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!

Mammoth Review: Preparing to Draft

Hey folks, Matt Riegler here stoked to be entering season two as the Minnesota Mammoths GM and thankful to Chris for allowing me an opportunity to take part in several outreaches for the league, including writing in this blog. 

As a returning GM I'll admit that I'm a bit worried that I'll make the wrong keeper selections. More specifically, I'm worried that I'll trust too highly in a player who's in his late 20s and had a career high shooting percentage last year. I'm looking at you Mr. Callahan and Mr. Pominville.

Coming into last season's draft, my goal was simply to spread the scoring (points, not goals) burden across as many people as I could. I figured that as long as my selections saw top six minutes, played special teams (at least one side) and blocked half a shot a game, that'd mean he'd be less likely to go into a slump. This couldn't have worked out better as Pavelski, Moulson, and Fleury all had career years to go along with Cally and Pommy. Plus, I received near-career years from several other players. 

Alas, this was a (dreaded) head-to-head league where a bad week at the wrong time can end your season, or worse, everything goes right and your opponent finds a way to still beat you. This is exactly what happened to me in the semi-finals last year against the eventual champion North Carolina Nighthawks. He handed me my walking papers 155-141 in our one-week battle.

So the questions now become, how do I take the next step? Where was I deficient last season?

I only finished in the bottom half of the League in assists, which was a natural casualty given my concentration on skilled, grinding forwards who also play special teams — and I don't plan on changing that. I was also fortunate that my players managed to avoid the injury bug for the most part of last season.

What killed me, though, was Toews going out with a concussion and missing our playoffs. That's just bad timing. Can't do anything about that one. Similar goes for Fleury, who was already showing signs of breaking down. My goalies only gave me five points in my final matchup in the Winner's Bracket, the Nighthawks got 18 from Brodeur.

So the answers to my questions actually lie within the heart of my team philosophies, be really good at everything and don't get unlucky. The latter may be unavoidable by nature, but being really good at everything is a big ol' can-do. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but I believe in my ability to do my homework and draft and trade well enough to succeed at a high level. And doing it against all of you just makes all the more worthwhile! This is easily the smartest hockey crowd I've ever competed with! Thank you for that. 

As for my Keepers... Callahan, Toews, Moulson, and Weber. There's still a chance I make an edit, but I'm 99% sure that's my four. As for the rest of the East? Only a few other teams have tipped their hands:

  • Atlanta Arsenal 
    Marleau, Carter, Fleischmann, Rinne
  • North Carolina Nighthawks
    Eric Staal, Vanek, Ribeiro and either Carle or Gorges
  • Washington Sentinels 
    Stamkos, Couture, Landeskog and Howard

Everyone else has either elected to keep their cards hidden or have yet to reactivate their Twitter accounts. But that doesn't mean we can't take a look at the most likely Keeper candidates. My expectations are based purely on how irreplaceable the given player might be, as well as trying to be well-rounded.

Baltimore Blue Crabs
Crosby, Spezza, Tavares, Niemi

Boston Colonials 
Malkin, Giroux, Sharp, Backstrom (forward)

Chicago Hitmen 
Nugent-Hopkins, Zetterberg, Backes, Ryder

Detroit Motorheads
Seguin, Kessel, Eriksson, Kiprusoff

Hamilton Steelcats 
Henrik Sedin, Iginla, Jordan Staal, Chara

Milwaukee Lagers 
Nash, Neal, Letang, Mike Smith

Montreal Olympiques
Kovalchuk, Perry, Ryan, Crawford

New York Guardians
Patrice Bergeron, Pacioretty, Karlsson, Ryan Miller

Quebec Armada
Daniel Sedin, Byfuglien, McDonagh, Lundqvist

Tampa Bay Barracudas
St. Louis, Lecavalier, Dan Boyle, Quick

The St. Louis Archers have narrowed down their possible Keepers to Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Pietrangelo, Gaborik, Hossa, Perron, Luongo and Price. Given some of the injury histories and possible teams they'll be suiting up for, I think it's safe to eliminate Gaborik, Hossa and Price from this list. While Perron had a remarkable comeback last season, he's still not as valuable as Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Pietrangelo and Luongo can be.

The Hartford Mariners, the IceHL EAST's expansion team, will have a pre-determined budget and players will be valued based on their fantasy point totals from last season. The Expansion Draft will take place in the week following the Keeper deadline, which is 9/16. They'll send a list of the four players they'd like to add to the commissioner and go from there.

With that, I leave it to you my fellow IceHl GM's and fans. Let the great pre-draft debates begin!

The Sharpshooter Press: Playing For Keeps

Hello everyone! My name is Tony Pomposelli and I'm the newly selected GM for the Saskatoon Sharpshooters. Before I get started, I'd like to thank Chris for giving me the opportunity to join the IceHL and this is something I could not be more excited about! I plan to be blogging here frequently about the Sharpshooters and other IceHL-related topics.

