July 26, 2013

12 team PPR Mock Draft

It's mocking season! Love it.

Me (JB picking 4th), Adam (A-Bomb picking 5th), and Bill (SPORTS RADIO picking 12th) participated in a mock draft this morning. Here are the results and my quick  analysis below:

You may have to click on the picture to enlarge it enough to see each pick. Or you can click the link below.

I'ts important to note that I "timed out" after my 5th round selection and the computer auto-drafted the rest for me.

This mock was done on Fantasy Football Calculator

Round 1

My pick: It came down to Charles or Rice for me at pick #4. I'm not going to be that guy who picks Megatron over one of the top 5 backs, who to me, are AP-Martin-Charles-Rice-Foster in that order.

Adam's Pick: Megatron should continue to post incredible numbers so there is minimal risk in drafting Megatron, although selecting a WR in the 1st round means you need to focus on RB with the next couple of picks.

Bill's pick: Marshall is a stud. He always puts up numbers with Cutler and is a very worthy selection at #12. I think when it's all said and done he is my #2 WR this year behind Megatron.

Best pick: All of them. All good picks. #1 did a good job of not over thinking and taking AP.

Worst pick: None of the picks are bad, but as I mentioned above I wouldn't take Megatron over Rice like Adam did here, even though he is safe I would rather not be in scramble mode for RBs the rest of the draft.

Round 2

My Pick: Darren Sproles... stud PPR RB. Sproles has limited upside, mostly because hes not really a running back, but hes still a very safe pick at the end of the 2nd round in PPR leagues. He's a lock to finish in the top 15 assuming he stays healthy.

Adams Pick: MJD. Adam gets lucky that MJD falls to him late in the 2nd round. He has some injury questions but I'm in the camp that believes in MJD so this could end up being a great pick. Before he was hurt last year MJD was a top 5 RB in fantasy points per game. He's supposedly healthy and if so, the Megatron-MJD 1-2 punch would be deadly

Bill's Pick: Alfred Morris. I think I would have taken a couple other RB's over Morris here, but at this point in the draft its all personal preference. Morris was a stud rookie last year, and as long as RGIII is healthy and under center, Morris will rack up points.

Best Pick: Jimmy Graham at 2.07 was a steal. Graham is so far ahead of any other TE (with Gronk hurt) that a mid 2nd round pick is a great time to draft him. Instant monster advantage at the TE position every week. Graham is safe, too.

Worst Pick:  Reggie Bush as the 4th pick in the 2nd round seems to high for my liking. Yes, he's in a great situation in Detroit, but I worry about Reggie's durability and likely lack of rushing TDs. Basically if Reggie has a great season, he's Darren Sproles, and you're looking for more upside than that with the 16th overall pick.

Round 3

My Pick: Roddy White. After going rb-rb I decided to go WR with this pick. Roddy has everything you are looking for in a WR1. Hes consistent. He's low risk (healthy.) He plays on a high-octane offense with a good QB. He's always been a favorite player of mine and was an easily selection as the #7 WR off the board.

Adam's Pick: DeMarco Murray. This is what happens when you take a WR early... you are forced to go RB-RB and Adam grabbed Murray as his RB2. He could do worse, but I'm not a huge fan of Murray. He's electric when he plays, but seems to be one of the guys in the league who cant stay on the field no matter what. He's missed 9/32 games in his NFL career and came in with injury concerns. He's a lot like Darren McFadden in that hes am absolute monster when he plays, but you KNOW he ain't going to play all the time.

Bill's Pick: A situation you do not want to find yourself in: 1 RB on the roster at the end of the 3rd round in a RB-heavy draft. That's where Bill was here, not ideal. He ended up taking Victor Cruz, Umass Alum, who should bounce back to WR1 levels.

Best Pick: Randall Cobb and Larry Fitz. Both of these teams had 2 RBs locked up after the first 2 rounds, and I love both of these WR this year. Great picks from both of these teams.

Worst Pick: Darren McFadden at 3.01. Too much risk to waste the 25th overall pick on McFadden, ESPECIALLY after already having 2 RBs on the roster. I hated this pick. With every QB and all the WR talent on the board, you cant be "wasting" a pick on McFadden here.If he took a safer 3rd RB I wouldn't have too much of an issue with the pick, but McFadden? No thanks.

Round 4

My Pick: Jordy Nelson. I love this guy. He's a favorite target of Aaron Rodgers and has major talent. He's big, he plays on the inside AND outside, and he's a stud. He was the #2 overall WR two years ago, and was pretty dominant last year until his unfortunate ankle injury. If this guys stays healthy for 16, which he should, he's a shoe-in for low end WR1 numbers.

Adam's Pick: Vincent Jackson. If Adam had selected Nelson, I would have taken V Jax. His move to Tampa worked out well for him, as he put up monster numbers last year. He's boom or bust, which to me causes a slight downgrade, but man, he explodes when he has a big game. If Freeman can take the next step like everyone thinks he can/should, V Jax will put up even better numbers. He led the league in average yards per catch last year... I expect another dominating performance in 2013.

Bill's Pick: Ryan Mathews at 4.01. This is where Bill's draft went astray. After going WR-RB-WR, Bill felt forced to grab another running back and reached for Mathews. At this point in the draft, I would have preferred Bill to wait on RB and make up for it by selecting Aaron Rodgers here as the 2nd QB off the board. Mathews is no longer a 3 down back, his clavicle is made out of porcelain, and the Chargers offense is a mess. They brought in Woodhead to play on pass catching downs which downgrade Mathews even more in PPR.

