Thursday, September 29, 2011

WTHL Team Review: King Flameheads

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We wrap up the team reviews with a look at the comissioners entry, the Flameheads. Here's who he kept:

1. Drew Doughty
2. Anze Kopitar
3. Mike Richards
4. Jon Quick
5. Dan Boyle
6. Lubomir Visnovsky
7. Dustin Brown
8. Jonathan Bernier

California knows how to party. I s'pose, anyway. Featuring the best of the LA Kings, which isn't as bad an idea as it might have been in years previous. Watch out if LA goes on a cold streak, as the Flameheads will as well. He may want to diversify his team via the draft to ensure their fortunes aren't too closely tied together... but great start, especially on defense.

Keeper Grade: B+

Harris was in need of help on the wing, but really just needed to nab pieces of the puzzle to build a champion. Here's his draft:

10. Alexandre Burrows
24. Patrik Elias
27. Teddy Purcell
43. Matt Moulson
72. Drew Stafford
99. Olli Jokinen
115. Darren Helm
121. Johnny Boychuk
127. Blake Comeau
131. Dan Hamhuis
133. Scott Gomez
137. Linus Omark
143. Toni Lydman
153. Lauri Kopikoski
194. Brian Boucher

Complimentary wingers and role players achieved. I like this draft a lot, a good spattering of youth and dependability. No big steals, no huge issues leap out, and selections were made at forecasted rounds.

Draft Grade: B-

So we have a solid, dependable roster with growth possibilities for the future. There's not a lot of pop to make one think the Flameheads will make leaps and bounds up the standings, but the assets are there if things don't go as Flameheads hope with this squad.

Team Grade: B-

Six trades, four free agents and one waiver claim later, here's the depth chart. Is there more pop here now as to before those moves were made?

Ovechkin - Kopitar - Heatley
Brown - Richards - Stafford
Comeau - Jokinen - Purcell
Saad - Little - Brouwer

Connolly

Doughty - Visnovsky
Boyle - Lydman
Giordano - Hamhuis

Blum

Quick
Bernier
Boucher

WTHL Team Review: The inTIMidators

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We close the team reviews on the NHL's opening day with two teams that finished in the middle of the pack last season. The inTIMidators started a rebuild in mid-season, and hopefully the author can be objective in his review. Here's who he kept:

1. Steven Stamkos
2. Matt Duchene
3. Jordan Eberle
4. Thomas Vanek
5. Michael Grabner
6. Alexander Edler
7. Michal Neuvirth
8. Tyler Myers

Heavy on youth and a great contract situation. With little help available in the draft for goaltending, depending on Neuvirth is really flying without a parachute. Also, an over-abundance of youth could spell trouble if two or three of these studs regress or fail to take the next step in their development.

Keeper grade: B-

Going into the draft, the inTIMidators needed dependable scoring, some grit and goaltending. Here's what went on:

5. Derek Roy
25. Tuomo Ruutu
26. Cory Schneider
32. Dennis Wideman
42. Ville Leino
74. Ales Hemsky
90. Clarke MacArthur
106. Dennis Seidenberg
122. Jhonas Enroth
134. Michael Frolik
138. Tomas Fleischmann
154. Theo Peckham
160. Mathieu Garon
218. Trevor Daley
234. Cody Hodgson

So this team wound up with great depth and a few choice sleeper picks, but the goaltending is still suspect, despite the blue-chip prospects sported between the pipes. One also has to consider the health of Hemsky, and Fleischmann's ragged lungs. Still, a great draft when all is considered.

Draft Grade: B

The inTIMidators has most of the bases covered. Some dependable goaltending would've went a long way into making this team a contender, but with back-ups from four good teams and good assets up front, there's wriggle room to move up the standings.

Team Grade: B-

Here's the depth chart, no moves since the draft. Leino is naturally a centre, which may be corrected by Yahoo! at some point.

Vanek - Stamkos - Hemsky
Ruutu - Duchene - Grabner
MacArthur - Roy - Eberle
Fleischmann - Leino - Frolik

Hodgson

Myers - Wideman
Edler - Seidenberg
Daley - Peckham

Neuvirth
Schneider

Enroth
Garon

WTHL Team Review: Untrust

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Now it's time to closely inspect bumcrust. Eeewwwww! I mean Untrust. What we can trust in, is a loaded roster. Here's the keepers:

1. Mike Green
2. Martin St. Louis
3. Duncan Keith
4. Ryan Miller
5. Tomas Vokoun
6. Bobby Ryan
7. Corey Perry
8. Nicklas Backstrom

Hachi Machi! Let's move right along, shall we? Nothing to break down here.

Keeper Grade: A+

Untrust is merely looking to compliment the big guns in the draft, starting at centre. Here's how it went:

19. Evgeni Nabokov
35. Nikolai Kulemin
51. Joe Corvo
53. Milan Hejduk
67. Victor Hedman
83. Johan Hedberg
99. Jason Demers
115. Ryan Smyth
131. Frans Nielsen
147. Eric Belanger
163. Manny Malholtra
179. Matt Cooke
195. David Clarkson
211. Kyle Brodziak
227. Braydon Coburn

Leading off with Nabokov is suspect, but could pay huge dividends if he gets a trade like most parties are hoping, or if he does indeed stay and settle into the starting job. There were only a few decent options available in goal anyway. There are a few steals here with Smyth, Hejduk, and maybe even Nielsen if he continues the upward trajectory he's on. Things start to fall apart a bit in later rounds, but there's still lots of sandpaper to go around.

