Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Playoff Time!

I had my annual playoff draft last night. Myself and about 5 others of the 18 guys have been in this pool since 1994. 18 of us picking 9 players each. Consider there are 16 playoff teams and 208 total players on the combined top three lines and top two defense pairs among all the teams. We selected 162 of these guys, needless to say the pickings got slim at the end. Our top five went like this:

  1. D.Sedin VAN

  2. H.Sedin VAN

  3. Ovechkin WAS

  4. St.Louis TB

  5. Perry ANA

Even considering the fact that my pool is based in Vancouver, I'd say that's a pretty typical top five although I don't have as much faith in Tampa Bay to have picked St.Louis fourth. In fact I had the sixth pick and snagged Canuck, Ryan Kesler. As a Leaf fan (yeah, yeah...next year) and self-professed Canuck-hater, it pained me somewhat to make this pick. As a poolie though I am happy to get Kesler at 6th and may have even picked him over the Sedins just on the grit factor alone. I predict he will end up with as many if not more points than the twins. I could very well have taken Toews or Kane as my first pick, but I just don't see Chicago beating the Canucks this year.

Our first round was completed with:

  • 7. Stamkos TB

  • 8. Briere PHI

  • 9. Toews CHI

  • 10. Lucic BOS

  • 11. Giroux PHI

  • 12. Marleau SJ

  • 13. Getzlaf ANA

  • 14. Samuelsson VAN

  • 15. Datsyuk DET

  • 16. Carter PHI

  • 17. Thornton SJ

  • 18. Backstrom WAS

Can't argue with many of these picks other than the realtive lateness of Datsyuk (Zetterberg injury obviously factored here) and the somewhat early pick of Samuelsson.

By the time the picks snaked back to me, I had to take an Eastern conference player for balance. My main rules in playoff pool drafting are try to even out the conferences, pick as much as you can from your predicted final four teams, and never, ever pick players from opposing first round teams. I have Washington going to the final so I grabbed Mike Knuble. Last season he had 6 points in the 7 game upset loss to Montreal, I'll gladly take that rate this year if they go three or four rounds.

Third round, Sidney Crosby was picked. Not by me. I don't believe that he will play again this year, thats a huge gamble with a third round pick. I have Anaheim winning a couple rounds, so I gladly picked Lubomir Visnovsky. In the next round, I got my second Capital on a bit of a risky pick with Mike Green. Finding out today that he is indeed slated to play in the first game makes the pick that much better yet still a fragile one.

In the fifth round I picked Valtteri Filppula who has 36 playoff points over the last three seasons. Of course Detroit end up being my third Western Conference team, but decided to hedge my bets as I figure any one of Vancouver, San Jose, Detroit or Anaheim have a good shot of winning a few rounds.

I rounded out my squad with my second Eastern team, Buffalo. I got Pominville in the sixth and Nathan Gerbe with my ninth and last pick. Between them I picked Washington's Marco Sturm and Red Wing Justin Abdelkader. Slim pickings indeed, although Abdelkader could be one of those surprise points guys and perhaps chips in 6 or 8 points if the Wings go a few rounds.

With my team not making the playoffs since mid-last decade, I need the playoff draft to keep me rivetted to games. We'll see how it goes this year.

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