Welcome to the inaugural edition of The L&F Starting Line Ups series! Every week the co-hosts of the Life & Fantasy Podcast, Spence Plamondon and Kaveh Gihdy will face off against Hot Sauce Blogger Jon Eamon in a battle for your votes and affection! We will be drafting weekly line ups based on a specific criteria that pulls inspiration from sports, pop culture and life in general!
For this week we decided to keep things a bit simple. Since we are all hockey based guys we decided to do a variation of a NHL playoff pool. This pool will be a Re-draft league at the start of each round and we will be drafting a line up of players still in the playoffs. The pool will have a rotisserie style scoring system that will accumulate each round with a final winner at the end. Using NHL cap hits and Games Played (GP), we devised a set of criteria to go alone with the scoring system
- Cap Ceiling of $32M – This was calculated using the average cap hit of ‘First Lines’ across the NHL
- One (1) player must have 50+ GP
- One (1) player must have 0 GP
- Teams can have a maximum of 2 Keeper Players that they can carry to the next round (i.e. Round 1 to Round 2)
- Power Play Points
- Game Winning Goals
- Shut Outs
With this in mind, here is the draft board for the First Round of the Playoffs
PICK 1 – TEAM KAVEH
Andrei Svechnikov (LW, CAR)
Connor McDavid (C, EDM)
Teuvo Teravainen (RW, CAR)
John Carlson (D, WSH)
Tyson Barrie (D, EDM)
Alex Nedeljkovic (G, CAR)
I’m just gonna give my thought process, pick by pick.
Connor: The thought of not drafting McDavid 1st overall came to mind…for about a millisecond. Even at 12.5 million, taking up over one third of my cap, it was a no brainer to pick McDavid 1st overall. As it should be.
Teuvo: With most of my forward budget spent I had to look for a more affordable option, but I wanted someone capable of star-caliber production. Enter Teuvo. He thinks the game so well and has so much talent around him in that Top 6.
Barrie: Once again I went in to this pick being budget conscious, but I’m really happy I got him. I was hoping for a cheap option on the back end to combine with McDavid on the PP; low and behold, there was Tyson Barrie. I didn’t scout ahead for this, so I’d forgotten how cheap he was.
Nedeljkovic: I told myself that I might go Carolina heavy in this because I love the way they play their system, and I did. Carolina is a great spot for a talented young goalie to be. Thrilled to get him as my 0GP player. I’m hoping for a Cam Ward-esque performance from him.
A. Svechnikov: Here come the Carolina reinforcements. I think Svech is by far one of the best bang for your buck players in the league, if not the best. Physical, dynamic and smart with the puck, all while sporting a 6ft2, 200lbs frame. By spending so little on such an great player, it opened me up to use my last pick on an elite 50+GP defenceman.
John Carlson: I have to give this pick to our buddy Spence, who helped me save money on the pick right before. Good old reliable John Carlson. He’s coming off great back to back campaigns and he’s on the top PP in Washington. Very happy with this guy as my last pick.
PICK 2 – TEAM SPENCE
Leon Draisaitl (LW, EDM)
Nick Suzuki (C, MTL)
David Pastrnak (RW, BOS)
Rasmus Sandin (D, TOR)
Shea Theodore (D, VGK)
Andrei Vasilevskiy (G, TBL)
Yo, this was so fun. Huge shoutout to Jon for putting this together, we all had a blast doing this. So much so that we’ve decided to do it for each playoff round, which I’m stoked about. It’s funny, earlier in the day when I was talking about it with Kaveh, I was like “Yeah, I’d imagine it takes 30 mins, tops.” Cue Kaveh and I taking 10 minutes per pick.
I love all three of our teams. The snake draft went Kaveh-Me-Jon, so after Kaveh and I went McDavid-Draisaitl and we saw Jon knock it out of the park with Makar-Kaprizov (by far the best playoff rookie, playing on an ELC), I thought we were in trouble. Thankfully we all figured it out.
My last two picks really tied things together for me. I wasn’t sure where I was going after drafting Draisaitl-Pastrnak-Theodore. I had like $10.7M left to get a goalie and a D, and one had to be a rookie. I looked at Sorokin pretty hard, but once I realized I could fit Sandin and Vasi, it was just a matter of deciding who to go with first. Jon also needed a goalie and a D, but given that he already had his rookie and had like 16m in cap space for his last two picks, I figured he might be looking Vasi but probably wasn’t looking Sandin. His response after I went Vasi: “Dagger.”
Guess I chose wisely
PICK 3 – TEAM JON
Kirill Kaprizov (LW, MIN)
Sidney Crosby (C, PIT)
Nathan MacKinnon (RW, COL)
Neal Pionk (D, WIN)
Cale Makar (D, COL)
Carey Price (G, MTL)
Watching Kaveh and Spence got big contract after big contract I knew that I would be able to hit them with the change up and go back to back Entry Level Contracts (ELCs). Making the turn with $30M+ was a major strategical move for me and I also happened to get two of the top young players whom play critical roles on their team and are both focal points on their respective PP Units. I was also hoping that going back to back ELCs would force Kaveh and Spence to focus their attention on ELCs. It did not work but I was hoping to take their attention was from some value contracts I was afraid wouldn’t fall back to me.
Thankfully the two top value contracts in my opinion fell to me at the 3/4 turn. Crosby and MacKinnon at a combined $15M was only half of my remaining cap, and two absolute bargains in terms of production vs cap hit. I also wanted both Timmy’s spokesman to try and establish a sponsorship opportunity for free Iced Caps! They also both had MVP-type seasons, they just happened to do it in a season where McDavid went Supernova.
Having close to $15M left for my final two picks was strategic, and I wanted to give myself options. Spence dropping the dagger with the Vasi pick right before me prevented this team from being very Colorado heavy! I was hoping for the Vasi-Girard final back to back but let’s be real, Playoff Price is a fantastic plan B. Emotionally it was impossible not to go Price and Pionk is the QB of the Jets’ first Power Play Unit, and I wanted a part of that unit.
I was not happy to leave ~$1.7M on the board but overall I love my team. Kaveh and Spence both have incredible line ups as well so I am excited to see how it goes after Round 1!
Be sure to let us know who’s team you think is the best, as well as what roster combination you would create with $32M in cap space. Tune in next week when we draft our starting NHL line up using only characters from Mortal Kombat!
As always don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family and check out our Youtube channel for all our podcasts and videos! In this week’s episode of the Life & Fantasy podcast, Spence and Kaveh take a look back at the season and year that was. They breakdown their MVPs, the biggest steals and disappointments and the upcoming NHL Playoffs!