2011 – A Fantasy Hockey Year in Review

Jeff Angus





If 2010 was the year of the Olympics in the hockey world, 2011 has been the year of the concussion. Unfortunately, the concussion issue is one that is going to linger around for the forseeable future. We have seen its effects in the worst possible plays, from the death of Derek Boogaard to the uncertainty surrounding Sidney Crosby’s career. This summer was perhaps the worst we have ever seen in hockey. Along with Boogaard dying, the hockey world also lost Rick Rypien and Wade Belak. And only a few weeks later, the devastating plane crash that killed the entire Lokomotiv hockey team in Russia occured.


Needless to say, the negative news was dominant in 2011.


That isn’t to say we didn’t see some great stories. Boston and Vancouver played in one of the most spirited Stanley Cup Final matchups in recent memory. We saw some young stars dazzle us night in and night out – most notably Claude Giroux and Steven Stamkos. The Sedin twins continue to show why they are such special talents, and the Maple Leafs (finally) are on the road to respectability with a solid team for the first time in a long time.


Without further adieu, let’s get to the top 10 fantasy hockey stories of the past calendar year….


10. Sunrise Rising

Turns out Dale Tallon may have known what he was doing after all. He did a masterful job constructing the 2010 Cup-winning Blackhawks squad, but he was promptly kicked to the curb as the ownership wanted Stan Bowman in charge. Tallon came to Florida, and quickly put his stamp on the team. He shipped out long time Panthers like Nathan Horton and David Booth. He chose not to re-sign star goaltender Tomas Vokoun, and he proceeded to give half of the avaible free agents four-year contracts (or at least it seemed that way).

Florida is playing a gritty, inspired brand of hockey under Kevin Dineen, and from top to bottom the roster is very solid. The top line of Fleischmann-Weiss-Versteeg has been not only one of the biggest surprises in the league, but one of the best overall lines as well. When healthy, Fleischmann is one of the best offensive talents in the game. On defense, the overpaid but underrated Brian Campbell is on pace for a spectactular season. Jason Garrison has gone from unknown to All-Star candidate. In goal, Jose Theodore has been better than expected, although it is only a matter of time until Jacob Markstrom takes over the reigns as the starting goaltender.


The Panthers used to have one or two fantasy-relevant players, if tha