As a new GM, I face many new challenges as I have to prepare for very high-caliber competition, get used to the settings of the league and actually deal with something I have never dealt with before—a keeper league.

This being said, figuring out the right keepers while keeping within a pre-designated set of standards can be a challenge for teams, especially if you have some solid players.

For my selections, I took into consideration several things:

  • What players have the potential to put out the most points?
  • Who ranks among the top talent in the NHL?
  • Of the players who have lower potential, if we want them back, are we going to have a reasonable shot of getting them back if we let them go?
  • What positions have the most/least depth? That is, what areas can we expect to have an easier time to fall back on if we miss out on someone good during a draft run?
  • What areas in previous drafts have I paid the least attention to or gotten cannibalized on the most?

That being said, I took a look at last year's roster and had to make some tough choices, and I'm hoping this works out for the best.


The franchise will retain Daniel Sedin and Patrick Sharp as its returning forwards for the upcoming season. The two led forwards in scoring on Saskatoon last year, are among the top talent in the NHL, and can be top-flight assets for forwards. Now, looking at players, I realized this league puts more of a premium on scoring than secondary stats, forcing me to switch things up. In previous leagues, +/-, SOG and PIMs actually made a difference, so having to focus on less stats is new for me, and a bit odd, seeing as I used to do well based on those statistics.

Two other considerations:

  • Tomas Fleischmann—Fleischmann's awesome 196 points from last year makes him a player worthy of consideration to keep, but there's lingering concern that his season in Florida was a flash in the pan. Is a repeat going to happen next season?
  • Brad Marchand—Marchand had a nice 173-point year, and Boston is always good during the regular season, but there's usually a good amount of centers available. Plus, for a league that doesn't put premiums on specific positions (C/LW/RW), this could be helpful.


Saskatoon makes a very difficult decision in bringing back Dan Boyle for the 2012-13 campaign. This decision was not tough based on that I didn't want him, but that he had two very good teammates that warranted serious consideration. But in the end, the decision was made based on his ability to produce points across the board rather than specializing in one area significantly.

Two other considerations:

  • Francois Beauchemin—Beauchemin's 251-point season led the Sharpshooters overall, and the vast majority of his points came in blocked shots. Take away the blocked shots, and Beauchemin's point total drops to a painful 57.
  • Matt Carle—Carle acts as middleman to Boyle and Beauchemin. Not as good of a scorer as Boyle, but blocks less than Beauchemin. The big question is will his stats remain similar in Tampa Bay?


Jimmy Howard will be our returning stud for the upcoming season. Every team needs at least one guaranteed goalie that they can hang their hat on. Howard is far and away that goalie considering his previous competition on Saskatoon of Ben Bishop. Improving on Howard will be much tougher than it would be to improve upon our backup situation. Consider this as well: 16 teams may have a maximum of two goalies each, for a total of 32 goalies. That means 2 backup goaltenders will be drafted. With that low of a number, it's likely we can work on getting a second starter, especially if you consider how many teams use a 1A/1B system as well.

Around the League

Looking at the other teams, keeping rules in mind, here is who I would give the nod to on my league's opposition—if I were coming in to become the GM of that team instead of the Sharpshooters.

Seattle Aviators 
Anze Kopitar, Marian Hossa, Patrice Bergeron and Pekka Rinne

Alaska Huskies
Alex Ovechkin, Bobby Ryan, Jason Spezza and Ryan McDonaugh

California Wave 
Steve Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Ilya Kovalchuk and Antti Niemi (GM Jon Wold announced his picks as these four)

Portland Pioneers 
Phil Kessel, Jarome Iginla, Patrick Kane and Miikka Kiprusoff

Vancouver Lumberjacks
Martin St. Louis, James Neal, Alex Pietrangelo and Jonas Hiller

Calgary Cavalry 
Michael Ryder, Mike Fisher, Ryan Suter and Ilya Bryzgalov

Edmonton Kodiaks 
Patrik Elias, Brian Campbell, Alexander Edler and Henrik Sedin

Regina Renegades
Brad Richards, David Backes, Dennis Wideman and Marc-Andre Fleury

Winnipeg Winterhawks 
Sidney Crosby, Erik Karlsson, Jason Garrison and Carey Price

Boulder Beasts Evgeni Malkin, Joe Pavelski, Jamie Benn and Jonathan Quick

Dallas Outlaws
Zach Parise, Shea Weber, Rick Nash and Corey Crawford

Houston Hellcats Pavel Datsyuk, Martin Erat, Zdeno Chara and Cam Ward (GM James Leggett announced his picks, and three of these players were selected; instead of Erat, he took Derek Stepan)

New Orleans Gators 
Claude Giroux, Erik Cole, Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Lundqvist

Salt Lake City Scorpions 
Corey Perry, Marian Gaborik, Milan Michalek and Martin Brodeur

Who would you keep if you were a GM? Agree or disagree with my picks? Take a look at all the IceHL WEST rosters at and let's chat about it!