Hockey Pool Tips
Each years thousands of hockey fans complete their research in an attempt to dominate their fantasy hockey pool. Of course there are various types of hockey pools out there and like most fantasy pools, there has been dramatic changes as to how to run hockey pools. Not to mention technology and how the ability to easily set up and maintain a hockey pool has become easier in recent years.
Types of Hockey Pools
As mentioned there are a number of different types of hockey pools out there. Typically there are two main classifications of hockey pools:
- Draft Pool – where a draft is conducted and the participants go through a series of selections to fill out their pool rosters. There are various types of drafts including the popular “Snake Draft” where the order is determined by a random draw and then the selections are made in a back and forth process. For example let’s say that you have 20 people in your hockey pool. Teams picks in order from number 1 through number 20 and then in reverse order from #20 to #1. If you are fortunate enough to be in say the top three picks, you can have close to back to back picks which can work in your favor as you strategize your player selection.
- Non-Draft Box – these are hockey pools where the players are already identified that can select from and a draft is not required. A common form of the non-frat pool is a Box Pool where hockey poolies simply select one player from each box.
Here is an example of six different types of hockey pools.
- Keeper Pool – this is where a draft is conducted to fill out the participants rosters. At the end of each season prizes is awarded to the top teams. All teams retain their rosters for the next season and continue to build what they hope is a winning team. Keeper Pools can last for multiple years. Usually trades or mini re-drafts are used to re-stock the teams slightly each season, otherwise you have the same players each year. Keeper Pools are quite fun if you have enough participants.
- Snake Draft Hockey Pool – as mentioned above the Snake Draft is a draft that goes in order and then in reverse order until the participants rosters are complete.
- Regular Draft – similar to the NHL Entry Draft where the order is pre-determined and the teams pick based on their position within the order. This type of draft is less popular in hockey pools these days as it is not as fair as a snake draft where poolies lower in the selection process have an opportunity to pick ahead of others that are higher in the draft.
- Box Pool – also known as “Box Selection Pools” this is a non-draft hockey pool where participants select a player from each box. Managers in these types of pools can select the same player, so in essence you could end up with a tie at the end of the season.
- Head-Head Pool – this is more popular with Fantasy Football pools where players are selected and teams face off each week to “out-point” there opponents.
- Elimination Team Pool – where you pick a team to win and if they win you move on to next week. If the tem you pick that week loses, you are eliminated from the pool. These are typically weekly pools that can last 8-10 weeks in duration. They are super fun and the rewards can be great if you continue to pick the right teams.
So how do hockey pools work? Well basically you are attempting to select a roster of players who are going to put up the most points throughout the season or the play-offs. Depending on how the pool is set up points may be awarded in a number of different ways. Values can be assigned for:
- powerplay goals
- shorthanded goals
- penalty minutes
- game winning goals
- overtime goals
- wins (goalie)
- shutouts (goalie)
- overtime losses (goalie)
- assist (goalie)
- wins (team)
Standings are updated daily and will change often throughout the season.
So you want to dominate your fantasy hockey pool? Well you have come to the right place. Of course no one can predict the future and no one can predict which players will light it up, which players will suffer extended injuries or which players may get traded or cut from their teams. While in some instances you can fluke out a win in your hockey pool, you really need to do some research and pay attention to what is going on in the league if you are to win your pool. Not to mention you need a solid understanding of the rules of your pool.
21 Tips for Winning Your Hockey Pool
Here are some tips to consider as you assemble your team together for your hockey pool.
- Pay attention to the rules of your pool so that you have enough players at each position. If your pool has a set number of forwards, defensemen and goalies, you will want to ensure that you draft enough coverage at each position in case of injury or mid-season retirement. Also if you have a goalie rich pool where goalie points are worth the most, you may want to stockpile goaltenders (if allowed) to use as future trade bait or to keep them away from your competition. Too often goalie points are worth too much, in terms of points, and teams can win their pools with a couple of strong goalies. It kind of takes the fun out of the pool, but truth is some hockey pools are still set up like this. So pay attention to the rules of your pool.
- Understand the point scoring system of your pool – similar to item #1, pay attention to how points are allocated. Understand how many points the goaltenders receive. Understand how the points work for penalty minutes (i.e. do they add to your fantasy point totals or are they removed from your point totals?). Understanding how the point system works is the very first thing you should review when entering or signing up for a pool. Do players receive extra points for powerplay or shorthanded goals? Do defensemen get extra points for hat-tricks? Sometimes hockey pools can have elaborate scoring systems, so you want to have a good grasp of how the scoring works if you are going to win your hockey pool.
- Check to see if trades are allowed – or do you have a set roster? With some pools there may be a limit to how many trades you can make or there may be a trade deadline. Other pools have a voting approval system for trades so understand how the trading works or if trading is even allowed within your pool.
- Do your homework prior to your draft – at a bar minimum review last year’s stats to see which players performed well, which players had slumps and which players were injured. Come up with your own “wish list” for players to draft. Be sure to have multiple selections for each position. NHL.com is a great source of information for Fantasy Hockey Poolies. TSN is also a great source for hockey news as is our own site The Hockey Fanatic.
