Cullen: Ready for the start of the 2011-2012 NHL season

Scott Cullen

10/6/2011 11:51:37 AM

With the first face-off of the 2011-2012 NHL season tonight, here is a quick look at some team point totals that I think may be of value, as well as a quick breakdown of my own fantasy hockey rosters.

Check out today's Fantasy Hockey Update, with a look at three rookies in action tonight.

First up, the point totals, with odds from

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS over 98.5 points - There have been a lot of changes in Philadelphia and there's no guarantee that all those new faces will work out, but after 106 points last season, the Flyers aren't necessarily going to fall below 100 just because they have Jaromir Jagr, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Matt Read, Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn and Ilya Bryzgalov. It's possible they'll be even better, especially since it appears that Chris Pronger is ready to play at the start of the season.

DALLAS STARS over 87.5 points - Losing Brad Richards to free agency and operating right at the salary floor aren't exactly reasons for optimism, but the Stars aren't necessarily going to fall off the map either. With Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, they have young offensive stars and Alex Goligoski added a new dimension to their blueline when he arrived from Pittsburgh last season. Maybe they don't make the playoffs, but they've had at least 88 points in 13 of the last 14 seasons.

CAROLINA HURRICANES over 83.5 points - The 'Canes have finished with at least 88 points in five of the last six seasons and have plenty of young talent. With youth comes risk, but Jeff Skinner, Zac Dalpe, Justin Faulk, Jamie McBain and, possibly Ryan Murphy, offer potential for bigger and better things in Carolina. If they're going to challenge for a playoff spot, as expected, they'll need a whole lot more than 84 points.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS over 81.5 points - While the other teams I've chosen have tended to hold above their threshold number, the Islanders haven't registered more than 79 points in any of the last four seasons. If they can come up with some stability in goal, whether it's Evgeni Nabokov or Al Montoya or someone else, the Isles have enough young talent that should be able to put up 82 or more points.

I'm tempted by the BOSTON BRUINS over 102.5 points, but it's rare for a Cup winner to have more points in the year following their Cup win. Since the Red Wings won back-to-back Cups in 1997 and 1998, only two Cup winners have finished with more points the following season (the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2010, up to 101 from 99, and New Jersey in 2001, from 103 to 111), so those are odds that I don't feel like bucking this season, even if the Bruins return much of their championship roster.

Switching gears...

As usual, I'm involved in too many fantasy leagues for my own good, but I did manage to cut down by one from last year, so I'm participating in five. I'm not going to break down each league and team, but these are the players that I drafted, giving some idea who I think might have value.

Note that none of my leagues are the same -- some are roto, some head-to-head; some are 10 teams, others 14; some have C, LW, RW, others just use F and roster sizes vary from 18 to 25; some are keepers, others are one-year leagues. One league requires a rookie and it so happens that I have three rookies on my team. Nevertheless, here are the players I've selected -- the range of picks should indicate how easy it is to be flexible on draft day.

Last year, Lubomir Visnovsky was my most-owned player after my drafts were done, followed by Ryan Malone, Tyler Ennis and Jamie McBain. Here are this year's picks:

C Evgeni Malkin - 2
C Ryan Getzlaf - 2
C Anze Kopitar
C Henrik Sedin
C Jonathan Toews
C Henrik Zetterberg
C Joe Thornton
C Jeff Carter
C Eric Staal
C David Krejci
C Derek Roy
C Paul Stastny
C Jeff Skinner
C Jordan Staal
C Patrik Berglund
C Artem Anisimov
C R.J. Umberger
C Dave Bolland
C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
C Sean Couturier
LW Ryane Clowe - 2
LW Jamie Benn - 2
LW Mike Cammalleri - 2
LW Alexander Ovechkin
LW Martin St. Louis
LW Milan Lucic
LW James van Riemsdyk
LW Brenden Morrow
LW Tyler Ennis
LW Evander Kane
LW Erik Cole
LW Ray Whitney

RW Jaromir Jagr - 2 
RW T.J. Oshie - 2
RW David Backes
RW Alex Burrows
RW Marian Gaborik
RW Steve Downie
RW Loui Eriksson
RW Nathan Horton
RW Ryan Callahan
RW Justin Williams
RW Ales Hemsky
RW Michael Grabner
RW Nikolai Kulemin
RW Devin Setoguchi
RW Rene Bourque
RW Martin Erat
RW Todd Bertuzzi
RW Wayne Simmonds
RW Mikael Samuelsson

D Travis Hamonic - 3
D P.K. Subban - 2
D Kevin Shattenkirk - 2
D Sheldon Souray - 2
D Grant Clitsome - 2
D Duncan Keith
D Keith Yandle
D Nicklas Lidstrom
D Drew Doughty
D Brent Burns
D Dion Phaneuf
D Tobias Enstrom
D James Wisniewski
D Jack Johnson
D John-Michael Liles
D Jamie McBain
D Jonathon Blum
D Victor Hedman
D Andrej Meszaros
D Jay Bouwmeester
D David Rundblad
D Stefan Elliott

G Antti Niemi - 3
G Semyon Varlamov - 3
G Ryan Miller
G Tim Thomas
G Tomas Vokoun
G Ilya Bryzgalov
G Jaroslav Halak
G Michal Neuvirth
G Steve Mason
G Mike Smith
G Jonathan Bernier

Scott Cullen can be reached at and followed on Twitter at For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.