Erik Karlsson - Offensive Defenseman Extraordinaire

A regular piece where you folks do all the work. You can send in any fantasy hockey related questions via twitter @fantasyhockeydk. I’ll try to post them on Monday’s, unless I sleep in, then it will be Tuesdays, or in the very worst case scenario, we’ll just keep your mail and laugh maniacally.

Not much mail this week. I can only assume that everyone was hiding away in libraries studying hard for upcoming fantasy drafts and didn’t have a chance to send in any messages.

I had my draft this weekend, and despite hours upon hours of preparation leading up to it I still felt immense pressure. Something about that draft clock counting down between picks always keeps things exciting.

Many of you have likely already had your draft, but for the few remaining, here are some questions that might help you heading into the final week of pre-season puck.

Let's assume in our 12-team non-keeper points auction league, which requires us to start five forwards and two d, and we begin with $200 to buy 10 total players, that the very top guys — Sid, Malkin, stamkos, Ovi, giroux, the ducks and star' dynamic duos — all go for between $90-$100.

What would you spend for Karlsson in this format?   Seems to me a bad season for him, which in my mind would be 65 points, would be lights-out for almost any other d.   I realize his supporting cast is weaker, but he’s also saying he feels way better than last year.   So he could get 80 this year.  If i manage to find a 40-point 2nd d-man that’s like having two 60-point guys.  Given only one other d got over 60 last year, barely, this seems to be a huge comparative advantage assuming i get some decent forwards with my remaining $100.

This is interesting because it brings up the classic issue with defencemen. How do you reconcile his absolute value (which is lower than the Crosby and Ovechkin’s of your pool) to his positional value, which is massive (he’s heads and shoulders above the next closest blueliner).

Generally I rank Karlsson around 10 to 12 overall in the majority of formats. Using that as a rough barometer you likely don’t want to spend more than $75 on him in your pool (if the top five or so are commanding $90).

Saying that, if you’re comfortable that you can nab a number of strong forwards for cheap later in the draft, maybe you over invest in guys like Karlsson and Rask to solidify your back end.

Non-keeper points league, you dress 5 forwards, 2 d.  It’s auction draft with names coming up based on their point totals from last year, and one of my strategies is to wait till everyone (not sure how many franchises there will be, at least 12) has two d-men (i.e. Top 25-30 d-men from previous season) are taken, then get three guys for next to nothing.  Which of the 30–37 point guys from last year are most likely to approach 50 points:  Boyle, Fowler, Schultz, Garrison, Ehrhoff, Faulk, Gardner, Brodie.  (It may be that some of my competitors will save money for a guy like Ehrhoff given the hype, so pls give me more than one option.  Perhaps rank them)

In Calgary, where they won’t be scoring a tonne of goals, I can’t see Brodie ever approaching 50. So I’ll drop him from the list. Faulk is such a force at both ends of the ice that he won’t have the offensive opportunities required for a season like that. And with Garrison, outside of his slap shot on the power play, he doesn’t have any other means to put up points, so I’d keep him closer to 30 in projections.

Now of the guys remaining, I’d rank their chances (top of the list having the greatest shot at 50) like this:

Ehrhoff

Schultz

Fowler

Gardiner

Boyle

Which of these 20-30 point guys are this year’s Josi, i.e. Someone who can get 40-plus: Rielly, Muzzin, Edler, Dougie Hamilton

I’m HUGELY supportive of Edler this year. Last season was the perfect combination of statistical anomalies and a poor team (largely because of coaching). He’s a true 40 point defencemen with strong peripheral numbers, and I’d expect a return to that.

Rielly undoubtedly has the highest upside, but it could be another year or two before he really approaches it. Similarly, Hamilton is a talented player but is stuck behind Chara and Krug on the depth chart for special teams time. In LA, they simply don’t score enough goals that Muzzin will realistically have a shot at 40. 

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