Commentary

Fantasy Hockey: Standard league mock draft

Updated: September 25, 2008, 4:48 PM ET
By Fantasy staff | ESPN.com

The following Mock Draft was held Sunday, Sept. 7 using ESPN standard league rules.

This calls for a starting lineup of nine forwards, five defenseman, a utility skater, two goalies and a five-man bench. The categories are goals, assists, power-play goals, plus/minus, penalty minutes and average time on ice for skaters, wins, goals-against average and save percentage for goaltenders.

The participants for this mock were fantasy editor Pete Becker, ESPN.com fantasy hockey writers Sean Allen, Tristan Cockcroft, Tim Kavanagh, John Pereira, Victoria Mathiash and Jim Wilkie, The Answer Guys' Shawn Cwalinski, and fantasy hockey experts Peter Colaninno and Ian Gooding.

Victoria Matiash gives her own personal draft analysis of the good, the bad and the bizarre; round by round.

You can conduct as many mock drafts as you wish yourself by using our Mock Draft Lobby.

10-Team Mock Draft held Sept. 7 using ESPN standard scoring
ROUND 1
Pick Overall By Player
1 1 Cwalinski Alexander Ovechkin, LW, Was
2 2 Gooding Sidney Crosby, C, Pit
3 3 Matiash Joe Thornton, C, SJ
4 4 Allen Martin Brodeur, G, NJ
5 5 Cockcroft Jean-Sebastien Giguere, G, Anh
6 6 Colaninno Jarome Iginla, RW, Cgy
7 7 Wilkie Roberto Luongo, G, Van
8 8 Kavanagh Henrik Zetterberg, LW, Det
9 9 Pereira Dany Heatley, LW, Ott
10 10 Becker Evgeni Malkin, C, Pit

Elite forward or top-notch goalie. Any other move is rather silly.

I like: Alex Ovechkin going before Sidney Crosby. I would've made the same choice with the first pick. Because of Crosby's high ankle sprain injury last year, Ovechkin strikes me as slightly more durable. But I'm splitting hairs here.

I dislike: Robert Luongo being taken this high. The Canucks aren't going to score a lot of goals this season, which will affect the win column, and Luongo wasn't all that impressive on his own last year either. Sure, there were a lot of personal, off-ice distractions, but it's still a chink in the armour. Even if Jim Wilkie's heart was set on the netminder, he could've grabbed Evgeni Malkin first and saved the Luongo pick for the second round. Trust me, he still would've been available.

I question: Evgeni Malkin lasting until the end of the round. After my selection of Joe Thornton, he would've been my second choice, hands down.

ROUND 2
Pick Overall By Player
1 11 Becker Carey Price, G, Mon
2 12 Pereira Evgeni Nabokov, G, SJ
3 13 Kavanagh Brenden Morrow, LW, Dal
4 14 Wilkie Marian Hossa, RW, Det
5 15 Colaninno Vincent Lecavalier, C, TB
6 16 Cockcroft Pavel Datsyuk, C, Det
7 17 Allen Dion Phaneuf, D, Cgy
8 18 Matiash Marty Turco, G, Dal
9 19 Gooding Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR
10 20 Cwalinski Jose Theodore, G, Was

Those who chose a forward in the first round are usually looking to pick up a netminder in the second. And vice versa.

I like: Pavel Datsyuk, all around. Watch him flirt with, then exceed, the 100-point mark this season. It doesn't matter who he skates with in Detroit; Datsyuk is in his prime and the Red Wings are just brimming with offensive talent. And his plus/minus will be an object of beauty once again (plus-41 last year).

I dislike: Jose Theodore going 20th overall; especially with several good goalies still available. I just don't get it. One decent half-season in Colorado doesn't make up for the two previous years in a row of second-rate performances. The move to Washington doesn't add value either. Theodore might be a good goaltender again, but then again, he might not.

I question: The top-round choice of Carey Price. Considering the availability of Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco, it strikes me as a bit odd. Price is only in his sophomore year and it will be interesting to see how he handles much-inflated expectations in hockey-crazy Montreal. But he could shine, there's no doubt.

