Fantasy hockey with a twist: Building the worst team possible in a ‘losers league’
Normally when you go into a fantasy hockey draft, you hope to simply put the best fake team together possible. Whether it’s getting the best goalies, forwards, defensemen or guys who can fill the widest variety of stat categories.
But in at least one fantasy hockey league, the object is to put together the most hapless group possible. Chris Kontos of The Royal Half invited me to draft a team in his inventive “Loser League” which includes this wacky group of stat categories where positive stats actually hurt your totals. (We used Yahoo for the league, if that helps.)
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The only category that stays consistent with other leagues is that penalty minutes (PIM) are a good thing. One important thing to note, though, is that these players still need to actually earn playing time. Getting a bunch of minor leaguers won’t get the job done because you still those faceoff losses (my favorite category from a comic stand point), boneheaded penalties and minus ratings. You also need to find a starting goalie who will keep his job but play really poorly.
So it makes for an interesting conundrum. I won’t go through all of my picks, but here are some of the standout choices and the logic behind them.
1st overall pick - Zenon Konopka
Reasons: He lead the NHL in penalty minutes last season and losses some faceoffs too. Plus, he has a funny name. It’s not as much about him being a bad player as it that he has little to no offensive skills and throws a lot of knuckles.
2nd round pick - Dan Carcillo
Reasons: If he finally does something beyond taking bad penalties, this won’t be a good pick but he consistently tops the PIM leader lists.
Goalie picks: Nikolai Khabibulin, Rick DiPietro, Dwayne Roloson and Pascal Leclaire.
Reasons: Khabibulin is an aging goalie on a bad team, but he’s probably the best option in net. That means he’ll absorb a lot of goals and deal with plenty of odd man rushes. The Islanders are scrappy, but I still think they’re bad enough that it’s wise to get the Islanders tandem. Leclaire isn’t going to get a ton of starts, but he put up abysmal numbers last year.
A few other observations: There just aren’t a lot of really bad defensemen out there, at least ones who take a lot of penalties. It seems like the NHL has a very small group of great D, a tiny collection of profoundly horrible ones and a mass of mediocre types. Finding a workhorse goalie who should lose a lot of games is also a lot tougher than you might think.
Anyway, thanks to Chris Kontos of the Royal Half for the invitation. It was a great time and I highly recommend that you try a loser league with your friends. Forget celebrating mediocrity, why not celebrate putridity?