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Hockey Wilderness Fantasy League: Mid-season Recap: Division 1

Hey everyone! Remember the fantasy league we started here in HW? Well, we're currently in week 16 and it's been doing great so far, lots of action, lots of exciting matchups, lots of unhappy GMs because of all the injuries this year. When you go into the draft, you really never know what will happen. You have to identify sleepers, players primed for a breakout, or due for a bad year, you have to deal with injuries to top players, making sure you have a minimum of games played for goaltenders and so on and so forth. We have twenty participants this year, many of them completely new to fantasy hockey, including yours truly. These twenty participants are divided into two divisions. I seem to understand that only 6 teams make the playoffs, which is something to look out for.For part one of this recap, I'll be talking about Division 1, how they've been doing, and who's been good for them.

Stick around and make the jump.

Division 1 standings as of January 27th 2011:

1. Redheaded Step Child, managed by RHZ (RedHeadZeb), 119-61-15 = 253 pts

3. Zombies, managed by Jeremy R, 111-64-20 = 242 pts

8. Know Knothings, managed by Jeremy M (KnowKnothing), 100-79-16 = 216 pts

10. Datsyukian Dekes, managed by Ola (Call of the Wild), 96-73-23 = 215 pts

11. The Haves and Havlats, managed by Anthony N, 97-81-17 = 211 pts

13. Rubber Mallets, managed by JDub, 82-91-22 = 186 pts

14. Komissaari Erämaa, managed by Buddha (BReynolds), 84-96-15 = 183 pts

15. WhoKnew?, managed by John, 83-96-16 = 182 pts

19. Ihmeellinen9, managed by Moni (MMcAlister), 54-122-19 = 127 pts

20. Singapore Slings, managed by CircularTheory, 32-146-17 = 81 pts


The number next to the team is the team's overall position in the league. I'm going to give you a bit of info of each team.

RedHeaded Step Child: The league leader, RHZ drafted first overall and did a great job. He hasn't needed to make too many majors changes to his team as evidence by him still carrying 7 of his first 10 draft choices and the ones he did change could be considered upgrades. You don't get to #1 for nothing. His standing is relatively safe, with only Zombies a close competitor in the division. He has very strong goaltending in Jonas Hiller, currently leader in wins in the NHL, and up-and-comer Corey Crawford, who has been huge for Chicago (but still won't win the Calder, sorry Chicago). The #1 overall pick, Alex Ovechkin, has been but a shadow of himself this year, but he's still a fantasy stud because he fills up the SOG and hits columns every single game and is currently ranked #5 in the fantasy standings. RHZ has assembled a rather intimidating team, with the only true weakness being at RW, but he's so strong everywhere else that it doesn't matter too much. No notable injuries, meaning it's smooth sailing for RHZ. He's made a large number of moves, but the number is inflated due to him dumping and re-picking up players, which is strategic. Will he finish first overall? There's a mighty big chance he will.

 Team MVP: Alex Ovechkin.

Best Matchup: Laying the smack down on Fedoruk's face (just like Boogaard did) 11-1-1 in week 11 (that's a lot of 1s)

Fun Fact: Only team to have the same draft order (1st) and position in the standings (1st)


Zombies: The only reason Zombies is ranked #3 is because the leader of each division take #1 and #2 spot, but Zombies is the true #2 in the league with 242 pts. This is the only team that has a shot at stealing the #1 spot, unless disaster strikes RHZ. Zombies drafted 14th, which clearly means he's done an excellent job in assembling a competitve team, which is ranked 2nd in the HWFL. He still has the first 6 players he drafted and struck oil by acquiring Logan Couture, one of the front-runners for the Calder. He has very strong wingers in the team, namely the two Danys, Briere and Heatley. Goaltending in the form of Miika Kiprusoff and Kari Lehtonen has been average at best this year, but they still get the job done fantasy-wise, winning most of the matchups in wins, GAA and SV%. It's a high-scoring team (Briere and Couture contribute the most in terms of goals), but looking at the other stats and players, the team doesn't have many specialties, but is very well-rounded in all stats. Zombies has only needed 11 moves to build this very strong team, none of them trades. Truly a GM to watch out for.

Team MVP: Danny Briere

Best Matchup: Bringing down the league-leading RedHeaded Step Child 9-1-3 in week 6.

Fun Fact: Drafting 14th and having the 2nd highest total in points gives him +12 in draft/standings... highest difference in the league.