Draft Grade: B-

The situation at centre never really got addressed in the draft, so there's a glaring hole in the middle of this team. Other than that, all categories are covered and Untrust should be near the top of the heap.

Team Grade: A-

Here's the depth chart after three trades, two waiver claims and a free agent. Does this altered line-up look better or worse?

Ryan - Backstrom - Perry
Nash - Carter - St. Louis
Kulemin - Belanger - Hejduk
Versteeg - Malholtra - Brodziak

Martin

Keith - Green
Ehrhoff - Schenn
Corvo - Kulikov

Miller
Vokoun
Nabokov
Dipietro

WTHL Team Review: KapitänMachtElch3.0

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Let's have a look at whatever name this team is called today. Here's the keepers:

1. Daniel Sedin
2. Henrik Sedin
3. Henrik Lundqvist
4. Marian Gaborik
5. Kari Lehtonen
6. Ryan Callahan
7. Patrick Hornqvist
8. Ryan Suter

Looks good, but things start to thin out near the bottom. Callahan is a great role player, Hornqvist is a natural goal scorer and Suter's key in Nashville, but really? Yes really. Joe has some gaps in his draft order, so these slots are all well-occupied.

Keeper Grade: A-

Looks like Joe took a look at the pool of available players and made a plan. He'll be after defensemen first.

11. Brent Seabrook
44. Travis Hamonic
48. Jamie McBain
50. Anton Babchuk
60. Zenon Konopka
114. Brian Boyle
146. Peter Mueller
162. Brandon Sutter
164. Carlo Colaiacovo
166. Andrew Cogliano
175. Bryan Bickell
182. Michal Handzus
198. Andrew Raycroft
214. Martin Biron
230. Nate Thompson

...and went after defensemen he did, with his first four picks. I'm not sure how sound that plan was, he still doesn't have what I'd call an elite d-man on his squad. Afterwards he filled out his roster with role-players rather than proven scorers. Mueller could be the steal of the draft, there was no news regarding his recovery, then a week post-draft the newswire was full of positivity for the Colorado forward.

Draft Grade: C+

Looking at the line-up on CaptainChristmasPowerRangerMoose, there's a huge drop off from the top line to the second. This team would be a bitch to play against in the NHL, but will it pop the twine enough to rattle foes in the WTHL?

Team Grade: B-

Depth Chart time! No changes since draft day.

Sedin - Sedin - Gaborik
Mueller - Boyle - Hornqvist
Bickell - Handzus - Callahan
Cogliano - Konopka - Sutter

Thompson

Seabrook - Suter
Hamonic - McBain
Babchuk - Colaiacovo

Lundqvist
Lehtonen
Biron
Raycroft

WTHL Team Review: Sunnyvale Shithawks

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Now let's grab some jalapeno chips and head down to Sunnyvale to see how the Shithawks are doing. Here's the keepers:

1. Mikka Kiprusoff
2. Ilya Bryzgalov
3. Shea Weber
4. Alex Pietrangelo
5. Dion Phaneuf
6. Chris Stewart
7. John Tavares
8. Jeff Skinner

Some key, youthful players and dependable goaltending. There are some who feel Tavares will top out as a 65-70 pt player, and Skinner will be a greater focus of opposing coaches this season, but all in all no fault here other than a light load at forward when Pietrangelo or Phaneuf might've been available in the draft.

Keeper Grade: B+

Going into the draft, the Shithawks needed forwards right away. Here's what happened:

7. Jay Bouwmeester
21. Alex Tanguay
23. Kevin Shattenkirk
39. Bryan Little
55. Devin Setoguchi
70. Kyle Turris
71. Valtteri Filppula
103. Nikita Filatov
119. Kyle Okposo
151. David Rundblad
167. Adam Larsson
183. Mikael Backlund
199. Colin Wilson
215. Ray Emery
231. Scottie Upshall

This draft started in the wrong direction and kept getting worse. Little, Okposo at 119 and a freshly-signed Emery are the bright spots, but starting out with Bouwmeester when top-line forwards were still available is a head-scratcher. Turris is still holding out,m and may be for awhile.

Draft Grade: C-

Sunnyvale is carrying some good chips for wheeling and dealing, which he'll have to in order to build a competitive team. If the kids on his roster all start paying off at the same time, all bets are off.

Team Grade: C+

We're gonna have to push some forwards into the LW position for the depth chart, as Sunnyvale is only carrying two natural left wingers. No moves since the draft.

Tanguay - Skinner - Stewart
Filatov - Tavares - Okposo
Setoguchi - Filppula - Little
Wilson - Backlund - Upshall

Turris

Weber - Pietrangelo
Phaneuf - Shattenkirk
Bouwmeester - Larsson

Rundblad

Bryzgalov
Kiprusoff

Emery

WTHL Team Review: No Homers!

