Ahh, you know the season is getting close when we start talking fantasy hockey. I love it! This year, we're going to bring back the Anaheim Calling fantasy hockey leagues. It will be pretty much the same as last time, but with a few added perks (like fame and signed stuff) that we'll get into later. If you're new to fantasy hockey, please read up on Yahoo! on how the different types of leagues work. I am horrible at fantasy hockey, but they are so fun (and I'm overly competitive).
Duck Buddy, Natesaduck, has been tapped by me to officially assume the role as Commissioner for the upcoming season. He'll be organizing everything going forward. Make sure you give him a lot of feedback and suggestions for this year's league. We want everyone involved! If you have anything you'd like to ask off-line, email me at AnaheimCalling [at] gmail [dot] com. Without further ado, I give you, Nate!
Greetings and Salutations!
This is your brand spankin' new Commissioner. I'd like to introduce another opportunity to all readers that enjoy a good old fashioned fantasy hockey melee. We had a lot of fun last year. I attribute much of the success to the input I received from you on how like your fantasy hockey leagues run. Before we get things rolling, I want everyone to chime in and let me know how to improve on last year's leagues.
For now, I will likely run the leagues very similar to last year. I plan on offering two rotisserie and two head-to-head leagues with default settings and rules for each league. If this sort of setup is too generic, speak-up now. I have no problem throwing in some new categories to shake things up (i.e. face-offs, hits, shooting percentage etc.). In addition to new categories, I can also do roster adjustments to add more players for a more competitive environment that will really test your skills on drafting decent depth players.
We had a lot of fun last season with the live drafts. I want to implement that again for this season. Like usual, scheduling will be difficult but we've made it work before. Once deciding on the league you want to join, tell me the times and dates that work best for you. The goal is to get as many people online at the same time in order to eliminate the moronic computer auto-picks.
Finally, Jeff over at Dobber Hockey was kind enough to spend some time with me in order to bestow some very valuable fantasy insights on our beloved Anaheim Ducks. I cannot stress how helpful this website can be for fantasy hockey players of all skill levels. They've provided a cornucopia (you have no idea how long I've waited to use that word) of spectacular analysis on drafting.
You've heard enough from me. Here's the expert, Jeff from Dobber Hockey:
1. Who do you think is most likely to have a breakout year in Anaheim?
Jeff: Toss me in a time machine to this time last year, and I'll go with Cam Fowler. More seriously, I didn't see the impressive rookie season from Fowler coming. It is so tough for rookie defensemen to step in and play in the NHL, even in a depth capacity. Fowler's defensive game was a struggle at times, but he logged a lot of ice time and played in crucial offensive situations. Predicting breakout players is difficult, as there is a combination of factors required - most notably skill and opportunity.
For this season, it depends on Teemu Selanne. If he decides to hang them up, it opens up a spot in the top six for a rookie (likely Kyle Palmieri or Devante Smith-Pelly). I really like Andrew Gordon, who came over from the Washington organization. He's more of a depth/sleeper pick, but he has the upside to be a solid second/third line winger and chip in with 40-50 points.
2. Which player would you consider to be the biggest "bust" in Anaheim?
Jeff: Not a huge leap in faith, but I wouldn't put Corey Perry down for 50 goals again. In general, shooting percentage is a great indicator of above average and below average seasons. Perry is a career 12.6%, and last season he was at 17%. He's still one of the best wingers in the game (and one of the best fantasy players to own because of his peripheral stats like PIM, plus-minus, SOG).
3. How would you rank the top three players at each position on this team and why?
Jeff: The forwards are easy to rank - Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan. There aren't many teams with three forwards who could conceivably hit 90 points in the same season.
On defense, Lubomir Visnovsky (the question has to be asked whether he can stay healthy for an entire season again), Fowler, and Francois Beauchemin (especially in PIM friendly leagues). Kurtis Foster is in the mix too but he's such a liability defensively. He needs to be productive to stick around.
4. Do you think it would be a good strategy to draft The Stache (George Parros)? Why or why not?
Jeff: If your league rewards best facial hair, sure.
5. Any tips for the first timers out there on the best way to draft?
Jeff: Always draft proven players over unproven players. Don't assume young players will always get better. Lock up a legitimate star goaltender early in the draft. Draft with your brain, not your heart. Don't let real life perceptions affect how you value players in fantasy leagues.