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NCAA Fantasy Hockey Week 0: Start Your Engines

We ALREADY don’t know what to think

Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp V Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images for WDG

Reminder, deadline for teams is Thurs., Sept. 28 at 11:59 p.m. EDT to tigFantasyHockey@gmail.com. The cost for each player is here; you can spend a maximum of $600. Your team must have 12 skaters and three goalies with no more than three players from any one school (players who are transferring count against the school they will play for this year, not the school they played last year).

Every week (which runs Friday to Thursday), you’ll score points for your team that week, which will be added to your running points total.

Trading rules clarification: I didn’t explain the trading rules clearly enough, so here’s a recap/clarification/fix.

  • You can make one trade a week, which will be executed on Friday morning; let me know any time during the week if you want to trade by mail at tigFantasyHockey@gmail.com.
  • To trade, you sell a player for her current cost in $ and buy another player for her current cost in $: in other words, the money have left at the start of the season is not the only money available to trade with, you also have money from the sale.
  • If you trade a player away you still keep the points scored while she was playing for you. If you buy a player you only score points she scores after you buy her.

Costs for players will adjust based on their performance, and trades will take place based on the Friday morning cost. First trade will take place on the morning of Friday October 5th.

I’ll probably allow three trades over the winter break so you can reset somewhat if things are very disappointing; tbd.

Finally, remember that a player’s cost is in a sense a prediction of how much she’ll score this year. All other things being equal, spending close to the maximum is likely to earn you more than spending less, unless you use the slack for a REALLY smart trade down the line.

Notes from the Exhibitions

There were a number of exhibition games last weekend. Here’s what happened in all the ones against the pro teams, and any interesting points from the others:

  • Goalies don’t care about your narratives: Presumed starter Aerin Frankel (fantasy cost $27.25) from Northeastern let in five goals on 12 shots against the (NWHL) Boston Pride; presumed backup Brittany Bugalski (fantasy cost $19.75) let in one goal on nine shots. Sophomore Frankel, who had basically taken the starting job from senior Bugalski by the end of last season, plays a high-risk game that relies on her phenomenal movement and reflexes, and the occasional flameout like this comes with the territory. Managers who are long Frankel shouldn’t panic yet, but another sub-par performance would likely put Bugalski back in the starting role for a few games.
  • Europlayers unleashed: Highly touted Alina Mueller ($25), from Switzerland, scored for Northeastern; not to be outdone, dark horse Chloe Aurard ($15) from France scored shorthanded. Worth keeping an eye on both those freshmen.
  • Clash of the Olympititans: Minnesota-Duluth lost 4-3 to a last-minute goal from the (NWHL) Minnesota Whitecaps in a game that seemed to be very even at even strength but where the Whitecaps dominated on the power play, scoring twice on four chances. Two of the three UMD goals, and five of the 38 shots, came from freshman and USA U-18 player Gabbie Hughes ($25). Maddie Rooney ($40) made 19 saves on 22 shots in the first two periods.
  • Goalie situation cloudy: St Cloud beat the HTI Stars, a Canadian U-19 elite team, 9-0; Laura Kluge ($22.8) had a five-point game, but these exhibitions aren’t a great guide to real play. St Cloud coach Eric Rud continues to play his cards close to his chest regarding the starting goalie, giving exactly one period to each of Janine Alder ($20.85), Emma Polusny ($31.45), and Karlie Ries (Freshman, $15), though Alder did actually start.
  • No Mercy: Mercyhurst managed a respectable 3-1 loss against the reigning CWHL champion Markham Thunder, with the lone Mercyhurst goal coming from North Dakota refugee Emma Nuutinen ($11.30). Next up for the Lakers are two games each against Minnesota and Wisconsin, which should be fun!
  • Vanke Rays 1: UConn outshot the Vanke Rays 30-24 but lost 4-2, with the last UConn goal an afterthought with 30 seconds to go. Highly-touted (by me) goalie Morgan Fisher ($11.9) made 9 saves on 11 shots over two periods, see “goalies don’t care about your narratives” above. Former USA U18 Natalie Snodgrass ($34.7) took 6(!) of UConn’s 30 shots and got an assist.
  • Vanke Rays 2: Colgate held the Vanke Rays to a 4-4 tie, with most contributions coming from established stars: Shea Labbe ($31.7) had two points, Olivia Zafuto ($42.4) had two goals, and Julia Vandyk ($39.05) played one period in net and had a clean sheet. A very encouraging start for Colgate.
  • Is this as Guood as it Guets: Quinnipiac dumped on last year’s runner up in the Ontario University Athletics league, Guelph, by 4-1... however, that one goal came on three shots, leaving Q’s presumed starter Abbie Ives ($29.65) on a .50 save percentage. It’s possible that this is a bad omen for the year, but it’s also possible that she was just having a little nap at the time. Quinnipiac’s 24 shots on goal was also not stellar for an exhibition; be prepared to evaluate any Quinnipiac players you have critically.
  • University of Being Curbstomped: In an 8-1 rout of University of British Columbia, Minnesota freshman Catie Skaja ($25) and sophomore Grace Zumwinkle ($38.5) had three-point games. Hotly tipped Olympic Gold Medalist Kelly Pannek ($45) sat the game out as a precaution but there’s no indication that she won’t play next weekend. And nothing bad happened to the Potomaks ($40, $40) over the summer, they’re still brilliant.

