Fantasy Hockey 2011: Impromptu ESPN Hockey Draft...

A couple of days ago, I decided to make an impromptu fantasy hockey draft at ESPN. Considering I spent gobs of time preparing for the Fantasy Hockey Scouts Alpha League, I also decided to not prepare at all. Not look at notes or projections or mock drafts or anything. I was going in the draft room cold turkey. Mind you, I wasn't trying to be lazy or anything, I just wanted to try an experiment on how I could do in a draft with no preparation. It was a 10-team, head-to-head, default stats and settings. Stats were goals, assists +/-, penalty minutes, powerplay points, average time on ice (wha?) and shots on goal. Roster slots were 9 Forward slots, 5 Defenseman slots, 1 Utility spot, 2 Goalie spots and 5 bench slots. I had the 6th overall pick.

My team and draft impressions after the jump...

Here's my team with my overall pick per selection:

Pavel Datsyuk, F (6th pick overall)

Zach Parise, F (15th)

Eric Staal, F (26th)

Rick Nash, F (35th)

Mark Streit, D (46th)

Antti Niemi, G (55th)

Derek Roy, F (66th)

Tobias Enstrom, D (75th)

Marian Gaborik, F (86th)

Paul Stastny, F (95th)

Jimmy Howard, G (106th)

John-Michael Liles, D (115th)

Teddy Purcell, F (126th)

Jack Johnson, D (135th)

Kari Lehtonen, G (146th)

Tomas Kaberle, D (155th)

Kevin Shattenkirk, D (166th)

Ray Whitney, F (175th)

Kyle Okposo, F (186th)

Jussi Jokinen, F (195th)

Ondrej Pavelec, G (206th)

Nikita Filatov, F (215th)

My overall impressions is that I like my team. Going into the draft cold turkey hampered me when it came down to filling my bench with quality guys and I kept getting burned by other managers picking guys I really wanted just before it was my pick. Carrying 4 goalies in just a 10 team league doesn't seem very good use of my bench space but with Niemi questionable, I figured Pavelec would have a good opportunity to prove himself in the small window he has with my team. Average Time on Ice really threw me for a loop since it seemed some of the more elite forwards seemed to only average 20 minutes or slightly less but the elite defensemen were averaging 23 minutes or less per game. It seemed make up the loss in points through defensemen by rewarding how much time they spend on the ice on average. I was very happy with the starting forwards I drafted but I should have tried to take someone a round sooner rather than getting Streit as my #1. Urgh. I am so use to 12 team or deeper league formats that I wasn't use to the depth available in shallower leagues during the draft but the depth of the roster and establishing my bench was where I became very shaky. Goes to prove that preparation for any fantasy sports, not just hockey, is critical in making sure you do your homework, do some mock drafts and get guys you need to win and know when to grab them when it's your turn during the draft. So what do you think? How did I do on my team? Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @MattPTurner and Fake Teams at @FakeTeams.

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