The NHL All-Star break is upon us and the Fantasy Draft commences this evening. Cal and Coach Ryan have decided to put their hockey knowledge to the test and have their own Fantasy, Fantasy draft. Following the same two team format and rules, drafting all your goalies by the 10th round and your defenders by the 15th, Cal and Coach Ryan are going to be putting their hockey pride on the line. What is at stake? The winner gets a 12pk of Labatt Blue (our favorite hockey beer) and the loser has to wear a piece of clothing supporting the favorite hockey team of the winner (Coach Ryan – Columbus, Cal – Detroit).
I as Coach Ryan sometimes find it difficult to admit that the two teams I root for are the Blue Jackets and the Lightning although being from Cleveland it is fitting. That being said sometimes I am embarrassed to sport Columbus gear so the thought of seeing Cal wearing it is quite intriguing. The rules are simple we are going to flip a coin to determine if you want to draft first or pick the captain. After the All Star Game on Sunday Cal and I will add up the points and make the other one pose in the other person’s apparel. Here is how the scoring works:
- 2 points goal
- 1 point assist
- 2 points winning goaltender
- 2 points MVP2 points best team +/-
- .25 points for a skills competition individual win
We apologize for errors, grammatically and otherwise. We were on a time crunch.
Now that the rules are established, time for another beer and to dig through my couch to find a coin…
Coach Ryan: Should I call heads or tails? I’ll call…heads. (And like a true Clevelander the coin is tails).
Cal: I will gladly take Team Alfedsson w/ Henrik Lundqvisk, which leaves Coach Ryan with an overachiever Joffrey Lupul and a goon Zdano Chara.
Coach Ryan: I really hate Cal. How is Lupal even an assistant captain? I’d feel more confident having a concussed Sidney Crosby being my assistant captain! That’s it time to go for the jugular, with the first pick in the first round of the draft I select:
Coach Ryan – Pavel Datsyuk In my opinion Pavel Datsyuk is one of the most exciting players to watch, in the entire league, no questions about it. With the absence of Crosby and Ovechkin having a very off year, Pavel has led the league in WOW moments. I feel like out of his 14 goals about 12 of them are sportscenter highlights. One thing I love about him is he has the potential to make the fans’ jaws drop but he often passes first which has gotten him third in the league in assists (36) and total points (53). In my draft I would take him first just to stick it Cal who has an unhealthy obsession with this Russian born All Star.
Cal – Evgeni Malkin How can you go wrong with the NHL points leader? Evgeni could have easily given up on the season with all of the injuries that have plagued the Pens (including one to him), but instead he has taken his game to the next level. 5 goals in his last 5 games and each one looking prettier then the last I will happily let Geno center my top line.
Coach Ryan – Erik Karlsson It is no secret that Alfredsson has come out and said that if he gets to pick first that Karlsson would be his number one overall. Karlsson has 7 goals and is second in the NHL with 40 assists. I think it would be great fun to see Chara go out and grab Karlsson if he has the first pick to mess up Team Alfredsson’s game plan and put teammate against teammate, which is why I am doing this to Cal.
Cal – Steven Stamkos The goals leader in the NHL, how could I pass him up? This guy continues to score goals at a massive clip while playing on a sub-par team. He doesn’t have the “wow” factor of Malken but he makes up for it with a top shelf shot that rivals the best in the league. Stamkos can also beat the best in the league and is intimidated by no one, which makes him a great selection in the second round.
Coach Ryan – Claude Giroux In my opinion Claude Giroux is up there with Pavel Datsyuk when it comes to possible Hart Trophy candidates. There are a few players who have really stepped up their game when other players/ superstars have gone down with injuries and along with Malkin, Giroux is one of those players. Currently he is 2nd in the league in points with 55 and 4th in assists. As long as Giroux keeps being Mr. Clutch, he also has 6 GWG, the Flyers will still have a chance and Claude could have a chance to pick up All Star MVP honors.
Cal – Jimmy Howard is my obvious selection because I love the Red Wings. At this point it gives me two of the top goaltenders in the league and it gives me a Red Wing on my team. Howard has one of the best gloves in the league and minus his hiccup in Montreal, he has been the anchor of a very strong Detroit team and he will be the anchor of my team as well.
