Friday, August 21, 2009

The 2009 Edition of the Poolers Guide

The review of hockey pool guides continues today, as I purchased the Pooler's Guide from 'Hockey - The Magazine' yesterday. This again is one of the flashier publications out there, which is really great to look at and they seemingly do a greater depth for keeper pools, listing a lot of salaries and give some advice accordingly.

Again though, I want to go over the same points I went over with the Hockey News guide, giving you an idea of what to expect out of the magazine. If you have the same idea about some of the top players, you may have a little more faith in what they say about the depth players when it comes to crunch time.

Exactly like the Hockey News before it, the Pooler's Guide predicts that Evgeni Malkin will re-capture the Art Ross Trophy with 115 points. I really can't say that I'm surprised, as it does seem really easy to call a repeat performance with Malkin, as he does a lot to make his game look so effortless. Next on the list, it's Alex Ovechkin with 114 points, including 60 goals, and then Sidney Crosby forms the top three with 110 points, with only 40 goals. It seems like these three will be the favourites across the board for the top picks in any pool.

The new entry into the top ten which raised an eyebrow of sorts was Nicklas Backstrom, Ovechkin's centre in Washington. I can't say that I'm terribly surprised, as he'll likely be a huge help to Ovechkin's 60-goal campaign. Backstrom finished 11th in pool scoring last season, so there really is no stretch, but his inclusion did stick out a little bit at 98 points. By comparison, the Hockey News has Backstrom in 12th among skaters at 90 points.

There is a big difference when it comes to goalies, as the Pooler's Guide has Miikka Kiprusoff as the far-and-away favourite in net, with 44 wins and 8 shutouts for 104 pool points, 6 points clear of Evgeni Nabokov in San Jose. Martin Brodeur returns to the top three with 42 wins and 6 shutouts for 96 points.

No real surprises in the top ten in goaltending. Ray Emery ranks 12th among goalies with 33 wins and 5 shutouts, while Semyon Varlamov is expected to split duty with Jose Theodore and pick up 22 wins and 3 shutouts. Theodore is expected to have 28 wins and 2 shutouts.

Mike Green is again the top projected defender, as he should be, with 30 goals and 43 assists in Washington, a bit more conservative than the Hockey News' 78 points. Also coming in 2nd and 3rd (respectively) is Andrei Markov in Montreal and Scott Niedermayer in Anaheim. Let's not be too surprised here, let's just take this information and use it wisely, as you don't want to sell the farm on players that will only just eclipse the 60-point barrier.

Next up on the review is the rookie race in 2010. Last season, the Pooler's Guide went out on a limb and went with Kyle Okposo to take the crown, but this year, they have decided that they will follow suit on the hype parade, choosing John Tavares to runaway with the points race, scoring 22 goals and 30 assists for 52 points. Ville Leino, who is still considered a rookie in Detroit, comes in at number two with 40 points, while Cody Hodgson and Matt Duchene will each pick up 38 points. Victor Hedman should be the top defender, according to their list, with 25 points this season, far less than the Hockey News' prediction.

Of course, now we come to the big free agent acquisition of the Maple Leafs, Jonas Gustavsson. According to the Pooler's Guide, he will take over the starting job from Vesa Toskala, winning 25 games with 2 shutouts, while Toskala only picks up 12 wins and 2 shutouts. Do you jump on the Gustavsson bandwagon when the time calls for a Leafs goalie?

The magazine doesn't bring a lot of new news to the table at the top of the lists, but there is some differences in the middle which could be contentious. Keep a close eye on what you want and keep the injury prone players away from your team, if at all possible.

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