Hey guys. I’ll be recording with Reid later today and I already have talked to Matt as well so look for a podcast to drop Wednesday morning. For now, I’m going to walk through, pick by pick, my thought process during my first RCL. I was “lucky” enough to pick 1st, which will makes things easier for this exercise since I can talk about two picks at once. To make it easier to follow along, the draft recap can be found here. Also, there’s still over one week under the season starts so please create or join an RCL here. I will denote the overall pick number in parentheses. Let’s get to it!
1st round (1) – Alex Ovechkin – There isn’t much to say here. He’s my number one overall player for the goals and shots while being solid everywhere else.
2nd round (24) – Steven Stamkos
3rd round (25) – Evgeni Malkin – The draft gets incredibly interesting for me this early. Seven goalies were picked before I went so I didn’t strongly consider any of the guys left. There were a bunch of players I considered here. Stamkos and Malkin were my two highest ranked players on the board left. Kris Letang and Jack Eichel were the next two but I thought Eichel could get back to me based on how high I ranked him. Blake Wheeler and Wayne Simmonds are two of my favorites in this spot picking at the turn. However, I just decided I couldn’t pass up the upside of Stamkos and Malkin. Stamkos had a miserable year and still managed 36 goals. Malkin is a point per game warrior who, if he stays healthy, could push towards being the #1 overall player. Looking back, I may have preferred to take Letang to lock up a defenseman and take a slightly less gamble than Malkin but I have three offensive superstars that can carry my team.
4th round (48) – Taylor Hall
5th round (49) – Mark Scheifele – Oh boy, things get really weird here. Five more goalies were picked in the 23 picks between me. That left one goalie on the board before my dropoff, Devan Dubnyk. However, like I thought with Eichel, I thought Dubnyk could get back to me because I’m much higher on him than ESPN is (he’s outside of their top 100). Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Roman Josi went before I picked so I considered a few different players here: Hall, Scheifele, Nathan MacKinnon, John Klingberg and Shayne Gostisbehere. Again, I decided to take the highest two players on my board who were Hall and Scheifele. I had to pray Dubnyk made it back to me and I also needed to get my first defensemen very soon, ideally on the next turn around, but my God my offense is stacked.
6th round (72) – Devan Dubnyk
7th round (73) – Kevin Shattenkirk – Phew. The two guys that I was targeting made it through to me. Dubnyk was a #1 goalie for the second straight season and with Bruce Boudreau at the helm, I expect another improvement. I love him in this spot in drafts. Shattenkirk was close to a top 5 defenseman in 2014-15 before injuries were a problem last season. I expect a bounceback from him with 50+ points, a lot of which come on the power play, and strong penalty minutes.
8th round (96) – Matt Duchene
9th round (97) – Evander Kane – I was furious when Keith Yandle went at pick 94; he would have been the perfect fit for my roster. I didn’t particularly care for any of the defensemen left in this spot so I went for two more forwards. Duchene is coming off a 30 goal season and the Avs should be improved. Kane is another shot machine (this team should absolutely crush SOG) and provides a nice chunk of penalty minutes. I’m much higher on him than most because he doesn’t need to score 30 goals to pay off this value; you’re getting a top 5 player in shots and an elite PIM source near the top 100.
10th round (120) – Patrik Laine
11th round (121) – Jaden Schwartz – This is the biggest mistake I made throughout the draft. Again, I decided I couldn’t pass up the value of these two players at this point in the draft. However, Justin Faulk and Rasmus Ristolainen were still on the board. It was a much bigger need at the time to get a 2nd defenseman rather than my 8th and 9th forwards. Goaltending was already incredibly thin but Sergei Bobrovsky also should have been considered here. In retrospect, I probably should have taken Faulk and Bob. My mistake is now compounded with Schwartz set to miss the first 3 weeks or so of the season
12th round (144) – Sergei Bobrovsky
13th round (145) – Ryan McDonagh – I was lucky enough to have Bob fall to me this late in the draft. All things considered, I’ll take my chances with Dubnyk and Bobrovsky as my goalies with how late I got them. I like McDonagh plenty but I would much prefer him to be my #3 defenseman. I think he can possibly get to being a #2 with how much the Rangers will depend on him but my defense is going to be pretty thin. I’ll have to pay a lot of attention to the waiver wire and take chances on players that get called up like Ghost did last season.
14th round (168) – Jiri Hudler
15h round (169) – James Reimer – I lock down G3 with Reimer, who could be an early season workhorse if Roberto Luongo isn’t ready for the beginning of the season. On weeks that Reimer doesn’t get action, I’ll probably have to stream a goalie for starts but Reimer should be outstanding in the games he does play. Hudler is incredibly underrated and with the players I have, I can more than compensate for his poor shots. I think he has a nice bounce back season playing in Dallas’ top 6.
16th round (192) – P.A. Parenteau
17th round (193) – Ryan Ellis – I love getting Ellis at this point. Yes, he’s injured now but all indications are that he’ll be back for the beginning of the season. Additionally, he’s going to play with Roman Josi to start the season in a surprising turn of events; Laviolette wants to balance the top 4 so P.K. Subban will play with Mattias Ekholm. There’s some upside at this point too. Defensemen was so incredibly thin at this point that I decided to pass on taking another. In retrospect, I wish I took Sam Reinhart, I somehow completely missed him, but Parenteau should be on the first line giving him great opportunity.
18th round (216) – Johnny Boychuk
19th round (217) – Damon Severson – Meh, this is what happens when you wait too long on defensemen. I took the flier on both of these guys but I wouldn’t be shocked if I cut either of them early in the season, especially Boychuk. I took the chance hoping he makes the first power play unit. If not, the plus-minus and shots should be solid. As Reid and I talked about in the podcast, somebody on the Devils blue line has to produce right? Severson should get the chance so he’s a favorite of mine as my 5th defenseman.
20th round (240) – Carl Soderberg
21th round (241) – Jakob Silfverberg – I decided to get some extra assists with Soderberg. He’s right on the fringe of hold versus streamer for me so his start to the season will determine whether or not he stays on my roster. Silfverberg is strictly a streamer; the Ducks play the Stars the first game so I’m hoping for a wide open 4-3 game that gets him on the score sheet.
22nd round (264) – Mike Ribiero – I don’t plan on holding him unless things start strongly. In fact, because the Preds don’t open their season until Friday next week, I may cut him before the season even starts. Either way, for my last pick, Ribiero is fine for the assists and PIM in this format. Again, I wouldn’t touch him in a roto league.
Overall grade (B+) – I was torn between giving myself a B+ or an A-. I’m perfectly content with the goaltending that I have considering I got them at 72nd and 144th overall. Add in the fact that I certainly have the best forward group in the league (#1, 9, 11, 15, 20 overall forwards for me are all on this team) and I’m happy with the team my have. However, it’s far from perfect because of how thin my defense is. I’m fine with Shattenkirk as my #1 but everyone else is slotted a spot higher than they should be e.g. McDonagh should be a 3, not a 2, Ellis should be a 4, not a 3. Taking Malkin or Letang in round 2 is certainly a debate but at the least, I think that either Laine or Schwartz needs to be a defenseman. Anybody in this league want to trade a defensemen for a forward 🙂 ?
That’s all for now guys. As mentioned above, the newest podcast should be up tomorrow morning so be on the lookout for that. My next written post should be up on Thursday where I’ll be detailing some things happening around the league, be it injuries, preseason notes or holdouts. As always, feel free to leave any questions or comments below. Take care!