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Let's turn to a unique case in the WTHL this year, No Homers! Here's who he kept:

1. Ryan Kesler
2. Phil Kessel
3. Ilya Kovalchuk
4. Jamie Benn
5. Dustin Byfuglien
6. Keith Yandle
7. Pekka Rinne
8. Jonas Hiller

Solid but not mind blowing for the following reasons: Kesler's injury, Kessel's fading from relevance, Kovalchuk needs to rebound, Whether or not Benn has plateaued, Byfugliens conditioning, whether or not Yandle will be coming back down to earth. Still, these are all players anyone would be holding onto, and team contract status is grand.

Keeper Grade: B

Going into the draft, No Homers needed centres badly, since Kesler was the only centre kept and great all-around player he is, he's not on the top line on Vancouver. Check this out:

3. Paul Stastny
6. Tobias Enstrom
12. Mike Ribeiro
16. James Wisniewski
22. Teemu Selanne
30. Steve Ott
31. Cal Clutterbuck
47. Antoine Vermette
58. Patrik Berglund
62. Kimmo Timonen
64. Anders Lindback
86. Brian Gionta
87. Dan Girardi
95. Brent Johnson
96. Jussi Jokinen

Yep, all picks were in the top 100 of 240 eligible picks. Scary stuff. I'm not even going to bother to break this down, it's so depressing.

Draft Grade: A+

Post draft, No Homers! features blanket coverage of all stats and is spoiled for choice for keepers entering later seasons. There could be some chinks in the armour as the season wears on insofar as dependability and durability are concerned, but the depth here is unreal.

Team Grade: A

The depth chart, after two trades:

Kovalchuk - Kesler - Selanne
Marleau - Stastny - Semin
Benn - Berglund - Kessel
Jokinen - Vermette - Clutterbuck

Ott

Yandle - Enstrom
Wisniewski - Byfuglien
Timonen - Girardi

Rinne
Hiller
Johnson
Lindback

WTHL Team Review: Caribous

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The Caribous have been stuck in the bottom of the standings in the past few seasons. Let's see who they kept to try and change their fortunes this year:

1. Pavel Datsyuk
2. Henrik Zetterberg
3. Jimmy Howard
4. Jack Johnson
5. Christian Ehrhoff
6. Shane Doan
7. Andrew Ladd
8. Dwayne Roloson

Great start. Can't find any fault here at all other than the amount of starts Roloson will finish with, and whether or not Ladd has plateaued or has more to show.

Keeper Grade: A

Going into the draft the 'bous needed to keep an eye on toughness and flesh out the roster. He could've almost went on cruise control. Here's who he picked up:

20. Mikhail Grabovski
36. Niklas Kronwall
52. Andy McDonald
79. Alex Steen
84. Roman Hamrlik
112. Matt D'agostini
116. Jarret Stoll
125. Todd Bertuzzi
132. Jordan Leopold
144. Mike Knuble
148. Andrei Kostitsyn
150. Bryan McCabe
180. Saku Koivu
203. Marty Reasoner
228. Andrew MacDonald

Outstanding. Going for established stars over youth should work well here. Almost too heavily leaning on familiar names, as McCabe has yet to sign anywhere and some of these guys may be entering their autumn years. Those youngsters on the Blues were a nifty grab. No goaltending support? Risky play, though Tampa and Detroit should keep the wins coming.

Draft Grade: B

I'm not going to bother to double-check, but I think the Caribous sport the most 20 goal scorers of 2010/2011. Counter to that, there's no knuckle-dragger on this roster, which abandons one stat category. If the points come, maybe that wont matter.

Team Grade: B+

Here's the depth chart, with one trade occuring since draft day:

Zetterberg - Datsyuk - Doan
Ladd - Grabovski - Bertuzzi
Steen - McDonald - D'agostini
Kostitsyn - Stoll - Knuble

Koivu
Reasoner

Johnson - Kronwall
Hamrlik - Leopold
Demers - MacDonald

McCabe

Roloson
Howard

WTHL Team Review: The Killbot Factory

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What's coming off the assembly line at the Killbot factory this season? Here are the keepers:

1. Joe Thornton
2. David Krejci
3. Milan Lucic
4. Brent Burns
5. Brad Marchand
6. Niklas Backstrom
7. Antti Niemi
8. Steve Downie

A balanced attack. We have a few instances where the hope is for developing youth continues their upward trajectory, and an excellent goaltending tandem, especially since Niemi has proven to be the real deal after earning the #1 job in San Jose. More established production at forward would've been nice, but a good start drawn from good teams.

Keeper Grade: B

Going into the draft we're looking for reliable, 1st line wingers to balance out the roster. Here's how the draft went:

28. Ryan Whitney
37. Jason Pominville
76. Brad Boyes
92. PA Parenteau
107. Chris Kunitz
108. Marc Staal
124. Rich Peverley
140. Steve Montador
156. Artem Anisimov
172. Andrej Sekera
187. Michael Ryder
188. Antero Niittymaki
204. Steve Sullivan
220. Jason Arnott
236. Marco Sturm

Killbot Factory had a few gaps in early rounds which could've hurt their chances, but dependable talent slid down the ranks and was snapped up here. The later in this draft we go, the more question marks arise as to what can be expected, but for the most part the players selected here are sound investments. Parenteau could be the biggest misstep here, as the forward situation on Long Island is getting a bit crowded.

