Thursday 6 October 2011

Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Hockey Draft Review - My 2011/2012 Sydney Kangaroos Fantasy Hockey
Sydney Kangaroos Draft Review 2011/2012
By W D Nicolson, October 6, 2011
Last year the Sydney Kangaroos joined the 'Puckeyes' Fantasy Hockey League, looking to upstage a bunch of North Americans  at their own game... and finished runner's up.

Not a bad effort for our first season in a league that had been around since 2007 but still disappointing to get so close to a win in our debut season and failing to achieve it.

The draft was kind to us last year and this year we might have an even better squad... well if it isn't 2011 that is. Because one look at the roster suggests the draft might have taken place a decade ago, rather than on Tuesday.

Draft Recap:
The Pittsburgh-bias kicked in early with Evgeni Malkin coming on board with the 4th overall pick, and then - concussion or no concussion - grabbing Sidney Crosby with the 21st overall pick was a no brainer (unless he doesn't play again) and the Penguin trifecta kicked in with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury becoming a Roo with pick 28.

So right off the bat, you know that it'll be a case of so goes the Penguins - so go the Roos.

Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard was plucked perhaps a little high in the 4th round at pick 45, but Columbus winger Rick Nash is a potential steal at 52nd overall, followed by the legendary Martin Brodeur at pick 69 to complete a outstanding goaltending trio. Last year Jonathan Quick, Marty Turco and Fleury were the Roos' starting three - and even though Quick and Fleury were great, Turco's meltdown to Chicago backup means that having three bonafide starters entering 2011/2012 makes the Roos even better than last year.

The defence was addressed next with new Philadelphia captain Chris Pronger getting a chance to prove he can still play at pick 76 and then Florida bound Brian Campbell being given a green light to go nuts offensively with pick 93. Boston playmaker David Krejci was next at pick 100, with veteran wingers Teemu Selanne (117th overall) and Jaromir Jagr (124th overall) forming a duo that could have gone 1st-2nd overall 10 or 12 years ago.

Buffalo centre Derek Roy is a gamble at 141st overall after missing most of last year with injury, while Chris Kunitz (148th overall) will play with Malkin or Crosby - which means points, and another veteran winger Daniel Alfredsson (165th overall) is being banked on to be solid if not spectacular for a horrible Ottawa team.

The final four picks addressed depth on defence and a wing spot. Matt Carle (172nd overall) generally plays with Pronger on the Philly defence - so his addition makes sense, Patrik Elias might be aging but getting last year's top scorer on the Devils with pick 189 is just good business. With the pickings slim for the final two spots on the roster - defencemen Stephane Robidas (196th overall) and Dan Girardi (213th overall) were taken due to the fact they'll see plenty of ice time with the Stars and Rangers respectively.

Here's a look at the roster in full. Here is the link to the League.
Well it is fair to say the Sydney Kangaroos are not lacking in star power - old or new. 
Malkin is the smart pick for all the major awards. In other words he could end up with the Art Ross (Top Scorer), The Hart (League MVP), Rocket Richard (Most Goals) and the Ted Lindsay Award (Players' MVP) - and he's capable of being that good. And that's not to say Sidney Crosby isn't capable of taking out all those awards either - but his health issues mean Malkin is likely to carry the torch early.
Veterans Selanne, Alfredsson, Pronger, Elias and Jagr have all been superstars at some point in their Fantasy Hockey careers - and if half of them squeeze out those sort of seasons - the Roos will be a force offensively.
The goaltending is just about as good as you could hope for - providing both Howard and Brodeur keep their jobs as undisputed starters. Broduer might be now in the elderly category but he's still a star and Howard should get his share of victories on a Detroit team that still looks pretty good.
Rick Nash is the wildcard up front - he could score 50 goals and if Crosby and Malkin both crack 100 points - matching the scoring out put on the Roos is going to be tough as across the league.
The Defence. Pronger is old and coming off a season ending injury, Campbell might have an horrendous plus/minus in Florida even if he scores 50 points, Carle can't be trusted to get 39 assists again and both Robidas and Girardi aren't guys you bank on 40 points from every season. Plus/Minus will be the key for this group - if they don't hurt the team too much in that category - the Roos will be happy.
Age. Look at the roster - it's ancient! Enough said.
Crosby's head. Will he even play?
Plus the likes of Kunitz, Roy and Krejci are rolls of the dice - could be very good, could be mediocre.
Bottom Line:
Drafting a team like this means the Sydney Kangaroos have just one goal in mind - a championship. And Crosby's health seems destined to be tied directly to the chances of that happening.
Enjoy your NHL this season... go the!