The playoffs are less than two weeks away. Time to start thinking about what kind of pool you're going to run.
Fantasy Hockey Faceoff is here to help with some ideas for playoff pool formats: some simple, some more creative. Plus, we have advice on roster moves to make to help you down the stretch of your regular-season league.
Next week, in our final column of the season, we'll offer tips on which players to take when it's time to make your picks.
Still looking for a league? It's a little late, but you can try CBC's Hockey Night in Canada Fantasy Pool
presented by KIA. It's free to play and the top prize is a new Sorento.
Are you a diehard fan of the Fantasy Hockey Faceoff guys? You're in luck! Follow Jesse
on Twitter, plus the CBC Sports fantasy hockey account
.Simple playoff pool ideaJesse:
Complex playoff pool setups can be more interesting for diehard fans (more on that later) but don't forget that pools are most fun when everyone in the office (or class or bar or whatever) is in on the action. It gives everyone something better to talk about than the weather, and can spark some good-natured trash talk. So my advice is to avoid making your pool too intimidating to casual hockey fans. The best way to do that is to go with the old "pick any 15 skaters, most total points wins" formula. Maybe add a twist like making goals worth two points and assists one, or including a plus-minus category.
While you're at it, make things easier on yourself as the pool commissioner. Several websites out there will help you run your pool for free, allowing you to input rosters and automatically updating point totals so anyone in your league can keep track of the standings any time they want (I like onlinepools.com). No more spreadsheets!Jordan:
If you go with the "pick any players" pool, make it a larger roster that also requires goalies (or a "team" goalie) to avoid lots of managers' having very similar rosters. If you still like getting together with friends for pools like I do, why not take the "snake draft" approach and have each player available to only one manager, just like you do for the regular season. There are so many possible playoff scenarios in the NHL this year that it's hard to predict which teams will still be standing in June. As of now, the Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves potentially facing the Flyers, but then again, the team could jump into first in the East and take on either the Sabres, Capitals or Senators. That's a huge difference. With that in mind, I suggest doing your draft early. Not knowing the match-ups could really shake things up. One more thing: long live spreadsheets!More creative pool ideasJordan:
Now that we have the simple formats out of the way, let's get to the good stuff. In the past
, we've suggested pools based on players' country of origin (in honour of the Olympics), pools that put a cap on the number of regular-season points your players accumulated, and pools that allowed you to take only players from seeds No. 5-8 in each conference. Staying in that realm, allow me to suggest a pool that requires each manager to take players from one team and one team only from each
NHL division, for a total of 12-20 players. Keep it all forwards and defencemen, or spice things up by adding two goalies. If the Avalanche and Caps both make the playoffs, there will be at least two teams from each division in the post-season. This type of pool will force you to choose a team from each division and go with it. So would you take the Rangers, Flyers or Pens for your Atlantic team? Would you load up on the Blues, Wings, Hawks or Preds for the Central? Tweet us and let us know what you've decided on.Jesse:
You alluded to a few good ideas, so let me go into a bit more detail on those.
Set a regular-season points limit (600, say) and ask everyone in your pool to submit a list of 10 players whose combined points total falls under that bar. (Break out the calculators and the coffee, because you're guaranteed to lose sleep thinking of ways to improve your team before the deadline.) You mentioned the "underdog pool" where you're only allowed to pick players from teams seeded No. 5-8. Hey, everyone loves upsets. In that vein, what about limiting picks to players on franchises that have never won a Cup? Or how about taking one player from each of the 16 playoff clubs? Think about it for a few minutes and I'll bet you come up with a bunch of your own.Add this guy!Jordan:
With some teams already eliminated from playoff contention and others dealing with multiple injuries, there are several largely unowned players currently worth a look. In Boston, both Brian Rolston
and Beniot Pouliot
have caught fire at the right time for the Bruins. Rolston is riding a seven-game point streak (12 points) and yet is only 12 per cent owned, while his teammate has nine points in his last seven games and is three per cent owned.
In Detroit, the Wings seemingly have mined another late-round steal in Gustav Nyquist
. The former fourth-round pick is available in 100 per cent of Yahoo! leagues and could really help you if you're in an extremely deep pool. Nyquist has points in four of his past five games. And keep an eye on New Jersey's Travis Zajac
, who had an Achilles injury most of the year and was just activated from the injured reserve this week.Jesse: Sergei Bobrovsky
is there for the taking in four out of five Yahoo! leagues, and he could be in line for some starts with Ilya Bryzgalov
nursing a chip fracture in his foot. The Flyers are calling the Russian Carl Sagan day-to-day, but it looks like Bobrovsy will at least start Thursday in Toronto (good place to pick up a win, no?) and maybe more. Think about it: Philly's chances of catching Pittsburgh for the No. 4 seed aren't great (they're four points back with only six to play) and dropping into the No. 6 slot would actually work in their favour. Instead of opening the first round in Pittsburgh, they'd head to Florida, where the phony No. 3 seed Panthers await. So why rush Bryzgalov back?
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