By Brian Metzer/Al Willig
The National Hockey League’s All-Star extravaganza is right around the corner and as of last year’s event; the weekend now contains a fantasy draft to select the teams. I know that you all already knew that, but I figured that I would throw it out there… I mean, there were some folks who didn’t realize that additional guys could still be added to the game after the fan votes were finalized, so I am not taking anything for granted.
Anytime that there are drafts on the horizon, “mock drafts” will pop up. They are being done around the league for this event and we are jumping in on the action! My compatriot Al Willig, who writes about the Ottawa Senators, fantasy hockey and the National Hockey League here at FTP on a semi-regular basis, joins me to run through the 1st Annual FTP NHL All-Star Game Fantasy Draft! You may remember that Al and I do a more serious mock over the summer prior to the NHL’s entry draft in June, but this is more of an exercise in goofing off than anything else.
Al, who bleeds Ottawa colors, took on the role of Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist, while I drafted for Team Chara/Lupul. We ran through our picks last night selecting not quite what will happen, but what we thought should happen. Of course we threw in some friendly banter… ill fated attempts at humor and much more… we determined via photo-finish who would select first… and Team Chara/Lupul, you’re on the clock!
Team Chara/Lupul immediately go for a big gun to kick things off and select the league’s leading scorer — Evgeni Malkin. Geno excited to skate on “us line” with Joffrey Lupul… at least until the team fleshes itself out with some additional forwards…
Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist select Erik Karlsson with their first pick. Alfie would not be allowed back in his own house if he does not take Karlsson. Erik the Sen is the favorite player of his children, not to mention that his skating, vision and puck skills are perfect for the wide open format of an All-Star game.
Team Chara/Lupul emerges from a deep conference with Malkin and select Daniel Sedin. Malkin has gotten pretty used to skating with a sniper in James Neal, who has to this point been snubbed from this spectacular event, and didn’t want to get stuck without one. Plus, Sedin/Lupul offers some comparables to his usual line of Neal/Kunitz.
Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist is thrilled to take the league leader in goals scored by selecting Steven Stamkos. How a guy can quietly lead the league in goals is a mystery but that is attributable to the horrendous season Tampa has put together. Besides, they will want some height on the team in case a pickup basketball game breaks out over the weekend.
Team Chara/Lupul decide to get a goalie on the roster and draft Tim Thomas, after all there are only seven more rounds to get three selected. As Thomas’ name is called, the room is a mix of boos and cheers, he quickly tries to calm them by making a “Come on down Ottawa, you’re the next contestant on the Price is Right” joke…
Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist wait for the boos to subside as Thomas jokes about maybe boycotting all national capitals then grab the best playmaker available to feed their sniper; Claude Giroux. Giroux would definitely be in the MVP conversation through the first half of the season.
Team Chara/Lupul know a little bit about identifying MVP candidates and quickly select a guy who is no stranger to that ballot, Pavel Datsyuk. If no one realizes that Stammer is leading the league in goals, just as many might have missed the fact that Datsyuk is sitting third in the scoring race again. He also helps team Chara/Lupul corner the market on Russian centers.
A million Ottawans let out a collective groan at Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist bring goalie Brian Elliott into the fold. Lundqvist tried to dissuade Alfie from spending a high pick on a goalie as he intends to play the entire contest, but Ells was Alfie’s cribbage partner for years.
“Run on goalies,” shouts Team Chara/Lupul as they get to the podium, but instead of going that direction they select Phil Kessel and his 26 goals. Kessel quickly reaches for his cell phone and searches the crowd for Alex Ovechkin in hopes of capturing the look on his face after being one of 28 guys left waiting to be picked…but then it hits him… “Oh yeah…he’s not here.”
The crowd goes wild as Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist take The Spezz Dispenser; Jason Spezza. Jason is sure to be responsible for a number of goals…for both teams.
Team Chara/Lupul has just come to the conclusion that they have both Bruins and Canucks on the same team and it isn’t sitting well with at least one of the captains…to calm the big guy down, Lupul shows him a video of Brad Marchand rag dolling D. Sedin during the Stanley Cup Final. Chara smiling, selects Kris Letang, who would likely be challenging Karlsson for the defensive scoring lead had he not missed a chunk of games dealing with a concussion.
As Lundqvist just knowingly shakes his head, Alfie is roundly booed by both Senators’ fans and Leafs’ fans alike (what’s new) as Team Alfredsson/Lundqvistselect Dion Phaneuf. Alfie thinks he has offered a fig leaf to the Leafs but the attempt falls flat.
Team Chara/Lupul didn’t quite realize that they were already in round 7 and still had just one goalie in Tim Thomas, so they go Quick… as in Jonathan, forming an impenetrable American fortress in front of their net.
In an effort to atone for the Phaneuf mistake, TeamAlfredsson/Lundqvist does what it should have done last round and take Shea Weber; the best all-around defenseman in the league save for the opposing captain.
The “6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara” just shakes his head, as his dream of having a co-howitzer on the blue line died with the last pick, leaving Team Chara/Lupul to select Henrik Sedin upon his brother’s request. “Wonder Twin powers acti…oh, well, you get it…”
In a nod to his King (Henrik), Alfie goes with sniper Marian Gaborik. Lundqvist quips, “He beats me every day in practice…I can’t face having it happen for real. I’d never hear the end of it.”
Though there is a round to spare, Team Chara/Lupul couldn’t bear the thought of allowing their “Wall of US goaltenders” to go unfinished… drafting Jimmy Howard was the only answer. Somewhere Brian Burke smiled and said “Those SOBs will be tending net for my next Olympic team.”
