So, this hockey thing…
Prior to 2010, when I was 22 years old, I had never attended nor even turned on the TV to watch a NHL game. Full disclosure: I did work for the Indiana University hockey team as a business intern in 2009 but I would only attend games to assure ticket sales and in-game promotions ran smoothly. The truth of the matter is I learned the rules of the game by playing the NHL Blitz video game in college. Hell, if the Blackhawks never made a run in 2010 (I am a Chicagoan born and raised), I may never have had anything to do with the NHL through this point of my life. The point here is hockey is not my bailiwick, but with the NBA All-Star Break engaged, the sports world goes on. It is my duties to provide the fine users of FantasyDraft with picks to plug and play on a daily basis so this will be my first attempt at diving into the daily hockey world. How hard can it be?
Note: this piece is designed for entertainment value more than it is designed to educate readers. My friend and fellow FantasyDraft contributor Chris Mitchell helped steer me in the right direction for picks but all of the commentary is my own. Hopefully this piece is as amusing for you to read as it is for me to write. Alright, deep breath, let’s do this:
Sam Reinhart, $8,200 – Sadly the Anaheim Mighty Ducks were not available on this slate as their center leading the “Flying V” would have been an auto-play. According to my source (the aforementioned Mitchell), this Reinhart guy is on fire. To me, that means he has skated well for a while and probably, I’m assuming, shot well too. Montreal supposedly allows a lot of goals so the DvP force is strong with this one. As long as all his teeth remain intact throughout the course of this contest, I don’t see why he couldn’t score at least 12 fantasy points for the fourth consecutive game.
Sidney Crosby, $16,800 – This guy is officially the only name on Mitchell’s whole list provided to me that I recognized. Typically I caution my readers from trusting guys named “Sidney” but Crosby is the exception (well and Poitier). He is one of the hockey GOATs and literally averages the most fantasy points of any player on the site. With Crosby, there’s no need to worry about his mind wandering and haphazardly staring at the cute girl in the first row considering he is dating Sports Illustrated model Kathy Leutner. A focused, obviously incredibly talented athlete is well worth building around on Friday’s seven game slate.
Happy Gilmore – He holds the record for being the only player ever who took off his skate and attempted to stab somebody. All record holders are of note but it turns out the scoring system removes two fantasy points from a player for penalties. Unfortunately, this aspect may negate his superb slap shot abilities. Furthermore, Mitchell tells me he is not available on this slate so fading is the smart (only) move but I still like him as a GPP play.
Jiri Hudler, $8,500 – Much like the mascot of the team he plays for, Jiri Hudler has been on fire recently…see what I did there? Hudler was on an impressive five game streak with a positive plus/minus (+/-) until a one fantasy point dud last time out against the Maple Leafs. Now his stock should come “howling” right back up against an Arizona Coyote team that has been prone to allowing goals as of late.
Tomas Tatar, $10,200 – It’s time to get saucy. Yes, Tomas Tatar (not to be confused with the dip for fish sticks) is a solid bet on a Red Wings team projected to score three goals according to Vegas. What is it with hockey lines? Almost every single game is a projected 3-2 final. Isn’t there like a Coors Field of ice rinks where one of the goals is larger or they turn the fan up and the puck flies like 20 mph faster? Come on hockey, get it together and create some synthetic parody. Anyways, Tatar is no bargain but according to Mitchell paying up for him is justifiable against Colorado.
Tonya Harding – If you’re looking for someone who will defend their cause at all costs, look no further than Tonya Harding. Her “ex-husband” and “bodyguard” hired a man to break her competitor Nany Kerrigan’s leg so she would be unable to compete. Hockey is a brutal game so you want someone who will go to extremes in order to further her team’s chances of winning…I’m being told Harding is both past her prime and not an ice hockey player so please disregard.
T.J. Brodie, $9,400 – Stacking in hockey is a solid strategy considering up to two players can get an assist on a single goal meaning three players can directly benefit…not to mention the +/-. Calgary seems to be one of Mitchell’s favorite targets so they’re a favorite target of mine as well. Apparently T.J. Brodie plays on the power play unit considering he registered a short-handed assist last game. A power play according to Google is “a situation in which a team has a numerical advantage over its opponents while one or more players is serving a penalty” not to be confused with the other definition meaning “tactics exhibiting or intended to increase a person’s power or influence.” So do not confuse Brodie’s abilities in the rink with a character from the show “Billions.” This just in: I’m being told the penalty kill unit is actually different from power-play but, whatever, semantics. Not only does Brodie play on this unit but he has blocked at least two shots in back-to-back games. Anyone who will risk taking a screaming puck to the face is a warrior and one that deserves a spot on your fantasy team.
Dougie Hamilton, $9,800 – Doug McDermott of the Chicago Bulls is nicknamed “Dougie McBuckets” but this dude actually goes by the first name “Dougie.” Sure he has a great matchup yadda, yadda, yadda but I’m playing him just because he’s the real Dougie McBuckets and McDermott is just an imposter. Actually, scratch that, Hamilton is Dougie McPuckets. BOOM.
Florida Panthers, $19,700 – Goalies, the guys who block the pucks opposing players are attempting to score, are a top priority to spend up for according to Mitchell. In my mind, they are similar to pitchers in baseball as you usually are going to need the top scorer at the position on your team in order to compete in cash games at the very least. Luckily one of my go-to sites for basketball research, masseyratings, also projects hockey scores and winning percentages; the site projects the Panthers as the largest favorite of the night and their goalie is only slightly more expensive than the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues. For the extra $100, it seems like it’s close to spending up on Clayton Kershaw as opposed to the next best starter and that’s typically a great strategy. If you skimp on the goalie position, it’ll end in a similar experience to flying Spirit Airlines. You’ll take the cheaper alternative but end up sitting in uncomfortable seats, having no in-flight internet and paying bag fees which will all add up and eventually you’ll regret it. In the end it makes sense to pay slightly up for the luxury and peace of mind. Oh by the way the Blues have scored six total goals in their last four games.