Well, it's fantasy hockey season, apparently -- time for Sleek to re-contribute to the Mirtle
Retirement Fantasy League superfund, and to match my west-coast wits against some awfully steep competition. Last year's league featured such blogging superstars as Mirtle, our own PJ of Sharkspage, Puck Daddy, Spector, Matt of BoA, Kent of MSG (the flat-out winner), the Forechecker, Pension Plan Puppets, Japers' Rink, and a few folks with "globeandmail" hidden in their e-mail addresses. I've written about this league's drafts before, which all run pretty darn deep -- here's my picks last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and in all those years, I've been bad enough to not win but good enough to get invited back.
Last year, if you recall, two twists were added: (1) money, as alluded to above, and (2) we were promised two "keepers" that we could carry forward to this season. Before I discuss that, though, here's some overall league specifics: 18 teams H2H (daily changes), 20 roster spots apiece (plus IR), with these settings:
Roster Positions: C, C, C, LW, LW, RW, RW, F, F, D, D, D, D, Util, G, G, BN, BN, BN, BN, IR, IR, IR, IR
Skater Categories: Goals (G), Assists (A), Plus/Minus (+/-), Penalty Minutes (PIM), Powerplay Goals (PPG), Powerplay Assists (PPA), Game-Winning Goals (GWG), Shots on Goal (SOG)
Goalie Categories: Wins (W), Goals Against Average (GAA), Saves (SV), Save Percentage (SV%), Shutouts (SHO)
Noteworthy aspects: with "Saves" as a category and 18 teams trying to field two goalies apiece, the value of a clear-cut starting goalie becomes enormous in this league -- netminders make up 5 of the 13 weekly categories. Also, with two "Forward" spots and one "Utility" spot available, it's not very important to worry about position when drafting forwards -- there will always be slots to stash extra wingers.
So that said, let's get to today's predicament -- I needs to tell Mirtle within the next week or so who my two keepers are from last year's roster. One of the two is very easy -- I nabbed Evgeni Malkin with the fourth overall pick in the last draft, and he's not going anywhere. But beyond that, I'm a bit stumped. A large part of me says that I should use my other "keeper" slot on a goalie, since they prove so valuable, and I have two decent choices there -- Ryan Miller, who should get a ton of starts, and Jonas Hiller, who may as well.
However, I've also been informed that I have the 6th overall pick in this year's draft, so I could keep a second forward and try to draft a solid netminder with the early pick. I do have some quality choices for 2nd forward -- Thomas Vanek and his 40 goals, Bobby Ryan and his contract year, Devin Setoguchi and his cushy job on Thornton's wing, Simon Gagne and his wonky groin in Philly, Dustin Brown as part of L.A.'s revival, or even longshots like Chris Kunitz or Teemu Selanne.
All in all, it's turning into a bit of a head-scratcher with probably more than one "right" answer, so I'm opening up a poll (for your consideration, I've included everyone's last-year stats after the jump). Mostly, I think I'm favoring four names -- Miller, Hiller, Vanek, or Ryan -- but I'm willing to listen to arguments for (or against) any choice in the comments. Toss in a vote, let me know your thoughts, and let's bring this title down to SoCal where it belongs.