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The Hockey News - Fantasy Pool Guide - - Fantasy Do’s And Don’ts -

Draft talent in the early rounds. Don’t over­think things. Take guys you know are very good at hockey. Let your op­po­nent over­pay for some­one who broke out play­ing on a big line or ac­crued a ton of sexy penalty min­utes. Don’t be the GM who spent a sec­ond round pick on Scott Hart­nell last sea­son; be the one who picked money in the bank with Pavel Dat­syuk.

Pay at­ten­tion to splits. Look­ing for a great sopho­more pick? Damien Brun­ner had 12 goals and 26 points in 44 games last sea­son and Bran­don Saad had 10 goals and 27 points in 46 games. Al­most iden­ti­cal num­bers, right? Wrong. Brun­ner had two goals and 10 points over his fi­nal 23 games. Saad had seven goals and 23 points over his fi­nal 27 games. The splits show one player ended the year with far more mo­men­tum. Ex­am­in­ing month-tomonth and first half/sec­ond half stats can also tell you which guys of­ten start strongly and fade late or vise versa, which is im­por­tant for sell­ing high and buy­ing low at the right times.

Ex­am­ine pedigree when sell­ing high or buy­ing low. Won­der­ing whether to trade, or trade for, a break­out player fly­ing out of the gate? Ex­am­ine his pre-NHL his­tory. Nazem Kadri was a first round pick and big scorer in ju­nior, so his sud­den surge of of­fense in 2012-13 wasn’t ac­tu­ally a fluke. Draft sta­tus isn’t al­ways an ac­cu­rate pre­dic­tor, but it tells us if scouts pro­jected a given player to be a star all along.

Prey on the weak and des­per­ate. Want to make that block­buster trade that nets you a huge re­turn for noth­ing? Tar­get strug­gling teams part­way through the sea­son. Make them feel like their win­dow to make the play­offs is clos­ing, that they have no bar­gain­ing power and “have to gam­ble” to have any shot at win­ning. You’ll be sur­prised at what you can get.

Wait on goalies. For ev­ery con­sis­tent stud like Hen­rik Lundqvist, there are five Mike Smiths who fal­ter af­ter a great sea­son and five more Sergei Bo­brovskys who come out of nowhere to dom­i­nate.

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