Collins runs down his Top 10 fantasy hockey stories of the 2015-16 NHL campaign
The start of the NHL playoffs is almost like Jan. 1 for hockey pool enthusiasts. It's a chance to gear up for a new year while taking stock of last season. Looking back at the past seven months, many of the top hockey stories of the year had a negligible impact on fantasy (at least…so far). Some of those stories include Jonathan Drouin's suspension, Steven Stamkos about to become an unrestricted free agent, no Canadian teams in the playoffs, 3-on-3 overtime and the coaches challenge.
But there were still plenty of issues that did impact you and your fantasy league. And some of those will impact your league for years to come. Here are the top 10 fantasy stories from the past season.
10. Fighting still declining
The most recent stats tell us this year had the fewest fights since 1973-74, and fights-per-game was the lowest since 1967-68. This is having a major impact on the fantasy relevance of some players. Not one player managed to get 200 PIM this year (Derek Dorsett led the way with 177), the first time that's happened in a non-lockout season since 1967-68. PIM are already declining in fantasy league use. The Dobber Experts pool doesn't use it as a stat and many others are shifting the same way, causing players such as David Backes and Milan Lucic to lose value.
9. Rave reviews for rookies
This was the best rookie class in years. Artemi Panarin was the first rookie to net 75-plus points since Evgeni Malkin and Paul Stastny hit that mark in 2006-07. Connor McDavid missed half a season due to injury but still wound up with 48 points in 45 games. Shayne Gostisbehere had a 15-game point streak. Eight rookies had 40 points, the highest total since 2010-11.
8. Greybeards still got it
Older players often get overlooked in fantasy drafts. The potential of someone getting 60 points for the first time is more attractive than the guy getting to the same mark for the 12th time. That's why you see young 'uns such as Jack Eichel drafted ahead of Joe Thornton. Maybe that makes sense in keeper leagues, but not in one-year pools. Eleven of the top 35 point producers this season are at least 30 years old. Don't discount the older players until they prove they are washed up.