Coach Ryan – Phil Kessel Mr. Irrelevant he definitely is not in this year’s All Star Game. Just about every hockey fan, and player, got a good laugh at Kessel’s expense last year and you must admit he took it with a smile. Maybe that lit a fire somewhere inside because he is a completely different player this year as he is 4th in the league with 26 goals and 8th in total points with 51. I think it would be hilarious if he got chosen with one of the top picks and sat up there snapping pictures of everyone.
Cal – Daniel Sedin is still sitting there waiting for me, he shall be mine. Year in, year out the Sedin twins put up monster numbers regardless of how the Canucks are playing. Daniel averages just over a point per game and his 51 points puts him right in the thick of things in the top ten of the points race. My big question is, will his brother fall to my lap as well and which Sedin will win this points race?
Coach Ryan – Tim Thomas Damn those decisions. Do I stop him from getting both of those Sedins or go after a goalie so I’m not stuck with Carey Price? Damn you Cal!!! Thomas continues to be one of the most solid goaltenders in the league and a major reason that Boston has stayed at or near the top of my Power Rankings all season. Currently he is 9th in the league with 20 wins and has an impressive .933 Save %. As long as Thomas is in goal, your team has a good chance of winning. Hopefully the winning goalie of this game doesn’t get a trip to the White House to meet the President.
Cal – Marian Hossa – How did this guy not put up these numbers in Detroit? Top 3 in points and the guy is dangerous from anywhere on the ice. I think Hossa is the second most valuable player on the team (to Patrick Sharp) and where he goes the team goes. Kane and Towes are great players but Hossa is a game changer that they could never afford to lose.
Coach Ryan – Shea Weber Having to pick all my goalies and defenders is starting to ring a bell through all the Batty Blue so I’m going to go Shea Weber Hardest shot runner-up last year. Still one of the most complete D-men in the NHL he continues to wonder with his all around hard play. As exciting as he is to watch during the All Star Game it’s in the Skills Competition where this Canadian native will look to make an impact against his rival Chara in the hardest shot competition. Last year Weber shot it 104.8 MPH which only got him second place. This year he will definitely try to get it over the 105 barrier.
Cal – Ryan Suter – Arguably the top defensive pairing in the NHL, kinda fitting that they would go back to back in the same round. Suter’s numbers will never blow you away because of the team that he plays for but this Wisconsin native is having another solid year with 28 points, but it is his shut down defensive style that keeps the Nashville Predators in the playoff hunt every year.
Coach Ryan- Brian Elliott Perhaps one of the most deserving players voted in this year is Brian Elliott. Before the season started nobody really gave St. Louis a fighting chance although thanks to their goaltender who is leading the league in save % (.938), GAA (1.69), and is second in shut outs with 5 they have been a great story this season. It is kind of surprising that he is their only All Star although as long as he keeps it up, who knows how far the red hot Blues can go.
Cal – Jonathan Quick has fallen into my lap at this point to leave Mr. Price for Coach Ryan. Poor, poor Jonathan plays out of his mind every year in a city that cares more about the boring NBA and heading to the beach then they do supporting a team that once had “The Great One”. Another year with a sub 2 GAA and a killer save % his 21 wins puts him in top 10 in wins and yes, he plays for the Kings.
Coach Ryan – James Neal When the All Stars were finally announced I was quite upset that they left out Neal, luckily Ovechkin decided to go all James Harrison and got himself suspended which means he is refusing to play in the game. With Crosby out nobody has quite benefited from the opportunity quite like Neal. He right now is second in the NHL in total goals with 27, and as a fifth year player I have to think that this is the beginning of a long NHL career, as long as he doesn’t get hurt. This is Pittsburgh after all.
Cal – Henrik Sedin to complete the set. They should always be sold as a pair, leading the league in assist with 41 Henrik always seems to play second fiddle to his goal scoring brother. Henrik knows how to create space and dish the puck like no other (well maybe Pavel Datsyuk) and will continue to put up monster numbers with his brother in Vancouver and keep the Canucks near the top of the Western Conference every year.
