Monday, October 4, 2010

Fantasy Hockey with Salary Cap - Build a Team

Watching the preseason and looking at rounds of roster cuts, it got me thinking, just what kind of team would I build?  You need a good mix of skill guys and role players.  Danglers, playmakers, and hustlers, guys that score and guys that fight.

I know I have a bit of a different take than some people.  For example, a guy like Matt Ellis, who is a great hustle-guy, but also has little skill and doesn't fight, has no place on my roster.  I also want to stay within the Salary Cap, so this won't involve putting Crosby, Ovechkin, and whoever on the same line.  All Salary Numbers will come from Capgeek.  Let's begin:

The Goaltending
I'm starting here because there are only two positions to fill.  Therefore it is the easiest.  Now I don't necessarily believe you need an all world goalie to win a Stanley Cup.  I think Cam Ward, J.S. Giguere, Chris Osgood, and Antii Nieme have proven that in recent years.  So I won't be putting Ryan Miller in this position.  I also don't believe in paying out the ass for a backup either.

For a starter I want someone dependable, capable of shutting an opponent down, and with playoff experience.  For a backup I want someone inexpensive with a bit to prove, capable of starting on any given night.

G - Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix Coyotes - $4,250,000
G - Martin Biron, New York Rangers - $875,000

The Defense
This is going to be a tough one.  So many spots to fill, and I want to leave space to get a solid group of forwards.  I think, with the top pair I have in mind coming fairly cheap, I can manage to have 1A, 1B, and 3 defensive pairings.  I like tough defensemen.  I like guys that block shots, and I like guys that fight.  I also like guys that play a responsible game, that have a high +/-.

D1 - Tyler Myers, Buffalo Sabres - $1,300,000
D1 - Shaone Morrisonn, Buffalo Sabres - $2,075,000

D2 - Zybnek Michalek, Pittsburgh Penguins - $4,000,000
D2 - Kyle Quincey, Colorado Avalanche - $3,125,000

D3 - Greg Zanon, Minnesota Wild - $1,933,333
D3 - Brett Clark, Tampa Bay Lightning - $1,500,000

I think these combos give a good amount of grit without dipping too far into the bank.  The top two pairings are strong and capable against teams with deep forwards, like Washington and Pittsburgh.  For the third pairing, I just went through the stats and grabbed two guys who blocked a ton of shots, and put up okay +/- numbers.

I don't need an offensive defenseman like Brian Campbell or Mike Green who can't play defense.  That shit's for pussies.

The Forwards
That leaves me just over $40,000,000 to fill out three lines of forwards and three healthy scratches.  I'll start from the bottom and work my way up.  In my three scratches, I want one extra forward, one extra versatile, defender, and one extra ass kicker for when Montreal and Philly come to town.

Now I don't know too much about the bottom feeders in the league as far as players are concerned.  The Ass Kicker, and the versatile defenseman are pretty easy.  For the extra forward, I'll probably just pick someone random.

BN AK - Zenon Konopka, New York Islanders - $600,000
BN D - Nathan Paetsch, Florida Panthers - $525,000
BN F - Ryan Carter, Anaheim Ducks - $625,000

Moving right along.  On my team, line four is largely going to be responsible for beating the shit out of people while still playing half decent hockey.  They need to be able to hit, and they need to be able to fight, and they need to be fairly big.

Line 4
LW - Cody McCormick, Buffalo Sabres - $500,000
C -  Tanner Glass, Vancouver Canucks - $625,000
RW - Patrick Kaleta, Buffalo Sabres - $907,500

God damn that makes me horny.
I want my third line to essentially be a shutdown line, a line of gritty players that can kill penalties and play good defensive hockey.  I might be willing to open the bank for one or two guys, but I don't want a line making more than it's worth.  I really like the possibilities a certain line from the Sabres provides, so I think I'm just going to borrow it.

Line 3
LW - Jochen Hecht, Buffalo Sabres - $3,525,000
C - Rob Niedermayer, Buffalo Sabres - $1,250,000
RW - Mike Grier, Buffalo Sabres - $1,500,000

Is Hecht overpaid?  Yes.  Is he a bit too much of a scorer for the third line?  Yes.  But you're going to have guys like Niedermayer and Grier on the third line anyways.  I don't think Hecht's production would suffer too badly, and he's the type of player who isn't going to care if it does.  He's going to work hard, play smart, and not concede goals.  Exactly what you need.

Now I have about $30,000,000 left for six spots worth of guys that can put the puck in the net.  My second line is going to be a +/- line, guys that can score a crap-ton of goals without conceding very many.  Why not go to a team that is legendary for playing responsible hockey?

Line 2
LW - Zack Parise, New Jersey Devils - $3,125,000
C - Travis Zajac, New Jersey Devils - $3,887,500
RW - Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks - $3,900,000

That line would be a nightmare for opposing defenses.  And now for the top line.  Just score goals.  That's it.  Put the puck, in the net.

Line 1
LW - Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres - $7,142,857
C - Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning - $3,725,000
RW - Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers - $7,500,000

Okay, I admit, I'm cheating a little bit here, since Stamkos is an RFA next season and stands to make a truckload of money.  But that's next season, when that rolls around, I can deal Hecht and do a bunch of other things to make it work.

So I'm curious, what does team CV's statline look like based on last year's stats?  And where would that team have ranked?

Goals Scored - 298 (2nd)
Goals Against - 204 (4th)*
PIM - 1,169 (25th most, thank you Zenon Konopka)

*Based on an Average of Biron's numbers for an 82 games season, Bryzgalov's numbers for an 82 game season, and the team's overall +/-

Would it be possible to assemble such a team?  Probably not.  Most of the players, especially the top line guys are immovable.  You'd have to pay out your ass to even have a shot at them in a trade, and some of them, like Myers and Stamkos, are going to get massive pay increases when their free agency rolls around.

But it was fun to do.

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