NHL

State of the League Address 2017-2018

August 21, 2017

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It’s hard to believe it’s that time already, but ESPN has opened up the leagues for the 2017-2018 season. We’re back, baby! The purpose of this post is to give you a primer for the up coming season, as well as give you a glimpse into some of our longer-term plans for the league.

League Leadership

We’ve had a pretty darn successful start for Bottom of the Pacific; after two successful seasons we expanded from six to twelve teams, we introduced draft pick trading, and began charging league fees. I’ve seen how engaged that our Managers have been, and in the spirit of transparency and fairness, I think it’s important to codify and clarify a set of League Bylaws that everyone can view and adhere to.

You will find the bylaws here, effective immediately.

League Bylaws

There shouldn’t be many big surprises in there if you’ve kept up in reading the blog, but there is one significant announcement – we are introducing an Executive Committee to administrate and enforce the bylaws of BOTP. This committee consists of three people: the Commissioner and two rotating members chosen from the Managers in the league. The two non-Commissioner members will change year-to-year.

What will the Executive Committee required to do? Very little during the season – the majority of the league administration will continue to be done by the Commissioner. The Committee is there in case the Commissioner needs to recuse himself from making a decision; for example, I as the Commissioner will not be approving trades that involve me, and require one of the other members of the Executive Committee to approve it.

For 2017-2018 I’ve asked Jace Albrecht and Brock Miron to be members of the Committee.

As the Commissioner, I will (continue) to consult with the Executive Committee on any changes to the league.

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Managers

11 of the 12 managers from last season are returning this year. Justin has decided to bow out, and I want to take a quick second to thank him for being such an integral part of the league last year. Justin was one of the most engaged managers in the group, always kept his rosters up-to-date, proposed trades, and was generally a good guy to have in the group. We’ll miss him.

I have someone in the wings that is likely to take over Justin’s team, but I’ll hold off on announcing him for now.

Keepers

As you know, we’re again having 7 keepers for 2017-2018, the same as our inaugural year. It was always my intention that there would be a higher number of keepers required, but with our league still quite young, a lot of teams can really use the ability to start relatively fresh next season. Limiting keepers to 7 means that each offseason there are a lot of good players getting dumped back into the free agent pool after a playoff run, which makes for a better draft class. Until we’re all a little better at this, I think keeping the pool stocked benefits everyone.

All managers must have their 7 keepers in by Friday, September 1st. Not sure how to select your keepers? Here’s how to do it in the app.

I do expect that the number of keepers will increase in the future, and while there is no definite plan at this point, you should expect to have slightly more than 7 keepers for 2018-2019.

Playoffs

We are moving to a new playoff format next season, with six teams making the playoffs instead of four. For 2017-2018, the top team in each division gets a bye through the first round. The next four teams are seeded and play each other, with the winners moving on to play the division winners, followed by the championship round.

Playoff rounds are also now all one week matchups instead of two.
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Rosters

We’re making some minor roster adjustments for next season. The number of roster spots remains at 26, and the starting slots (4 per forward, 6 defense, 2 goalies), bench slots (6) and IR slots (2) will be the same as last year . But we’re going to increase the maximum number of position players that you can carry – now you’ll be able to carry up to 7 of each forward position, 8 defense and 3 goaltenders.

How come? There’s a couple of reasons. It seemed like there were a lot of players that were playing wing in the NHL, and had LW or RW as their secondary position, but were marked as primarily Cs in ESPNs system. Because we were limited to 6 C on our rosters, that meant a lot of pretty good players languished in free agency because of positional restrictions. This now gives us a little more roster flexibility and lets us play better players.

Trading

Also new this year, all trades must be approved in the system by the Commissioner or a member of the Executive Committee before they go through. This isn’t really much different than last season, but the new setting will prevent errors from going through and having to be reversed.

Draft pick trading is now live in the system, and prior to the draft I’ll need several of you to put through trades of just draft picks to set the right draft order. I will be following up with this soon.

