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Fantasy: Auction mock draft for 2016-17

Patience among important strategies in player nomination, bidding process

by Ben Zweiman @BZweimanNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Most fantasy hockey league drafts fall under the standard snake umbrella, but if you're looking to mix things up, consider trying an auction format.

If you're unfamiliar with how an auction draft works, refer to NHL.com's fantasy glossary. The clear advantage in an auction is that it allows you to build your team whichever way you want. The possibilities are endless, as long as you are willing to pay the price for it.

DRAFT GUIDES: STANDARD | KEEPER | HITS | POINTS-ONLY

NHL.com conducted a 12-team auction mock draft on Yahoo earlier in the week. Here are the results and some key findings from the experience.

The more prepared you are, the better

Plan ahead, create a budget, make a list of players you want to target, and stick to it. With this only being a mock draft, I was relatively unprepared for the auction. It caused me to go after a few players I felt were bargains at the time, but ultimately not players I was crazy about drafting. I was able to win the bid for Steven Stamkos for $39, which is well below his average bid of around $50. But had I waited, I could have landed strong centers like Joe Thornton ($18), Patrice Bergeron ($12) and Sean Monahan ($7) for a fraction of Stamkos' price.

Video: Pete Jensen previews the top fantasy hockey picks

Patience is key

The biggest thing I took away from this mock draft is that you must have patience. I cannot preach enough how important patience is when you're in an auction draft. No matter how many teams are in your league, most auctions are going to be grueling and will take a while, but the key is to keep your cool, not only because the draft is long, but because you will want to bid high amounts of your budget on players nominated early. That isn't always the best idea.

Sure, if you're very high on a player like Connor McDavid, you're going to bid almost any amount to secure his spot on your roster. That's fine, but don't go crazy too early, you're going to want enough flexibility later on. If you take a look at the results, you'll notice that the further players fell down in the auction, the cheaper they became because of the lack of funds each owner had left to spend. To put this into perspective, I'll ask this simple question: Would you rather spend $47 on center Tyler Seguin or $25 on Evgeny Kuznetsov? Even if you are higher on Seguin, Kuznetsov should finish close to him at the end of the season and is a much more cost-effective option.

Almost NEVER nominate a player you want

The only time this strategy should be ignored is later on in the auction. As mentioned in the above trend, players become cheaper the later they are nominated, so ideally the players you want on your team won't be nominated until late in the auction when most owners are strapped for cash.

One example is right wing Patrik Laine (Winnipeg Jets). The touted rookie forward was nominated sixth overall and went for $17. Center Auston Matthews, drafted No. 1 (ahead of Laine) by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL Draft, was nominated 39th and only took $12 to secure. There are varying opinions on which player will have a better season, but the safer bet is that Matthews will outperform Laine, and you'd rather have Matthews for $5 less than the cost of Laine. Other examples of players that became bargains based on their prices are Nikita Kucherov ($26), Kris Letang ($26), Blake Wheeler ($17), Dustin Byfuglien ($15), Rasmus Ristolainen ($8), Torey Krug ($5) and Devan Dubnyk ($7).

Video: Fantasy hockey analysis with Pete Jensen

Bid with a purpose

As I mentioned above, normally you aren't going to want to nominate a player you'd like to select, but that doesn't mean you should nominate at random. Be aware of who's left on the board, and pick your spots. Force owners to bid on players with injury concerns or upside early on to see if they'll overspend on them. Driving up the price on players you don't want on your team is a necessary evil in an auction. Be careful though. Other owners could catch onto your strategy and leave you with a player you either didn't want to draft or pay such a high price for.

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray was nominated 18th overall, and the winning bid was $16. Murray isn't going to be ready for the start of the regular season because of a broken hand and Marc-Andre Fleury ($12; nominated 65th), who was a top 5 goalie last season, will get a chance to run away with the starting job. If that scenario unfolds, the owner will have paid more for the Penguins' backup than the price of their starter.

