Over the years, fantasy hockey has become increasingly complex, depending upon how a league is run.
There are points awarded in any number of categories – from the usual, goals, assists and points – to penalty minutes, plus-minus, even points for shootout goals. What follows is our annual guide projecting the NHL's top 200 point scorers – designed primarily for the casual water cooler fan, who wants to get in on the fun, without endlessly pouring over statistics and projections.
A couple of disclaimers: My philosophy generally relies on making safe conservative choices and leaving the big-risk, big-reward picks for others. Too often, people try to too hard to find the next great breakthrough player and end up with a player who spends half the season munching popcorn in the press box. If you're interested in those types of chancy picks, there's a dozen or so grouped together near the bottom of the list.
A number of players are lower on the list than they might have been, either because they are hurt, suspended or coming off off-season surgeries that may slow their starts. Injuries are an intangible beyond your control, but hockey pools are like real life – past performance is often a good indicator of future results.
If a player has a concussion history, or a shoulder that is constantly popping out, or annually gets hurt in the quirkiest of ways, better to stick with a Sedin, who reliably go out and pile up the points year after year.
It's why Sidney Crosby is second on this list instead of first. Among all the other reasons to like the Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos is that he has missed just three games in his first five years in the NHL, all of them in his rookie season. So we award him the honour of going No. 1.
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