Draft Grade: B-

This roster is heavy with role-players on good teams, so there may be instances where limited ice time may hold back The Killbot Factory in the standings. A lot of dice being rolled and hopes to be fulfilled. We could easily see a big payoff, but a little sugar from Lady Luck will be needed.

Team Grade: B-

Here's the depth chart, after a trade and free agent aquisition

Lucic - Thornton - Iginla
Kunitz - Krejci - Boyes
Wolski - Marchand - Ryder
Sturm - Anisimov - Parenteau

Peverly

Whitney - Burns
Montador - Sekera
Staal

Backstrom
Anderson
Khabibulin
Niittymaki

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WTHL Team Review: Milltown Moose

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Let's drop down to Milltown to check on the Moose. Is this team gonna clutter up the highway this year, or hide in the gulch during hunting season? Here's who was kept:

1. Evgeni Malkin
2. Jarome Iginla
3. Ryane Clowe
4. Carey Price
5. Corey Crawford
6. Craig Anderson
7. Mikko Koivu
8. Tomas Plekanec

Deep in goal, top line forwards and decent contract status. Like a few other GM's, one has to believe that Milltown took a look at what was available in this draft and chose his keepers accordingly. Malkin has to make a comeback and Ottawa has to rally around Anderson to meet high expectations here.

Keeper Grade: A-

Going into the draft we're looking for defensemen and wingers. Here's what Milltown Moose pulled outta the hat:

18. Brandon Dubinsky
34. Brooks Laich
59. Joni Pitkanen
66. John-Michael Liles
82. Kevin Bieksa
91. Max Pacioretty
98. Cody Franson
130. Blake Wheeler
171. Paul Gaustad
178. Danny Cleary
194. Peter Budaj
210. Mike Santorelli
224. Benoit Pouliot
226. Milan Michalek
235. Lars Eller

See a pattern? Good choices throughout and Dubinsky is a dandy, but Milltown was playing catch-up to flesh out other positions for the rest of the draft, thanks to a gap in the first few rounds from trading picks. Regardless of that he had a fine result, but his roster could've been monsterous if he didn't have 5 picks in the bottom 50.

Draft Grade: C

A look at this team and one has to think that some of these players must be on a short leash for results. The bottom six forwards and defense don't truly compliment the top line talent. This field needs some tilling.

Team Grade: B-

Three trades and two free agents later, here's the depth chart:

Clowe - Richards - Pominville
Laich - Koivu - Wheeler
Dubinsky - Plekanec - Cleary
Pacioretty - Gaustad - Samuelsson

Michalek
Sullivan

Liles - Bieksa
Pitkanen - McQuaid
Franson

Price
Niemi
Crawford
Greiss

Sunday, September 25, 2011

WTHL Team Review: Flames

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Welcome back to the WTHL Team Review series. Let's peer into the Flames and see how they're looking coming into this season:

1. Ryan Getzlaf
2. Vincent Lecavalier
3. Loui Eriksson
4. Johan Franzen
5. Mike Cammalleri
6. Alex Goligoski
7. Marc-Andre Fleury
8. Cam Ward


An excellent foundation that's almost tailor-made for what's available in this years draft. One issue aside from the majority of contracts here being set to expire is the hope that Cammalleri and to a lesser extent Franzen bounce back from middling performances last year. An eye is to be kept on Eriksson as well, who stands to miss Brad Richards the most in Dallas. All of these are mild concerns.

Keeper Grade: B+

Flames had a good selection order in the draft and only needed to compliment his existing keepers without a strong need at any one position except at defense, which was available in quantity. Here's how he did:
13. Tyler Ennis
29. Jordan Staal
45. Erik Johnson
46. Stephen Weiss
61. Justin Williams
68. Stephane Robidas
93. Gabriel Landeskog
109. Jonathon Ericsson
141. Zach Bogosian
157. Brandon Prust
173. Jiri Hudler
176. Ryan Johansen
189. Dan Ellis
205. Brooks Orpik
221. Martin Hanzal

An eye to youth, with proper attention paid to complimentary scoring and toughness. There may be one or two selections where the hopes for instant impact or a return-to-form are apparent, but a plan is obviously in place here.

Draft Grade: B

This team is well balanced and has every category covered. The only real qualm is depth scoring, but when it comes to fantasy scoring, Flames is going to be among the top of the standings with this roster.

Team Grade: B

Here's the depth chart, no transactions since draft day

Cammalleri - Getzlaf - Eriksson
Ennis - Lecavalier - Franzen
Staal - Weiss - Williams
Prust - Hanzal - Hudler

Landeskog
Johansen

Goligoski - Robidas
Johnson - Bogosian
Orpik - Ericsson

Fleury
Ward

Ellis

Less than 2 Weeks

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The incredible posts from WTHL's first insider as of late has certainly helped pass the time as we all anxiously wait for the season to begin. Hopefully the reports on the remaining teams will equally help the next week and a half fly by. Another big thank you out to Insider Tim for the work in this. Great stuff!

