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Five for Fantasizing: Join the pack

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Training camps are underway and it's time for a new year of fantasy hockey.

Yeah, we're going to get drafted. High five!
Yeah, we're going to get drafted. High five!
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Coyotes officially kick off the preseason on Monday in split squad contests against, who else, the Los Angeles Kings. Now that the preseason is less than a week from getting underway, it's time for fantasy hockey to begin.

With that in mind, there will be an official Five for Howling fantasy league this season. It is a standard rotisserie league that will be hosted on ESPN.com simply because it is the portal I am most familiar with. The categories are as follows:

  • Goals (G)
  • Assists (A)
  • Plus/Minus (+/-)
  • Average time on ice (AToI)
  • Shots on goal (SOG)
  • Hits (H)
  • Blocked Shots (BS)
  • Special Team Points (STP)
  • Wins (W) - goalies
  • Save percentage (SV%) - goalies
  • Goals against average (GAA) - goalies
  • Shutouts (SO) - goalies

A few quick notes on the categories. I chose special teams points instead of just power play points to give more value to versatile players like Antoine Vermette and Brad Marchand. It makes someone who is a penalty kill specialist slightly more valuable.

Adding in blocked shots and hits allows for more value from depth defensemen who play a lot of minutes but don't necessarily score, a la Zybnek Michalek. It also allowed me to exclude penalty minutes from the counting categories, because PIMS shouldn't be rewarded.

Right now, it is a standard 10 team league, but if the interest level gets there I will expand to 14 before the draft. The league is totally free and is open to anybody. You don't have to be a Coyote fan, but it helps. You also don't have to be local to the Phoenix/Glendale area. I would like nothing more than to do a live, in person draft, but an online draft is more than feasible.

If you are interested, there are only five rules and they make up today's list of five.

1. Have Fun

The most important rule I can stress. There is nothing on the line but bragging rights and pride. So enjoy it. I hope that I can even entice some fantasy first timers to come aboard. There is no stress involved and I hope that we can continue to have this league for years to come.

2. Be Involved

Fantasy hockey can be a bit of a time commitment, especially rotisserie leagues which you need to check almost everyday. That being said, I would like to have owners that want to make trades, post on the message boards and stay throughout the year. I am going to use the league for the weekly Five for Fantasizing posts as an example so the more engaged every one is, the better the league will be. I want it to be an all around hockey portal for everyone to enjoy.

3. Be Respectful

Nothing is worse than a fantasy league where there is tension between owners for whatever reason. If you think someone made a stupid trade or a really bad draft pick, that is okay, but don't go out of your way to point it out. Find ways to criticize without taking shots at other owners. For example "Interesting pick. I wouldn't have chosen that guy this high, but hopefully it works out for you."

4. Provide Feedback

I want to know how everyone is enjoying the league as it unfolds. If you think there will be more I can do as the league manager, hit me up on the message boards, on twitter @twotontwenty1, or on my email that is linked to my name here on the site. Or drop comments on the Five for Fantasizing posts.

I want this league to be one that last for years, so if you think keepers should be added or we should do free agent bidding instead of waivers or you want to try adding another scoring category or dropping one, let me know. I have never managed a hockey fantasy league (managed football for almost 10 years) so I am open to all ideas.

5. Show Up for the Draft

This is the last and possibly the hardest rule to follow. No draft date has been set yet. I encourage all prospective owners to post draft availability on the message board in the league. A draft always works better the more people that are there, but I understand that real life comes into play as well. If we set the date and you can't make that time, don't stress.

Use the player ranking tool to adjust your personal tastes to set your autopicks as close as you would choose them. Or shoot me an email about players you really want and what round you would take them in. Or find a sub to fill in for you on draft day. You could also just let the computer do it all for you and live the results post draft. If you can't make the draft, rule number two becomes all the more important.

So there you have it. If you want to get in on the league action, it is an ESPN fantasy hockey league so you will need to create an ESPN account. I will need to confirm your invite with an email, so drop me a line on twitter or my email above.

Good luck to everyone who will play fantasy hockey this season and have fun.