ROUND 3
Pick Overall By Player
1 21 Cwalinski Ilya Bryzgalov, G, Pho
2 22 Gooding Jason Spezza, C, Ott
3 23 Matiash Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anh
4 24 Allen Nicklas Lidstrom, D, Det
5 25 Cockcroft Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, Atl
6 26 Colaninno Chris Osgood, G, Det
7 27 Wilkie Marian Gaborik, RW, Min
8 28 Kavanagh Cristobal Huet, G, Chi
9 29 Pereira Daniel Alfredsson, RW, Ott
10 30 Becker Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pit

This is the last round to grab the high-end, full-fat cream of the offensive and goaltending crop.

I like: Tim Kavanaugh picking up Cristobal Huet. With great numbers in his last three seasons, he'll respond well to being Chicago's undisputed No. 1. Never mind Nikolai Khabibulin; the job belongs to Huet. And, hey, the Blackhawks are good now.

I dislike: Nothing strikes me as absurd in this round.

I question: Sean Allen choosing Nicklas Lidstrom as opposed to a forward, with a goalie and defenseman already on his roster. Whether or not you believe Lidstrom and Dion Phaneuf are the two best fantasy defensemen in the league (which I do), to abstain from picking an forward in the first three rounds is still very unusual. I'm looking forward to seeing how this strategy pans out.

ROUND 4
Pick Overall By Player
1 31 Becker Olli Jokinen, C, Pho
2 32 Pereira Miikka Kiprusoff, G, Cgy
3 33 Kavanagh Eric Staal, C, Car
4 34 Wilkie Zdeno Chara, D, Bos
5 35 Colaninno Dan Boyle, D, SJ
6 36 Cockcroft Sergei Gonchar, D, Pit
7 37 Allen Rick Nash, LW, Cls
8 38 Matiash Mike Green, D, Was
9 39 Gooding Martin St. Louis, RW, TB
10 40 Cwalinski Nathan Horton, RW, Fla

Now, how about some blueliners...unless you're Sean Allen.

I like: Zdeno Chara and Mike Green, but Dan Boyle stands out for me the most. Exiting Tampa Bay, Boyle replaces Brian Campbell (Chicago) as the Sharks' powerplay quarterback and he's frothing at the mouth to return to form from two years ago. Expect over 60 points, loads of ice-time and a much healthier plus/minus compared to last year (minus-29). And kudos to John Pereira for managing to reel in Mikka Kiprusoff this late. Although that's more a case of luck and happenstance than anything else.

I dislike: Rick Nash as Sean Allen's first pick on offence. Nash could be explosive, but his ranking was projected much lower and Sean could've waited a round (maybe even two).

I question: Pete Becker going with Olli Jokinen right off the top, without securing a defenseman yet. The oh-so-talented Jokinen will improve on last year's okay numbers in Florida with the move to Phoenix, but Chara or Boyle bring more bang for the buck at this stage in the draft.

ROUND 5
Pick Overall By Player
1 41 Cwalinski Brad Richards, C, Dal
2 42 Gooding Marc Savard, C, Bos
3 43 Matiash Mike Richards, C, Phi
4 44 Allen Chris Pronger, D, Anh
5 45 Cockcroft Niklas Backstrom, G, Min
6 46 Colaninno Alexei Kovalev, RW, Mon
7 47 Wilkie Daniel Briere, C, Phi
8 48 Kavanagh Martin Biron, G, Phi
9 49 Pereira Alexander Semin, LW, Was
10 50 Becker Thomas Vanek, LW, Buf
ROUND 6
Pick Overall By Player
1 51 Becker Jonathan Cheechoo, RW, SJ
2 52 Pereira Nicklas Backstrom, C, Was
3 53 Kavanagh Johan Franzen, C, Det
4 54 Wilkie Daniel Sedin, LW, Van
5 55 Colaninno Cam Ward, G, Car
6 56 Cockcroft Brian Rafalski, D, Det
7 57 Allen Pascal Leclaire, G, Cls
8 58 Matiash Corey Perry, RW, Anh
9 59 Gooding Patrick Kane, RW, Chi
10 60 Cwalinski Shane Doan, RW, Pho

With the best defensemen spoken for; Solid, if not spectacular, forwards and tier-two goalies get another look.