Best Pick: Aaron Rodgers at 4.02 is a steal. I know QB is deep but at some point you have to value the fact that Rodgers has never finished worse than #2 overall in fantasy QBs. Locking up 25 points a week in the 4th round is gold.

Worst Pick: I already went over how much I didn't like Bill's pick, so my next least favorite pick was Montee Ball. Of course with rookies we don't know their role or involvement yet, but based on John Fox's history, I'm not trusting a rookie RB as my 2nd running back. The team should have selected a WR instead IMO. Ball/all rookie RBs struggle with pass protection and last time I checked the QB for the Broncos is kind of fragile and holds the key to the Broncos winning games. They are going to want to protect Manning as best as possible so Ball could see limited playing time. Ball COULD be a TD beast this year, though, so it's not a totally bad pick, just not the selection I would have made. (At least not now, before training camps and pre-season.)

Round 5 

My Pick: Shane Vereen. I wanted to grab my 3rd running back before another 16 people went so I went with my favorite guy left on the board, Shane Vereen. Gronk-Hernandez-Lloyd-Welker-Woodhead are all out of NE this year (Gronk for 6), and I like Vereen to pick up some of that receiving slack. The Pats started using him more last year in the 2nd half, so it's possible Vereen could break out this year and turn in some great PPR value.

Adam's Pick: Pierre Garcon. I like this pick a lot. I liked Garcon a lot last year before he was injured. If RG3 is healthy all year and Garcon can stay on the field, he will easily outperform this draft position. I'm a believer.

Bill's Pick: T Brady. Nice Value here with the last pick in the 5th round. Brady is Brady and will be fine, despite losing all his weapons.

Best Pick: Cam Newton at 5.08 could be a monster steal. Newton is a beast and has the potential to finish as QB #1.

Worst Pick:  Vernon Davis at 5.09. Don't like this pick at all. Davis is probably going to have a good season, but there were too many other needs this team should gave addressed instead. WR or QB was the way to go with this pick.

My Favorite teams:

If I didn't time out, I would have selected RG3 with my 6th round pick. That makes my team nucleus of Rg3, Roddy, Jordy, Charles and Sproles REAL tough to beat. I definitely would have liked my team the best if I could have finished drafting, but other teams I really like are:

OCHO- Thin at RB but if Wilson emerges as the starter we think we might, I like this squad

Adams Team- Healthy Rbs = dominance. Unhealthy RBs = last place.

Team 3- I really like the core Martin-Ridley-Thomas-Nicks. And this guy took Gronk so if he's back to full strength by week 6 off the PUP, this pick looks golden.

My least Favorite teams: 

Team 2- Don't like Frank Gore and too many eggs in the basket of unproven Lamar Miller.

999- I like how the draft started for this guy but you cant be taking Percy and Wilson right now in light of the Percy Injury news.

July 22, 2013

British Open Final Standings

Wow. I woke up yesterday at 6:30 to watch the entire final round of the British Open. So glad I did, too. Most of the morning the story line was the 54 hole leader,  Lee Westwood, trying to hold off the field. At different points Tiger, Stenson, Mahan, and Scott all seemed like they were going to take over. As the morning wore on, Westwood faltered and  Ian Poulter made a late run (-5 in holes 9 through 13) and ended up posting a +1 in the clubhouse while the back group was just making the turn. While the rest of the field started dropping strokes (the course played tougher in the afternoon once again), eventual winner Phil Mickelson just destroyed the back 9, and by Hole 16 it was apparent he was on a mission. He ended up firing a -5 66, which was the tournament low.

Here is Mickleson's scorecard card from yesterday. Birdie-Birdie finish is championship caliber.

and here is the rest of the leaderboard:

and for our fantasy challenge, here are the final results:

WINNER- Paul Taylor 

Paul +20
Jeremy +25
James +29
Adam +33
CBell +46
Dan +47
Abe +49
Sean +52
Beckerman +54
Bill +71

Team scores including +6 for MCs
WDs were scored as +26 (+20 was last place)

Team Paul
Z Johnson +2
Scott +1
Garcia  +7
Van Pelt +10
Total +20

Team Jeremy
Mikelson -3
D Johnson +9
Watson +9
Spieth +10
Total +25

Team James
Woods +2
Stenson E
Westwood +1
Noren +26 (WD)
Total +29

Team CBell
McDowell +12
Els +8
Horschel +18
Dufner +8
Total +46

Team Dan-
Snedeker +4
Kaymer +9
Fowler +18
Watney +16
Total  +47

Team Beckerman-
Donald +16
Kuchar +6
Harrington +11
Manassero +21
Total +54

Team Adam-
Mahan +3
Rose +16
Poulter +1
Simpson +13
Total +33

Team Bill-
Oosthuizen +26 (WD)
Hanson +26 (WD)
Schwartzel +6
Grace +13
Total +71

Team Sean-
Day +9
Colsaerts +15
Bjorn +18
Laird +10
Total +52

Team Abe-
McIlroy +18
Haas +15
Bradley +6
Jacobson +10
Total +49

July 19, 2013

A Closer Look at the 2009 rental guys championship

Fantasy Football is around the corner. What goes hand in hand with fantasy football? Shit talking. There's a lot of it in our Dirty D league, that's for sure. Specifically, Dan (the rental guys) and myself talk the most trash about/to each other. Over the past few years the topic of Dan winning the inaugural Fantasy Football season has come up numerous times. I decided to break down Dan's 2009 season and figure out how exactly he won.

First, it's important to know that in 2009 we had a slightly different format. 4 teams made the playoffs (instead of 6) so there was an extra regular season week and only 2 playoff wins were required to win the championship.

It's also important to note that with ANY Fantasy Football championship comes some luck. Fantasy Football overall is a very "lucky" game. Of course, the real science is putting yourself in the best position to get lucky. Doing research is very important and over time, the cream of the crop will rise. Each individual week, though, the best fantasy football player could lose to the worst fantasy player very easily.

the rental guys won the 2009 Championship. Dan's name is on "The D" and that's all that truly matters. That being said, Dan got crazy lucky in 2009 and here's why:

Reason #1- N00b City

I started this football league in 2009 because it was the first Fall after I graduated from Umass and moved back to the Boston/Dedham area. I thought it was crazy-town that my core group of friends from "home"- who all loved and even played football- didn't play fantasy football. So I started our league, The Dirty D. I wanted 12 teams. So naturally I invited this core group of friends at the time: Adam, Dan, Paul, Bill, Campbell.

Once the 6 of us were on board, I expanded the search to fill out the league. Dan's younger and cooler brother Sean wanted in. Easy choice.

I thought Kait was both competent and competitive enough to play in the league (and I really just wanted her to play so she would be able to talk about fantasy football with me and know whats going on) so she got the invite. After that I asked her bro and her Dad, both avid NFL football watchers, if they wanted in. They did.

That brought us to 10 teams, but we struggled mightily to find 2 more players. With very little time before the draft, I invited college friends Caleb and Trevor to play in the League. They both accepted and we had our 12 players.

Let me break down the experience each manager brought to the table in 2009:

Me:  Avid fantasy (all sports) player since 1997 ish

Adam: Had played one season 6 or 7 years prior to 2009, pretty much a 1st time player.

Dan: Had played in random public leagues for 2 or 3 years prior to 2009

Paul: 1st time player

Sean: Had played in the past for maybe 2 years

Bill: 1st time player

Campbell: Had been a first time player the previous year

Kait: 1st time player

Donny: Had never played fantasy football before but had some experience in fantasy baseball and hockey.

Mr. B: 1st time player

Caleb: Had played in the past for a number years (off and on for 7 or 8 years)

Trevor: Had played one or two seasons in the past

As you can see, it was n00b city in the Dirty D of 2009. Half the league had never played before. Which leads me to my next point...

Reason #2 Auto-drafters

Having a team be auto drafted is pretty much my worst nightmare. It sucks. If you don't show up for the draft (conducted on line) Yahoo picks your team for you with a questionable strategy of taking the best player available (according to Yahoo pre-season ranks, which are established way too early) while also taking into consideration the positions that need to be filled. This probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world except for the reason that once the "starting lineup" is filled, the computer will actually starting auto picking a kicker and defense in rounds 8 and 9, because technically those are starting positions.

Obviously anyone who has read this far knows that picking a kicker and defense that early is basically a kiss of death and wasted pick. Since we had so many n00bs in the league in 2009, we unfortunately didn't have full attendance at the draft. A couple owners missed the draft completely, while other missed the first few rounds while trying to log in. I remember drafting rookie Ray Rice that year in the NINTH ROUND of our draft. He was a consensus 5th rounder that year but because so many teams were picking defenses and kickers, players like Rice and other valuable "bench" guys were avail very late for those us who were aware of this debacle.

While I can't remember who exactly autodrafted, I have a good idea and it's fairly easy to tell when looking back at the draft results (which luckily, Yahoo keeps on file)

-I know Bill was absent for at least his first 2 picks. The computer selected Brian Westbrook for him at #5 overall. Westbrook's ADP that year (Average Draft Position) was 19.6. I think he had an injury, but Yahoo ranks didn't account for that. Bills 2nd round pick that year was Clinton Portis, who was also injured and ranked much lower than where Bill's computer picked him.

-I believe Trevor missed the entire draft or at least a large chunk of it.

-I know Mr. B was absent for his first 2 picks as well. He had technical difficulties but luckily both picks ended up being good. (Deangelo Williams and Chris Johnson (the year he had 2K yards!))

-I think most owners left the lobby and turned on auto draft after the first 8 or 9 rounds. Once you do that, the computer takes over and picks your kicker and defense right away.

-People were so new to the league that even some of the drafters in attendance started taking kickers in round 7. Donny used his 7th round selection on Stephen Ghostkowski.  Insane to think about nowadays. There's no way Donny would ever make that mistake again.

Look how gross this 9th round looks. This is the round I grabbed Ray Rice, who ended up as a top 10 running back. His ADP that year was 40.6. I grabbed him with the 102nd overall pick. Cue puking.

Anyway I need to move on. this draft is disgusting to look at. You can go back and look at the full results here.

Reason #3 More n00biness- No one making any moves

Not only do first time players absolutely suck at drafting, but they are usually pretty bad at making in-season moves as well. A newer owner will tend to stick to a drafted player much longer than they should. In fact, even after 4 seasons, we still have players who don't really make in-season moves and would rather just stick it out with their drafted players. You have to have a very, VERY good draft to be successful with this strategy. (See the bottom right points of: Kait's 2012 season and Sean's 2009 season.) Keeping up with weekly player news and being active on the waiver wire and free agent market is a MUST for serious players. You have to be consistently re-evaluating your roster and searching for better options that may be available. Football is a tough game... There's a lot of injuries and a lot of changes all the time.

I don't have any specific examples, but I remember in 2009 I would be able to pick up a newly-named NFL starting running back on Friday or Saturday with no problem. It was very easy  because so many good players were always available and so many members in the league never considered making any changes.

I had a theory that the more moves a manager made, the more points they end up scoring. Obviously this isn't an absolute truth, but I wanted to test my hypothesis. I took all the season from the 4 years we have played (2009-2012) and came up with the chart below. It's a simple scatter plot, with a calculated trendline that represents the mean.

As you can see, my hypothesis was proven correct. That red line going from bottom left to top right basically means there is a strong correlation between number of moves and points scored. The more (legit) moves you make, the more points you are likely to score.

One thing I am proud of is the progression our league has made in this area. In 2012 there were more moves and transactions than ever before. In fact, the number of moves has (predictably) gone up each of the 4 years of the league.

Total Moves 

2009: 212 (17.66 per team)

2010: 277 (23.08 per team)

2011: 302 (25.16 per team)

2012: 315 (26.25 per team)

As you can see, it is starting to level off... but I still predict the number of moves to rise again in 2013 as people continue to learn that complacency = death in fantasy football.

Reason #4- Incredible In-Season luck 

When you play head-to-head fantasy football, all you have to do is have your players score more than the other person and you get a victory. A low scoring win counts the same as a high scoring win. It's frustrating to lose with a high score and certainly lucky to win with a low score. Over time, these things tend to average out, but in one single season, a crappy team can have a good record with some good luck. And that's exactly what happened with Dan and the rental guys in 2009.

First, lets take a look at total points scored for the season. This obviously doesn't take into account and Wins and Losses and in a perfect world, the team that scores the most would be in first all the way down to the team that scores the least would be in last.

the rental guys are represented by the red bar. Dan's team scored 1462 points over the 14 regular season games. That's good for the 4th lowest total in the league. 9th out of 12.

If Dan played every team every week in 2009 his record would have been 66-86-2, a winning percentage of .435

His actual record was 9-4-1, a winning percentage of .679

Which begs the question, how did he win 9 games with such a low scoring team?

Well, I went back through the 2009 season for the answer and figured it out. Out of the 14 weeks, Dan's opponent scored lower than their average in a whopping 10 of those weeks!

This means if you played Dan, you were going to score lower than you normally do. This has nothing to do with actually facing Dan's team (this isn't real football where the 2 teams playing head to head influence how the other does) but just an amazing trend that contributed to Dan's success.


Even though the 2009 season was filled with rookie mistakes and crazy luck, Dan's team actually scored well in the playoffs. He got lucky as shit to get IN to the playoffs (top 4 in the league) but once week 15 rolled around, Dan's team was on fire and he put together back to back weeks that were deserving of wins. Here is how the playoffs shook out:

So, In closing-

July 18, 2013

Scoring after Round 1 of British Open

Scoring update after Round 1 of the 2013 British Open:

Link to Leaderboard: http://scores.theopen.com/en/Leaderboard.aspx

Jeremy/Team USA -8
Paul +4
Sean +7
Adam +8 
Dan +9
James +10
CBell +11
Beckerman +18
Abe +19
Bill +45 LOL

Team Jeremy
Mikelson -2
D Johnson -3
Watson -1
Spieth -2

Total -8

Team CBell
McDowell +4
Els +3
Horschel +3 
Dufner +1

Total +11

Team James
Woods -2
Stenson -1
Westwood +1
Noren +12

Total +10

Team Paul
Z Johnson -5
Scott E
Garcia  +4
Van Pelt +5

Total +4

Team Dan-
Snedeker -3
Kaymer +1
Fowler +7
Watney +4

Total  +9

Team Beckerman-
Donald +8
Kuchar +3
Harrington +2
Manassero +5

Total +18

Team Adam-
Mahan +1
Rose +4
Poulter +1
Simpson +2

Total +8

Team Bill-
Oosthuizen WD (+19)
Hanson WD (+19)
Schwartzel +4
Grace +3

Total +45

Team Sean-
Day +2
Colsaerts +4
Bjorn +2
Laird -1

Total +7

Team Abe-
McIlroy +8
Haas +6
Bradley +4
Jacobson +1

Total +19

July 17, 2013

Too Good/Accurate not to post

2013 British Open Fantasy Challenge Draft

Major Golf is back, this time at Muirfield for the 2013 British Open. Me and some friends are doing the fantasy challenge once again.  Everyone will choose 4 golfers and the best combined score will win. Any player who misses the cut will get +6 added to their score. 