We're down to only 12 days to go folks, and exactly 2 weeks until the first Mover and Shaker award is given out. Giddy up I say. Giddy up.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

WTHL Team Review: Zig Zag Zambonies

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Let's welcome aboard the newest GM to the WTHL with a breakdown of what's expected this coming year. Keepers coming into this season are:

1. Mark Streit
2. Dany Heatley
3. Brayden Schenn
4. Luke Schenn
5. James van Riemsdyk
6. James Reimer
7. Ondrej Pavelec
8. Dustin Penner

Not a lot to get excited about here, for this season at least. ZZZambonis swung a deal to get two starting goalies which was great since he had nothing going on at that position, and he also sold off some current stars for some depth. Some youth and mid-tier scoring, but a lot of patching to do in the draft.

Keeper Grade: C
Going into the draft Zig Zag needed to sneak in some top-line talent as soon as possible if he wanted to compete this year. He inherited a patch-work team so an eye on the future was to be expected. Here's his draft:

9. Martin Havlat
41. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
57. Ty Conklin
73. Ian White
89. Scott Clemmensen
105. Jonathon Huberdeau
121. Tomas Kopecky
137. Mikael Samuelsson
153. Michael Del Zotto
169. Sean Bergenheim
185. Nino Neiderreiter
186. Alex Burmistrov
201. Matthew Lombardi
217. Eric Gudbranson
233. Nazem Kadri

Zig Zag Zambonies went balls-in on prospects and didn't achieve a whole lot in creating a competitive roster. Which is a sound philosophy for the coming seasons, but there could've been some established players added here to save this season.

Draft Grade: D
It's still not guaranteed, but Nugent-Hopkins is looking to make the Oilers roster this season and his status will make the biggest impact on ZZZ's fortunes. For the most part, this GM is watching and waiting to see who will break out and earn a spot on next years squad. ZZZ was left with a lot of work to do on his team, and thus far has made some good headway.

Team Grade: D+


Here's the depth chart, three trades and a free agent addition later:

van Riemsdyk - Nugent-Hopkins - Havlat
Penner - Schenn - Samuelsson
Kopecky - Kadri - Niederreiter
Bergenheim - Buristrov - Ward

Huberdeau
Lindstrom

White - Schenn
Ellis - Del Zotto
Gudbranson

Reimer
Pavelec
Clemmensen
Conklin

WTHL Team Review: FIGJAM

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Let's take a look at a team that made a push for top spot last year with FIGJAM. Here's who was kept:

1. Semyon Varlamov
2. Logan Couture
3. Claude Giroux
4. Kris Letang
5. John Carlson
6. David Backes
7. Jeff Carter
8. Scott Hartnell

Contract status is looking great for now and next year, and even coverage on stat categories. A heavy emphasis on youth, with only the injury prone Varlamov and Carter's acclimation to Columbus being mild concerns.

Keeper Grade: A-
Heading into the draft FIGJAM only needed to maintain some complimentary scoring and to shore up the goaltending. Here's what he managed:

14. Mark Giordano
69. Al Montoya
77. Erik Cole
78. Sergei Bobrovsky
85. Tim Connolly
94. Jakub Voracek
110. Dmitry Kulikov
126. Derek Stepan
142. Jonas Gustavsson
158. Marcus Johansson
174. Jacob Josefson
190. Anthony Stewart
206. Tyler Kennedy
222. Ron Hainsey
238. Greg Zanon

The emphasis on youth and prospects continued into Figgy's draft. Expectations are heavy for big payoffs with such a heavy investment in the future, and one has to wonder if FIGJAM is leaning too heavy on the crystal ball, so to speak. The lack of dependable players with proven production and depth on defense are the things to look out for here.

Draft Grade: B
FIGJAM has just about all stat categories well covered and is built to contend for some time to come. There is some weakness at defense and left wing that could drag down the team as this season goes on. With minor tweaking or if some of these youngsters have a break out year, FIGJAM will be in the thick of the battle for the championship.

Team Grade: B

Here's the depth chart after two trades and a waiver pick-up.

Smyth - Giroux - Backes
Hartnell - Couture - Voracek
Kennedy - Connolly - Cole
Korpikoski - Nielsen - Stewart

Stepan
Johansson
Josefson

Letang - Carlson
Hainsey - Ekman-Larsson

Varlamov
Bobrovsky
Montoya
Gustavsson

Friday, September 23, 2011

WTHL Team Review: Porters Penguins

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Next on the examination table is Porters Penguins. This team didn't fare to well last season, let's see who's returning to make a go of it this year:

1. Zach Parise
2. Maria Hossa
3. Andrei Markov
4. Niklas Lidstrom
5. Steve Mason
6. James Neal
7. Patrick Sharp
8. Jaroslav Halak

A decent cluster of talent, but a few concerns are apparent. Porters Pens are counting on a few players to bounce back from injury and a few players here are forecasted to have middling performances this year. A ransom was paid to rescue Porters prospects between the pipes.

Keeper Grade: C+

The key components Porter needed going into the draft were centers, which was going to be a tall order with the picks he had available.