Know Knothings: The team is 3rd in the division, but very closely followed by Datsyukian Dekes and The Haves and Havlats. Drafting 6th overall brought him Zach Parise, which had to be one of the worst 1st rounders in the draft, having played very little this season, but Jeremy kept the damage low enough by drafting very well. He currently carries 6 players in the top 150 in fantasy ratings, and rather than dump Parise, he smartly keeps him around, because once he comes back, he should be able to give the team a boost, despite the Devils' woes. Know Knothings' specialty is no mystery: very physical team. Know Knothings have a total of 945 hits, 135 more than Shienar Black Hawks, who are second in that category. He has only failed to get the two points once in that category. He's seen some great goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky, which proved to be his best pick-up. Too bad Craig Anderson destroys the team's goaltending stats, making them quite average in goal. Seeing as only six teams make the playoffs, and with only 15 points separating spots 4 and 11, all teams in that vicinity will need to make trades or insightful pickups and moves. Know Knothings is a team that has made few moves, and no trades. Currently number 8, this team should be strong enough to make the playoffs, but there may be some switching around to do at some point.

Team MVP: David Backes

Best Matchup: Slowing down the 2nd best Zombies 10-1-2 in week 4

Fun Fact: Know Knothings in the only team without any shutouts, yet thanks to teams not fulfilling the 3-game minimum for goalies, he managed three wins in the shutout category.


Datsyukian Dekes: Drafting 18th clearly wasn't much of a problem for Ola, seeing as he's only needed to pull off one move to build this #10 ranked team. Of course, only 6 make the playoffs, so he'll need to make some moves from now on. One of the main boasts Ola can make is drafting Tim Thomas, who's status was quite a mystery at draft time, in the 11th round. That risk brought him who I think may be the NHL's MVP right now, ranked #1 in the fantasy standings. His numbers are just incredible. Datsyukian Dekes are number 1 in the league in Wins, SV% and shutouts, 2nd in GAA. That being said, for some strange reason, Datsyukian Dekes haven't been as dominant in the goalie win-loss-tie as you would think, especially with Jimmy Howard as his other goalie. It's truly a mystery. Datsyukian Dekes are number 1 in the league for assists and powerplay points, meaning they've got some great set-up guys, namely in Joe Thornton and Nicklas Lidstrom, two of the best in the biz. I'm afraid to imagine where this team would be if Ola had made any changes to help his team, but at the same time, if you're like me, maybe it's better to not do anything. I would like to imagine my team if I hadn't made so many stupid moves. Anyway, should Ola's team make the playoffs, they would be a team to worry about, especially if they are permitted to run away with nearly sure points in so many categories. It's actually a wonder he isn't higher in the standings. The main reason they aren't higher in the standings is probably because of glaring weaknesses in physicality and shooting, because despite being first in two categories, they're in the bottom six in 5 of them in non-goalie stats. The other reason? Probably plain bad luck in his goalie matchups.

Team MVP: Tim Thomas

Best Matchup: Whitewashing Hakan Loobies 12-0-1 in week 12

Fun fact: Only has players from 9 differents teams in the NHL, lowest among all teams of the HWFL


The Haves And Havlats: Drafted dead last, but this means he got #20 and #21, which can actually be an advantage. With those picks, he picked up Ryan Getzlaf and Ilya Bryzgalov, two very solid choices, but both missed a few games, which worked against him and probably cost him a few points in the standings. Other than that, his draft position didn't help too much, but he still didn't draft particularly well, as he hasn't kept too many of his drafted players around. He's got some very strong players on the team, with 6 ranked in the top 105, but he acquired 2 of those 6 players in a blockbuster trade with Puttin on the Foil. He has some of the best goalie stats in the league, thanks Bryzgalov, Dwayne Roloson and Cam Ward. This team has the distinction of making the highest number of moves, many of which were dump and re-pick, but he made an amazing number of trades also. The rest of his numbers are rather average, but he has no real weakness, which is a plus, as he doesn't necessarily needlessly lose points. He may be 11th overall, but he's still very much in the playoff mix, because the blockbuster trade just might give him a big push in the standings, and while he did give away Bryzgalov in the trade, he's still in good shape in the crease.

Team MVP: Brendan Morrow

Best Matchup: Crushing the Shienar Black Hawks 11-2-0 in week 11.

Fun fact: Overall: 97-81-17, Against own division: 50-53-14, Against other division: 47-24-3.


Rubber Mallets: Drafted 7th overall, he carries 8 players in the top 100, 6 of which were players he drafted, which is a pretty high number. He did well in picking up Brian Boyle and Kevin Shattenkirk, two players who've been rather good for JDub (Shattenkirk suffered a slow down though, as was expected). The team's strength is assists, the weakness is faceoffs. Despite having so many good players, a lot of them are ranked pretty low, and the stats in most of the categories are strictly middle of the pack. Ranked 13th with 186 pts, the playoffs are likely out of reach, which means teams will likely be looking to net his top players. Being a non-playoff team carries responsability and power. Since they have pretty much nothing to gain by being a seller without having the benefit of draft picks, they have the power to make other teams stronger, which means there might be a bit of ass-kissing coming in Rubber Mallets way, seeing as they carry many high-end players. Of course, if they go into a hot streak and teams in front of them become cold, the playoffs are still possible, but they have 7-8 teams to surpass, which is likely impossible. You can bet the trade deadline may prove interesting for JDub.

