Inside the Pens Initiative Fantasy Hockey Draft Room by @SpinMeWrite - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Inside the Pens Initiative Fantasy Hockey Draft Room by @SpinMeWrite

Last Sunday, the Pens Initiative staff, alum, and a couple of friends held our fantasy hockey draft. There were shenanigans, Google Hangouts with cats and turkey hats, and surprisingly, not too many Pens drafted.

Current PI Staff in the League: Paul (@evil_shero), Nick (@Nick422), Brian K. (@BrianK_PI), Brian B. (@toonsbrian), Lee C.J. Sobotka (@LCJS), Jeff Furmanchin (@WBSJeff_PI), Will Hirsch (@WilliamAHirsch), Chris Barron (@ChrisRBarron), Cassandra Anders (@_MAF29), Michael Traeger (@DXTraeger), Matt Steiner (@msteiner90), me, and some PI alum and guests.

Lee C.J. Sobotka, head of our sister site, Pittsburgh Sports Initiative, is our commissioner and set it up as a keeper league for anyone that played in the league last year. Only he and Paul chose to hold on to any players. Each previous owner could choose up to three keepers, so off the table right away were:

  • Sidney Crosby (Pit - C)
  • Erik Karlsson (Ott - D)
  • Phil Kessel (Pit - RW)
  • Brent Burns (SJ - D)
  • Jack Eichel (Buf - C)
No one was required to keep any players, and with so few kept, there were a ton of great options left on the board. 

I'm going to confess to you right now -- I'm a fantasy hockey virgin.

However, I'm not a fantasy sports novice. I've had decent (somewhat lucrative) success in football leagues. I did baseball one year, but bailed out pretty quickly because fantasy baseball is a snoozefest.

I won't show you our whole draft, but I'll show you how we drafted the first six rounds. Note: Some people were on auto-draft because they weren't able to attend. So if you want to harass us for any dummy picks, harass those who are highlighted.

Our top-three finishers from last year were Twelve Parsecs (Brian B.), Kessel Face (Paul), and Goon Squad (Lee).
I've highlighted those who were live drafting. 

I've highlighted those who were live drafting. 

Unfortunately, Yahoo doesn't do the same draft analysis for fantasy hockey as they do for fantasy football. You know, where they give you grades, make you feel inadequate, tell you where you could've done better and how the whole draft room was laughing when you drafted Frank Gore (but that's working out so far, huh, Yahoo?!)

Being a fantasy hockey novice, take my advice and strategy with a grain of salt. As in all leagues, no matter what sport, it's important to first understand how your league scores. I drafted for players who are listed as multiple positions so I could be more flexible with my line-up. I drafted Joe Pavelski first partly because he's listed as a center and right winger. I also flagged all the individual scoring leaders from last year and referenced that list more than the Yahoo rankings.

Goalies have enormous scoring potential in our league, but I wasn't prepared for them to start going as early as the second round. Goalies are like kickers and defenses in football, once someone grabs one, the floodgates open and you have to move sooner than you were planning before they're gone.

Here's a look at my complete team, Ian's Cole-Aid:

  • I've already had some offers for Dylan Larkin that I shut down. 
  • I made a draft-day trade to acquire Chris Kunitz for Conor Sheary. This will surprise a lot of folks who believe me to be anti-Kunitz. But hits count in our league, and while I love what Sheary has to offer, I'd rather have a proven guy at that position. 
  • I took Teravainen mostly because Paul said in our Hangout, "I can't believe Teravainen is still available." So I went ahead and took care of that. 
  • I've had a few trade offers that I'll just say I think were "asinine." The only trade I made was the Kunitz for Sheary. 

I highly recommend people get involved in fantasy sports. I think it makes me a more well-rounded fan and makes the whole season more enjoyable. I'm going to watch the sport anyway, might as well make a game out of it. 

I think people are surprised to find the demographics of the average fantasy player to be older and more educated. We're not just kids playing in our parents' basements (at least not anymore, right Mom?). According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, "fantasy sports players are younger, better educated, with higher household incomes and more likely to have fulltime employment."

I'm going to go ahead and translate that as, "I play fantasy sports because I'm so awesome."

You can put as little or much money into as you want. And pretty much get started anytime you want. With sites like FanDuel and DraftKings, you can jump in and jump out whenever. Luckily our little PI league is free, so we're just playing for glory. 

Playing for the chance to shove my victory into my co-workers' faces? Yes, please and thank you!

Let us know, from what you see, who has the best shot to take it all? On a scale on 1 to Edmonton, how screwed am I? If you're interested in knowing whose team is whose or seeing more of our draft or just have comments on the way we awesomely/poorly drafted, please feel free to comment below!

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