40. Dave Bolland
80. Mike Fisher
88. Martin Erat
102. Radim Vrbata
104. Mason Raymond
118. Tyler Bozak
120. Viktor Stalberg
128. Andrej Meszaros
136. Brett Clark
152. Fedor Tyutin
168. Sergei Kostitsyn
184. Paul Martin
200. David Legwand
216. Lee Stempniak
232. Niclas Bergfors

Porter just couldn't plug the holes needed with only three picks in the top six rounds. Also, the Pens went to the well for forwards heavily in Nashville, which is a harsh team to draw from considering the coaching style of Barry Trotz.

Draft Grade: C-

There are some complimentary pieces of the puzzle here but a lack of first line talent, capable goaltending on mediocre teams, and a weak pipeline for the future leads me to believe the Penguins wont be contending without some moves or some serious overachieving from his bottom six forwards.

Team Grade: C


Depth Chart - No transactions since draft day.

Parise - Sharp - Hossa
Neal - Fisher - Erat
Kostitsyn - Legwand - Vrbata
Raymond - Bolland - Stempniak

Bozak
Stalberg
Bergfors

Lidstrom - Meszaros
Markov - Clark
Tyutin - Martin

Halak
Mason

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WTHL Team Review: Greatness

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Welcome back to the WTHL team review as we examine Greatness, one of the more active GM's who enjoys working the trade lines. Stacked with talent, Greatness was the closest team to challenging for the championship last year. Here's who he kept:

1. Sidney Crosby
2. Alex Ovechkin
3. Roberto Luongo
4. Jonathan Toews
5. Rick Nash
6. Martin Brodeur
7. Patrick Marleau
8. Alexander Semin

Yikes. This is a 16 team league, isn't it? The only issues Greatness has going on here is his contract status, all these players are free agents at the end of this season. No defensemen kept, but plenty of help available in this years draft for that position. Crosby's status is still murky, but no one in their right mind would put Sid back in the draft pool.

Keeper Grade: A

Greatness went into the draft needing defensemen and complimentary fantasy scoring which should've been a snap, even with some big gaps between picks after heavy trading. Let's have a look:

4. PK Subban
15. Jose Theodore
63. Derick Brassard
75. Rene Bourque
111. Sergei Gonchar
127. Simon Gagne
143. Troy Brouwer
158. Matt Carle
191. Nik Antropov
197. Kris Versteeg
207. JS Giguere
213. Kurtis Foster
223. Tomas Holmstrom
229. Ed Jovonovski
239. Sam Gagner

It looks as if we have some insurance picks at centre and in goal taking precedence over a real fleshing out of the roster. Greatness did manage to put off some sleeper defensemen such as Carle and a hopefully-returning-to-form Gonchar until mid-rounds, but this teams flank could be exposed as the season progresses.

Draft Grade: C

Greatness, like Ploughmans Posse, leaned heavily on the future to make a push for the big win in 2010/2011. Greatness has been one of the more consistent teams in the WTHL and will work the phones again I'm certain. If his plans fall into place he'll be back fighting for top spot. If not, there's work to be done here.

Team Grade: B

Here's the depth chart after a whopping five trades and a waiver pick up. No flies on Jimmy! Did he cash in this year for next year already? Time shall tell.

Hall - Crosby - Gionta
Burrows - Ribeiro - Bourque
Gagne - Brassard - Brouwer
Holmstrom - Antropov - Langenbrunner
Gagner

Subban - Gonchar
Carle - Hedman
Jovocop

Luongo
Brodeur
Theodore
Giguere
Hedberg

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

WTHL Team Review - Roly Snipes

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From the top let’s head to the bottom and the Roly Snipes. This team is under new ownership after a dismal last place finish this past April, but things are looking up. Check out these keepers:

1. Patrick Kane
2. Brad Richards
3. Jason Spezza
4. Chris Pronger
5. Tomas Kaberle
6. Taylor Hall
7. Daniel Alfredsson
8. Tyler Seguin

Not bad, not good either. There are some players being monitored for bad wrists and Tyler Seguin may be another season away from making the leap to stardom, but burning a contract year on him while he’s on a deep Bruins roster is still a sound decision. No goalies kept which is rough, this draft in particular.

Keeper Grade: C

Roly Snipes was in dire need of some hard hitters and most of all, goaltending heading into the draft. Half of his keepers are in their final year of their WTHL contract and the rebuild continues in earnest. Here’s how his draft turned out:

17. Jaromir Jagr
33. Devan Dubnyk
38. Mike Smith
49. Evander Kane
54. Travis Zajac
65. Brian Campbell
81. David Booth
97. Nikolai Khabibulin
113. Sheldon Souray
161. Nathan Gerbe
177. Ryan Malone
193. Ray Whitney
209. Jason Labarbera
225. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
240. Andy Greene

Roly’s draft went pretty well. One negative would include sporting the goaltending tandem of Phoenix and Edmonton respectively; no worries about activity and they’re as good as what was available this draft, but not the greatest teams to roll with. Also the impact of Souray and Jagr are a question mark. Otherwise Roly Snipes has an investment in youth sprinkled among dependable players and a sound gamble on comeback performances from Zajac (who wont be available for a month or two after Achilles surgery) and Campbell, who’ll be back as top gun in Florida after being stuck behind Keith and Seabrook in Chicago.

Draft Grade: B

I’d consider the rebuild almost over and Roly Snipes is an improved team. Still, weaknesses in goal and in a few skaters stat categories remain apparent. It was surprising actually, old warhorses were taken in hopes of competing this season where grabbing prospects may have served the roster better down the road.

