Think you know hockey?
Think you know hockey?
Here’s your primer for the IIHF Fantasy Game
With the new IIHF Fantasy Game, fans are given the chance to be a general manader, by building a dream team of players and playing them against other teams.
Each day at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, managers will be able to set their rosters, choosing their players within a set budget. It’ll be up to you to see if you have what it takes to be your league’s top general manager.
Click here to play IIHF Fantasy Hockey
With IIHF Fantasy Hockey being introduced for the first time, we would liek to provide some tips on how to set up your team and offer some player names to target. For more information on the structure of the game visit IIHF Fantasy Hockey's Rules section.
Various points are awarded for goals, assists, game-winning goals, short-handed goals, plus/minus, shots on goal, wins, saves and shutouts. Each week you can set your lineup before the start of the first game of the day.
Example: Preliminary round – Game 1. Fans have until 15 minutes before puck drop to set their lineups, after which their team is locked until the end of the day. One last-minute change is permitted if you missed out on starting a player that’s competing later in the day.
Your lineup resets for each round through all seven games for each nation, allowing you to make roster moves until 15 minutes before the day’s first game. There will be another round for quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals (bronze & gold).
NOTE: The rosters on the fantasy game are currently unofficial. Some players may not be available to pick up on the fantasy game right away, team rosters will be completed by the morning of May 6.
Here are some players to look out for.
FORWARDS: A great fantasy hockey team needs daily contributions from its forwards. IIHF Fantasy Hockey’s scoring system favours goalscorers, but with a limited budget it’s important to be able to find mid-level players that can contribute for a cheap price.
Connor McDavid – CAN
-He only played 45 games due to a serious collarbone injury, but the rookie recorded 48 points in that span with the Edmonton Oilers. Canada was dominant during last year’s tournament in the Czech Republic and McDavid is expected to be one of the leaders on offence.
Taylor Hall – CAN
-He’s back after finishing last year’s tournament third in overall scoring with seven goals and 12 points in 10 games. With some familiar teammates in Russia, Hall should thrive once again.
Tomas Plekanec – CZE
-The Czechs are missing Jaromir Jagr and Jakub Voracek, and so will be counting on the Montreal Canadiens centre to make the offence go at the 2016 World Championship.
Alexei Kalyuzhny – BLR
-Kalyuzhny is a very skilled forward who produced five goals and five assists playing for Belarus at the 2015 IIHF World Championship. The team will lean on Kalyuzhny again to produce and get them back to the playoffs.
Alexander Barkov – FIN
-Barkov is coming off a career year with the Florida Panthers, scoring 59 points in 66 games. A very gifted and creative centre, expect the Finnish offence to flow through Barkov which should benefit fantasy owners.
Mikael Granlund – FIN
-Finland’s young gun comes at a decent price for a forward that is a regular contributor to the scoresheet when playing internationally. Granlund could produce early with Finland opening the tournament against Belarus and Germany.
Damien Fleury – FRA
-For France to be able to compete for a playoff spot, Les Bleus will need someone to step up and fill in the scoring void with Antoine Roussel competing in the NHL playoffs. Enter Fleury, who notched five goals in seven games at the 2015 IIHF Worlds.
Zemgus Girgensons – LAT
-With last year’s top scorer on the team, Lauris Darzins, out of the lineup, look for Girgensons to pick up the scoring slack. A tough opening schedule though should dim immediate expectations.
Sergei Mozyakin – RUS
-Mozyakin is arguable the hottest player coming into the tournament, fresh off winning a Gagarin Cup with Magnitogorsk where he earned a KHL playoff MVP award. During Magnita’s run to the Gagarin the Russian forward tore up the competition, scoring 25 points (11G+14A).
Viktor Tikhonov – RUS
-Tikhonov elevates his game when he puts on the national team jersey. He is only two years removed from a 16-point campaign at the 2014 IIHF Worlds, scoring eight goals and eight assists to earn Top Forward and All-Star honours. Likely guaranteed a spot on the top line, look for Tikhonov to excel.
