A few years ago, the Left Wing Lock team was invited to compete against the fantasy experts from NHL.com in a 16-team league. This seemed to be the perfect challenge to determine the strength of our fantasy hockey draft kit. We came out on top and you can read about our championship victory in this article. While a fantasy hockey championship can find its roots in a strong draft, there are many transactions along the way that might change the fate of your fantasy team. These adds, drops, trades, and injury replacements can muddy the water a little bit as to the true strength of a draft kit.
For the 2020-2021 fantasy hockey season, we created a challenge that would get at the heart of our draft kit's strength. The challenge would involve a 12-team league with one team managed by the Left Wing Lock staff. All 11 opponents were free to use any competitor's draft kit of their choosing. These opponents were also free to complete transactions as normal: adds, drops, trades, and injury replacements. The team managed by Left Wing Lock had two rules to follow:
1. They must use the Left Wing Lock draft kit as their sole source of research and preparation for the draft; and
2. They were not allowed to make any transactions during the season. They could not add players; they could not drop players; they could not trade players; they could not use injured reserve; and they could not replace injured players.
The challenge was designed in such a way to isolate the importance of the Left Wing Lock draft kit. Draft a great team and we'd be competitive; draft anything other than a great team and we'd be crushed. So, how did things turn out?
In advance of the draft (by 30 minutes), managers learned their position in the draft order and our spot was #2. We typically prefer to draft closer to the middle of the rounds, but had no complaints about drafting a Top-2 player. We assumed Connor McDavid would be taken first overall and our draft kit noted that Leon Draisaitl was the next best player in this scoring format. Knowing who our first round pick would be was advantageous. We now had 30 minutes to map out our strategy for as many rounds as possible. Two players very high on our radar were Steven Stamkos and Brady Tkachuk. Our draft kit had both players ranked in the Top-20 while their average draft positions heading into draft night saw managers waiting until Rounds 3 and 4 on these players. After drafting Drasaitl at second overall, we landed both Stamkos and Tkachuk with the 23rd and 26th overall picks.
We won't bore you with the details of the entire draft, but we'll point out two other key draft selections. We were able to draft Philipp Grubauer in the 5th round even though our draft kit had him ranked as the 4th best goalie in the league; 10 goalies came off the board before we made this pick. We also landed Kirill Kaprizov late in the draft (right around his average draft position) despite having him ranked as the 41st best player in this scoring system. Below is a list of all of our draft picks:
We had confidence in our drafted team and this was due to the Left Wing Lock fantasy hockey draft kit. Since we were in a category-style league (as opposed to a points-style league), we also had the benefit of using the built-in Draft Assistant which comes standard as part of our draft kit package for category-style leagues. This allowed us to track the projected output of our selections in real-time to make sure we were drafting a balanced team. At no point during the draft were we concerned about drafting enough Goals or Hits or Shots; this data was totaled and tracked in the Draft Assistant for every round.
The Season and the Results
Since our team was restricted from making transactions of any type, our season consisted of the simple task of setting our roster each night. Consider how you feel when a player gets injured on your fantasy team. Then consider how we felt when we were powerless to do anything about it. Our team suffered three significant injuries. We lost both Steven Stamkos and Jacob Trouba for 18 of their 56 games. We lost Matt Grzelcyk for 19 of his 56 games.
Below, we've included a chart that tracks the standings position of each team throughout the season (this chart includes a minor edit: we blocked out manager names for privacy).
We held a solid lead for most of the season, but were passed by Team Spooky right after Stamkos was lost for the regular season. This is when the nailbiting began in earnest. Thankfully, a late surge by our team pushed us ahead of Team Spooky and we came away with the first ever Zero Transaction Fantasy Hockey Championship. The final standings results are seen below:
Get Your Draft Kit Today
Our draft kit was put to the ultimate test and came out victorious. This is the only draft kit ever to secure a Zero Transaction Championship. Imagine what you can do with this draft kit and the freedom to make trades! Get your draft kit today and dominate your draft.
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