2010 2011 NHL Hockey Pool Prospects and Strategy
Looking for that extra edge in your hockey pool? Here is the first of a series of articles to help you get that extra edge you need.
The Hockey Pool: A True Passion
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of being involved in my fair share of hockey pools. To those who are uninitiated, the spectacle of a bunch of grown men (and women) agonizing over each and every one their carefully evaluated picks must seem more than just a little bit odd. To those of us involved though, this is serious business, often with some serious money and even more serious bragging rights being at stake. Like many pool junkies, I've had many the night where I have come home from work and gone straight to the computer to check the night's box scores to see if my picks had a good night.
Of course, hockey pools tend to be a lot more fun when you are in contention. That is why preparation for your initial draft is an absolute must if you want to be able to get the most bang for your pool dollars. You want to be able to draft more reliable, top quality players than your fellow poolies and the only way to do this is to know more than them. Over the next few weeks I willl be publishing a series of articles about my analysis for players in this upcoming season. I'll try to comment on the blue chippers and of course the sleeper picks which can really win you a pool. (Thank you Maxime Afinegenov, and Rich Peverly!)
For now, here are a few fairly common tips that you may or may not have thought about.
Tips for a Successful Pool
1. Defensemen. If you have to draft defensemen for your pool, be aware that there are only a limited number of high scoring defensemen. If you can get your blue chippers early, you may end up with a significant advantage over your competitors.
2. Injuries. Pay attention to injury history. If an injury prone player had a big year last year, the odds of this happening again might not be all that good.
3. PPG. When picking players, this stat is often overlooked. There are some players who slip through the cracks due to the fact that they didn't play in enough games the previous season in order to rack up some serious totals. Also if you can find it, check out a player's ppg for each quarter of the season. I have found that this can be a very good indicator of a player's potential for the following year, particularly with young players.
4. Returnees. Be aware of players who are returning to the NHL after significant time away. This year there are a few players of note who have returned after a stint in the KHL.
5. Former High Draft PIcks. Not every high draft pick is going to be like Patrick Kane and begin lighting up the league immediately. Some take a few years to develop. Be aware of top 10 picks from the last few years that have offensive upside to really come into their own this year. A few years back Eric Staal when from 31 points one year to 100 the next.
6. Beware the Aging Hero. Father time has a habit of catching up with some players in a hurry. Be a bit wary of picking players who are getting into their mid 30's and beyond.
7. Goalies. If your pool gives points for starts, make sure that you research goaltenders who will most likely play a lot. Pay attention to who their back up is. There is nothing worse than picking a goaltender who ends up losing his starting job.
8. Good player, Bad Team. Even bad teams score goals sometimes. A lot of good point producing players tend to get overlooked and slip in a draft because they play on bad teams.
9. Rookies. As a rule, make sure that if you pick a rookie, you are sure that they are not going to be sent to the minors, or even worse, back to junior. Also, if you do pick one or two, be patient with them, a lot of top notch rookies tend to find their stride in the second half o the season.
Well, there you have it. These are some of my tips. I'll be doing a team by team look in future weeks, so please stay tuned.
Best of luck and happy researching!
Team by Team Analysis
Here is the list of team by team links. As more reviews are done, more links will be added:
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
Toronto Maple Leafs
Detroit Red Wings
Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils