Still one of the flashiest pool guides out there, immediately I look at the cover and there is only the top 300 projected players? Blimey. I'm hoping to draft 240 forwards alone this year in my draft, so that really doesn't help me at all. Of course, I'll probably only have 17 people in my draft again this year, so 136 forwards is really what anyone would need, but I digress.
There are lots of predictions for the end of the year honours, but that doesn't really work for me as a poolie, it is just one of those things that looks a little flashy. What I do like is how they stuck their necks out for the top 25 players that will help you and hurt you, some very good thoughts in those pages.
The Pooler's Guide goes back to the same old well with choosing Alex Ovechkin as their top point-getter in 2011, suggesting that he will edge Sidney Crosby by 4 points, 116-112. Again, it looks like safety in suggestions is the hot trend among these pool guides and it isn't like I disagree. I don't think I could bet against either Ovechkin or Crosby to make the leap back up to the top, trying not to take away from Henrik Sedin, who won the Art Ross Trophy last season. Sedin ranks 5th on this list with 98 points, falling behind both Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeni Malkin in their 2011 projections.
The remaining top 10 forwards on the list include Joe Thornton, Daniel Sedin, Steven Stamkos, Dany Heatley and Martin St. Louis, keeping a lot of the team pairings alive. One doesn't seem to go far without the other among these publications and that is also very reasonable to me to believe. I think if you're going to go to your draft and hoping to get a pair, you'll either have to have a shallow list of teams or a bunch of muppets drafting against you.
In net, there are some more conservative estimates for most goaltenders and here is where you can see that this list was published ages ago, before most of the movement happened in free agent and trade markets. Nevertheless, both Roberto Luongo and Ilya Bryzgalov have numbers good enough for 92 points, which would put them both in the top 10 in the actual ranks and definite 1st round picks. Antti Niemi slides into 3rd among keepers with 90 points, but is still listed with the Blackhawks, so I wonder what he would be getting in San Jose, especially with Thornton and Heatley up so high in the forward points. Martin Brodeur, Jimmy Howard and Marc-Andre Fleury round out the top tier of goalies, all of which are 1st round picks in most pools, although Howard and the Red Wings might not be as safe of a bet as they once were.
Rounding out the top 10 in goal from this book are Semyon Varlamov, Ryan Miller, Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist. Out of those four, I suspect Rinne will have to work the hardest for some of those wins, as the Predators offense might be the weakest of those four teams, but I don't think a top 10 finish in net is out of his grasp.
On defense, the consensus is in. Mike Green rules the blueline scoring leaders with another top finish in this magazine, as the Pooler's Guide projects him to pick up 79 points this year, 38th among all players. I have a feeling that Green is going to go in the 1st round in my draft this year, if I get 20-to-25 people in, otherwise he will be a sure thing in the 2nd round. Someone will want to make sure they get all those points coming from the back end. Drew Doughty gets his due in this guide, getting 2nd place on defense honours with 65 points, which drops him down a few rounds, but I'm sure there are going to be some guys who will want to go after him early, as well as Duncan Keith, who is projected to have 62.
Dan Boyle, Sergei Gonchar, Tyler Myers, Mark Streit, Chris Pronger, Tomas Kaberle and Lubomir Visnovsky round out the top 10 blueliners on this list. If you read my Twitter feed, you'd know that I'm a big Myers fan, but I'm not sure I would lump him into this mix in his sophomore season. He should still be a stand-up guy in front of Miller, but I don't think his scoring will be that strong. If you took him out of the top 10, you would have to insert Sheldon Souray and I don't know which one I would want more, honestly.
Now, with this shallow group of players on its projection list, the number of rookies are very limited. The Pooler's Guide does like Taylor Hall to do the business this year, projecting him for a rookie-best 55 points. Tyler Seguin, Jordan Eberle, PK Subban, John Carlson, Nazem Kadri, Jonathan Bernier, Tyler Ennis, Brett MacLean and Mikael Backlund are all said to be in the mix, but nothing terribly stellar in terms of numbers. Bernier will be a good pick, if he can make the Kings crease on a regular basis, putting lots of pressure on Jonathan Quick.
There are a few things that I like about this publication, more the written content and the features, but the depth lacks and the layout doesn't really strike me as being all that helpful. The Pooler's Guide is a good complimentary read, probably not one to take to your draft, especially if it is a deep draft.