Tips for a strong fantasy hockey season

A photo of a hockey player on ice, handling the puck with a hockey stick CREDIT: WALIK
Now is the time to start thinking about your fantasy hockey team with helpful tips from fantasy fanatic Yannis Economopoulos.

Fantasy hockey season is just around the corner and the time to prepare and plan for your team is now. It’s great to do mock drafts to see who you can pick up wherever you fall in the draft lineup.

Creating a drawing board to mock up player chemistry is a great way to create an overall image of how you want your team to look in the end, like matching duos who will accumulate the most points for your team. It’s also important to pick goalies with high save percentages, as the points they contribute are key to a successful week.

As sporadic as it may sound, it’s not actually all that bad at first glance to strategize a game plan to help your team out, regardless of your spot in the draft.

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Yannis Economopoulos, a fantasy hockey fanatic, has been partaking in fantasy hockey for as long as he can remember. His experience and expertise have gotten him in the top five spots the last two leagues he’s played in, and he offered some of his advice as to what helped him succeed.

When it comes to building his team at the start, Economopoulos suggested you keep an eye on what point categories players excel in.

“I usually play in the category league, so typically what I do is I’ll draft two or three players specifically for one category. So, if I want to do very well in goals and guaranteed wins weekly, I’ll draft a guy like Auston Matthews who puts up 45 goals a year, so it’s just knowing the players and knowing how they play and who will put me in the best position to win the week,” said Economopoulos.

If you end up not having a top pick in the draft, there’s no reason to fret. There are countless free agents to choose from that are from weaker teams but are considered hidden gems by many.

It’s very similar to how real sports should be, and that is to draft the best player on the floor. Let’s say you draft sixth overall; every team has their core three or four players and those core players are always going to be on the first power play unit.

“So, what you need to do is find that extra one or two players who fill out the power play and then they will just capitalize on the opportunities from the core players that are on that unit,” said Economopoulos.

Many players will filter out from teams every week as the managers will be dropping them consistently to find players who perform better, leaving them to the open market. Those players the next week can suddenly wake up and start performing better and getting points which essentially is like leaving a pot of gold in the open.

“Those guys are free agent pickups, which makes it even better because you’re a finding a gem that’s just sitting there on the open market,” said Economopoulos.

Another integral thing to prepare for during the season is negotiating trades. Learning how to properly barter for players is a skill of its own, as you need to give others the reason to give up a player who may have a vital role on their team.

“Let’s say I’m trading Matthews, if you want to trade for him, you’re going to have to give up quite a hefty package, as he does it all. So, for a guy like him, I’m asking for at least three of your best players, so essentially you’re going to have to overpay,” said Economopoulos.

It’s also wise to use online tools, like credible fantasy websites, that have in depth leaderboards with all points that players accumulate and their projected performance.