The Players &  the Draft Order-

1. James- Finished 3rd out of 8 at the US Open & 4th out of 6 at the Masters

2. Jeremy- First time player

3. Paul- Finished 5th out of 8 at the US Open & 2nd out of 6 at the Masters

4. Abe- Finished 6th out of 8 at the US Open & 1st out of 6 at the Masters

5. Sean- Finished 7th out of 8 at the US Open

6. Adam- Finished 4th out of 8 at the US Open & 5th out of 6 at the Masters

7. Bill- Finished 1st out of 8 at the US Open & 6th out of 6 at the Masters

8. Beckerman- Finished 8th out of 8 at the US Open

9. C-Bell- First time player

10. Dan- Finished 2nd out of 8 at the US Open & 2nd out of 6 at the Masters

The Draft-

Round 1
1. James- Tiger Woods
2. Jeremy- Phil Mikelson 
3. Paul- Adam Scott
4. Abe- Rory McIlroy 
5. Sean- Jason Day 
6. Adam- Justin Rose
7. Bill- Charl Schwartzel
8. Beckerman- Koooooooch
9. CBell- Graeme McDowell
10. Dan- Brandt Snedeker

Round 2
11. Dan- Tricky Ricky 
12. CBell- Ernie Els
13. Beckerman- Luke Donald 
14. Bill- Louis Oosthuizen 
15. Adam- Ian Poulter
16. Sean- Nicolas Colsaerts
17. Abe- Bill Haas
18. Paul- Sergio Garcia
19. Jeremy- Dustin Johnson & Paulina Gretzky
20. James- Lee Westwood 

Round 3
21. James- Henrik Stenson  
22. Jeremy- Bubba Watson
23. Paul- Zach Johnson
24. Abe- Keegan Bradley 
25. Sean- Martin Laird
26. Adam- Hunter Mahan
27. Bill- Peter Hanson 
28. Beckerman- Padraig Harrington 
29. CBell- Billy Horschel
30. Dan- Incompetent (Nick Watney eventually)

Round 4
31. Dan- Incompetent (Martin Kaymer eventually)
32. CBell- Jason Dufner 
33. Beckerman-Matteo Manassero
34. Bill- Branden Grace
35. Adam- Webb Simpson
36. Sean- Thomas Bjorn
37. Abe- Freddie Jacobson
38. Paul- Bo Van Pelt 
39. Jeremy- Jordan Spieth 
40. James- Alexander Noren 

Team Rosters:

Team James (Woods, Westwood, Stenson, Noren)
Team Jeremy (Mikelson, D Johnson, Watson, Spieth)
Team Paul (Scott, Garcia, Z Johnson, Van Pelt)
Team Abe (McIlroy, Haas, Bradley, Jacobson)
Team Sean (Day, Colsaerts, Laird, Bjorn)
Team Adam (Rose, Poulter, Mahan, Simpson)
Team Bill (Schwartzel, Oosthuizen, Hanson, Grace)
Team Beckerman (Kuchar, Donald, Harrington, Manassero)
Team CBell (McDowell, Else, Horschel, Dufner)
Team Dan (Snedeker, Fowler, List, Z Johnson, D Johnson, Toms, Immelman, Kaymer, Watney)

July 14, 2013

SJ Sharks won Twitter on Friday

I'm still not sure what Sharknado is but the SJ Sharks pwned ESPN and the Blues. 

July 9, 2013

Seguin in a Stars jersey

Here's some pics of Seguin shortly after being introduced in Dallas today. The new uni's look sick, that's for sure. Seguin will be wearing #91 like a boss.

Related links:

My take on the Seguin trade

I guess I was wrong here when I wrote "Tyler Seguin was born to be a Bruin"

NHL: new faces in new places

Here are some of the notable Free Agent signings (and trades) over the past week & how they may effect the Bruins:

Daniel Alfredsson
New team: Red Wings:
Cap hit and Length: 1 year, 5.5 Mil

The long time captain of Ottawa had narrowed his list of teams down to Detroit, Boston and Ottawa. Ultimately he choose to go to the Red Wings, citing that he wanted a new challenge/ a new role on the team and he's tired of getting bounced in the 1st round every year and wants to win the Cup. The Senators are getting better but they aren't at Detroit's level yet. This move allows Detroit to put Zetterberg and Datsyuk together on a line, if they choose, which is death. Also, I don't think the full 5.5 Mill counts against the cap this year (similar to the Bruins deal with Iginla.) This obvious effects Boston because with the re-alignment, Alfredsson and his Red Wings are now in our Conference. Regular season and playoffs. That's probably a big part of why Daniel went to the Wings... he's already familiar with the opponents of his new team. This guy could be very dangerous next year. 

Tyler Bozak
New (and old) team: Leafs :
Cap hit and Length: 5 years, 4.2 Mil per 

The Leafs realized they needed to re-sign Bozak because they were already thin at Center. Bozak worked well with Phil Kessel and it's clear this guy has some skill. However, it seems like Toronto paid a premium for this guy. 27 years old, been in the NHL for 3 years now, and he has never scored 20 goals or had 50 assists. Bozak is probably not going to last the full 5 years in Toronto but they have clearly invested a lot of their future in this guy. He seems more like a 3rd line Center instead of a top 2 Center like he is going to be asked to play... but time will tell. My bet is that this signing looks bad in 2-3 years from now. At least Kessel is probably happy with it, though even though. And its not worse than the next signing.... 

David Clarkson
New team: Leafs :
Cap hit and Length: 7 years, 5.25 Mil per 

Clarkson was the one guy I knew would get overpaid by whatever team signed him.... I'm so happy it wasn't the Bruins, because their name kept coming up in Clarkson talk before he signed.  Think of David Clarkson as a lighter, more American version of Milan Lucic... a complimentary player with some grit who can also bury the puck in spurts. He's scored 30 goals in his last full season, but there is no way Clarkson is going to be worth the money the Leafs dished out for him. He's not a playmaker at all and this contract is going to look awful in 2-3 years. $5.25 Mill per year is stupid money for Clarkson. If you combine the Clarkson and Bozak deal and you basically have 3rd line guys getting paid 9.5 Mill between the two of them for the next 5 years. 