I like: Alexei Kovalev at this point, but no earlier. Many wonder if he'll be the fierce, productive competitor from last season (84 points), or the head case from '06/'07 (47 points). I'm fairly optimistic. Kovalev, himself, says he wants to exceed last year's numbers and he's stubborn enough to at least give it a good go. I'm also keen on Shane Doan as a late sixth-round choice. Someone has to score in Phoenix besides Olli Jokinen.

I dislike: Brian Rafalski. He's 35 and less valuable on a Red Wings' blueline already overloaded with talent.

I question: Thomas Vanek's potential for redemption. After last year's sub-par performance, it's time he starts earning all that money. Sixty or so points won't suffice.

ROUND 7
Pick Overall By Player
1 61 Cwalinski Scott Niedermayer, D, Anh
2 62 Gooding Brian Campbell, D, Chi
3 63 Matiash Vesa Toskala, G, Tor
4 64 Allen Jonathan Toews, C, Chi
5 65 Cockcroft Paul Stastny, C, Col
6 66 Colaninno Andrei Markov, D, Mon
7 67 Wilkie Anze Kopitar, C, LA
8 68 Kavanagh Philippe Boucher, D, Dal
9 69 Pereira Zach Parise, LW, NJ
10 70 Becker Jeff Carter, C, Phi
ROUND 8
Pick Overall By Player
1 71 Becker Miroslav Satan, RW, Pit
2 72 Pereira Nikolai Zherdev, RW, NYR
3 73 Kavanagh Scott Hartnell, LW, Phi
4 74 Wilkie Lubomir Visnovsky, D, Edm
5 75 Colaninno Derek Roy, C, Buf
6 76 Cockcroft Niklas Kronwall, D, Det
7 77 Allen Scott Gomez, C, NYR
8 78 Matiash Michael Cammalleri, LW, Cgy
9 79 Gooding Sergei Zubov, D, Dal
10 80 Cwalinski Wade Redden, D, NYR

The strategy for these next few rounds involves filling out a starting roster while trying to avoid falling in with the trends. Pickings are much slimmer at the end of a run than at the onset. The idea is to march to the beat of a single drummer as opposed to following the entire band. It's often more difficult than it sounds.

I like: Anze Kopitar, despite the inevitably wretched plus/minus rating that goes along with playing in L.A. Kopitar registered 77 points last year and he'll only be better this season.

I dislike: Sergei Zubov because his body is broken. He's out for at least several weeks after having arthroscopic knee surgery. To be fair, the surgery is a recent development and wasn't known about at the time of the draft. But last year's sports hernia kept Zubov out for 33 games, and we knew all about that.

I question: The potential of Miroslav Satan after last year's horrible performance with the Islanders. He could certainly excel with the Penguins, especially if he gets the chance to skate with Sidney Crosby, which is a real possibility. He's also an unrestricted free agent next year, and playing for a new contract often provides a great antidote for laziness. I honestly can't wait to see how Satan fits into the scheme of things in Pittsburgh. A 75-plus point season is not out of the question.

ROUND 9
Pick Overall By Player
1 81 Cwalinski Daymond Langkow, C, Cgy
2 82 Gooding Jason Pominville, RW, Buf
3 83 Matiash Brent Burns*, D, Min
4 84 Allen Sean Avery, LW, Dal
5 85 Cockcroft Patrick Sharp, LW, Chi
6 86 Colaninno Henrik Sedin, C, Van
7 87 Wilkie Mike Ribeiro, C, Dal
8 88 Kavanagh Kevin Bieksa, D, Van
9 89 Pereira Joni Pitkanen, D, Car
10 90 Becker Rob Blake, D, SJ
ROUND 10
Pick Overall By Player
1 91 Becker Dennis Wideman, D, Bos
2 92 Pereira Kimmo Timonen, D, Phi
3 93 Kavanagh Petr Sykora, RW, Pit
4 94 Wilkie Tomas Vokoun, G, Fla
5 95 Colaninno Joe Corvo, D, Car
6 96 Cockcroft Brian Rolston, LW, Min
7 97 Allen Markus Naslund, LW, NYR
8 98 Matiash Sheldon Souray*, D, Edm
9 99 Gooding Ryan Miller, G, Buf
10 100 Cwalinski Bryan McCabe, D, Fla

I like: Mike Ribeiro for going now, and no earlier. He won't exceed 80 points in Dallas like last year, but he'll come close. I also appreciate Peter Colaninno snatching Joe Corvo at this stage. After arriving from Ottawa, Corvo scored 21 points in 23 games with Carolina last season. He'll be a gem this year if he even nears that kind of production.

