IceHL EAST Expansion Draft

Hi everyone, Thomas Ogilvie here — newly appointed GM of the Hartford Mariners. As it’s my first season of playing fantasy hockey, I’m going to write a series of posts through the year detailing the experiences I have and decisions I make in my first season in the IceHL. I am familiar with the head-to-head format, having a few seasons of fantasy baseball under my belt, so hopefully the transition won’t be too difficult.

My first decisions were in the expansion draft last week. As you’re probably aware, once the existing teams had selected up to four keepers, the remaining players became free agents and it was over to me. The only limitation on my pick was that the total points of the four players (based on last year’s totals) couldn’t exceed 1000. There were different limits if I picked fewer players but I saw no reason not to get four, especially as I’ll be picking 16th in Round 5 of the draft proper.

The Picks

  • Brad Richards
  • Shea Weber
  • Ilya Bryzgalov
  • Jeff Skinner

I wanted to get balance with my picks — without wanting to force it if the right players weren’t available. I wanted a forward, a defenseman, and a goalie. Brad Richards was my first choice. I think that he’ll put up better numbers than last year now that he’ll be playing with Rick Nash.

Next was Shea Weber, who’s still a solid defenseman even if the Predators have taken a step back as a team.  It remains to be seen whether losing Suter and having nothing resembling an offense in front of him knocks his value significantly. He might not be value-for-money for Nashville, but at least that’s not a concern for me.

I knew I wanted a goalie, as I’m lead to believe that this position gets pretty thin pretty quickly, and fantasy teams can live and die by who’s in between the pipes. Bryzgalov may have had a topsy-turvy season with the Flyers, with a particularly dreadful postseason, but he’s playing with a strong team in front of him and when he’s on form there’s no doubt he’s an elite goalie.  I think he’ll see more starts this year with Bobrovsky gone.

Finally, I decided to take a gamble on Jeff Skinner. The only other player I gave serious consideration to was Scott Hartnell, who I don’t think will have as good a season as last year, and I had insufficient points to take him as my fourth pick anyway. Skinner is primed for a breakout season and was available cheap. My feeling is he’s good for at least 200 points this season (assuming 82 games get played).

I’m happy with my picks. The next step is augmenting them with a solid draft. I’ll be back after that with another post, and will continue to give you my perspective as both a newbie to the IceHL and a rookie fantasy GM! Until then, let’s go Mariners — the Hart and Soul of the IceHL!