Stephen Weiss
New team: Red Wings :
Cap hit and Length: 5 years, 4.9 Mil per 

This may be my favorite signing this off season. Weiss has always been an intriguing player to me, mostly because he's been stuck on the Florida Panthers for 10 years but has always produced and always plays hard. The cap hit is more than reasonable, the player is hungry, and he is a perfect fit for the 2nd line Center spot on the Wings. He's going to be playing alongside a lot of skill and could really do some damage to the Bruins next year. A+ signing by the Wings. 

Andrew Ference 
New team: Oilers
Cap hit and Length: 4 years, 3.25 Mil per 

Of course it was sad to see Ference move on from Boston, but I'm happy with the spot he landed. Ference is a Alberta native and the Oilers are in desperate need of a top 4 defeseman + veteran leadership both on and off the ice. His cap hit is low... great job by Edmonton to lock down Ference who has played in 3 Cup Finals now and should be able to help this young team take the next step. 

Ryan Clowe
New team: Devils
Cap hit and Length: 5 years, 4.85 Mil per 

Another major over-payment by the Devils. After losing the Clarkson sweepstakes, the Devils overreacted and signed Clowe who gets hurt every year. Clowe was a disaster last season scoring just 3 goals in 40+ games and will be 37 years old at the end of this contract. Not good. 

Michael Ryder 
New team: Devils
Cap hit and Length: 2 years, 3.5 Mil per 

As much as I hate the Clowe signing,  I love this Ryder deal for the Devils. 2 year deal for a proven scorer who lights the lamp every other game? Yes please. Ryder signed a 2 year deal for $7 Mill when he first joined the Stars after winning the Cup in Boston,  now he gets the same deal with the Devils. There's a good chance Ryder ends up playing with Kovalchuk and if that happens, the Devils will have a dangerous top line. Ryder is the man. Refuses to stay with Montreal and I love it. 

Rob Scuderi
New team: Penguins
Cap hit and Length: 4 years, 3.375 Mil per 

Fuckin Ray Shero. I don't know how the hell he managed to land Scuderi for this discounted price, but this was a great move. Scuderi won a cup in Pitt in 08, left for LA and won a cup there, and now he's back in Pittsurgh for more. Shero admitted he shouldn't have let Scuderi go in the first place, and he makes up for it here with a great deal for the Penguins. They need the help on D and Scuderi is as solid as they come. He brings close to nothing to the table offensively but he is basically a larger version of Andrew Ference. They are the same age and got very similar deals this past weekend. 

Bobby Ryan 
Traded to Senators  

#BringBobbytoBoston is dead. Ryan is a stud and the Senators acted quickly to grab him once they lost Alfredsson to the Wings. Bobby Ryan will be deadly in the East (30+ goals), and as I tweeted out it will be fun to watch this guy up close and personal. One of my favorite USA hockey team members. In return for Ryan the Ducks got Noesen, Silfverberg, and a 1st round pick. Good deal for both teams

Cory Schneider
Traded to  Devils

In a shocking draft day move, the Canucks dealt their young goalie away to the Devils in return for the #9 overall pick (they used to select Center Bo Horvat) Vancouver was forced to change their strategy after 2 years of trying to trade away Luongo and his shitty contract. It never happened and this is the result. Schneider is a top 10 goalie in the league with monster potential. He'll have to split time with Brodeur for at least 1 season but the goaltending torch has been passed in New Jersey. 

Mike Ribeiro
New team: Coyotes
Cap hit and Length: 4 years, 5.5 Mil per 

Over-payment. Ribeiro is old and no longer a 20 goal scorer. At least the Coyotes are making moves and trying to stay relevant. This isn't the direction I would have gone, though. Ribeiro is now the 2nd highest paid player on the team. Puke city. Gross picture too. HATE the way this guy looks. 

Ray Emery 
New team: Flyers
Cap hit and Length: 1 year, 1.65 Mil per 

Flyers sign a goalie. Shocker. Actually, to be fair, this time the signing makes sense so I suppose I can refrain from making fun of Philly this one time. They are up against the cap pretty tight and the current goalie, Steve Mason, isn't exactly the best in the league. Emery is a good fit for the Flyers and will hope to have more success during his 2nd Flyers tenure. 

Clarke MacArthur
New team: Senators
Cap hit and Length: 2 years, 6.5 Mil per 

Solid signing here by Ottawa. McArthur is a solid forward who should be able to score 20-25 goals playing with Bobby Ryan. He's nothing special, but neither is 3.25 Mill per year. 

Valtteri Filppula
New team: Lightning
Cap hit and Length: 5 years, 5 Mil per 

Tampa Bay needed a replacement for Lecavalier and they found one in Filppula. Curious move here though... I have always liked the way Filppula has played, but 5 years at 5 each seems like an over payment. His best season was 2011-12 when he scored 23 goals with 43 assists and 66 points total. Not sure exactly what Stevie Y was thinking here, but he knows Valtteri through his ties in Detroit so maybe he knows something the rest of us don't. Filppula is 29 and theoretically past his prime so this has the chance to be a horrible, horrible signing. 

Matt Cooke
New team: Wild
Cap hit and Length: 3 years, 2.5 Mil per 

I saved the worst for last. Cooke is a deuche and got 3 years and 7.5 Mill too much from the Wild. At least he's out of the Bruins conference now.  