I dislike: Brian Rolston; he ain't no spring chick anymore. Rolston's production has declined steadily since the lockout, and I like him in New Jersey even less than in Minnesota.

I question: My own choice of Sheldon Souray. The acquisition of Lubomir Visnovsky from the Kings certainly hurts his value. As does last season's shoulder surgery. But he should still get ample time on the power play, alongside Visnovsky, so it's a fair gamble.

ROUND 11
Pick Overall By Player
1 101 Cwalinski Andrei Kostitsyn, LW, Mon
2 102 Gooding Joe Sakic, C, FA
3 103 Matiash Patrik Elias, LW, NJ
4 104 Allen Peter Mueller, C, Pho
5 105 Cockcroft Brent Seabrook, D, Chi
6 106 Colaninno Chris Drury, C, NYR
7 107 Wilkie Ryan Malone, LW, TB
8 108 Kavanagh Ryan Smyth, LW, Col
9 109 Pereira Daniel Carcillo, LW, Pho
10 110 Becker Jere Lehtinen, RW, Dal
ROUND 12
Pick Overall By Player
1 111 Becker Steven Stamkos, C, TB
2 112 Pereira Tomas Kaberle, D, Tor
3 113 Kavanagh Jay Bouwmeester, D, Fla
4 114 Wilkie Ales Hemsky, RW, Edm
5 115 Colaninno Tomas Plekanec, C, Mon
6 116 Cockcroft Chris Kunitz, LW, Anh
7 117 Allen Shawn Horcoff, C, Edm
8 118 Matiash Teemu Selanne, RW, FA
9 119 Gooding Ed Jovanovski, D, Pho
10 120 Cwalinski Mats Sundin, C, FA

I like: Peter Mueller 'cause he's good and he'll skate alongside Olli Jokinen and Shane Doan in Phoenix; Tomas Kaberle 'cause he's the best player the Maple Leafs have; and Daniel Carcillo 'cause he's more than 300-penalty-minutes worth of rough and nasty.

I dislike: Mats Sundin, um, because there's a very good chance he won't play before January. If at all.

I question: Nothing. It all makes sense.

ROUND 13
Pick Overall By Player
1 121 Cwalinski Mathieu Garon, G, Edm
2 122 Gooding Alex Tanguay, LW, Mon
3 123 Matiash Michal Rozsival, D, NYR
4 124 Allen Erik Cole, RW, Edm
5 125 Cockcroft Milan Michalek, LW, SJ
6 126 Colaninno Rod Brind'Amour, C, Car
7 127 Wilkie Mikko Koivu, C, Min
8 128 Kavanagh Rick DiPietro, G, NYI
9 129 Pereira John-Michael Liles, D, Col
10 130 Becker Marek Svatos, RW, Col
ROUND 14
Pick Overall By Player
1 131 Becker Marek Zidlicky, D, Min
2 132 Pereira Sam Gagner, C, Edm
3 133 Kavanagh Steve Downie, RW, Phi
4 134 Wilkie Pavel Kubina, D, Tor
5 135 Colaninno Olaf Kolzig, G, Was
6 136 Cockcroft Brad Boyes, RW, StL
7 137 Allen Jason Arnott, C, Nsh
8 138 Matiash Erik Johnson, D, StL
9 139 Gooding Braydon Coburn, D, Phi
10 140 Cwalinski Kyle Turris, C, Pho

I like: Erik Cole and Brad Boyes. They're both steals at this point in the draft. Although my own pick of sophmore Erik Johnson, this deep, is also quite savvy, if I do say so myself.

I dislike: Rick DiPietro. Knee and hip surgery, both in the books now. Yikes.

I question: Mathieu Garon as a pick because he's not a clear No.1. The Oilers will be a much-improved team this year, but if Dwayne Roloson starts most games, it won't matter much as far as Garon is concerned. But with Ilya Bryzgalov and Jose Theodore already on his roster, Shawn Cwalinski isn't betting the farm on Garon, so it's a reasonable risk.

