Drafting is as much art as science. You can read as many pieces and facts but ultimately it is gut feeling that will draw you to certain players at certain points in the draft. For that reason alone I provide the following list.
50 draft day tidbits:
1.) I like Sergei Bobrovsky but after his last Vezina he regressed from a 2.00 GAA to a 2.38 GAA with his Save Percentage going from .932 to .923. It’s not the worst but there was a definitive regression.
2.) Pittsburgh Penguins scored the most goals last year
4.) The Colorado Avalanche allowed the most goals against last year (278)
5.) Behind Colorado was not Arizona or New Jersey but instead the Dallas Stars (262) who picked up Ben Bishop in the off season.
6.) Tampa Bay had the most Power Play Goals last year WITHOUT Steven Stamkos for a majority of the season.
7.) Among the teams that allowed the most power play goals are the same teams that had the worst goals against period: Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils.
9.) Anaheim Ducks are the only team to be in the top 5 in shorthanded situations over the last two seasons.
10.) Nikita Kucherov was 2nd in the league in goals last year.
11.) 3 of the top 5 plus-minus leaders league wide last year were on the Minnesota Wild.
12.) Goalies with more than 40 wins last year: Cam Talbot, Braden Holtby, Sergei Bobrovsky and Devan Dubnyk
13.) Not much has changed and their roster remains healthy and young for this year.
14.) The last two points are something helpful to keep in mind for players who might have fortuitous +/-.
15.) Two players had over 300 hits last year Mark Borowiecki and Matt Martin, it was Martin’s 4th straight year with over 300 hits (only broken up due a shortened 2012-2013 season).
16.) Erik Karlsson had over 200 blocked shots to go with his 71 points scored last year.
17.) If your league rewards PIM’s (booo!) than Mark Borowiecki also led the league in PIM’s last year (154).
18.) If your league rewards Faceoffs won, last years top group will always be among the top ten: Patric Bergeron, Ryan O’Reilly, Ryan Kesler, Claude Giroux, Mikko Koivus, Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby
19.) John Tavares is in a contract year.
20.) There is a lot of uncertainty with the New York Islanders that will surround John this year.
21.) The combination of 19 and 20 could be a bit positive or negative for Tavares depending on how it all plays out.
22.) A lot of people in the know are bullish on the Carolina Hurricanes to have a big bounce back season.
23.) Two coaches who are always dominant in the regular season are Bruce Boudreau (Minnesota Wild) and Todd McLellan (Edmonton Oilers)
24.) I think both teams from point 23 could be plus minus league leaders being dominant on both offense and defense AND are insatiably deep.
25.) Newly hired coaches (over the last 3 months): Travis Green (Canucks), Gerard Gallant (Golden Knights), John Stevens (Kings), Ken Hitchcock (Stars), Phil Housley (Sabres) and Rick Tocchet (Coyotes).
26.) Granted it's preseason but Brock Boeser has 4 points, good enough for 2nd highest in the league and is on a Vancouver Canucks team desperate to find someone to carry the team and become the points leader
27.) Matt Duchene will be traded to a team in a better situation then he is now. Buy low.
28.) Nathan MacKinnon is not a 52-53 points player, one of these seasons he will play like the 65+ point player he is. If he lingers late, he's worth the flyer.
29.) I think the Stars are in for a strong rebound campaign, I recommend drafting many of them as such.
30.) Jack Eichel scored the same number of points in his sophomore year from his freshman year despite playing in 3/4 the number of games. He is a 70 point player.
31.) On defense there is Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Victor Hedman followed by a Mariana Trench sized gap before the next player who can produce points at their rate.
32.) Sidney Crosby is the best because he spends the entirety of each offseason working on the weakest part of his game. Aka, if he sucks at something, it won't be for long.
33.) This is very opinionated - I think Carey Price, fresh off a contract extension and to me an uncertain offseason of signings, has a down year.
34.) In the offseason - Goalie Brian Elliott went from Calgary to Philadelphia
35.) Goalie Steve Mason went from Philadelphia to Winnipeg Jets
36.) Goalie Ondrej Palat went from Winnipeg Jets to the New York Rangers
37.) Goalie Antti Raanta was traded from the New York Rangers to the Arizona Coyotes
38.) Goalie Mike Smith was traded from the Arizona Coyotes to the Calgary Flames
39.) For anyone keeping track of that circle, I think Antti Raanta is the only impactful move, the rest is a shuffling of average to below average goaltenders in search for a stop gap until a team can find a star caliber goalie.
40.) Goaltending is a lot like a QB. Without a high quality one, your chance diminish drastically towards long term success.
41.) Expect the Olympics to create a big distraction especially with European and Asian players.
42.) I think the Metropolitan Division will be the toughest and Pacific will be the weakest this year.
43.) After watching a few Las Vegas games I think they might be more competitive than I gave them credit for. I just don't know who will be a star producer if any.
44.) I refuse to acknowledge the reality that King Henrik Lundqvist might be in the finals 2-3 years of his career.
45.) The Artemi Panarin experiment in Columbus will either yield a 35+ goal 70+ point brilliant trade or a collapse of epic proportions. I lay a lot of the future in his hands.
46.) Clayton Keller has never scored less than a point per game in his career. As a rookie in the NHL this will be likely but the player just seems to know how to score at every level.
47.) Friendly reminder that 9 games is the amount of time a team has to keep a prospect vs. send him down and not lose a year off the rookie contract.
48.) Nico Hischier looks good! Maybe not Auston Matthews good but close.
49.) Expect the Red Wings to be better this year.
50.) Enjoy the ride, take a 2 second breather here or there to take in the fun that is the Fantasy Hockey Draft