The Top 25
1. Sidney Crosby, Penguins. The Kid proved himself in last year’s pressure cooker and could average two points per game this year.
2. Joe Thornton, Sharks. He’s still pure gold, especially in leagues that reward plus/minus and penalty minutes.
3. Jason Spezza, Senators. The slick playmaker will shoot more this year and could challenge for the scoring title.
4. Jaromir Jagr, Rangers. The mercurial talent could slip a little this season but should still post impressive numbers.
5. Alexander Ovechkin, Capitals. No sophomore jinx here – the Calder winner will register another 50 goals and 100 points.
6. Dany Heatley, Senators. Surrounded by incredible talent, he’ll take another run at the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals.
7. Henrik Zetterberg, Red Wings. This will be the season that firmly establishes the Swedish star as a member of the NHL elite.
8. Ilya Kovalchuk, Thrashers. Without Savard setting him up, another 50-goal season might be a long shot.
9. Olli Jokinen, Panthers. Hard to believe a player who got 89 points can be so underrated. He won’t be after this year.
10. Eric Staal, Hurricanes. He couldn’t make the Olympic team but he did get 100 points. Expect a slight drop this year.
11. Daniel Alfredsson, Senators. Always a top producer, another 40 goals and 60 assists is easily within his reach.
12. Patrick Marleau, Sharks. Quietly had a career year that could catch some poolies with their guard down on draft day.
13. Patrik Elias, Devils. Forty-five points in 38 games. Imagine what he’ll do in an injury-free season.
14. Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings. With Yzerman and Shanahan gone, he and Zetterberg are the Detroit stars today and tomorrow.
15. Marian Hossa, Thrashers. He’s averaged a point per game over three seasons. Give him that and handful more this year.
16. Pavol Demitra, Wild. He’s always been very good but with Gaborik on the wing he’ll be dynamite.
17. Daniel Briere, Sabres. Another unheralded young star, he had 58 points in just 48 games last year.
18. Paul Kariya, Predators. The 85-point comeback season was no fluke. His wheels and hands will assure a repeat performance.
19. Peter Forsberg, Flyers. It’ll be the usual for Peter the Great: 10-15 games missed and 80-90 points.
20. Scott Niedermayer, Ducks. As the better of the dynamic duo of Ducks D, he’ll lead the power play and get 80 points.
21. Marian Gaborik, Wild. Playing with his fellow Slovak star, he could score 50 goals and finally achieve elite status.
22. Rick Nash, Blue Jackets. The classic sniper has a wicked shot and a nose for the net. If healthy, he’ll challenge for the Rocket.
23. Patrice Bergeron, Bruins. He doubled his point total in his second year and still has untapped potential in reserve.
24. Brad Richards, Lightning. Unselfish playmaker extraordinaire makes everyone he plays with a better player.
25. Niklas Lidstrom, Red Wings. The old vet still has another sensational year in him. Mark him down for a point per game.
1. Miikka Kiprusoff, Flames. Earns top honours with 42 wins, 10 shutouts and a league-leading 2.07 GAA. He’s the best.
2. Martin Brodeur, Devils. His GAA was a career high 2.57 but with another 35-plus wins, Marty is money again.
3. Tomas Vokoun, Predators. He improves every season and this year takes his rightful place among the elite.
4. Roberto Luongo, Canucks. He won’t see as many pucks in Vancouver so his GAA will go down and his wins will go up.
5. Ryan Miller, Sabres. In the top five in most goaltending categories, he will carry the Sabres again this year.
6. Marty Turco, Stars. Another goalie getting better with age (41 wins last year). But his save percentage was a weak .898.
7. Martin Gerber, Senators. The Stanley Cup benchwarmer gets new life and a legitimate chance at 40 wins in Ottawa.
8. Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers. Nominated for the Vezina, this kid was a bona fide Broadway smash. He’ll light it up again.
9. Marc Denis, Lightning. The under-rated talent is now playing behind a team that can win games.
10. Jose Theodore, Avalanche. The former wunderkind bounced back at year’s end and looks to have the momentum now.
11. Cam Ward, Hurricanes. After an off-season of Stanley Cup and wedding celebrations, a sophomore slump wouldn’t surprise.
12. Robert Esche, Flyers. He’s the starter for at least the first two months and it’ll be his job to lose when Niittymaki returns.
