as insurance. And I figured he would still be available. And it’s a good thing I took him, because Matt said he planned to take him three picks later.
Back to my decision to take Purcell, it came down to this: Would I rather have Purcell and Brodeur, or Mike Smith and David Desharnais? I would have to drop Smith and Desharnais, but Purcell gives me a chance at another keeper. I think the upgrade of Purcell over who would be available is a lot larger than the upgrade of Smith over Brodeur.
56th overall: Stephen Weiss. A pretty consistent player, he’s in a good situation this year. The forward corps on Florida is the best its been in years. He’s still the first-line centre. Pretty much though, at this point, I want forward depth. With my next few picks, I just want a guy who could potentially land in my top eight if everything goes right.
62nd overall: Pierre-Marc Bouchard. I think he’s due for a good year for a few reasons. He’s finally healthy. I think the half-a-season will help him in terms of staying healthy. Minnesota’s new signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will help. There’s a lot of good young talent starting to come up through the system, such as Mikael Granlund. If he sticks on the top two lines, he should benefit.
65th overall: Andy McDonald. Same situation as Bouchard. A lot of good talent in St. Louis means only good things for him. He could be on a line with Tarasenko with the Blues. If he can stay healthy, he could have a great year. His biggest problem is staying healthy.
And there you have it. Like I said at the beginning, I just want players that are good for depth in case a couple of my main players get injured or have off years. If one or two of the guys can have career years, I should be set.