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Fantasy Baseball Draft Review

By on March 26, 2015 at 11:25am
Adam Jones (hngn.com) Adam Jones is a 5-category stud. Who's anchoring your fantasy team this year? (hngn.com)

It’s getting closer and closer to opening day, and if you’re like me then you’ve already got fantasy baseball on your mind. Many of you may have even done your drafts by now. You may even have some money on the line.

Personally, I’m in a 10-team dynasty league with friends that’s extremely competitive. Every guy in the league knows his stuff, and they’re all very active on the waiver wire and trading block. It’s also really interesting to see how people run their team in a dynasty league like this as opposed to a single-season league. And let me tell you- the draft is VERY different.

I wanted to show you my team and draft results and get into why I went with each pick, where the draft was going, and maybe give you some tips and insight as you approach your own fantasy seasons. First, let’s take a look at my keepers from last year. The way it works is, you get to keep up to 9 players and they take the a draft pick based on their respective rankings. So the free agent pool at draft looks very different.

Here is my team and the draft picks they slotted into: Continue reading Fantasy Baseball Draft Review »

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Milan Lucic

The Edmonton Oilers announced on Friday that they have signed former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli as their General Manager and President of Hockey Operations. After his 9 year tenure at the helm of the S.S. Bruins, Chiarelli will get a fresh start in Edmonton.

First off, good for Peter Chiarelli. Although he could be frustrating to the fans at times, Chiarelli had a tremendously successful career in Boston. He took a flailing franchise and brought them a Stanley Cup and a perennially dominant team. He’s exactly what the Oilers could use right now- a responsible, conscientous mind that isn’t afraid to trade the pieces that don’t fit into his vision for the team.

What’s happened in Edmonton over the past five years has been nothing less than fascinating. They have drafted first overall three times during that span, and the others were third and seventh overall. Statistically speaking, no team has been worse during that span. And the crazy thing is, they don’t show any sign of turning that around.

Most teams in the league would salivate at the chance for just one of those first overall picks to build around, but the Oilers haven’t been able to even produce an average season. It was always, “once these kids develop with each other and grow into their game, they’ll be one of the best teams in the league every year and a force to be reckoned with.” And why not? It worked for Pittsburgh. They were a franchise at rock bottom, but they drafted guys like Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Kris Letang, and Jordan Staal, and – boom – Stanley Cup.

But alas, the Edmonton Oilers have had no such accomplishments or really any steps toward anything at all. Which presents a great opportunity for the Boston Bruins. Like the Bruins were ten years ago, the Oilers are in need of major moves to get their franchise in the right direction. They have a surplus of talented young forwards- Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Leon Drasaitl, and Jordan Eberle to name a few. And after winning the 2015 NHL Draft lottery, they’re about to get a generational talent in Connor McDavid.

Something has to give in Edmonton. They don’t have much in the way of leadership, physicality, or 2-way play. They need to make some major moves to their roster and make this McDavid’s team. Does that mean someone like Taylor Hall could be available? The Bruins MUST inquire about him now.

What would it take to get someone like Hall?

The offer I’ve been playing around with is something like this:
Milan Lucic, Dennis Seidenberg, Chris Kelly, Malcom Subban
to Edmonton for
Taylor Hall

Does it seem like a lot? In Lucic, Edmonton gets the gritty, physical presence they don’t have. Seidenberg is not longer a top pairing guy but he’s still very good defensively and would be an excellent role model for their younger defenseman. Kelly is a defensively responsible 2-way center with a leadership presence, something you can be sure they don’t have. And Subban is an excellent sweetener that gives them a goalie for the future.

To be honest, it may not even be enough. But this gets a lot of money off the books, which is a big return on its own. Cap flexibility will give them a lot of options this offseason. For the Bruins, this gives them a bona-fide first line scorer who plays hard. It sheds some contract issues and opens up the roster for some of the younger guys.

For the Oilers, this gives them some defensive presence and physicality that they desperately need. Teams would love to have Lucic on their roster, and this is a good opportunity to make a move.

It also sends a very clear message for when they draft McDavid. Getting rid of Hall makes this McDavid’s team. I just hope whoever the Bruins’ next GM is recognizes this opportunity and pounces on it.

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Boston made it back to the postseason despite being in a rebuilding season; can they keep it going again old foe LeBron James and the Cavs? (wrestlezone.com)

With the playoffs underway, get ready for some great games. The Celtics barged their way in despite not being finished rebuilding. The Spurs dropped several seeds with a final day loss. Some very potent teams are getting ready to face off, so we’re here to give you our annual predictions on how things will turn out.

Our panel is largely in agreement as to who will advance, with one non-unanimous series winner per conference. It was a little trickier to decide which series would be struggles and which would be breezes, with only one unanimous choice there.

As usual, picking the winner of a series is worth two points, while guessing how many games a series will last is worth one point.

So there you have it. Complete picks are below; come back after the first round is complete to see the results. Continue reading 2015 NBA Playoffs Expert Picks: First Round »

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"Pro Wrestling," NES

The NBA season is over, and it was a heck of a season. Much was decided on the final day, including both #8 seeds. Seeding itself was a big ado on that day, as San Antonio’s loss pushed them back all the way to #6 instead of being #2. As usual, the East was far weaker than the West, though there was still seed jockeying to be done there as well.

Stellar and unexpected seasons from the Hawks and Warriors helped shake up our standings, minimizing the points to be won from picking division winners. For the most part, it made it harder to get the ever valuable points from guessing seeds exactly right.

But in the midst off all the chaos, a winner has emerged from our panel. Since everyone is wondering who it is, the winner of the 2014-2015 NBA Pick ‘Em is.. Continue reading 2014-2015 NBA Expert Picks Results »

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Whenever a team enters a season as a favorite to be a Stanley Cup Contender and misses the playoffs, serious questions need to be asked. The Bruins, fresh of a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2013 and a President’s Trophy in 2014 looked primed to make some serious noise in 2015. Despite losing Jarome Iginla and Johnny Boychuk prior to the season to the Avalanche and Islanders, respectively, the Bruins still looked to be a contender.

Expectations took a hit when the Bruins began the season 1-4 while playing a poor brand of hockey. They began to right the ship but then the injury bug hit, Boston lost Zdeno Chara and David Krejci for significant parts of the season. Despite these losses, the Bruins were still putting themselves in position to win games. The problem was they weren’t finishing. A full 60 minute effort was hard to come by and the Bruins seemed like a squad just going through the motions and waiting until the playoffs. Their play against elite competition was troubling also, going 0-4 against Montreal and 0-3 on a key west coast road trip in December.

A strong month on January was followed by a lackluster February that saw the team suffer another west coast losing streak, this time at four games. March was the month that finally quashed any doubts about the Bruins being contenders. Their five game losing streak in the middle of the month that included losses to three playoff teams and the league worst Sabres. Despite having a chance to sneak into the playoffs on the last day of the season, it would have been naïve to think this Bruins team would have made much noise in the postseason.

Several players performed well below expectations this season. The injuries to Chara and Krejci greatly affected their performance while Dennis Seidenberg and Milan Lucic only showed flashes of the players that helped bring Boston to two Cup Finals in three seasons. Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille were ineffective and have already been informed by the team that they will not be brought back. Chris Kelly was the best player on the team through October, but came back down to Earth offensively while still contributing on defense. Reilly Smith was ineffective throughout the season and did was constantly moved around the lineup.

Loui Eriksson played well as did Carl Soderberg, but at times lacked the necessary physicality. Adam McQuaid was not as effective as years past and Dougie Hamilton played well but was hampered by a late season ribs injury. Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask were stars for the Bruins, but unfortunately Rask had to play in 70 games because his backup, Niklas Svedberg, was woefully ineffective.

Three bright spots for Boston were Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and Ryan Spooner. Bergeron was an elite player as always and Pastrnak and Spooner joined the team and made heavy contributions after the All-Star break. Both could end up being major pieces of the Bruins moving forward, but the fact that the Bruins relied on two rookies for most of their offensive production was a troubling sign in itself.

