Fantasy hockey expert Darryl Houston Smith (Rotowire, Pro Hockey Weekly) has just released a new book, NHL Fantasy Master Class, available now at Amazon.com. If you’re participating in a fantasy hockey league this year, Darryl’s book is an absolute must-read. I had the opportunity to sit down with Darryl recently, and I got his take on the book and how it can help you to prepare for the coming season.
Tell us about your book.
NHL Fantasy Master Class is meant to be used in conjunction with your favorite annual review. I have left all the stats and charts to them. What I have done is review every player and team in the context of the realignment and have put my predictions on paper for the world to see. Fans of my radio podcast, ProHockeyWeekly, won’t be surprised that there is no waffling here. I checked, there is only one maybe in the whole book and here is where it is used: “Ondrej Pavelec is a good goalie on a bad team. If only he played elsewhere. He is the type of workhorse goalie you could build a fantasy team around. Maybe some year you can but that is several years away if he stays long term in Winnipeg.” When I read about fantasy hockey I want opinions. This book gives you that in spades. And I think having a single perspective review the whole league is also a real benefit. It’s apples to apples all the way through to the end.
And I try to be entertaining. We came up with a fun new category called fugazi (fuh-GAY-zee) after the mob term for fake diamonds (thank you, Donnie Brasco). These are players who are stars but who I worry might not have a top year in 2013-14. I also have a lot of my strategy in here about how to approach the draft and plan for waiver wire pickups, so it’s really meant to help you out in every way.
Why did you decide to write the book now?
This is such an interesting time in the NHL what with the realignment, the impact of the outdoor stadium games and the Olympics on the schedules and potentially on the players. There’s a lot of added complexity that I wanted to think through for myself and figured others could benefit from my insights. The other main reason why this book is coming out now is that my wife was between jobs and was available to help me. I can take a pretty winding road to make a point and my wife is the opposite – she used the phrase “bumpersticker it for me boogaloo” to good effect while we were writing this. Well, actually she said rain man, but we thought that would come across harsh in the book forward.
I understand why the realignment or Olympics might be of interest to fantasy players, but the outdoor stadium games?
They can definitely have an impact. The surface is usually slower than inside ice (no matter how they try to get it right) and uneven, so that can lead to injuries. They are huge distractions for the players, especially those involved in the Winter Classic games when HBO follows them around for weeks. I saw it first hand with the Bruins. Nobody has come out of those games with a hot streak and that should be factored in to your fantasy game plan.
Okay. I’m intrigued. How do I get my hands on a copy?
Just type in nhl master class in amazon.com and it should come right up. You don’t have to have a kindle to read it. They have a new kindle app that you can download for free that allows you to read it on any other device – smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Here’s what some reviewers have had to say about the book:
Whether you are a seasoned fantasy veteran or just your average NHL fan about to enter your first fantasy draft you don’t want to go in without reading this book first. How does realignment impact your picks? Who are the best hidden gems that you can steal with a low draft pick? What round should you draft your first defenseman in? Is the impact of more odd day games caused by the 2013/14 compressed schedule going to help or hurt your team?
I’m not sure I would have really considered any of these things if I hadn’t read this book. Now I’ve got what I need to have a great draft day strategy AND know how to make adjustments using the waiver wire throughout the season.
If nothing else little details in this book will make watching any NHL game more enjoyable this year. Its a fun and easy read for a fantasy player or just an NHL fan. And I know who is fugazi!
And here’s what Janet Eagleson (Rotowire.com Hockey Writer, four-time Fantasy Sports Writer Association’s Hockey Writer of the Year) had to say about it:
Darryl Houston Smith’s fantasy insights give you the ammunition you need to trounce your buddies on draft day and trash talk them throughout the season. For me, that’s priceless.