The NHL is in full playoffs are here and playoff fantasy teams and drafts are starting to form. Do you prefer the first pick or the last pick in your draft and who do you take? Your mind set has to be a little different going into your draft. I think we can all agree that Connor McDavid is by far the best player in the league and for your regular season draft he is the sure cut first overall pick. So the major question is he your first pick in the Playoff draft?
No one has the magic process of picking the dream team except for the guy who wins and he/she will tell you that they knew their team was the best.
I have two Fantasy drafts starting tonight and both are different in major ways. So I will explain a little on each and maybe that can help you as you move forward.
My first draft is a set lineup where you must have 2 goalies, 5 defenseman and 8 forwards. In this draft I have to really focus on my picks to be players who fit their positions and when to take those players. I have to focus on taking the best player on the board or drafting by position. This gets challenging at the beginning as their are a lot of well know players to choose from but as the draft goes on, the talent pool gets weaker and your strategy then has to focus on, not so much the players, but the teams you think will advance further. In this way, getting some less known players is really what could win you the draft.
My second draft is strictly players not including goalies. So I have to focus on what I think the match ups will look like and how far players will go. We have a 12 round draft which gets me 12 players. Its not a lot of players so choosing the right mix is crucial. What is the right mix? Great question and I do not have the magic answer. However, what I can do is give you my experience and you can choose if this could work for you.
Strategy of drafting the right players and the right mix for your teams
I look at the match ups in the first round and determine what teams will move on, then I do the same process for the second round, and so on till I get to the finals. So based on this research I then start to rank my players based on success of the team moving forward.
Do's and Don'ts for the draft
Let's look at the DO's. My strategy is to avoid taking too many players from one team, to avoid disappointment if an upset hits, but that is hard at times based on the draft board put in front of me. I spread out my picks or place a limit of players that I will take from one team and stick to that strategy.
Another DO is that I focus on the match ups. So I look later in the draft for players I think will go into at least round two/three. If they end up playing 7 to 12 games in two rounds then those players might bring me in some helpful points. These are players that are not top line but second line or third line players, but these are the players that could put you over the top.
Now let's look at the Don'ts. I stay away from picking with my heart based on my favorite teams. Nothing is more disappointing then choosing players from my favorite team to find out that my favorite team loses in the first round and my dreams are over and so is my playoff pool. This doesn't mean that my first round pick can't be a player from my favorite team. However, as the draft moves forward into the later rounds and players are becoming more difficult to choose, I stick to my research, and don't just pick from the heart.
Another Don't is not sticking with my draft prep and strategy. I don't worry about what other people are doing with their picks; I focus on mine. For example, I don't pick a player just because someone else in the draft has chosen players from a specific team. I have seen too many times where people select a player because they need to block or eliminate the chance of other players choosing line mates. Reaction is always the root cause of failure, pro-action is the the root cause for people winning or succeeding.
Here's a quick look at some sleepers that will be worth a look as your draft goes on.
Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning
T.J Oshie of the Washington Capitals
Andre Burakovsky of the Colorado Avalanche
John Tavaras of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Martin Necas of the Carolina Hurricanes
Good luck and enjoy the Stanley Cup Playoffs.