13. Dan Cloutier, Kings. He’s healthy, clearly No. 1 and looks to return to his glory days in Vancouver.
14. Dominik Hasek, Red Wings. Injuries could be the Dominator’s undoing again. If you can, draft Osgood too.
15. Cristobal Huet, Canadiens. He had a league-leading .929 save percentage and seven shutouts, but has Aebischer sharing the job.
The Dozing Dozen – 12 Sleepers
1. Keith Tkachuk, Blues. Forget the injuries and attitude last year. This rejuvenated winger will get you goals, points and penalty minutes.
2. Marco Sturm, Bruins. Forgotten in the deal that sent Thornton to San Jose, he’ll quietly lead the Bruins in scoring this year.
3. Steve Bernier, Sharks. Had 27 points after the Olympics and is here to stay, probably on Marleau’s second line.
4. Brendan Morrison, Canucks. He’s returning to speed after an off-year and hip surgery. Should fill an offensive void.
5. Wojtek Wolski, Avalanche. The Calder candidate might take Tanguay’s position on the first line and register 25 goals and 60 points.
6. Alexander Semin, Capitals. Legal battles behind him, he’ll team with that other high-scoring Alex to pile up points.
7. Matthew Carle, Sharks. Hobie Baker winner is tough and talented enough to reward poolies in all categories.
8. Chuck Kobasew, Flames. Thirty-one points last year wasn’t too shabby. Twice that this year would be decent too.
9. Karel Rachunek, Rangers. Another super Czech on the Rangers, he returns to the NHL after honing his skills in Russia for two years.
10. Ray Whitney, Hurricanes. He’ll replace Stillman on the top line and if he stays there will get 70-80 points.
11. Johan Franzen, Red Wings. Detroit has skating him with Datsyuk, filling Shanahan’s role as a feisty scorer.
12. Alexander Radulov, Predators. Maybe not this year, but tuck this junior hockey star (61 goals, 152 points) aside in keeper leagues.
Busting Out – 10 Breakthrough Players
1. Mark Bell, Sharks. Goes from obscurity in Chicago to Thornton’s line on the Sharks. He’ll get 70-80 points.
2. Marc Denis, Lightning. Gets a huge break in the trade to a contender and will respond with 30-plus wins.
3. Marc-Andre Bergeron, Oilers. Pronger and Spacek are gone so he’s the main man on Oilers’ high-octane power play.
4. Kyle Wellwood, Maple Leafs. Talented winger will cash in on move from limited role to top-line duty.
5. Tuomo Ruutu, Blackhawks. With his talent and Havlat as a linemate, look out. That’s if he stays healthy.
6. Niklas Kronwall, Red Wings. Skilled and mobile heir apparent begins taking the blue-line reins from Lidstrom.
7. Erik Cole, Hurricanes. He’s back from a serious injury, healthy and hungry. An 80-point season awaits him.
8. Colby Armstrong, Penguins. Could easily double his 40 points last year in full season alongside Crosby.
9. Corey Perry, Ducks. One of the NHL’s best puck handlers, he’ll weave magic with his stick into 50-60 points.
10. Raffi Torres, Oilers. Hard-nosed winger has the skills and toughness to pile up points and penalty minutes.
Too Much – 10 Players Overvalued
1. Zdeno Chara, Bruins. Sure, he’ll have another solid fantasy season. Just not as solid as when he played on a good team.
2. Doug Weight, Blues. Getting older and recovering from a shoulder injury, it’s unlikely he’ll even get 50 points this year.
3. Francois Beauchemin, Ducks. A popular sleeper pick after 34 points in 61 games, but Pronger’s arrival hurts his production.
4. Todd Bertuzzi, Panthers. The change will definitely do him good. Just don’t be fooled into thinking it’ll do you any good.
5. Saku Koivu, Canadiens. We wish him the best but advice letting another poolie take a chance on his serious eye injury.
6. Pierre Turgeon, Avalanche. Not a bad comeback last season, but then he got hurt. And then in the playoffs he got benched.
7. Marc Savard, Bruins. Perennially undervalued, the table turns this year without snipers Hossa and Kovalchuk.
8. Ed Jovanovski, Coyotes. Missed 79 games over three seasons and will be hard pressed to return to form.
9. Eric Lindros, Stars. Risk versus reward, that’s the story of the Big E’s fantasy hockey life. It means stay away.
10. Mark Recchi and LW John LeClair, Penguins. They might play with Crosby and Malkin but these greybeards haven’t found the fountain of youth.