I don't know a single playoff pool that saw Shawn Horcoff of the Edmonton Oilers go first overall. If anyone reading this is in a pool where it did, please write me. I'd like to see it.
So, did you go into your draft with Horcoff, Teemu Selanne, Daniel Briere, Francois Beauchemin, Ales Hemsky, and Andy McDonald in the top 10 on your list? Didn't think so. What about last season (when there was a season)? Did you load up on the likes of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St-Louis, Jarome Iginla, Craig Conroy, and Brad Richards? I'll answer that question for you. No.
This season and last, the hot players to grab early belonged to the Ottawa Senators. Detroit was also a popular team. Dallas had some fans as well. And if I had a nickel for every time I heard how great New Jersey was looking, I could have paid for all my pools this year! Ditto, to a smaller extent, for San Jose and Carolina.
The top 16 teams in the NHL are tight in terms of skill level. So how can there be such a wide majority of experts and poolies who chose the Senators to go far? Why all the desperation to grab Jason Spezza with the fourth overall pick in your draft (since Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley were already picked)?
I have a new strategy for next year's pool. And I'm not just doing this because I've been effectively removed from playoff competition this year.
Here it is: pick the best player available for your first two rounds and then build your squad around those two players' teams.
Had I drafted eighth this year, I know Briere would have been the next guy on my list. The best three Sens would be gone, Joe Thornton would be gone, and Patrik Elias, Iginla and Eric Staal would be chosen as well. When the picks come back to me for Round 2, Selanne would be the next best player available. I could then spend the next five or six rounds building my team up with Sabres and Ducks. How would I look?
Here's my point: teams are too close. So close it seems silly to trip over yourself to get a player on a team you think will go far. Or maybe it's just sour grapesÂ…
Farm Report: Detroit farmhand Jiri Hudler is fourth in American League playoff scoring with 17 points in 12 games. His Grand Rapids Griffins are in the Calder Cup semi-finalsÂ…The Vancouver Giants won the Western League championship. Columbus blue-chipper Gilbert Brule was named playoff MVP after garnering 30 points in 18 games. Twelve of those points came in the final series, a four game sweep over the Moose Jaw Warriors.
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