Yevgeni Dadonov – RUS
-Russia will be gunning for nothing else but the gold medals, and given that Dadonov along with Mozyakin helped lead the country to the final last year, it would not be a surprise to see Dadonov reach similar numbers to the 11 point (4G+7A) campaign he had in 2015.
NOTE: Playing on home ice, Team Russia will be a force to be reckoned with. The team has also added Pavel Datsyuk and Alexander Radulov, and with a fairly smooth opening schedule it’s not a bad idea to invest in Russian forwards early.
Mickael Backlund – SWE
-Sweden’s top centre will need to elevate his game in order to get his country deep into the playoffs. He has performed well in past instances with the national team, totaling 14 points in 25 World Championship games, and is fresh off his best NHL season.
Denis Hollenstein – SUI
-Hollenstein is a consistently strong player who can provide the Swiss with an offensive spark. He equaled his career-best points total this year while captaining the Kloten Flyers, and if he can find some chemistry with Nino Niederreiter he’ll get points.
Auston Matthews – USA
-Projected to go first overall in the upcoming NHL entry draft, this tournament will be Matthews’ last chance to showcase himself to prospective teams. He’ll be well rested after his club team had an early exit in the playoffs.
DEFENCEMEN: Based on the scoring format, offensive contributions from the blue line can go a long way to ensuring success. Defencemen who score earn more points than forwards, so picking a D-man that gets on the scoresheet can really help out your team.
Matt Dumba – CAN
-The 21-year-old Canadian defenceman is a not shy about getting points on the board. All he did in his last two seasons with the Canadian Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels was score 99 points in 131 games. He also led all skaters at the 2012 IIHF U18 World Championship with 12 points in seven games.
Vyacheslav (Slava) Voynov – RUS
-Voynov had a down year with SKA St. Petersburg but still managed to get seven assists in 23 games. But this is a player that has performed well in clutch situations, especially in 2013 when he notched 13 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Esa Lindell – FIN
-Lindell finished among the top ten in scoring amongst defencemen at the 2015 IIHF Worlds, popping in 6 points and registering a +5. A solid add if your budget is running low.
Gustav Forsling – SWE
-Forsling earned Top Defenceman honours at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, notching eight points in seven games. This is his first appearance at the senior level and could be a risky play.
GOALTENDERS: The tournament schedule and the team playing in front of them determines a large part of a fantasy goalie’s success. If you can afford to pay, a top level goalie with an easy schedule can be a huge boon for your fantasy squad.
Viktor Fasth – SWE
-If you are looking for value in goal, look no further than Viktor Fasth. Spending last season with CSKA Moscow of the KHL, Fasth went 13-4-1 with a 1.66 GAA and .921 save percentage. With a strong lineup in front, Fasth may be the right choice in goal.
Sergei Bobrovski – RUS
-Bobrovski is a safe pick, but may not get as many starts at the beginning with Semyon Varlamov on the team. Still he is a quality goaltender and likely will start as the No. 1 goalie. With Russia aiming for gold and a strong cast of players in support, he is a safe add.
SLEEPERS: A sleeper is a player that could be a surprise performer and that can be added for fairly cheap. A couple of good sleeper picks on your team can be the difference between a championship and last place.
Linus Omark – SWE
-Playing in the KHL, Omark had one of his best seasons as a professional this year with Salavat Yulaev Ufa, posting 57 points in 69 games. Sweden at the moment does not have a go-to scorer aside from Backlund on the roster, so if he can get good minutes and a spot on Sweden’s top line he should produce.
Leon Draisatl and Tobias Rieder – GER
-It’s tough to split these two up as they will be counted on to get pucks in the net for the Germans to be able to have success in 2016. If they can find their groove together these teammates could provide some scoring for fantasy owners.
Mats Zuccarello – NOR
-Zuccarello is a proven scorer and should be a key contributor at the tournament. His sleeper status is mainly due to the fact that Norway sometimes has a tough time getting enough offensive production to justify a bench spot for the speedy forward.
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