The question now is what’s next for the Bruins in their longer than anticipated offseason. The first shoe dropped earlier this week when the team fired General Manager Peter Chiarelli. Chiarelli had been with the team since 2006 and was a major factor in building the rosters that won a Stanley Cup in 2011 and the Eastern Conference in 2013. His struggles this year were too much for the Bruins, however, and they are now looking for his replacement.

The Bruins will not decimate their core, but it is possible one or two longstanding Bruins could be dealt. Soderberg and McQuaid could very well join Campbell and Paille in playing elsewhere next season. Matt Bartkowski, whose tenure with Boston has left much to be desired, will also probably be wearing a different uniform next season. Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic have been floated as potential trade names and it is possible that one of them gets dealt this offseason. Malcolm Subban, the team’s young goaltending prospect, could also be part of a deal.

The major question now is the fate of Coach Claude Julien. Julien, who has one Stanley Cup ring with the Bruins, will remain as coach for the time being. But a new GM could choose to make a move for a new coach, which would allow Chiarelli and Julien to reunite next season; possibly in Toronto.

In retrospect, the 2014-15 Bruins have no one to blame but themselves for their failure to make the playoffs. Although they were not as talented as Bruins teams from the past five seasons, they still had more than enough talent to make the postseason. One major change along with several minor ones has already been made. It seems only as though there will be more changes coming and next season’s Bruins team could look quite different from this year’s squad. It will be a long offseason in Boston.

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Calgary is back in the postseason; can they take out their fellow Canadians in Vancouver to move ahead? (WWE Smackdown)

Now that the playoffs are upon us, it’s time for the annual Pick ‘Em competition. Especially with defending champion Los Angeles out of the bracket entirely, things have opened up far wider than they have in some time. It has the appearance of a tricky but entertaining bracket, so keep your eyes glued to the games.

As usual, picking the winner of each series is worth two points, while picking how many games each series will last is worth one point.

Though our panel is mostly in agreement as to winners, a steal of a victory here or there could still create an early leader, especially with series length choices a little more diverse.

So with that in mind, complete Round 1 picks are below, and be sure to come back once the round is complete for updated results. Continue reading 2015 NHL Expert Playoff Picks: First Round »

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Peter Chiarelli Fired (AP Photo)

According to a press release this morning, the Bruins have released General Manager Peter Chiarelli. Chiarelli has been the GM for 9 seasons with pretty good success, and he is known as a well respected guy around the league. In the meantime, the front office will begin their search for a new GM “immediately.” The fate of Claude Julien and the rest of the coaching staff will depend on whoever the new GM will be.

Quick Hits:

He’s always been a controversial guy. During his 9 year tenure, he undoubtedly took a train-wreck of a franchise and brought them to perennially one of the league’s top teams. Well, for the most part. On the plus side, he has 8 consecutive playoff appearances, President’s Trophy, 1 Stanley Cup win, another Cup appearance, and a very strong core. However, he has shown some serious cap mismanagement with the way he cap-strung this team’s ability to make moves and obviously Neely and the Jacobs’ didn’t take too kindly to the Bruins missing the playoffs. Rumors indicate that Don Sweeney will replace him as General Manager.

What do you think? Was he fired too quickly or does he deserve this? Who would you want to come be the GM?

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In somewhat of a stunning series of events, the 2014-15 Boston Bruins missed the playoffs after dropping their final three games of the season this past week. While in the midst of a more comprehensive season review, it is interesting to look at three games that had they gone the Bruins way; would put the team in the playoffs beginning this week.

October 13, Avalanche at Bruins: In this Columbus Day contest, the Bruins met old-friend Jarome Iginla for the first time since his departure from Boston. The game was a grind-it-out affair with each team missing some chances as well as looking in a bit of a malaise during the matinee game. Continue reading Three Games That Could Have Changed the Bruins Playoff Fortunes »

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