July 8, 2013

Seguin/Horton OUT, Iginla/Eriksson IN

RIP Seggy and Mr. OT

Phew. OK. Lots to talk about in this blog about the transition from the 2013 Bruins to the 2014 Bruins.

I've decided to expand fully on all of the transactions the Bruins are involved in, as well as a bunch of other signings around the league

 Let's  break down the frenzied off-season so far, player by player:

Who's Out: Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton 

Tyler Seguin was unexpectedly traded on July 4th to the Dallas Stars in return for Loui Ericksson and 3 prospects. This came as a shock to me and others for a few different reasons. It was widely reported the Bruins had been shopping Seguin in the week leading up to free agency, however once Nathan Horton informed the Bruins he would be moving on to quieter pastures, Chiarelli noted that trade talks on Seguin "dried up." At the time the Bruins GM went on to say he hoped the trade talk would serve as a wake up call for Seguin. Chiarelli openly said Seguin needed to be more professional. Couple things on that:

1. Each Bruins player has an exit interview with the GM and Coach before leaving for the Summer. Obviously Chiarelli must have expressed these "unprofessional" concerns to Seguin directly during the exit process. I'm not sure if Seguin didn't respond how Chiarelli wanted, or what- but I think it's worth noting that Chiarelli then went to the media to publicize his critical thoughts on the 21 year old. That's something you don't see often. Also, I think it's BS people are out there saying Seguin was partying his ass off and not giving a shit about the Bruins. C'mon now. If Seguin is/was out partying in Boston on a nightly basis we would have known. Its called twitter. Boston athletes can't hide in Boston. Too many people care and it's too small of a city. And so what if he goes out after a game on Saturday (as long as the next day is an off day)? He's 21. If his partying was out of control, we would have heard about it before he got traded.

2. Something else you don't see often: A team talking shit about one of their own players and then trading that player days later. I mean seriously, Chiarelli must truly not have been expecting to trade Seguin when he called him unprofessional. Trading 101 is that you pump up your players as best you can, call attention to their strengths and try to make excuses for their weaknesses. Chia did the opposite, which some will argue hurt Seguin's trade value. It's one of those things you will likely never know how it went down, but I'm guessing all Seguin trade talk was dead when Chiarelli scolded him in the media (or else he wouldn't have) and somehow, someway the Stars reached out to the Bruins and made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

Here's where this blog gets real and I give my solid, well thought out opinion on Seguin being traded.

This move, to me, was more of an affirmation of Claude and his defensive system than an indictment of Seguin. Seguin just doesn't fit here in Boston. He's a natural center-man... here in Boston we are all set with Bergeron and Krejci at the pivot. Seguin is also a player who will excel in a higher octane offense that allows him to take more chances. Michael Ryder scored 36 goals in his first season with the Stars after scoring just 36 with the Bruins the previous 2 years combined. That's right, he doubled  his goal scoring rate after he left Boston. I don't think there is any doubt Seguin will have similar results and  is a candidate to hit the 40 goal mark for the Stars next year. He could threaten 50 if things fall into place for him. He's going to get ample PP1 time, he will be playing alongside Jamie Benn, and will show everyone why he was the 2nd pick overall in 2010.

Outside of Seguin not fitting into the Bruins system, the other major reason why he was shipped down to Dallas was for financial  reasons. Seguin's cap hit is 5.75 Mill for the next SIX seasons. That's a long commitment. Could the Bruins have made it work with Seguin? Sure. But this certainly allows more breathing space for Chiarelli and the front office crew. Eriksson carries a cap hit of 4.25 mill so it's not a world of a difference, but 1.5 Mill can go a long way. The Bruins need to sign Tuukka and extend Bergeron. They would rather give the money to these guys over Tyler Seguin and I don't think you will find ANY Bruins fan who can argue that. Unless you want to pay for shootout points.

(I made this myself so it looks like crap)

Nathan Horton

Man, talk about disappointing. Last week when Horton's agent informed the Bruins he was looking to go elsewhere, everyone was somewhat shocked. The guy had it MADE here. He was universally loved in Boston and excelled on the top line for the Bruins. Sure, he was called out periodically by the media for just "going through the motions" at times in the regular season...but is that really a huge deal? He's always been a big performer during the playoffs, which is really what matters. Horton was the only winger who wasn't dropped down or demoted for any game this year. Julien continued to show the utmost confidence in Nasty Nate through the entire playoffs. Horton is immortalized as Mr Overtime forever in my book for his uncanny ability to show up around the net in the extra periods.

Horton signed a 7 year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets for 5.35 Mill per year. Has Columbus ever attracted a free agent like this? I don' think they have. Horton will be able to live his quiet non-playoff life in Ohio and collect monster paychecks until he's 35. Whatever. Clearly the guy isn't the champion we all thought he was. He tricked everyone by asking out of Florida... people thought he wanted to win championships. (plural) Hey bro if you wanted a quieter life, you should have stuck around Boston and  moved to the burbs. Commute into Boston. Now you'll be golfing in April every year. Clown/Fringe move by Horty here IMO.