Use an anchor to carry your lineup

As far as specific strategies go, I noticed one that is appealing. If you're very high on a specific elite player (McDavid, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Jamie Benn, etc.), bid any amount (within reason) to secure them on your roster as an anchor. It likely will cost you around 30 percent of your $200 budget, but the idea is to wait until bargains emerge later in the auction, as there will be plenty. Even if you were to spend $56 on Ovechkin, other wings among NHL.com's top 50 like Wayne Simmonds ($13), Phil Kessel ($15) and Nathan MacKinnon ($14) each went for less than $20 late in the auction. Some bargain defensemen included Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($21), Drew Doughty ($17), John Carlson ($11) and John Klingberg ($9). Bargain players will vary in each auction draft and depend on when they are nominated, but there should be plenty of big names left toward the end.

Video: A look at the 2016-17 fantasy sleepers and bargains

Don't pay for goaltending

Fleury is a perfect example of why you shouldn't pay for goaltending in an auction draft. Of course, had Murray not been injured, Fleury would be less enticing, but his average price is well worth the high ceiling. In general, paying top dollar for elite goaltenders like Braden Holtby ($45) and Carey Price ($39) isn't worth it considering how cheap it can be to get comparable players. Ben Bishop ($30), Cory Schneider ($29), Martin Jones ($27) and Jonathan Quick ($26) were top eight goalies in Yahoo last season and went well below Holtby and Price's cost. Even Henrik Lundqvist, who would be overvalued in a standard snake draft, was undervalued at $20 in an auction with top 10 potential.

AUCTION MOCK DRAFT RESULTS:

NOTE: Each of the 12 teams was given a $200 budget for this auction mock draft. This auction draft had standard categories and 16 players per team. Below are the players who were drafted in order of nomination.

