Friday, January 28, 2011

NHL All-Star Draft - Team Lidstrom

Eddie and I agreed that we both feel like the Team Lidstrom trio is a little more impressive than the Team Staal trio, but certainly you're not unhappy with either set of superstars. Here's how I arranged my lines:

Forwards

Line 1 - Henrik Sedin, Martin St. Louis, Corey Perry
Line 2 - Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson, Paul Stasny
Line 3 - Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Martin Havlat
Line 4 - Matt Duchene, Daniel Briere, David Backes

Defense

Pairing 1 - Nicklas Lidstrom, Zdeno Chara
Pairing 2 - Dan Boyle, Brent Burns
Pairing 3 - Dustin Byfuglien, Erik Karlsson

Goalies

Period 1 - Carey Price
Period 2 - Tim Thomas
Period 3 - Henrik Lundqvist

What Happened During the Draft

Coming in, I had only one plan: get Chara. My feeling was that he was the one guy, even more than Stamkos, who was a cut above the rest of the guys at his position. Had Eddie taken Chara first, I'd have obviously settled on the goal-scorer extraordinaire Stamkos, but I was glad that Chara fell.

Of course, after I saw how the first two picks went for Eddie, I immediately questioned my selection of Chara. I mean, Chara's great, but Stamkos, Ovechkin, and Staal or Kesler creates a pretty impossible matchup for even the best opponents. I had to trust my gut, and hope I had planned correctly.

I had been hoping to get both Sedins, but I didn't pay attention to the fact that Eddie already had two centers when I took Henrik. Had I taken Daniel, maybe I'd have been able to snag Henrik the following round. Or maybe it wouldn't have mattered. I'm a big fan of Brad Richards, so I'm okay with how things turned out there.

I really liked the guys in the middle of my draft. Perry, Byfuglien, Toews, Boyle, and Duchene were all guys I had hoped to get. I took Tim Thomas and Henrik Lundqvist a little earlier than I had to, because I didn't want to get backed into having to take Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury can be great, but he can also single-handedly lose games for you.

In the last few picks, I was really just looking for guys to fill out the roster. Havlat's a nice veteran, and Stasny showed during the Olympics that he has the capability to shine on a big stage. David Backes is on my fantasy hockey team, and he's putting up great numbers for me. Also, I heard somewhere that if he got picked last, he'd start knocking heads at the All-Star game. Both Eddie and I agreed that this was reason enough to let him slip to the last pick.

Laying the Lines

Picking the lines was more art than science, in that I didn't really have much in the way of a "valid" reason to partner up certain guys; I just went with my gut mostly.

On the first forwards line, I wanted to make sure I had enough firepower to compete with what would inevitably be a more talented line on the other side. I hear Corey Perry is kind of a bastard to play against, so I like him on that line. Sedin and St. Louis are megastars. I tried to pair up teammates where I could, putting Toews and Kane on one line, Richards and Eriksson on another.

On defense, I tried to make sure that each pairing had at least one rough and tumble type player. That's why Chara, Burns, and Byfuglien are each on different lines (although the idea of putting Chara and Byfuglien on the same line was briefly very appealing). I know you're technically not supposed to "hit" in the All-Star game, but come on. Somebody's gonna get chippy.

I knew I wanted Lundqvist to finish out the game, so he was a no-brainer for the third. I feel like Carey Price is a well-liked player, and certainly exciting, so I chose him to open the game. I put Tim Thomas in the middle to keep the pressure low on him, but also because a good second period can put your team in great shape. And his numbers this year are just phenomenal.

It's a shame that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin weren't able to participate this year. The only thing I really know is that the Caps and Pens don't like each other, and it would've been interesting to see how that manifested itself in this draft. Though maybe we'll still get some snark between Kris Letang and Ovechkin...

Dare to dream.

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