Team Grade: C+

Depth Chart of current team – two trades, one waiver pickup since draft day. Weaker at wing, but great depth at centre!

Kane – Toews – Kane
Booth – Malkin – Jagr
Whitney – Spezza – Alfredsson
Malone – Zajac – Bouchard

Gerbe
Seguin
Prospal

Pronger – Kaberle
Campbell – Souray

Dubnyk
Smith
Labarbera
Budaj

See you in a couple of days as we take a look at Greatness and Porters Penguins.

WTHL Team Review: Ploughmans Posse

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Howdy folks and welcome to the first installment as I review the teams in the ultra-competitive WTHL, as we compare what teams may have been looking to add to their respective rosters pre-draft, how their draft went in accomplishing this, and how their team stacks up when staring down 1520 man-games of rotisserie fantasy hockey.

Let’s start at the top with the reigning champion Ploughmans Posse. Not only did P-man get to enjoy his Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup last season, but he coasted to an easy victory while sporting several Bruins on his roster. Let’s look at his keepers going into the draft.

1. Zdeno Chara
2. Daniel Briere
3. Patrice Bergeron
4. Joe Pavelski
5. Nathan Horton
6. Brendon Morrow
7. Cam Fowler
8. Tuukka Rask

At first glance, not incredibly impressive. His keepers feature some key pieces of some good teams, and even coverage of the WTHL stat categories, but limited in goal with the one time starter/current back-up goalie of the Bruins with Rask. Contract wise, he’s in good shape.

Keeper Grade: B-

He managed to work the trade lines over the offseason and shipped out Jaroslav Halak, Patrick Kane, Jarome Iginla and Ryane Clowe to get back in the upper rounds after gutting his draft picks to ensure victory in 2010/2011, stockpiling the top two picks of 2011. Nifty work, considering their respective contract status and overall value. Kane’s wrist recovery is being closely monitored, and Iginla is perhaps the lone bright spot on a dismal team who’s been dealing with back spasms in camp. Here’s how P-man did at the draft:

1. Tim Thomas
2. Eric Staal
8. Erik Karlsson
56. RJ Umberger
100. TJ Oshie
149. Marek Zidlicky
165. Chris Neil
170. Curtis Glencross
181. Wayne Simmonds
192. Ryan Ellis
202. Joel Ward
208. Francois Beauchemin
212. Andrew Brunette
219. David Jones
237. Magnus Paajarvi

After mortgaging the 2011 draft to ensure victory, P-man did the best with what he had. His contracts are in great shape and trading assets he couldn’t keep to get those 1st round picks were key. He chose to load up with skaters and increase fantasy scoring by committee instead of diluting his goaltending tandem in the hopes that Thomas (and Rask) can come close to repeating those magical SV% numbers of their championship season.

Draft Grade: B-

All told, P-man has a strong top 6 with a complimentary bottom 6 and an impressive defensive corps. He may have made one too many trades last year and wrecked his draft and chances for a repeat, but he’ll once again contend for the championship and looks good for going into next year as well thanks to his offseason gamesmanship.

Team Grade: B-

Depth Chart of current team – One trade since draft day
Morrow – Staal – Briere
Umberger – Pavelski – Horton
Glencross – Bergeron – Jones
Brunette – Oshie – Simmonds

Neil
Helm

Chara – Karlsson
Streit – Fowler
Zidlicky - Beauchemin

Thomas
Rask

Monday, September 19, 2011

Introducing New WTHL Insider

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Our beloved WTHL continues to evolve in the 7th season. Beyond the world of new stats and trackers and rules and awards, this season we have a new feature being added to this blog and the league as a whole. At this time, we'd like to proudly announce the addition of WTHL's first Insider!

Fellow GM Tim takes this task head on, and in doing so will be providing analysis and updates throughout the year. To begin, he has some pre and post draft analysis on the way. Please read below for more information on this from the man himself.
I'll be doing a review of two teams per article, giving each team a grade of their keepers going into the draft and a grade of how their draft went. Just so people know I'm not hauling opinion out of my ass, grades are calculated by creating a rough median of player value with respect to 2011/2012 forecasts projected by McKeens, Dobber, and The Hockey News with respect to the stat categories used in the WTHL. So you'll see three brief summaries for each team (Keepers going into draft, Draft, Team evaluation post-draft with a final grade)

Also, since this is a deep league with 23 man rosters, I'll add on a depth chart for each team. With our league including categories like hits, blocks, etc I figured it could be a nice reflection of what lines, defensive pairings, starting goalies each team would ice if this were an actual hockey league. The depth charts are more for fun than any real evaluation, but could give us a peek at the hidden value of players with high hit and block counts. - Tim
Sounds exciting no?

The league offices would like to take this time to thank Insider Tim for this initiative and we look forward to all  future contributions!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On Moving and Shaking

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As everyone knows (save perhaps the two new GM's) each week an award is given to the hottest team over the previous 7 days. We refer to this award as the Mover and Shaker award, which essentially is one free move, and is handed out each Sunday to the team who gains the most points during the week. The stats for these awards can be found in our weekly tracker and each week a screenshot of the stats, plus a mini writeup, will be posted on this blog as well. You can check out some of the past write ups by browsing the Topics by GM list on the left sidebar if interested.

