By CHRIS NICHOLS -- SLAM! Sports
Faithful readers: today is the last day of Ask Slam! for this season. Heartfelt thanks go out to all of you that took the time to write me this year and all told there were literally countless thousands of fantasy hockey questions since the start of October.
Many of you seemed sincerely surprised to receive a response to your question. I've made the point before and I'll make it again in this finale column: without you, there would be no Ask Slam! section. Fantasy hockey is growing in leaps and bounds and now, thanks to Slam!; your voice can be heard and your questions answered.
Since some of you (Myself included) are still in some tight races, I'll still be answering your emails past today.
Friday, April 2nd will mark the end of the Fantasy Scoop column for the year. That will allow for some last minute advice for the final weekend of the regular season, in which some of you will have your fantasy fate decided.
Right before the playoffs start, look for a column on playoff drafting strategies and my picks for each series. I'll warn you though: parity in the NHL could make this pretty ugly. Anaheim and Minnesota destroyed a lot of playoff pools and it's getting tougher to pick the winners each year.
Starting with the first night of the playoffs, a new fantasy column will be hitting Slam! to help you with your post-season pools. I'll be doing a nightly recap of all of the games and giving you a run down on each series as it goes along; all in one convenient column that will be published each night of the playoffs. Scoring streaks, cold spells, injury news: it'll all be there.
I want to say thanks again for the advice. I was in 4th nearly all year, and now, even though I'm hurting for positions, I have a big lead that I may well hold on to! None of that would have been possible without your column! I have to choose another player as a keeper in my league (I'm already protecting Turco/Naslund/Gonchar/Heatley) I can keep 5 and I can either go w/another D or a G. Here are my choices: Schneider, Leetch, McCabe, Zubov, Jovo Aebischer, Nabokov, and Kipper
Obviously this is a tough choice and I'm going to have to let some nice talent get away. To be honest I'm not too worried about the future as we're expanding out keepers to 10 for next year. What I need are the best players over maybe the next couple of years. Could you help me rank who's most valuable?
Those are truly hard to pick. Let's narrow it down to Jovo and the three goalies right off the bat. Kipper and Nabby are the clear starters and will not be haunted by trade rumors like Aebischer will be.
You already have one goaltender in Turco. Jovo had an off season in fantasy terms, but he's still one of the best out there. The remaining three goaltenders are all outstanding and if you have a favorite, I'd go with him. I would personally keep Kipper of the three goalies, because I just have this feeling about him. Jovo and Gonchar would also be a great defensive pairing though and ultimately I'd end up keeping him as the fifth guy.
Just a big THANK YOU. Thanks for your column. Thanks for your prompt email replies. Thanks for you insight. Thanks for helping to make a pool fun. Thanks for you helping me WIN!!!! (Well not quite but it looks good) Cheers!
JK in Toronto GO HABS GO
You're welcome. It's certainly been a fun year and I'm glad I've been able to help a lot of people improve their standing and have some more fun.
Hey Chris, love your articles and your Q & A. You've helped me a lot this season. I finished 1st in my H2H Yahoo League. Counts: G, A, +/-, PPP, PIM, GWG. I currently have a 5-3 edge on my opponent in the 2nd round. I want to take Souray off my IR. I don't want to drop a defenseman because that would leave me with too many forwards, and it would be hard to bench some. My coolest forwards would be Frolov, Roberts, Gomez, and Satan (apparently he only scores against Toronto). Which one should I drop to make room for Souray? Just so you know, I have Berard and Tarnstrom on my D. Both are droppable but their pretty hot. Lidstrom could be an option because he hasn't been too great lately. My other d-man is Gonchar Thanks for your help.
I'd drop Frolov, despite the fact that he's been pretty consistent recently. Roberts can be nice for PIM's; Gomez is great for assists; Satan is the best overall player.
Hi Chris - points only keeper league and I get to keep 8 players for next year. I have to play 1 goalie, 6 defensemen and 8 forwards
My options are:
Right now I'm leaning towards: Theodore, Sakic, Tanguay, Spezza, Nash, Savard, Marleau, and Allison (assuming he's healthy then). Any thoughts or suggestions?
Ok. Theodore (1) is the goalie I'd keep. Spezza (2) and Nash (3) are great young studs and are automatics for me. Sakic (4) is getting older, but he's still an elite scorer. Tanguay (5A) has won me over this year. Marc Savard (6) was hurt a lot this year, but he has big upside. I'm leaning toward Marleau (7) and Rafalski (8) as the final two. Allison has the upside to be among the best scorers in this group, but his health is too big of a question mark for me to commit to him right now. JSG will also rebound strongly next year and you may even want to consider keeping him over Marleau.
You haven't heard much from me at all this season but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying your column. I'm currently sitting in 10th spot out of 55 teams and I would probably be higher If I hadn't squandered all my trades in the first month of the year (I only had 7 and that's why you haven't heard from me much). Anyway, my friends have asked me to organize a playoff pool and I was wondering what you think is a good format? A draft, pick teams, checkboxes, trades/no trades??
Got any ideas? Thanks bud, Sam
My favorite format is the simplest and there are two ways to approach it. Ideally, you and your friends can gather together (live or via email/ online session) and hold a draft. If you have ten friends, maybe draft ten players each. Nobody can draft the same player. You hold the draft once the regular season is over and the matchups have been set and once the players are picked, you just sit back and watch it all unfold. Obviously the strategy is to pick players that won't get knocked out in the first or second rounds. Whichever team has the highest total points at the end of the playoffs wins.
Another version of this draft (Since it's often difficult to get everyone together and email drafts can take too long if not everyone is a quick responder) is to have each guy draft any 15 players (Just to pick a number). Usually there will be enough differences in the overall lineups that there will be a clear winner by the time the Stanley Cup is raised.
Several drafts will let you change your roster daily or after each series, but where's the strategy in that? I say pick them at the start of the playoffs and let the cards fall where they may. It's just my opinion, anyway.
I'm in a keeper pool that just uses points to determine the winner. What do you think of N. Zherdev from Columbus? How would you rate him (based on point potential alone) to Staal or Horton?
For a points-only league looking several years down the road, Zherdev is the clear winner in my opinion. Staal and Horton are both going to be great players though.
I've been following your column all season and found it quite interesting. My question is not along the lines of most (lineups and rosters), I'm more interested in the details of the league you mentioned a few weeks ago with the 17 player carryovers and minor league rosters. Is that league on a web site service (ESPN / Yahoo / Etc.) or something you run "manually"? If it is not web based, would you be able to send me a copy of the rules? I have been Commissioner of a manual league for about 10 years with basically the same rules the entire time and I think the GMs might be looking for some new challenges and that format sounds like it might be a source for new challenges. Thank you in advance.
Bill Miller (Central Pennsylvania FHL Commissioner)
We use ESPN leagues for the actual teams, but we keep track of the 17 keepers and the 20-player-per-team farm system on our own. Each summer we hold a draft that last two rounds where owners have a chance to draft any player not currently owned by teams in our league; but the player has to have been drafted by an NHL team already. The draft is held shortly after the NHL draft in the summer, allowing us to draft the fresh hot prospects. Teams that finish in the bottom of the league get higher draft picks and we use a lottery system to prevent tanking for an Ovechkin-type player.
This league is a lot of fun and keeping so many players truly allows us to develop strong teams and keep them. Weaker teams have the ability to get better via the draft, similar to the NHL. Staying on top of the rookies is a great way to enhance your hockey IQ too.
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. I do my best to answer all questions within 24 hours, depending on the volume of emails. Please keep the questions short. Your fantasy questions may be answered in our Ask Slam! section.