Kukla's Korner

The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

Fantasy Hockey Is Back Too

Since an NHL season will now officially be a reality, hockey fans are expressing varied feelings on how much they will support the NHL in the future. For example, numerous friends who are diehard hockey fans have told me that they plan to boycott the NHL this season in any way possible. Even I have sworn that I will not spend my hard-earned money at Rogers Arena this season, given all of the money that the NHL and NHLPA seemed willing to forego these past few months. If I only watch my hockey on television, maybe that will put the screws to Gary and he’ll resign. (Yes, I know that’s unlikely to happen.)

So you won’t go to a game, and you won’t even watch on TV. That’s fine; you’re allowed to feel that way. But if you registered for a fantasy hockey league several months ago (or before that in a keeper league), please keep your word and participate anyway. If you take your ball and go home, then you’re disrespecting your leaguemates more than than you are sending a message to Mr. Bettman. Maybe you feel that a strong draft won’t be as meaningful with a smaller sample size, but a shortened season should mean that everyone has a chance to win. As a commissioner in one league, I would like everyone to believe that they have a legitimate shot at the start of the season.

One other note for those of you who are planning a hockey-viewing boycott: There is more than one way to skin a cat, meaning that it’s possible to win your fantasy hockey league just by looking at boxscores, game logs, and player news. I actually accomplished this once in NBA basketball, a sport that I rarely watch on TV. I say this tongue-in-cheek, because I know that if you’re reading this, you’ll be back.
 

So what should we anticipate going forward? For starters, expect a tsunami of signings and other player news that you’ll have to study closely. A few burning questions that come to mind immediately include the following:

  • Can RFAs such as Jamie Benn, P.K. Subban, and Michael Del Zotto be signed in time to start the season?
     
  • Will Roberto Luongo be traded to Toronto as rumored, or will he spend more time tweeting from his @strombone1 account from the Vancouver bench? If the Canucks can’t trade Lu, will that cut into Cory Schneider’s value?
     
  • We know that World Junior star Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be back with the Oilers this season, but will his Team Canada linemates Jonathan Huberdeau and Mark Schiefele join him in the big leagues this season?
     
  • Can Justin Schultz tear up the NHL the same way he has piled up the points in the AHL (48 points in 34 games)?
     
  • Will first overall pick Nail Yakupov play in the NHL this season, and if so, how much of a factor will he be in a shortened season?
     
  • Injury news also matters. Will Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar, and Claude Giroux miss any time this season? Will Ryan Kesler play at all this season?

At this time, it is a wild guess to speculate where to draft any of these players, but the pieces will fall into place over the coming days. Watch for more stories to develop, which you should no doubt factor into your cheatsheets.

If you’re a regular Kukla’s Korner reader, you’ve probably noticed that you haven’t seen anything from me for awhile. Like many of you, life has had to go on without hockey (NFL football, for example. Go Seahawks!) On a more serious side, guessing that there may not be a season, I’ve gone ahead and made other plans with my family and my career. So I’ll provide something on here as often as I possibly can. There won’t be any league win guarantees given the time frame, but I think we can all have fun with what’s left of the season.

Filed in: fantasy hockey, Ian Gooding, | The Goods on Fantasy Hockey | Permalink
 

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About The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

My name is Ian Gooding, and this is The Goods on Fantasy Hockey. Given my ability to understand numbers, write sentences, and follow hockey, it’s not a surprise to those who know me that I became a fantasy hockey writer. I started writing about fantasy hockey in 2006 for fantasyhockey.com and became the site’s content editor in 2007. Looking to expand my audience, I joined Kukla’s Korner in the summer of 2011 to create the site’s first fantasy hockey blog.

A few times each week, I’ll provide an article called “Pick Six” where I will write about six players that should either be in your fantasy team’s starting lineup or bench for the upcoming game. As well, I’ll provide the fantasy takes on important hockey developments. You can also email me your questions or comments to gooding74@shaw.ca, or follow me on Twitter.