Bromance: Over

However lame he is, I'm still going to use this chance to thank Nathan Horton for his time here in Boston. After all, he is a free agent and its his personal choice to do what he wants.  Horton's Game 7 winners in 2011 from Montreal and Tampa are 2 of the greatest moments in Bruins history.
When it comes down to it, If my grandkids ask me who Nathan Horton is you know I'm always going to say he was someone the Bruins needed in 2011 to win the cup. Especially for these 4 key moments:

Montreal 2011 Game 5 2OT Goal
Montreal 2011 Game 7 OT Goal
Tampa 2011 Game 7's only Goal
Vancouver Game 7 Pre Game

All of these moments and more can be seen in this 3 min video highlighting Nathan Horton's 2011 Playoff run.

Rich Peverly

Peverly was included in the Seguin trade to Dallas, my guess was that the Bruins told the Stars to get Seguin they had to acquire Peverly as well. He is making too much money as a bottom 6 guy (3.25 Mill) and should never have been extended last offseason. Again, with Peverley, his story in my head was a guy we acquired at the deadline in 2011 who stepped up big time and scored a couple big goals. Great role player and PK guy because he's fast. But he's gone and wont be missed. 

Anton Khudobin

The Bruins' great back up from last year (who deserved significant consideration for 7th Player Award) decided to leave and go back up Cam Ward in Carolina. I'm guessing Dobby wanted to play in an organization where he had a better chance at playing full time and ruled out a return to Boston right away.  The Bruins are about to extend Rask a max length contract, plus they have AAA standout Svedberg, outstanding prospect Subban, and now a back up guy in Chad Johnson who they got via free agency for $600,000. He's played 5 total NHL games for 2 different franchises, but he's $400,000 less than Khudobin I suppose. 

Who's In: Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson

Jarome Iginla

Has anyone ever represented a term or saying better than Jarome Iginla does for "If you can't beat 'em, join em." ? (Maybe Hossa?) Finally, Iginla is a Bruin like he should have been 3 months ago. I'm fairly certain if we had Iginla at the deadline instead of Jagr we would have likely won the Cup. Iginla is a great fit for the Bruins, and he will soon make everyone forget about his decision to join the Penguins over the Bruins at the deadline. After getting shut out and swept away by Chara & Co., Iginla agreed to a 1 year deal with the Bruins with only 1.8 Mill counting against the cap. If he hits certain performance levels, which he is expected to do, his salary and cap rise to 6 Mill and the leftover 4.2 Mill count against the Bruins' cap number next year. A 35 year old future Hall of Famer who is highly motivated to finally win a cup. People should be more excited we landed Iginla. Let the past go. He's going to be a beast here whether he ends up on the top line with Lucic and Krejci or on the second line with Bergy and Marchand. Maybe most importantly, Iginla (plus fluid, offensive defenseman) may be the missing piece the Bruins have been looking for on the Power Play. Iginla is a horse on the man advantage so look for the Bruins to improve on that weakness moving forward.

2013 Prediction for Iginla: 26 goals, 35 assists

Loui Eriksson

Right off the bat, this guy has 2 things going for him. The first is that he spells his first name like a boss. The second is that he wears #21 which is my favorite number and it just so happens is available on the Bruins now that Ference has departed.

Since becoming a full time NHLer in 2008, Eriksson has had seasons of 36, 29, 27, 26 and 12 goals this year in the shortened season. He is a known commodity. Just like Seguin not  being the right fit for the Bruins and they system Julien uses, Eriksson may be a great fit. He's a good playmaker (about 45 assists a year) and should slot in well with either of the Bruins top 2 lines. Eriksson doesn't play a heavy game, but he's defensive responsibly and probably starved to play in a hockey market like Boston. He's a left handed shot who plays RW. I'm looking forward to getting to know this player. Also, no doubt losing Seguin is a disadvantage in the Shootout moving forward, but Eriksson has moves too.

Heres a highlight video of Eriksson

2013 Prediction for Eriksson: 23 Goals, 45 Assists


Bruins top 6 forwards before these moves:

2014 Cap hit for these 6 forwards: 30.5 Mill

Bruins new, projected top 6:

2014 Cap hit for these 6 forwards: 26.85 Mill

So yea, the Bruins may have gotten older and slower up front, but they saved money and got some valuable assets. I love that Chiarelli is active and making moves for the present. The Bruins will be signing Rask to a 6-8 year deal soon and look for a Bergeron 8 year extension as well.

Thornton was a top 5 pick but not a guy to build around. Kessel was a top 5 pick and not a guy to build around. Seguin was a top 5 pick and not a guy to build around and I'm glad Chiarelli recognized this sooner rather than later. Maybe the return could have been greater if the Bruins were patient and waited for an in-seaosn offer... but I think they made the decision they wanted to move on from Tyler and when the Stars swooped in late the Bruins cut bait. Good riddance #19 and one last time, lets revisit the first ever  "Thank You Kessel" chant.

(Although keep in mind the Bruins also got Dougie Hamilton from that trade so we can keep thanking Special K for years to come, just not for Seguin)

*Stay tuned for my notes on ALL the other NHL free agent signings. I plan on writing a blog with each signing and a blurb on my thoughts and how each signing effects the Bruins, if at all.

July 3, 2013

Vinny to the Flyers (who suck)

I'm so glad I wrote that whole blog below about Vinny possibly coming to the Bruins when 2 hours later Lecavalier signed with the Flyers. 5 years 22.5 million years. Whatever. A lot of people are saying the term on the contract is too long... I think it's probably fine. Vinny should be very very good for at least 3-4 more years. Anyway this is a nice time to make fun of the Flyers, who may go after Tim Thomas as well.