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How Zdeno Chara Changed Fantasy Hockey History

September 20, 2022   Left Wing Lock Staff   0 Comments


In the Summer of 2006, the Ottawa Senators were faced with a choice between two defensemen who were up for new contracts: Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara were due to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Redden finished the 2005-2006 season with 50 points in 65 games (30 of those points coming on the power play). When adjusted to an 82-game pace, Redden easily landed among the Top-10 defensemen by production. Redden was 29 at the time and seemingly had a handful of years of solid play ahead of him.

Chara finished the 2005-2006 season with 43 points in 71 games (22 of those points coming on the power play). When adjusted to an 82-game pace, Chara easily landed among the Top-20 defensemen by production. Chara was 29 at the time and seemingly had a handful of years of solid play ahead of him.

The Ottawa Senators chose Wade Redden.

Fantasy Hockey Relevance

So did I. My fantasy hockey league at that time mandated the keeping of four players with the restriction that managers had to keep one defenseman (and only one defenseman). Both Redden and Chara were on my roster to end the 2005-2006 season (a season in which I won the league championship) and posted comparable numbers in my scoring system (5.8 vs. 6.2 fantasy points per game, respectively).

With hockey analysis in its infancy at that time, the applications to fantasy hockey had not yet been born. Faced with what seemed like a coin-flip decision for my defensive keeper, I used a single question to guide my selection: why would the Ottawa Senators choose to keep Redden over Chara? He must be the better player. After Chara signed as a free agent with the Boston Bruins, I felt even more comfortable with the keeper decision. The Bruins were bottom feeders in the NHL at that time and the Ottawa Senators had just finished in first place in the Eastern Conference.

Boy was I dumb. Despite posting comparable numbers in the 2006-2007 season (Redden scored 36 points in 64 games while Chara scored 43 points in 80 games), the Redden selection (by Ottawa and me) turned out to be disastrous in the longterm. I would finish in third place that year (with half of the point gap due to the Redden-Chara difference); Redden's impact as a fantasy defensemen would be over after two seasons; and Chara would be starting a decade of fantasy dominance with the Boston Bruins.

Birth of the Draft Kit

The Redden-Chara decision of 2006 was frustrating for a single reason: the lack of fantasy-relevant analysis available to managers muddied the waters on what should have been a clear decision.

I (along with the team members at Left Wing Lock) spent the entire 2006-2007 season crafting the very first customized draft kits for fantasy hockey. Never again would I (or any other fantasy manager) be left in the dark as to which players were most valuable in a fantasy scoring format.

We released our first fantasy hockey draft kit in the Summer of 2007 (I used it to win back the trophy); and on August 1 of this Summer, we released our annual draft kit for the 16th consecutive year.

Read. Draft. Win.

Read. Draft. Win. This was our motto in the early days of our draft kit. The process remains as simple today. If you're looking for a chance to draft players with great projections who are being misvalued by the other fantasy hockey websites, then consider downloading one of our fantasy hockey draft kits this season. You won't be disappointed; and you won't make disastrous keeper mistakes!

For 16 years, you've trusted Left Wing Lock as a reliable source to bring you accurate starting goalie information, line combinations, and player news alerts. That same passion and dedication fuels us as we create the best fantasy hockey draft kits available. We invite you to let us build your customized fantasy hockey draft kit for the 2022-2023 season. Order your kit today!

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