Alfie would have loved to have all the former Senators join him, but unfortunately Big Z was named to the other team. So, TeamAlfredsson/Lundqvist now have a pair of Marians to go with their three of a kind Senators as they welcome back Marian Hossa to make a full house.
Knowing that the the walls are closing in on selecting defensemen, Team Chara/Lupul grab the underrated, yet tied for third in defensive scoring, Alex Edler. Edler should fit nicely with the collection of Sedins that TeamChara/Lupul has assembled..
Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist knew the opposition was la la for American goalies so cooled their heels on drafting Carey Price, whom they wanted anyway. Alfie figures the Habs will be sitting home come playoff time and this pick could curry some favor and persuade Habs fans to get on the Ottawa bus come April.
Though he doesn’t play in the home Province, Team Chara/Lupul knew that they would get the crowd on their side by selecting Canadian World Junior hero Jordan Eberle. The youngster was an injury replacement, but his 45-points (18G-27A) make him a very worthy All-Star.
Pairing up Shea Weber with his regular playing partner just makes good sense, so Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist select Ryan Suter. There is not much time to create chemistry so built-in chemistry will be helpful.
Looks like it is all D-men on this side, as the fifteenth round looms… Team Chara/Lupulselect the resurgent Brian Campbell, who is once again helping Dale Tallon make a team relevant.
While Alfie just learned the name Keith Yandle this evening while playing the Coyotes, he was assured by Kyle Turris that this guy is the real deal.
Team Chara/Lupul thought of grabbing another forward here, but they found it tough to pass on the wily old Kimmo Timonen, who has thrived in the absence of Chris Pronger this season.
King Henrik knows how important Dan Girardi has been to keeping him from fishing pucks from the back of the net so he makes the pick while Alfie is in the bathroom.
Dennis Wideman has been one of the biggest surprises of the season, as he has been the highest scoring defensemen on a team that features an oft wounded Mike Green and an up-and-comer in John Carlson… Team Chara/Lupul proudly add him to their stable of sniping defenders.
In keeping with the chemistry theme, Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist decide on Milan Michalek. They now have a bull for their china shop.
Chara just missed the chance to get a big pop out of the home crowd, so he confers with Lupul before selecting the smug, yet ultra talented P-Kane…Patrick Kane come on down!
Just to put the screws to his old pal, Alfie takes the point/game, leading the Bruins in scoring 19 year old, Tyler Sequin.
Chara steps to the mic and lets out a Seinfeldian “Alfredsson!” through clenched teeth. Wanting someone who he knows is hungry to win, he selects the newest member of the 500-goal club, Jarome Iginla for Team Chara/Lupul.
Jamie Benn, having lost some weight due to his appendectomy, should be flying out there, so Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist takes the best player the Dallas Stars have seen since Modano was in his mid-thirties.
Team Chara/Lupul was a bit torn on this pick, but at the end of the day, Lupul was able to convince his large and in charge partner to select his old pal and reigning league MVP Corey Perry. Though the Ducks season has been pretty fowl, er foul to this point, Perry has potted 22 goals…remember he did most of his scoring in the second half last year.
Team Alfredsson/Lundqvistwas somewhat relieved to not have Perry on the board at this point and equally happy that John Tavares was. This team has some nice chemistry going and the….uh….not so well liked Perry threatened to stir that up. Besides, Tavares has almost as many goals with 19.
Tavares was next up forChara/Lupul, at least if their audible groan is any indication, but they are comfortable selecting the 20-goal scorer Logan Couture to center their fourth line.
We just cannot get enough of the chemistry over here at Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist so welcome aboard Scotty Hartnell. There are now a pair of bulls in the china shop so there may be some “puffing up” when the cows come around. (yeah, alright….I grew up in farm country, yes)
Well, considering that we do not know who the final player in the pool will be, Team Chara/Lupul select the final available body, Jason Pominville…get your cell phones ready, as its soon gonna be picture time!
Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist are happy to select the “player to be named later”. Alex Ovechkin took his puck and went home after being unhappy with his suspension; opening up a spot for someone to score the winning goal for Team Alfie.
(Crappy attempt at a table…format looks perfect in my draft, but not so much in the actual blog…you guys get the idea.)
|Team Chara/Lupul||Team Alfredsson/Lundqvist|
|Round 1||Evgeni Malkin||Erik Karlsson|
|Round 2||Daniel Sedin||Steven Stamkos|
|Round 3||Tim Thomas||Claude Giroux|
|Round 4||Pavel Datsyuk||Brian Elliott|
|Round 5||Phil Kessel||Jason Spezza|
|Round 6||Kris Letang||Dion Phaneuf|
|Round 7||Jonathan Quick||Shea Weber|
|Round 8||Henrik Sedin||Marian Gaborik|
|Round 9||Jimmy Howard||Marian Hossa|
|Round 10||Alex Edler||Carey Price|
|Round 11||Jordan Eberle||Ryan Suter|
|Round 12||Brian Campbell||Keith Yandle|
|Round 13||Kimmo Timonen||Dan Girardi|
|Round 14||Dennis Wideman||Milan Michalek|
|Round 15||Patrick Kane||Tyler Seguin|
|Round 16||Jarome Iginla||Jamie Benn|
|Round 17||Corey Perry||John Tavares|
|Round 18||Logan Couture||Scott Hartnell|
|Round 19||Jason Pominville||PLAYER TO BE NAMED|