Team MVP: Brad Richards

Best Matchup: Shutting out Singapore Slings 11-0-2 in week 12.

Fun Fact: Currently injured in his team: Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Semin, Brandon Dubinsky, Andy McDonald...Absolutely brutal. 


Komissaari Erämaa: Here is where I rip Bryan a new one. The league commissioner drafted 19th overall, which is not why he drafted so poorly. He got absolutely screwed by drafting Martin Brodeur in the first round, but he fixed it nicely by picking Niklas Backstrom in the 2nd round. He decided to go with high-risk picks like Taylor Hall (5th round), Alexandre Burrows (who was in the IR at the time), and Tyler Seguin (10th round). To be fair, he got quite unlucky with Brodeur and Derek Roy (who started extremely well, but will now miss the remainder of the season if I'm not mistaken). While he's close to Rubber Mallets in points, he's hardly in the same situation, because he has very little players of interest to trade, having only 2 players in the top 100. Frankly, his saving graces are shutouts, hits and faceoffs, which were above average, but the rest is mediocre. He hasn't been a very active team, making no trades and only a few pick-ups. This is either due to lack of time, laziness, or he's just not a good GM... I vote for the latter! The only thing he can slightly boast about? Despite being 14th, he is second among HW writers... I am first.... I rock :-)

Team MVP: Niklas Backstrom

Best Matchup: Humiliated The Haves and Havlats 11-1-1 in week 2.

Fun fact: I'm better than him, which fulfills my team slogan! (I just wanna beat Bryan)  :)


WhoKnew?: Drafted 5th overall and picked Nicklas Backstrom (the Capital), which should've been a slam-dunk pick, but hasn't performed up to expectations, yet is still strong enough fantasy-wise. The drafting wasn't so bad, but losing Mark Streit to injury was a crippling blow. I'd have to say this team's weakness is in net, as WhoKnew? has losing records on all goaltending categories, and that really killed this team. It is an otherwise respectable, if average team, containing many good players, like Mikhail Grabovski, ranked 60th, which he acquired in a trade along with Milan Michalek for Christian Ehrhoff. He only pulled off two trades, but they were pretty savvy ones. You have to wonder what could have been if he could've pulled off a few more of them. I would say he will also be a trade target in the next few weeks as he finds himself in the same situation as JDub and Bryan.

Team MVP: Nicklas Backstrom

Best Matchup: Kicked Bryan's ass 11-1-1 in week 6.

Fun Fact: Has an overall losing record, but has a winning record against his own division.


Ihmeellinen9: Monica's team should thank Daniel for saving her the humiliation of being dead last. The way things are going, Daniel's staying there forever. Monica drafted 15th overall, and during the draft, her preference for Red Wings was well known. In fact, it was a war between Ola and her (two known Wings fans) over who would get these players. That being said, given the high number of Wings in Mon's team, it's a wonder she's doing so poorly. In all fantasy teams, there will unevitably be players who will update their team very little, if at all. Monica is (probably) one of them, being a busy mother/writer and all. She has done very little moves, and while she does have many good players, many of them are on the same team, which leaves her screwed during matchups in which these players don't play very often. Losing Pavel Datsyuk to injury certainly doesn't help either. Very poor goaltending, plus having only one who is active, makes Monica lose a truckpile of goaltending points, which is the main reason she is in 19th position. Will she be willing to trade away her Wings so that someone can fly to a higher spot? Unlikely, but maybe she'll trade those other guys.

Team MVP: Henrik Zetterberg

Best Matchup: Two way tie between beating Finnish your Czechs 7-6-0 in week 2 and beating Datsyukian Dekes 6-5-2 in week 4... those were the only matchups Monica's team won.

Fun fact: She lost 3-9-3 five times.


Singapore Slings: WOW... Daniel... Only explanation for his team sucking so bad is he is (hopefully) not updating his lineup daily... there is no other way... Abnormally low numbers all-around...Losing records everywhere except PIM, and god-awful stats everywhere. It's ridiculous... he clearly isn't updating his team. He drafted 17th overall and with his first choice... Ilya Kovalchuk... brutal... The main reason he was doing so well in PIM? Downie... who lost a couple of games due to injury.... horrible choice of goaltenders in Marty Turco and Chris Mason... Frankly, I think maybe he gave up a few weeks ago... truly no other explanation... To be fair, I know Daniel has been ridiculously busy since, well, forever, which is also why we haven't seen much of him around HW lately, but still, even when people don't update their team, they are rarely this unlucky... Now is the time for the playoff hopefuls to try and nab his top players... he won't be using them much anyway. We still love you Dan :)

Team MVP: Matt Duchene/Martin Havlat

Best Matchup: His only win, against WhoKnew 7-5-1 in week 4

Fun fact: Since his win in week 4, he is 14-119-10  from week 5 to week 15... ouch.


Those were the 10 teams in Division 1, I will have part 2 up shortly, hope you enjoyed it!