Scoring

As you probably all noticed this season, centers were disproportionately valuable because of their extra points earned through Faceoff Wins. This resulted in a ton of centers clustered at the top of the list of available players in free agency, which isn’t ideal. In order to better balance the value of forwards, we’re making two small change to league scoring for next season.

First, we are adding Faceoffs Lost as a category, with each loss counting as -0.1 FP. Effectively, this will make faceoffs less valuable overall, and turn it into more of a bonus for centers with a high faceoff percentage, while reducing the value of centers with poor FO%. Here’s a couple examples.

Patrice Bergeron lead the league in FO% at 60.1%, winning 1089 and losing 723. Those 108.9 fantasy points counted for almost a third of his total (329). Under the new system, he’d have collected 36.6 fantasy points for his faceoff prowess, a much more balanced representation of how valuable winning faceoffs should be.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, on the other hand, has a pretty low 43.8% faceoff win rate, with 556 wins and 712 losses. Rather than adding 55.6 fantasy points, he’d be penalized for -15.6 over the course of the year.

Ultimately this will make the faceoff categories more like PIMs – they are supplementary to bigger categories like goals, assists, and shots.

Second, we are slightly reducing the value of each Shot on Goal (SOG) from .25 to .2 which will help to balance out the scoring. Shots on Goal (24%) accounted for almost as much as Goals (26%) last season, which is a little too high. Additionally, extreme volume shooters like Brent Burns were pretty overpowered last season, and this will help bring their value closer to where it should be.

All other scoring categories remain intact.
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Draft

The Draft this year will be held around the last week of September/first week of October. The goal is to get it as close to the start of the regular season as it works out with everyone’s schedules. Like last year I’ll be trying to give you a lot of notice – last year we had a solid turnout of guys who were able to attend the draft in person, and we’re hoping to do the same again this year.

The biggest difference in the draft this year is that it is NOT a snake draft – the order has been decided based on reverse order of last season’s standings, and does not reverse between rounds.

As well, we are incorporating the various trades for draft picks that were made at the deadline.

Fees and Expenses

Fees are holding at $65 this year. I’m going to be enforcing that payment must be received before the Draft takes place – any Manager that has not paid by the draft will not be eligible to draft, and will have the system auto-draft for him. Additionally, if payment hasn’t been received the day before the season starts, that manager will forfeit his team and a replacement manager will be found.

We’ll also be releasing a short report at the end of each season detailing the league’s finances. Fees are used to pay for website hosting for the blog ($9 per year in 2017), a 6-pack of craft beer as a stipend for the Commissioner ($16 in 2016), and a $50 fund for miscellaneous expenses throughout the season. All expenses paid from the $50 fund are reported for at the end of the year. Any further expenses must be approved by a majority of the Executive Committee and announced to the rest of the Managers.

The remaining pool of money after expenses and prizes is donated to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta.

Expansion

We’re looking at possibly expanding the league to 14 teams for the 2018-2019. Keep this in mind, and start talking up how great BOTP is to anyone you think would be a good addition. If we do add two additional teams for that season, there will be an expansion draft before the real draft.

If you know someone that is interested in joining the league and is cool, dedicated to fantasy hockey, and would be a good fit, let me know!

Important Dates

August 15, 2017 – deadline to confirm involvement in upcoming season

September 1, 2017 – deadline to identify keepers

September 30, 2017 – fees due

Early October – BOTP Draft day
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Recap

Okay that was a lot of info to drop. Here’s the condensed version:

  • Creating Executive Committee with Rhys Albrecht, Jace Albrecht and Brock Miron for 2017-2018
  • 7 Keepers this year – MUST have yours in by September 1st
  • Playoffs moving to 6 team format with bye week for division winners
  • Trades must now be approved by Commissioner or members of the Executive Committee
  • Rosters remain at 26, but can now carry up to 7 LW/C/RW, 8 D, 3 G
  • Two changes to scoring: adding Faceoffs Lost category worth -0.1 FP, reducing SOG from .25 to .2
  • Draft will be a straight draft in reverse order of standings last season
  • Fees are $65, and if you haven’t paid up by the draft, you won’t get to
  • Looking to expand to 14 teams in 2018-2019

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