I am playing in the “Late Night” contest of the NHL Salary Cap 55k variety. The night of the contest is Thursday, November 20th. 100 owners enter and only 12 walk away with money.
The 55K contest marks the first time I’ve ever gambled on one-day hockey. I’m excited to give it a try, but leery enough I only spent $1 on the entry. I’m going in against some dedicated NHL fans, I’m sure, so I want to learn the game before I challenge the old pros too much. Wish me luck.
West Coast NHL Hockey Matches
This is a late night contest, so only teams playing out on the west coast tonight are entered: Anaheim Mighty Ducks at the Vancouver Canucks in a battle of Pacific Division contenders, the lowly Carolina Hurricanes at the Los Angeles Kings, and the lowly Florida Panthers at the midling San Jose Sharks.Below are the payouts for this contest.
It looks like the odds are against me winning my money back. Still, if I get lucky, I could win back that $25 that I spent on the $2.5 Million Sunday Night NFL League.
Payout Schedule – $55,000 Salary Cap League
1st : $25
2nd : $15
3rd : $10
4th : $8
5th : $6
6th : $5
7th, 8th, 9th : $4
10th, 11th, 12th : $3
Anaheim has 27 points against Vancouver’s 24 points. Carolina has 17 points against Los Angeles’s 24 points. Florida has 15 points against the Sharks’ 22 points. That makes the Kings and Sharks the big favorites of the night, since they are playing the second-worst teams in the Atlantic Division and the Metropolitan Division, respectively.
I’ve added a lot of players from San Jose and Los Angeles, figuring they are more likely to play above their standard match skills. Both would be favorites on neutral ice, and both are playing in their home rinks.
Starting Lineup – FanDuel Hockey
The contest requires owners to fill out starting lineups with the following players: two centers, two right wings, two left wings, two defensemen, and one goalie. I personally believe the game format should accommodate four defensemen and not just one. Players have to fill out two full hockey lines for the offensive players, but only fill out one line for defensemen. Defenses tend to be overlooked in fantasy sports, though. I agree that one goalie should be used, since most hockey games involve one goalie apiece.
My Starting Lineup
Jon Quick, Los Angeles Kings vs Carolina Hurricanes
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks vs Florida Panthers
Vincent Trocheck, Florida Panthers @ San Jose Sharks
Jeff Carter, LA Kings vs Carolina Hurricanes
Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks
Tomas Hertl, SJ Sharks vs Florida Panthers
Brent Burns, SJ Sharks vs Florida Panthers
Alexander Edler, Vancouver Canucks vs Anaheim Ducks
Eight of the nine starters are skating on home ice tonight. I think that’s a good decision, but we’ll see. I wonder if I didn’t make a mistake getting all defense/goalie from favorites. In fantasy football, starting defenders on underdogs and losing teams is often better, because those players are on the field more, and therefore have more opportunities to score tackles and other stats. It’s the same reason you want a running back getting 20 carries a game over the one receiving 10 carries a game–more opportunities to score.
That dynamic doesn’t seem to be at work in fantasy hockey, because players on both sides are on the ice an equal amount of time and the puck is on both ends of the rink for significant amounts of time. I tried to select defensemen who play on the power play, since that greatly increases their chances of scoring. Otherwise, I’m not sure if my picks were informed or not.
How Fantasy Hockey Works
I’m wondering if fantasy hockey doesn’t have a whole lot of players scoring 0 points. Their averages are in the 2 to 4 point ranges, so it seems like that might include a lot of zeroes on the scoreboard. We’ll see.
Tony Grosenick, Goalie, San Jose Sharks
Notice that Tony Grosenick is the top player option on the contest I’m in. He’s listed as the starting goalie for the San Jose Sharks, who are hosting the Florida Panthers. Grosenick has a $20,000 salary and a 6.5 points per game average (in two matches).
Antti Niemi is supposed to be back in front of the pipes tonight, so I’m going to ignore the most expensive player. Hopefully, some of my opponents aren’t nearly as watchful and I get an easy advantage over the competition. That might not sound chivalrous, but part of greatness is avoiding mistakes and taking advantage of opportunities.
Expect an Update
As always, I’ll update my results when the contest is over. I’m brand new to fantasy NHL, so I expect to have a steep learning curve. In my experience, hockey fans are more dedicated (on average) than most sports fans.