Since we’re in the middle of draft season, we’re going to turn our attention to more specific draft data and subject you all to a bit of my own drafting philosophy. This week, the focus will be on those draft-ending swings — but more on that in a minute.
Essentially, every draft pick we make is a lottery ticket. Every year players are underperforming, overperforming, getting injured, having a blast, missing time, etc. With our top draft picks, we’re targeting players who have the best chance of producing at the highest level. That doesn’t mean every pick will hit those highs, but they’re generally the ones we think are most likely to do so. As we go down the draft board, the chances of these players reaching different heights also decrease. That doesn’t mean your sixth-round pick won’t outplay your second-round pick, but the odds of that happening are lower. As we come to the end of the draft, we have a choice to make. Let’s start picking players who have a higher chance of doing something mediocre (and therefore not disappointing us) or a lower chance of doing something bigger. I can’t speak to all the leagues, but in general I’m very supportive of them.
A few hits late in the draft or in free agency can make your season, while those mediocre guys certainly won’t. You might not finish last, but for most that’s not the goal. The philosophy here is that the bottom of your roster is full of players you want to be able to drop to catch the breakout player at the start of the season, so fill those slots with booming players you can part ways with. quickly if they look like a bust.
Today we’re going to spend some time at the end of the draft list and identify some people that would be worth adding to your final picks because they have a chance of succeeding at something, but that you can probably give up pretty quickly if the deployment or the occasion doesn’t fit.
For the purposes of today’s article, we’re grabbing Fantrax’s Average Draft Positions (ADP). This is the whole site, so the settings will have varied depending on the league structure, but it’s definitely a good place to start. We’ll focus on the end drafts assuming the top 190 or so players are already selected (assuming a standard league has 12 teams with 16 players). To analyze the players, we’ll be looking at their Frozen Tool player profile as well as their recent line mates using the Last Game Lines tools.
To start off, we’re going to highlight a few players who fall in the end here but still end up being drafted in over 40% of the leagues.
A few notes about this table – %D is the percentage of leagues the person was drafted in. ADP is the average draft position of this player assuming he was drafted and the ADP rank is where his ADP ranks against other players. As is clear from this table, it does not necessarily correspond exactly to their ADP, although it is generally correlated.
Jared McCann is an interesting choice. It’s not entirely clear from the preseason lines exactly what coach Dave Hakstol is going to do for a top line or a power play. He is currently having them perform what could be two even units. The increased offensive production that Andre Burakovsky, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Matty Beniers are expected to bring could be a boon for McCann if he can work his way into a top unit power play. If he starts on a second unit, or if the units are spread very evenly to start the season, he could be the one to drop to find the next hot player.
Very similar ratings hold for Phil Kessel and Reilly Smith. Both are currently playing on the front line and the best power play with Jack Eichel. If it lasts for a while, it’s an opportunity to give them both a chance and see what happens. A wildcard here is that Mark Stone was out of action in the first pre-season game. If he knocks one of them out of the upper power play and the front row, it’s probably safe to drop that person.
David Krejci has been this solid but unspectacular producer for most of his career. It doesn’t fill the categories exceptionally well either. He makes this list though because he seems to be the de facto top scorer like with Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak. As long as Brad Marchand is out, the former first line looks a lot less formidable, so there’s an opportunity for Krejci’s line to take on more scoring duties. Similarly, the Bruins can rely on Jake DeBrusk a bit more and finding a role in that power play would be great for his value.
Now let’s move on to players drafted in less than 40% of leagues
The Seattle players here (Shane Wright, Jaden Schwartz, Yanni Gourde and Justin Schultz) are here for the same reason McCann is. In pre-season they seem to be running several possibly superior units depending on the game with all those players on them. There’s clearly no room for everyone on a true top unit, but until we get a little more info here, grab a risk-free flyer then drop it for someone on a streak hot.
Pavel Zacha is here for the same reasons as DeBrusk and Krejci. With Marchand out, he gets increased ice time with Patrice Bergeron and DeBrusk. It’s a bigger role and with better players than he’s used to, so it might be worth taking a chance to see if he gets hot to start the season.
Philip Tomasino, William Eklund and Kaapo Kakko are here for a very specific reason: their week one schedule. Well, and the fact that they’ve been hyped leads that haven’t broken out yet. Nashville and San Jose are the only teams that play four times in the first weekly game (assuming you’re using Yahoo’s schedule) and there’s a big gap after their first two games when no one else is playing. This gives the manager of any Nashville and San Jose player an additional two games of scoring potential, plus the ability to drop the player if he doesn’t pan out and add someone for a regular schedule. next week. Kaapo Kakko doesn’t have such a nice schedule, but plays three times and has a day off on Saturdays when almost every other team is playing. This means you don’t need to bench a player to get their plays. For these three players, what you really get is a chance for the deployment to shake things up a bit and see if they’re ready for a virtually cost-free escape.
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