It is time to meet the 2008-2009 Argonauts hockey roster. At some point we will do a season recap on the baseball team, but for now we look forward to the white hot competitive action that is hockey starting Saturday. 10 teams entered the league this year, and showing how good I am at the commissionary position, I got to draft 9th (memo to self, cheat on draft order next year). This means all of the stud offensive talent would be off the board by the time I picked (I am looking at yous Crosby, Malkin and Ovechkin) so I had the honor of doing what the Steelers do far to often on draft day, rather than draft for need, they take the best player available. Thankfully, unlike the Steelers, with a roster of zero people going in, any player drafted is also filling a need. That being said, a quick rundown on who ended up on my roster before we drop the puck and get this thing started. Starting with our first pick........
1) Martin Brodeur G - This is about as safe a pick as you can make in hockey. Remarkably consistent in goal, he has won 40 or more games in 7 of the last ten years (the other three were 39, 38 and 38 wins). Rarely will a take a flier this early in the draft, and having someone this consistent fall to the #9 spot was perfectly fine with me.
2) Pavel Datsyuk C - Consistently has gotten better in every year in the league, last year was his best to date, registering 97 points (31 G, 66 A) and with the addition of Marian Hossa to the Red Wings roster, that total could improve again this year.
3) Rick Nash LW - Maybe my first reach of the draft taking him this early, but has totaled 30 or more goals in three of his 5 years in the league while surrounded with less than stellar talent and left wing is usually the offensive position with the least amount of depth when drafting for fantasy purposes.
4) Paul Stastny C - Youth and depth in the same package, as this pick solidifies my center position, and while he has only been in the league two years, he has averaged over a point per game during that span (149 points in 148 career games).
5) Alexander Frolov LW - Probably a little early for him to be taken, but like I said before, left wing is probably the hardest to draft for given the lack of talent there, he has tallied 20+ goals in each of the last four years and has a career +/- number of +30 while playing for the less than defensively capable Los Angeles Kings.
6) Miroslav Satan RW - This was my first real reach pick, he has only scored 40 or more goals once, has never tallied more than 75 points in any season and is coming off of his worst year (16 G, 25 A) in the league since his first two years, despite playing in 79 games last season. That being said , he will start the year on the Penguins first line, with Sydney Crosby as his center, which should provide ample opportunites to add to his paltry totals of last season. And really, it is going to be so cool to buy a jersey in Pittsburgh black and gold with the name Satan on the back.
7) Nikolai Zherdev RW - Posted his best year of his career last year in Columbus (26 G, 35 A) in just his fourth year in the league, he did what any Blue Jacket with a modicum of talent should do, which is, get out of Columbus. Now with the New York Rangers, he will be surrounded with a much greater array of talent to work with, there is no reason he shouldn't improve on last years totals.
8) Markus Naslund LW - Another guy who hopes that moving to the Rangers will be a benefit to his career. The question is will I get the Naslund of the last two years, who didn't score more than 60 points, or the previous 4 years, where he never had less than 75. This is a depth pick, we only start two left wings so it won't make or break my roster, but when taking a flier on someone, it is always nice to take one on a guy that has performed in the past as opposed to someone who has never performed.
9) Martin Biron G - Goaltending is a tricky thing, I would say it is always better to draft a starting goaltender from a bad team than a backup from a good one, because you will get more starts and chances for wins from the guy who plays every day. It is like drafting a closer in baseball, even a closer on a bad team can get you decent numbers. The fact Biron plays for the Philadelphia Flyers, Eastern Conference runners up to the Peguins last year, means I don't even have to worry about him playing for a bad team per se. His numbers last year were respectable, 30-20 (9 OTL) with a 2.59 GAA and a .918 save percentage while recording 5 shutouts, while playing in 62 games, the most he has played in in the last 6 seasons, so he hasn't gotten the wear and tear that some goalies in the league have over that span.
10) Jonathon Cheechoo RW - Coming off a disappointing season (23 G, 14 A), he is still young by NHL standrads, entering just his 6th season and is only two seasons removed from a 93 point season (56 G, 37 A) and like Naslund, I would rather have a guy that has performed in the past than one who hasn't.
11) Andrej Meszaros D - In the league, we start 2 C, 2 LW, 2 RW and four defensemen. Obviously, I haven't addressed the last need yet, because, after the first couple of defensemen on the board, you pretty much reach the Eli Whitney stage of the draft, they are all interchangeable parts. Still I need 4 of these guys, so this was the first one I took, and in his three years in the league he has been remarkably consistent, with point totals of 29,28 and 27.
12) Dustin Byfuglien D, LW - This was a cheat pick of sorts, he qualifies as a defenseman as that was his position through his career but last season Chicago started playing him on the left wing as well, which gives him multiple uses. Given the Blackhawks plan on playing him primarily on the wing this year, including on the power play, I can in essence plug in an extra offensive guy in a defensive slot. He did pick up 19 goals in his dual role last year, which is more than most defenseman tally.
13) Manny Legace G - This is for depth at the goaltender position, as while we only start two goaltenders on any given day, the more starts you can roll up in a given week, the better your chance of tallying wins. While St Louis isn't a good team, remember what I said about goaltenders on bad teams, Legace has had a winning record in goal in each of the past eight seasons, including going 27-25 last year with a 2.41 GAA and a .911 save percentage and 5 shutouts. For a third goaltender, I will take those numbers.
14) Jordan Staal C, LW - More depth, this time at the center position. I wouldn't have taken him even this early if he had played the role he did last year for the Penguins as third line center, as it only resulted in 28 points (12 G, 16 A), but the Penguins plan on playing him on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora, which should result in an output more along the lines of his rookie season (if not better) when he tallied 29 goals (42 pts).
15) Ruslan Salei D - Two defensemen down, two to go. One category that I hadn't addressed yet was penalty minutes. I hate getting a guy that is only a goon, because he kills you in every other category, he usually gets no points and ruins your +/- number. That being said, Salei has nabbed 424 penalty minutes over the last four years but kept his +/- at an even 0. Heck he has even chipped in 96 points over that span, so it seemed to be a safe if uninspiring pick.
16) Martin Erat RW - Another depth pick, nothing more. Consistent, getting 57 points each of the last two years, and 49 in each of the two before that, I probably won't play him unless he is the only guy available on a given night. Not that I dislike the guy, I just think I have better options on my roster.
17) Shea Weber D - I am at the point of filling out my roster, just needed one more defenseman to fill out my four starting slots and I am taking a flier on this guy. In his only full season in the NHL, he posted a respectable 17 G, 23 A but in his three years in the league, he has only play over 60 games once.
18) Stephane Robidas D - My last pick and it is simply a depth one. The good thing about Robidas is that his last season was probably his best one, the bad thing is his best season only equated into pedsetrian numbers, the only bright spot being that of his 9 goals last year, 7 came on the power play, and power play points is one of our categories.
There you have it kids, a blog entry that you didn't want to raed, but because I run this page, I felt I should write.