1. Tyler Seguin (DAL, C): $47
2. Alex Ovechkin (WSH, LW): $56
3. Connor McDavid (EDM, C): $59
4. Jonathan Drouin (TBL, LW): $21
5. Erik Karlsson (OTT, D): $53
6. Patrik Laine (WPG, RW): $17
7. Jordan Eberle (EDM, RW): $19
8. John Gibson (ANA, G): $28
9. Joe Pavelski (SJS, C/RW): $55
10. Taylor Hall (NJD, LW): $27
11. Braden Holtby (WSH, G): $45
12. P.K. Subban (NSH, D): $40
13. Brent Burns (SJS, D): $47
14. John Tavares (NYI, C): $46
15. Sidney Crosby (PIT, C): $59
16. Aaron Ekblad (FLA, D): $22
17. Patrick Kane (CHI, RW): $55
18. Matt Murray (PIT, G): $16
19. Max Domi (ARI, LW): $14
20. Corey Perry (ANA, RW): $39
21. Kyle Palmieri (NJD, RW): $13
22. Artemi Panarin (CHI, LW): $33
23. Jamie Benn (DAL, LW): $59
24. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR, G): $20
25. Zach Parise (MIN, LW): $13
26. Carey Price (MTL, G): $39
27. Jack Eichel (BUF, C): $26
28. Rick Nash (NYR, LW): $9
29. Tuukka Rask (BOS, G): $18
30. Jaroslav Halak (NYI, G): $16
31. Jakub Voracek (PHI, LW/RW): $20
32. Evgeni Malkin (PIT, C): $36
33. Cam Talbot (EDM, G): $16
34. Jake Allen (STL, G): $27
35. T.J. Oshie (WSH, RW): $16
36. Vladimir Tarasenko (STL, RW): $44
37. Cory Schneider (NJD, G): $29
38. Johnny Gaudreau (CGY, LW): $45
39. Auston Matthews (TOR, C): $12
40. Duncan Keith (CHI, D): $19
41. David Backes (BOS, RW): $8
42. Shayne Gostisbehere (PHI, D): $23
43. Brad Marchand (BOS, LW): $20
44. Ben Bishop (TBL, G): $30
45. Derick Brassard (OTT, C): $7
46. Steven Stamkos (TBL, C): $39
47. Claude Giroux (PHI, C): $30
48. Pekka Rinne (NSH, G): $22
49. Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ, G): $9
50. Martin Jones (SJS, G): $27
51. Evgeny Kuznetsov (WSH, C): $25
52. Keith Yandle (FLA, D): $16
53. Roman Josi (NSH, D): $23
54. Drew Doughty (LAK, D): $17
55. Andre Burakovsky (WSH, LW): $7
56. Corey Crawford (CHI, G): $34
57. Morgan Rielly (TOR, D): $6
58. Logan Couture (SJS, C): $23
59. Jonathan Quick (LAK, G): $26
60. Anze Kopitar (LAK, C): $20
61. Mike Smith (ARI, G): $6
62. Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ARI, D): $21
63. Nikita Kucherov (TBL, RW): $26
64. Alexander Radulov (MTL, RW): $8
65. Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT, G): $12
66. Nicklas Backstrom (WSH, C): $16
67. Leon Draisaitl (EDM, C): $7
68. Joe Thornton (SJS, C): $18
69. Vincent Trocheck (FLA, C): $7
70. Wayne Simmonds (PHI, RW): $13
71. James Neal (NSH, RW): $19
72. Phil Kessel (PIT, RW): $15
73. Tyson Barrie (COL, D): $8
74. Kris Letang (PIT, D): $26
75. Patrice Bergeron (BOS, C): $12
76. Blake Wheeler (WPG, RW): $17
77. Nathan MacKinnon (COL, C/RW): $14
78. Daniel Sedin (VAN, LW): $10
79. Robby Fabbri (STL, C/LW): $9
80. Max Pacioretty (MTL, LW): $13
81. Filip Forsberg (NSH, LW): $14
82. Ryan Johansen (NSH, C): $10
83. John Klingberg (DAL, D): $9
84. Patrick Sharp (DAL, LW/RW): $8
85. Robin Lehner (BUF, G): $7
86. Brandon Saad (CBJ, LW/RW): $9
87. Dustin Byfuglien (WPG, D): $15
88. John Carlson (WSH, D): $11
89. Sean Monahan (CGY, C): $7
90. Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF, D): $8
91. Shea Weber (MTL, D): $11
92. Aleksander Barkov (FLA, C): $7
93. TJ Brodie (CGY, D): $5
94. Mark Scheifele (WPG, C): $8
95. Kyle Okposo (BUF, RW): $8
96. Jonathan Toews (CHI, C): $6
97. Marc-Edouard Vlasic (SJS, D): $6
98. Brian Elliott (CGY, G): $7
99. Roberto Luongo (FLA, G): $5
100. Teuvo Teravainen (Car, LW/RW): $4
101. Semyon Varlamov (COL, G): $4
102. Mark Giordano (CGY, D): $10
103. Tyler Toffoli (LAK, C/RW): $7
104. Ryan Getzlaf (ANA, C): $15
105. Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL, G): $2
106. Devan Dubnyk (MIN, G): $7
107. Seth Jones (CBJ, D): $5
108. Jason Spezza (DAL, C): $2
109. Gustav Nyquist (DET, LW/RW): $4
110. Petr Mrazek (DET, G): $5
111. Torey Krug (BOS, D): $5
112. Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA, LW): $4
113. Jacob Trouba (WPG, D): $1
114. Justin Faulk (Car, D): $6
115. Kevin Shattenkirk (STL, D): $5
116. Gabriel Landeskog (COL, LW): $4
117. Chris Kreider (NYR, LW): $2
118. Ryan O'Reilly (BUF, C/LW): $10
119. Alexander Steen (STL, LW): $3
120. Victor Hedman (TBL, D): $6
121. Cam Atkinson (CBJ, RW): $2
122. Jake Muzzin (LAK, D): $3
123. Frederik Andersen (TOR, G): $1
124. Sam Reinhart (BUF, C/RW): $1
125. Antti Niemi (DAL, G): $1
126. Ryan Suter (MIN, D): $4
127. Patric Hornqvist (PIT, RW): $3
128. Ryan McDonagh (NYR, D): $1
129. Brayden Schenn (PHI, C/LW): $7
130. Andrew Ladd (NYI, LW): $2
131. Milan Lucic (EDM, LW): $2
132. Dylan Larkin (DET, C/RW): $6
133. Matt Duchene (COL, C): $8
134. Mark Stone (OTT, RW): $1
135. Dougie Hamilton (CGY, D): $6
136. Kari Lehtonen (DAL, G): $1
137. Brendan Gallagher (MTL, RW): $1
138. Loui Eriksson (VAN, LW): $3
139. J.T. Miller (NYR, C/LW): $1
140. Tyler Johnson (TBL, C): $3
141. Boone Jenner (CBJ, C/LW): $2
142. Jussi Jokinen (FLA, LW): $1
143. Jesse Puljujarvi (EDM, RW): $1
144. Alex Pietrangelo (STL, D): $3
145. Jaromir Jagr (FLA, RW): $2
146. Brent Seabrook (CHI, D): $2
147. James van Riemsdyk (TOR, LW): $3
148. Anton Stralman (TBL, D): $1
149. Mike Hoffman (OTT, LW): $7
150. Mika Zibanejad (NYR, C/RW): $3
151. Sami Vatanen (ANA, D): $2
152. Bobby Ryan (OTT, RW): $1
153. Matt Niskanen (WSH, D): $1
154. Nick Leddy (NYI, D): $2
155. Justin Williams (WSH, RW): $1
156. Alec Martinez (LAK, D): $1
157. Craig Anderson (OTT, G): $10
158. Henrik Sedin (VAN, C): $2
159. Mike Green (DET, D): $1
160. Jaden Schwartz (STL, LW): $1
161. Alex Goligoski (ARI, D): $1
162. Colton Parayko (STL, D): $4
163. Marian Hossa (CHI, RW): $1
164. Oscar Klefbom (EDM, D): $1
165. Hampus Lindholm (ANA, D): $1
166. Matt Dumba (MIN, D): $1
167. Alex Galchenyuk (MTL, C): $1
168. Zdeno Chara (BOS, D): $1
169. James Reimer (FLA, G): $4
170. Mats Zuccarello (NYR, RW): $1
171. Michael Stone (ARI, D): $1
172. Patrick Marleau (SJS, C/LW): $1
173. Cam Fowler (ANA, D): $1
174. Jeff Skinner (Car, LW): $1
175. Anthony Duclair (ARI, LW/RW): $1
176. Henrik Zetterberg (DET, C/LW): $1
177. Olli Maatta (PIT, D): $1
178. Ryan Kesler (ANA, C): $1
179. Joonas Donskoi (SJS, RW): $1
180. William Nylander (TOR, C/RW): $1
181. Dion Phaneuf (OTT, D): $1
182. Thomas Greiss (NYI, G): $1
183. Michael Cammalleri (NJD, LW): $1
184. Mikkel Boedker (SJS, LW): $1
185. Paul Stastny (STL, C): $1
186. Chris Kunitz (PIT, LW): $1
187. David Pastrnak (BOS, RW): $1
188. Andrei Markov (MTL, D): $1
189. Jakob Silfverberg (ANA, RW): $1
190. Michal Neuvirth (PHI, G): $1
191. PA Parenteau (NYI, RW): $1
192. Niklas Kronwall (DET, D): $1

BEN ZWEIMAN'S TEAM:

1. Jaroslav Halak (NYI, G) $16
2. Shayne Gostisbehere (PHI, D) $23
3. Brad Marchand (BOS, LW) $20
4. Steven Stamkos (TBL, C) $39
5. Drew Doughty (LAK, D) $17
6. Jonathan Quick (LAK, G) $26
7. Nikita Kucherov (TBL, RW) $26
8. Patrice Bergeron (BOS, C) $12
9. Jonthan Huberdeau (FLA, LW) $4
10. Sam Reinhart (BUF, C,/RW) $1
11. Boone Jenner (CBJ C/LW) $2
12. Alec Martinez (LAK, D) $1
13. Craig Anderson (OTT, G) $10
14. Matt Dumba (MIN, D) $1
15. Jeff Skinner (CAR, LW) $1
16. Joonas Donskoi (SJS, RW) $1

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