Coach Ryan – Tyler Seguin I see this as an obvious pick for his Boston teammate and All Star Captain Zdano Chara. Seguin has an extremely impressive and league leading +/- rating of +34, meaning if he’s on the ice keep your eyes open because he makes a difference. His season is so good that thus far he has only had three games total where he ended with a minus rating. Of course having 5 game winning goals helps that just a little as well.
Cal – Kris Letang has at least one point in 18 of the 25 games that he has played and is a great balance of offense and defense that has carried him to become a top 3 defenseman in the league. Injuries aside Kris will make or break the Penguins season and their ability to become a force in the playoffs. Letang is 3rd on his team with a +9 rating and has 11 power play points which factors a ton in to the teams success.
Coach Ryan – Carey Price Wow it’s round 10 and I only have two goalies, hmmmmm who should I pick? Carey Price Carey Price must be one of the most frustrated goalies in hockey. He has played 41 games and although he comes into this weekend with an unimpressive record of 16-17-8 you know that Montreal has way bigger problems with their defense then their goaltender who is doing all he can. I almost feel that Carey being voted into the game is a “we understand” type gesture from the other players as none of his numbers are really even worth posting to brag about. I kind of hope that Chara picks him for the selfish reasons because I think having Chara be the last line of defense for the hated Canadians goalie would be a fun story line.
Cal – Milan Michalek looks great on my team when hunting for MVP points. Coach Ryan’s selection of Karlsson had a huge impact on this pick but that isn’t to take anything away from this goal scoring machine. Only 3 away from his career high goal total of 26, Michalek help the Senators up while they struggled to find their way early on in the year. Yeah this is a little high for this round but it is all about the points baby!
Coach Ryan – Alexander Edler Once again I am falling victim to the draft rules because I only have two defenders and there are only four rounds left to draft four more so here we go. Alexander Edler. This Canuck defender is putting up career numbers as his 34 total points is already just shy of his season high 42 points in 2009-2010 and he is currently third on the Canucks in points which is pretty impressive considering some of the personal he has around him.
Cal – Brian Campbell And the defenseman run has started and I will take Brian Campbell. His 32 assists puts him 7th in the NHL and 2nd overall among defenseman. Campbell gets ignored because he plays in Sunrise, but he is helping the resurgence that his happening in South Florida. What also impresses me is his ability to stay out of the penalty box which keeps his strong defensive ability on the ice.
Coach Ryan – Kimmo Timonen Timonen continues to be one of the better well-rounded defensive players in the league and outside of his 29 points the thing that attracts me most to Kimmo is his +/- ranking of +13.
Cal – Dennis Wideman As the rounds go by it is harder and hard to talk about defensive players. Dennis Wideman is putting up another solid year with the Capitals with his 34 points which ties him for 4th among defenseman. With the sudden hot play of the Cap’s I see Wideman staying in the top 5 for the rest of the year.
Coach Ryan – Keith Yandle I have one more defender to pick which is not only a hard decision for my team but also because Cal is going to get the other two I don’t pick. Keith Yandle keeps getting better every year if you look at his numbers. This year he has a chance to get to the 50 point plateau after falling just short last year. The thing I like about him this year is he is taking a career high number of shots which should help him numbers a lot, well if he wasn’t on Phoenix. Luckily for him he will have a slightly better cast around him this weekend.
Cal – Jonathan Towes 27 goals ties him for 2nd in the NHL and merits my selection of him here. Honestly I thought Towes would have been gone by now, but I am happy none the less. The forwards in Chicago will continue to produce, even when they have rookies in, but that is what they do best. I think Towes puts me in the top of the goal scoring race of this All Star game and at least I didn’t get Carey Price.
edit: Towes was replaced with Scott Hartnell, so I take Hartnell and cry a little bit
Coach Ryan – Marian Gaborik My that Cal is a funny guy, what he doesn’t realize is that I get to just pick two great offensive players while he is left with the defenders who are great hitters and shot blockers. I’m sure those style of players will make a huge All Star impact. That being said I’m selecting: Marian Gaborik possible 40-50 goal scorer, 25 goals (6th), 6 GWG (3rd), Gaborik is coming in to the All Star break on a 4 game point streak and is leading The Rangers in goals, points, shots, and home points. This season he achieved his 300th career goal, 600 career points, 300th career assist which is very impressive considering that all happened in half a year. The way his season is going makes you think that the Cup would be a nice addition to Marian’s season.