Updates for Managers

  • I’ve added a “schedule” tab to the costs spreadsheet to show how many games each team has in the upcoming week, two weeks and three weeks. The contents are generated by a Google Sheets function and I haven’t manually checked that they’re correct, but they’ll give you an idea. Note that none of the Ivies (Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Yale) have games that count before October 19th. St Lawrence lead with five games in the first two weeks of the season; apart from the Ivies, BU, Maine, UNH, Northeastern, Providence, Syracuse, Vermont and Yale have no games on weekend 1, and Syracuse and Vermont only have one on weekend 2.
  • There was one significant player missing from the cost sheet, Maddie Rolfes of Wisconsin ($32). Rolfes was a USA evaluation camp invitee this year who, although a senior at Wisconsin last season, successfully applied for a medical redshirt to cover her sophomore year and will be returning to play at Wisconsin as a postgrad student. If you know of any other missing players, please let me know.
  • I thought Daniela Paniccia looked like a very good candidate as starting goalie for Penn State, but just discovered (thanks to the USCHO boards) that she isn’t on the roster this year, apparently due to concussions — man, I am so done with concussions. Jenna Brenneman, former Minnesota High School Goalie of the Year, has transferred from Clarkson, and Cam Leonard is a four-time attendee at the USA Hockey National Player Developmental Camp (2013-16), so the Penn State starting position is very hard to call right now.
  • The St Lawrence roster is finally up!

Weekend 1

The early part of the season tends to be tilted towards out-of-conference (OOC) matchups, which makes for some intriguing and unpredictable games.

This first weekend features Ohio State, whose Maltais ($38.9) and Skaggs ($32.6) are possibly the two fastest skaters in the country, at defensive specialists Quinnipiac; offensive bombshells St Lawrence and Robert Morris going at each other; ranked Mercyhurst against the dynasty that is Minnesota; and perhaps most exciting of all, BC throwing its first-in-the-country offense against Olympic hero Maddie ROOOOONEY and Minnesota-Duluth. TWICE.

All of these should be great hockey but who knows who’ll come out of them with points. Meanwhile, those of us who are on the right side for Wisconsin v Lindenwood and Clarkson v former-but-no-longer elite defenders Bemidji should get our seasons off to a good start.

What’s next?

I’ll have a post on Friday with some information about the teams our managers have drafted — popular players, intriguing picks, and so on. Then, on Tuesday, the results of weekend 1, including a link to the full results sheet. See you then!