Fantasy Hockey Rules

Fantasy Hockey Rules & Tips

By Chris Perrin

Fantasy hockey is an exciting game. It moves you from being a spectator of a hockey game to an actual participant. Suddenly, you donít just cheer for your favorite team, you cheer for all your fantasy players. However, itís not necessarily an easy game. There are lots of numbers and those numbers turn into fantasy points, but how this magic transformation happens depends on the set of fantasy hockey rules your league follows. Despite the fact there are all those rules, you must fully understand them to dominate your league.

However, the problem with understanding fantasy hockey rules is twofold. First, you have to understand the rules, and even if they are written clearly, there can be a lot of them. Secondly, once you understand fantasy hockey rules, you then need to make sure you understand how they affect your league and the way it keeps score.

To make matters a little more clear, here is a primer on fantasy hockey rules which will at least point out what you should pay attention to as your read your league rules. This primer will cover what happens after you have signed up for a team and have your roster drafted.

Fantasy Hockey Rules - Tip #1: How players earn points for fantasy owners

Fantasy Hockey RulesBefore we get into the finer points of fantasy rules, there is one part of fantasy hockey that needs to be made absolutely clear. A player in fantasy hockey earns points for his owner by how he performs in real life. So if you have Alexander Ovechkin and he scores two goals and makes an assist in a real life game against the Maple Leafs, those goals will translate into fantasy points for your fantasy team.

However, how many fantasy points you earn for any fantasy stat is the most important thing to understand about fantasy hockey rules.

Fantasy Hockey Rules - Tip #2: Learn what stats earn fantasy owners points

This may sound like a simple proposition, but sometimes it can be difficult. Some types of leagues, especially fantasy hockey pools, will have a simple scoring system based on goals, assists, and saves. Some fantasy hockey commissioner leagues, though, will have very complex schemes that take into account penalty killing minutes, penalty minutes, plus/minus rating, power play goals and assists, shots on goal, shooting percentage, games started, wins, losses, ties, etc. Pretty much as many stats as they keep in hockey, may end up being part of the scoring equation.

One word of warning: the assumption (especially in online fantasy hockey leagues) will be that the stats owners see when they log into their teams are the only stats that contribute to scoring. However, this is not always the case. Oftentimes, the stats that show up on that page have no bearing on scoring and in other cases, more stats will contribute to scoring than can fit on the page.

The good news is that every fantasy hockey site will have a list of these stats. Typically, these will be found under a rules or scoring hyperlink.

Fantasy Hockey Rules - Tip #3: Learn how many points fantasy owners earn for each of those stats

Once you know which stats get scored, itís time to figure out how many points these stats will earn you. In a hockey pool, it might be as simple as a goal earning you two points and an assist a single point. In commissioner leagues, things are rarely that simple and a little more research will be needed to figure out how many points each statistic is worth.

The good news is that if you are playing Yahoo! or CBSSports.com, they have a default scoring scheme. For instance, in Yahoo!, a goal is worth 3 points, an assist is worth 2, power play points 1 and so on. If you are not playing Yahoo!, ask your league commission how many points each statistic is worth.

Fantasy Hockey Rules - Tip #4: Note if the league does partial points

Partial points are more something interesting for you to be aware of than something that can make or break your league. Partial points simply mean that the scoring system keeps track of fractional points. This can be important with stats like Saves, which are worth .2 points each. If your league does not track partial points, your goalie must make five saves to score 1 point. However, if partial points are tracked, each save will add to your fantasy point total. Usually this will only make a difference by a few points per week, but in some cases, a few points makes all the difference between a fantasy win and loss.

Fantasy Hockey Rules - Tip #5: Determine if your league offers bonuses

In some leagues, fantasy owners will receive bonuses if they reach certain fantasy statistic goals. For instance, if a player scores a certain number of goals in a game or in a week, that playerís owner might receive a bonus. In fantasy hockey, the most common time when an owner will get a bonus is when their players score hat tricks (three goals in a single game.)

Fantasy Hockey Rules - Tip #6: Check if your league has retroactive scoring

The last thing to understand is if your league has retroactive statistics. Undoubtedly due to the length of the NHL season, many fantasy hockey leagues start after the season has begun. If a league has retroactive scoring, owners will receive points for how their players have already performed. If there is no retroactive scoring, all owners start with zero fantasy points.

Bonus Tip: Understanding your leagueís scoring system may affect which players you draft or how you rate your players for an autopick league. Certain fantasy hockey rules and scoring schemes can make certain positions more or less valuable.

Also, the way a leagueís scoring works can make players more or less valuable. For instance, if you are in a league that puts a premium on powerplay goals or penalty killing, you can draft a few players who donít see as much time on the ice, but do get a lot of work on their teamsí special teams.

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