Cal – Dion Phaneuf has one hell of a last name. His physical play really highlights his ability and along with my other defensive selection, I don’t have a ton to say about either.
Coach Ryan – Jason Spezza I’m going with the theory that an Ottawa player will win the MVP and so I am going with: Spezza is another hometown player for the host Senators which generally means he can be a difference maker. Spezza has played in all 52 games this season and has put up a solid 50 points thus far which is 10th in the league and first on Ottawa.
Cal – Dan Girardi just fell into my lap at this selection, or at least that is what I am telling myself. I don’t think defenseman are going to make much of an impact on the big picture of the All-Star game, as it seems to be more about the star forwards showcasing their skills but Girardi is no slouch.
Coach Ryan – John Tavares The poor Islanders have little to be excited about this year with the exception of their lone All Star John Tavares. This year he’s second on the Isles in goals 20, assists 29, and first in points with 49. I’m sure the Islanders would love to have another few players with Tavares’ talent, then again the Islanders would also love a new home in New York as well.
Cal – Patrick Kane Well our buddy Tim would be proud of me as I select Patrick Kane. I don’t think this could have gone any worse for a guy who is a die-hard Wings fan but hey I have to draft the talent. Kane is having a down year in goal scoring but his is still producing with 41 points and I think he is going to have a monster second part of the season.
Coach Ryan – Jordan Eberle A late addition to the game this Oiler had no reason not to initially be included. He leads his team in goals (18), assists (27), and of course total points. This second year player already has as many goals and more assists than his rookie year in 14 fewer games. This is one of those young talents that make the NHL the great product that it is.
Cal – Corey Perry as well as the rest of his Anaheim teammates are all having a down year scoring but his 22 goals aren’t a complete downer. I expected Perry to keep pace with Stamkos this year but it seems that he has lowered his game to the level of his team because I know that he has the talent and that is why I selected him at this slot.
Coach Ryan – Jarome Iginla Father time may slowly be catching up with Iginla but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want him on my team. In his 15th NHL season and Jarome is still going into the All Star Break with 39 points. This season he has also gone over the 1,000 point mark this season. But why do I really love Iginla? On January 10th when he got his 501st goal he topped off the game with a Gordie Howe hat-trick.
Cal – Jason Pominville leads the Sabres in assists but really this spot should have been given to Vanek. Not to tarnish a solid effort from Pominville, he is one of the few players on the team that has lived up to expectations. He is the points leader and really has been the leader on the ice for the lack luster team. Just heard that it’s The Great One’s birthday, somehow that excites me more than this pick.
Coach Ryan – Logan Couture Well,it all comes down to this. Who is Mr. Irrelevant for Cal? At least he gets a car. Well hold on a second Cal doesn’t win a car. At this point Cal doesn’t even win the 12 pack of Batty, at this point Cal is wondering why he didn’t take first pick because I can give him a player he hates. Hint his player just had an emergency appendectomy of course Cal hates him. Oh but it’s too easy I take: Logan Couture Big surprise that the Sharks are back on top of the Pacific standings and Logan Couture is a big part of that. His 21 goals leads the Sharks (12th in the league) and his 36 points are second only to Joe Thornton in San Jose. His numbers all around seem to be on the rise from last year and if he keeps it up this will be the last year this third year player gets drafted this late in the All Star Draft.
Cal – Jamie Benn Well I just read that Jamie Benn was “Excited about his All-Star appearance”, that sure calms all my fears. I hope he is excited to not contribute but get in some good exercise. They say the Stars are coming out in Ottawa, this one is just a bit dimmer than the rest.
Coach Ryan – I would like to add Mr. Really Irrelevant Alexander Ovechkin – Why did he have to get suspended? He didn’t deserve this game and I wanted him to be Mr. Irrelevant so everyone could take pictures of him. All well maybe next year…
Stay tuned for the results after the All-Star game.