PLEASE NOTE: The first week of the season will be a short one as the NHL opens on a Thursday night, which means the first award will be based on those three days. Everyone should also note that the starting rank for everyone is their end rank last season. The first weeks award will be based on who moves and shakes from there.

So with all that said, we're just 3 weeks away until the first Mover and Shaker is handed out. Whoopie!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

League Activity Explodes

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It hasn't even been a week since the draft, but that hasn't stopped GM's from already working on their respective teams. In just 5 days, we already have 7 trades conducted involving a total of 20 players and 22 draft picks being swapped. Who knows how many trade offers are out there as GM's send counter after counter to make something happen. It could be many or could be none, but with this many trades done already, it's likely to be many.

The waiver wire hasn't been as active as the trades, but some players have been grabbed and dropped in the first few days. In non player related news, smack talk activity has picked up as well with banter on the boards beginning in a big way. It's all rather exciting in the world of the WTHL right now. With still over 2 weeks to go before the 2011-2012 NHL season begins, the explosion of league activity is a great sign of just how exciting this year will be.

Bring on Oct 6th!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On League Dues

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As noted in the official rule book (after being voted apon by 10 enthusiastic GM's) league dues have been upped to $50 dollars this year and are essentially due now. Many have already paid and I encourage the rest to do so as soon as possible. The league will be using a tool added to the Yahoo system this season for tracking who has paid and who hasn't. This is mainly to ensure everyone knows what they owe. You can find this tracker tool by going here.

This would also be a great time to remind everyone of the payouts going forward: $500 for 1st, $200 for 2nd and $50 for 3rd. That's not too shabby at all.

Monday, September 12, 2011

On Draft Pick Trading

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We will making a slight change to operations this season to accommodate the addition of draft picks within the Yahoo system itself... and quite simply, it just makes sense to do this anyway.

Starting with next years draft, we will be inserting the Keeper selections at the END of the draft instead of the first 10 picks. This means we are trading Rounds 1 to 13 during the season (and off) should we wish. Rounds 14-23 will be the Keepers, so DO NOT attempt to trade them when conducting trades. Penalties (because the Commish is a prick) may apply should this happen, mainly because there is no ability to fix it at the moment (not just the prick thing).

If you're wondering, though Yahoo has the trades listed (you can see them here), the tracker we are all familiar with will still be updated.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We still only have the ability to trade a traded pick ONE TIME. Yahoo may let you do it many times, but the rules state (until we open for debate again now that yahoo added the trades) that we can only trade any pick 2 times.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Start Ranks Updated - Draft Tonight!

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For those interesting in comparing each others Keepers, the tracker has been updated to include the starting rank of all 128 Keepers. The number entered here is what's listed as the O-Rank in the yahoo pages. Visit the Keeper page now to check it out!

Also, more importantly, THE DRAFT IS IN ABOUT 9 HOURS.

That is all.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Draft Gathering

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It's been customary as of the past few years to get together for the live draft. In past years, as many as half the league or more have joined each another in a single location to conduct their picks... and this year will be no different!

This sunday September 11th, the 2011-2012 kicks off at 9:30pm (NL time) and if you're interested in joining other GM's for this event, we'll be gathering at GM Brinston's house that evening. It is suggested that you show up at least 30 minutes early to ensure you connection is working fine, and please be sure to bring your own laptops. Without it, you will not be able to draft players and therefor would be useless for you to be there... unless you just want the company. :)

More details to come via email...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

One Week to Draft

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The summer passed quickly and it's all but certain that September will as well. With that being the case, next Sunday will be here before we know it and next Sunday is a big day: DRAFT DAY! That's right, in just over one week time, we will be selecting the remaining 15 players for our rosters. So, set your calenders and reminders to Sunday September 11th, 2011 at 9:30pm (Newfoundland time). Don't miss out!

Please see this recent post for more information on the draft.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Keepers Locked In

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Midnight has come and with it the deadline for Keeper selections. I'm pleased to say (though it would have been fun to randomly draw 8 players) that all GM's got their lists in on time. Now that all have been submitted and the deadline has passed, I've gone ahead and set the players within Yahoo now as well. If you check out the Draft Results page, you'll see the first 8 rounds populated. What's also neat is that the Players list now has the Keepers excluded. This is great for drafting purposes. Next up, Draft Day...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Deadline Day Deal

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With only a few short hours to go before the Keeper deadline passes and offseason trading ends, a deadline day deal was reached. Porters Penguins shipped out Fowler plus his 1st and 4th round picks to Ploughman's Posse. In exchange he received Halak plus 5th and 8th round picks.

Will this be the last official trade of the off season? We'll find out in an hour...

In 24 Hours

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In 24 hours, the final list of Keepers will be due. When the clock strikes midnight on September 2nd, whatever has been submitted will be locked in. Should the full 8 not be submitted, a random draw of players from the applicable final roster will fill any holes.

In 24 hours, off season trading ends. At that time no movement of players can happen until immediately following the draft.

In 24 hours, the draft is just under 11 days away. Set your reminders.