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Hockey pool strategy.


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I haven't participated in a hockey pool in about 15 years.

But am doing one this year with about 20 entries, mostly coworkers.

Any pool experts on here? What strategy would you take in a pool with these parameters.

24 picks. 14 forwards, 8dmen, 2 goalies. You can't trade or replace players at all.

1 point goal, 1 point assist........goalies 2 for a win, 1 for ot/so loss.

Hat trick is bonus 10....bonus 5 for goalie shutout.

Draft pick order goes like a snake.....1-20, the 20-1, 1-20,,,,,,,,

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Pretty simple pool. Draft based on point totals. Looks up some projections online or in a magazine if you're old school. Getting a good goalie early will help as they can be worth a lot in this type of pool. Remember to look for goalies who are guaranteed starters who will play in the majority of games ie Price, Lundqvist, Quick, Fleury, even Luongo.

When looking up projections and player rankings, keep in mind that some sites build their rankings based on more than just point totals. Stats like shots, hits, and +\- may have been used

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Go for as many top 6 forwards as you can. A "sexy" name who is a 2nd/3rd line tweener on a flashy team like the Blackhawks isn't worth as much as a non sexy name who plays 2nd line minutes on a team like Florida.

Pick guys who make the superstars good. I've never gotten top 5 picks, so I don't get guys like Crosby. But my strategy has been to take the guys who touch the puck before or after Crosby gets a point, or Tavares, etc. I've won 2 of the last 4 years in a money pool because of guys like Okposo, Nelson, Kunitz, Hornqvist, etc.

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Definitely grab a good goalie with an early pick. Preferable, you'll want one on a serious contender who is going to get the majority of starts. In descending order I would go Lundqvist, Price, Bishop, Rinne, Quick.

Also, grab stud D-Men before forwards. There aren't nearly as many of them to go around and I've found you can usually make up for not getting that superstar forward with smart picks in the later round.

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With 20 entries, it's kinda deep but for the later rounds, I like to target guys in the 40-50 range that are sneaky good. By sneaky good I mean guys that can get you that 40+ every year but you don't hear much about them. Guys like Zibanejad, Ennis, Hayes, Abdelkader, Brouwer, etc.

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Looking at last years stats shows a few things.

Lundqvist: 30-13-3 with 5 shutouts = 88 points (he missed nearly half the season)

Price: 44-16-6 with 9 shutouts = 139 points

Fleury: 34-20-9 with 10 shutouts = 127 points

Keeping in mind that no skater cracked 90 points last season, it's easy to see how important a good goalie will be in a pool structured like the OP's. I know everyone wants to take top forwards right away, but if your goal is to win the pool you should resist this urge. Honestly if your first pick in the draft is in the 10-20 region do not hesitate to take an elite goalie.

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You need to gobble up as many star players and get a top goalie in the early picks. You want goalies that are going to play a lot of games and aren't in a 1A/1B situation or are at risk of being deposed by a backup for the #1 spot.

Unfortunately, that list of goalies is small now. It includes: Rinne, Price, Lundqvist, Scneider, Luongo, Fleury, Quick, etc...

By star players, I mean forwards who are almost guaranteed to get 70+ points.

Beyond that you need to pick solid depth players. This is where research comes in handy. You want a long list of guys who will put up 60 or so points for the later picks. Consistent scoring in your depth is what separates the teams. I wouldn't go entirely by last year's stats either. You can find a lot of hidden gems in guys who had down years and are likely to rebound. Similarly, you want to avoid flash in the pan players from last year.

I wouldn't use a high pick on a d-man, unless all the good forwards have been taken and a player like Karlsson is available. Generally there are a lot of d-men in that .5 ppg range and they are all interchangeable.

I actually run a blog about hockey pools:


This year I'm going through each team and picking the best "sleeper" players. These are players that other hockey pool GMs might not recognize as solid picks.

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