ROUND 15
Pick Overall By Player
1 141 Cwalinski Patrick Marleau, C, SJ
2 142 Gooding Kristian Huselius, LW, Cls
3 143 Matiash Milan Hejduk, RW, Col
4 144 Allen Paul Kariya, LW, StL
5 145 Cockcroft Andrej Meszaros, D, TB
6 146 Colaninno Jaroslav Spacek, D, Buf
7 147 Wilkie Mathieu Schneider, D, Anh
8 148 Kavanagh Kris Letang, D, Pit
9 149 Pereira Ryan Whitney*, D, Pit
10 150 Becker Duncan Keith, D, Chi
ROUND 16
Pick Overall By Player
1 151 Becker Jimmy Howard, G, Det
2 152 Pereira Patrick O'Sullivan, C, LA
3 153 Kavanagh Martin Havlat, RW, Chi
4 154 Wilkie Patrice Bergeron, C, Bos
5 155 Colaninno Shea Weber, D, Nsh
6 156 Cockcroft Dan Ellis, G, Nsh
7 157 Allen Brian Lee, D, Ott
8 158 Matiash Nik Antropov, C, Tor
9 159 Gooding Justin Williams, RW, Car
10 160 Cwalinski Ryan Suter, D, Nsh

I like: Ian Gooding's choice of Kristian Huselius. Someone has to set up Rick Nash and Huselius is the perfect candidate to do so.

I dislike: Ryan Whitney and his busted foot. Sure, it's all surgically fixed up now, but he won't be back on the ice until sometime between mid-November and January. November is fine; January is not. Too big of a gamble for my taste. Justin Williams is also out for four to six months after tearing his Achilles tendon recently. But the injury randomly occurred after this draft took place, and Ian Gooding can't be faulted for his lack of fortune-telling skills.

I question: Martin Havlat and Patrice Bergeron as wise options for health reasons alone. Havlat collapses with some ailment year in and year out -- the guy is as injury-prone as he is skilled -- and he still isn't 100 percent healed after hurting his shoulder last season. No thanks. As for Bergeron, concussions are funny things; and not in the ha-ha sense. At the time of this writing, he hasn't even been officially cleared to play yet.

I also question: Pete Becker choosing Jimmy Howard. Should anything happen to Chris Osgood and Ty Conklin, it's a brilliant pick, otherwise, not so much. The 24-year-old Howard will eventually get his shot in the NHL, but not this year.

ROUND 17
Pick Overall By Player
1 161 Cwalinski Maxim Afinogenov, RW, Buf
2 162 Gooding Mark Streit, D, NYI
3 163 Matiash Mike Smith, G, TB
4 164 Allen Todd Bertuzzi, LW, Cgy
5 165 Cockcroft Brian Gionta, RW, NJ
6 166 Colaninno Dustin Brown, RW, LA
7 167 Wilkie Tomas Holmstrom, RW, Det
8 168 Kavanagh Craig Rivet, D, Buf
9 169 Pereira Jordan Staal, C, Pit
10 170 Becker Saku Koivu, C, Mon
ROUND 18
Pick Overall By Player
1 171 Becker Mattias Ohlund, D, Van
2 172 Pereira Tim Thomas, G, Bos
3 173 Kavanagh Devin Setoguchi, RW, SJ
4 174 Wilkie Steve Bernier, RW, Van
5 175 Colaninno Martin Gerber, G, Ott
6 176 Cockcroft Simon Gagne, LW, Phi
7 177 Allen Manny Fernandez, G, Bos
8 178 Matiash Michael Nylander*, C, Was
9 179 Gooding J.P. Dumont, RW, Nsh
10 180 Cwalinski Brad Stuart, D, Det

It's all about plugging holes at this point.

I like: Manny Fernandez as a starter for the defensively-stingy Bruins and Steve Bernier as a likely accompaniment to the Sedin twins in Vancouver. Fernandez is healthy and much steadier than Tim Thomas (I'll get to that in a moment) and deserves serious consideration as a solid No.2 on any fantasy roster. As for Bernier, it's time for the 23 year old to live up to expectations as one who can score on a regular basis. Skating with Henrik and Daniel should give him that lift.

I dislike: The aforementioned Tim Thomas. Last season's inexplicable success will not be repeated. Every shot is a wacky, mad-cap adventure with this guy; just watch him. Thomas and Fernandez will battle it out to be Boston's No.1 and Fernandez will come out on top.