- Check the injury reports – which players had off season surgery? How serious was it? As we mentioned earlier, no-one can anticipate a mid-season injury. But going into your draft, you need to know who’s healthy and who isn’t. Do not necessarily discount injured players as if they are only missing a few games they can still provide ample points for the remainder of the season. If a player on your roster gets hurt, you will want to know for how long the duration is in case you are able to place the player on the injured Reserve list and pick up a replacement or rental player in the injured players absence. You win the pools with your later picks so keeping a health roster can go a long way in helping you win your hockey pool.
- Age of players – just like rock stars who die at the age of 27, hockey players tend to reach or begin to hit their scoring peak around the age of twenty seven. When selecting players for your roster, you should pick a combination of rookies and veterans, but the sweet spot may be players who are right in their prime.
- Know if the players are in a contract year – is a player in a contract year? Did he just sign a huge contract? For whatever reason signings can have an impact on a players performance. Perhaps he is playing for a contract for next season and will be stepping up his game this season? Steven Stamkos happens to be in a contract year this year so it will be interesting to see how or if, this affects his point production.
- Be wary of one-hit wonders – there are players that for whatever reason have one or two great seasons and then fade away. Johnathan Cheechoo in San Jose a few years back comes to mind. Every year there seems to be a few of these types of players whom you can either take a a risk on or shy away from. We advise the later.
- Find out which goalies have amassed the most shutouts – review the past two to three seasons to see which goalies have had the most shut-outs. Sometime the goalies who are not on the top teams can still generate a fair amount of shut-outs and if your pool is set up to award extra points for shutouts, it may be in your best interest to pick say a Pekka Rinne over a Roberto Luongo.
- Be aware of the sophomore slump – how many times have we seen a first year player perform well only to struggle in their second season. Perhaps more attention is paid to them from the other teams, but whatever the reason be wary of players who had exceptional first years from a point perspective, they can come back to sting you with underachieving second seasons.
- It’s about points not the player – most of us have favorite players, but you don;t win hockey pools by selecting your favorite player, or by selecting a player whom you like he last name of, or for all of you female poolies selecting a player because you think he is cute. You will ultimately win your hockey pool by amassing the most points in the season. Pick the players whom you think will get you the most points period. You will thank us later.
- Be active in roster selection – if your pool allows for daily or weekly transactions or waiver picks ups, use them. Always try to ice a full team and leverage the volume of games being played on a given night.
- Roster Setting – similar to the previous point be sure to set your rosters ahead of time. There is nothing worse than realizing you forgot to put your goalie in the lineup who is playing three games this week. Or realizing that you have an empty roster spot due to injury. To win your fantasy hockey pool, you have to be on your game.
- Consider Selecting Linemates in Box Pools – sometimes what works well is the opportunity to select the same linemates from the same team. Daniel and Henrik anyone? Or how about Little Joe and Jumbo Joe in San Jose? Benn and Seguin anyone? Gretzky/Kurri? Ok you get the point. Sometimes it good to remember that for every goal scored there can be up to assists awards. Why not take advantage of that?
- Be smart with your late picks – this is where you should look for consistency. You know that these players are not going to put up 100 point seasons so ignore the hype of media discusion and pick players that consistently put up 40-45 points. Its with these players that you just might win your hockey pool with.
- Team Scoring – research which teams regularly score the most goals. Pay attention to which teams have the greatest firepower and will light the map more often than not. In 2015-16 thus far, a team like the Dallas Stars come to mind, but you cannot discount teams like the St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, or Chicago Blackhawks. The goal here is to pick the players that are going to generate the most points.
- Look at the trends – which defensemen have put up the most points in the past five years? Aside from Erik Karlsson from the Sens their may be some surprises here. So beyond looking at last years stats, look over some of the player trends over the past three to five years. True hockey analytics anyone?
- Have fun with it – do not take your hockey pool so serious that it dominates your life. It is fun sometime to check and see if some obscure player on your roster scored a hat-trick, but have fun and take time to make fun of yourself and your competition as the season drags on. Winning isn’t everything but it sure helps at the end of the season for bragging rights.
- Pick one or two dark horse selections – this can prove especially beneficial in Box Pools where most of the people will be picking the same players. Diversify your roster slightly and good things can happen.
- Play to win – while you ant to have fun, do your research, be active in the waiver wire and make trades where and when necessary. You havea great chance to win your pool if you can ice a roster of consistent players that can put up points on a regular basis. If you can pull off a trade for a leading score (without giving up too much) even better.
- Don’t pick with your heart – the biggest piece of advice that we can offer for hockey poolies is to not pick with your heart (right Jason, right Kevin?) So your favorite team is the Vancouver Canucks? Ok that’s cool, but avoid picking players so that half of your roster is full of Canuck players. I’ve been in pools where we have participants pick a number of players from their favorite teams only to see them at the bottom of the pool standings. It works for me as I usually thank them at the end of the season for helping pave the way for my winning hockey pool victory.
You want to win your hockey pool? Follow the hockey pool tips above and you will be in better position to win your fantasy hockey pool. Good luck and may the best team win.