NHL

The NHL picks you need for your fantasy league

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Fantasy hockey is starting up again shortly. Hockey enthusiasts and fans will be rushing to draft their winning team to win their leagues for bragging rights or some pocket money. Here's a guide for how to draft the ideal fantasy team for a points based league (eight person league): 

First Round

Draft a star scorer like Ovechkin, Crosby, Benn, Stamkos, Kessel etc. If your draft position is around the seventh/eighth position, draft Phil Kessel.

Kessel will be playing against star centermen Evengi Malkin or Sidney Crosby and will generate a huge amount of points, especially in goals. He generated over 30 goals for the past few seasons playing alongside average centerman Tyler Bozak. Imagine his production alongside Kessel and Malkin. 

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Second Round

If you haven't already drafted Phil Kessel and he is still available, draft him right now, chances are he will produce just as much if not more than your first round pick.

If Kessel is not available or you have drafted him already, try to draft a star defenseman like Erik Karlsson or PK Subban. They will put up huge numbers for you and will become one of your best assets on your team.

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Do not draft a forward unless he is a spectacular, undrafted first rounder, or when both Karlsson and Subban have been picked. If you must draft an attacker, consider drafting Joe Pavelski, Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry or Logan Couture simply for his offensive output. 

Third Round/Fourth Round

These rounds are crucial to the creation of your team. For the third round, try to draft Dustin Byflugien who is basically an attacker but has a defense eligibility and if he is not available, draft a highly regarded goalie like Braden Holtby, Marc Andre Fleury or Tukka Rask.

For the fourth round, draft Max Pacioretty, who is ranked 41st on Yahoo because he will be a stud scorer for your team as well, generating huge amounts of points for your team. If he is not available, draft D/RW Brent Burns or Kris Letang who are also huge points producers. 

Fifth- Eighth Round

For the fifth-sixth round, if Burns, Letang, Pacioretty or Byflugien haven't been drafted yet, draft them. Otherwise, draft the best available goalie such as Crawford, Luongo, Varlamov, Bobrovsky, Schneider etc.

Draft another goalie in the sixth round as well if you don't already have two goalies. Otherwise, draft the best available attacker. You should have at least two goalies at this point. For the seventh round, try to draft  Roman Josi or Oliver Ekman-Larsson. You should have at least two to three defensemen at this point. For the eighth round, pick the best available attacker.

Ninth/Tenth Round

At this point, you would want to solidify your offense with some steal picks. Consider drafting Jason Spezza, Marian Hossa, Jeff Carter, Wayne Simmonds, Ondrej Palat, Patrick Marleau, Ryan Kesler, James Neal etc.

If you have only two defensemen, you must pick another by the tenth round or you will be forced to draft weak defensemen in the next rounds. Consider drafting Andrei Markov, Mike Green, Tyson Barrie etc.

When you are picking forwards, make sure you pick top six forwards (preferably first line) on highly offensive, goal scoring teams. They will help your points production as they are guaranteed to give you loads of points. 

Eleventh-Sixteenth Round

At this point, you should be filling out the rest of your roster with sleepers or unpicked talents that were overlooked. To fill out the offense, consider drafting: Jarome Iginla, Mark Stone (projected to have a whopping 73 points this season), Joe Thornton, Chris Kunitz, David Perron, Brad Marchand, Jeff Skinner, Thomas Vanek, Gustav Nyquist, Ryan Callahan, Mats Zuccarello, Tyler Toffoli and Brendan Gallagher.

To fill out the defensive part of the roster consider drafting: John Klingberg (projected to have a 50 point season, 65 point season which is the same as Erik Karlsson's projected points), Brent Seabrook, Aaron Ekblad, Justin Faulk, Dougie Hamilton, Sami Vatanen, Torey Krug, Jacob Trouba or Dion Phaneuf. 

If you want to have a third goalie, or you failed to draft two goalies in the past rounds, consider drafting: Ondrej Pavelec, Antti Niemi, Andrew Hammond, or Cam Talbot. 

Additional Tips

If you like to take risks with players such as Connor McDavid, do so at your peril and accept the consequences, you have been warned!

If there are any spectacular players with a higher ADP that are left undrafted in later rounds, consider drafting them since they will probably produce more points than the players left for later rounds.

Research the players and know their potential, this will help you out when you are stuck in a dilemma and in later rounds.

Know your league and how the point system works. If your league rewards goals much more than points, draft high goal scoring players like Ovechkin, Kessel, Tavares instead of players like Getzlaf, Crosby who assist much more than they score. Adjust your draft to account for the point values for each category, this will help maximize your points production.

High points producing defensemen are much more valuable than a somewhat high producing attacker.

For example, Karlsson (65 projected points) vs Couture (74 projected points) is a great example. Karlsson is the highest producing defenseman in the league and is unmatched by any other defenseman except for Dustin Byflugien (who you will hopefully draft in the third or fourth round) while Couture's points can be easily matched by players like Pacioretty, Stone, Carter, Hossa, Johansen etc. who could be picked later in the draft. 

Example Team

C: Tyler Seguin

C: Nicklas Backstrom

RW: Marian Hossa

RW: Jeff Carter

LW: Matt Duchene

LW: Max Pacioretty

D: Erik Karlsson

D: Dustin Byflugien

D: Roman Josi

D:  Tyson Barrie

Goalies: Crawford, Luongo

Bench: John Klingberg, Mark Stone, Ryan Callahan, Frederik Andersen

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