I question: My own choice of Michael Nylander. He's got that wonky shoulder and it concerns me.

ROUND 19
Pick Overall By Player
1 181 Cwalinski Brendan Shanahan, LW, FA
2 182 Gooding Manny Legace, G, StL
3 183 Matiash Matt Carle, D, TB
4 184 Allen Andrew Raycroft, G, Tor
5 185 Cockcroft Pavol Demitra, LW, Van
6 186 Colaninno Joffrey Lupul, RW, Phi
7 187 Wilkie Paul Martin, D, NJ
8 188 Kavanagh Michael Ryder, RW, Bos
9 189 Pereira Sergei Kostitsyn, LW, Mon
10 190 Becker Phil Kessel, RW, Bos
ROUND 20
Pick Overall By Player
1 191 Becker Antoine Vermette, LW, Ott
2 192 Pereira Nikita Filatov, LW, Cls
3 193 Kavanagh Jack Johnson, D, LA
4 194 Wilkie Drew Doughty, D, LA
5 195 Colaninno Mike Knuble, RW, Phi
6 196 Cockcroft Drew Stafford, RW, Buf
7 197 Allen Jason Williams, RW, Atl
8 198 Matiash Christopher Higgins, LW, Mon
9 199 Gooding Alexander Frolov, LW, LA
10 200 Cwalinski Ray Whitney, LW, Car

I like: A lot in these two rounds. Expect an explosively good year out of Phil Kessel in Boston. With his successful battle against cancer well behind him, watch Kessel fight for a spot on the Bruins' top line. Alexander Frolov is an complete steal at this point as well; playing alongside Anze Kopitar, Frolov will earn at least 80 points, if healthy. And although he won't be as good as his older brother, Sergei Kostitsyn could easily register a 60-point season in Montreal.

I dislike: My own pick of Christopher Higgins. He will likely drop to Montreal's third line with the recent acquisition of Robert Lang from Chicago. The move happened after this draft, and unfortunately, I'm not a fortune-teller either (see above: Justin Williams).

I question: Tristan Cockcroft choosing Drew Stafford. The 22 year old might get an opportunity to play on Buffalo's 2nd line this year...and he very well might not.

ROUND 21
Pick Overall By Player
1 201 Cwalinski Jason Blake, LW, Tor
2 202 Gooding Vaclav Prospal, LW, TB
3 203 Matiash Chris Neil, RW, Ott
4 204 Allen Daniel Cleary, RW, Det
5 205 Cockcroft Dustin Penner, LW, Edm
6 206 Colaninno Ron Hainsey, D, Atl
7 207 Wilkie Pierre-Marc Bouchard, RW, Min
8 208 Kavanagh Tim Connolly, C, Buf
9 209 Pereira Milan Lucic, LW, Bos
10 210 Becker Robert Nilsson, LW, Edm
ROUND 22
Pick Overall By Player
1 211 Becker Rob Schremp, C, Edm
2 212 Pereira Andrew Ladd, LW, Chi
3 213 Kavanagh Radim Vrbata, RW, TB
4 214 Wilkie Nikolai Khabibulin, G, Chi
5 215 Colaninno Cory Stillman, LW, Fla
6 216 Cockcroft Keith Tkachuk, C, StL
7 217 Allen Kris Russell, D, Cls
8 218 Matiash Bobby Ryan, RW, Anh
9 219 Gooding Kyle Okposo, RW, NYI
10 220 Cwalinski Kari Lehtonen, G, Atl

It's gambling time.

I like: Milan Lucic for being a young, big, enthusiastic tough guy with scoring skills as well. Cory Stillman is a nice grab as a top winger in Florida. And, really, Jason Blake has to be able to find the back of the net more often than he did last year. Even in Toronto. No one can fruitlessly shoot that much. Not for two seasons in a row, anyway.

I dislike: Keith Tkachuk for being nothing more than a steady 36-year-old "has-been-once-was" on an offensively-boring team (St. Louis). He will get you 50 points. No more, no less. Yawn.

I question: Tristan Cockcroft opting for Dustin Penner. His ceiling was 50 points before Edmonton picked up Erik Cole. It's not a bad pick; just boring, is all.