Philosophical Hedging

Every season brings on new considerations, new guarantees and possibilities that hopefully lead to success. In the vaunted IceHL, within a truncated season no less, fantasy success seems as attainable as it is fragile.

Are twilight-year veterans like Jagr, Alfredsson and notorious slow-starter Iginla going to be helped by the lockout? How about neophytes like Nugent-Hopkins, Landeskog, and Karlsson? Surely a compacted schedule effects them least of all.

Truth is, as it always does in sports, chemistry and luck will have a bigger impact than we can (or care to) quantify. That's why you should hedge your bets this season. Three games in four nights for ten weeks — or in other words, 48 games in 99 days, plus playoffs is torture for anyone. Travel will matter more than ever, especially for teams near the Central and Eastern Time Zone lines. That's why players in Dallas, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Denver, Vancouver, Alberta and Florida are particularly ominous to own. (Full disclosure — I have six such players. Wanna trade?) Give me just Kessel and Giroux over the Sedins, Parise, Benn and the rest of the farflung stars combined. And we haven't even discussed defensemen or goalies yet.

Speaking of which, need a tender? Don't worry about it. As long as his team makes the playoffs, he'll score enough points. But be sure to have a solid backup on hand in case he breaks down.

I think it's also important to note how important chemistry plus opportunity will be this season. Can't produce if they're not out there, right? Prime minutes mean everything this year, including special teams time.

Want to know how I'm managing this year? By being aggressively shrewd. Mining for opportunities with chemistry and luck while limiting detrimental factors. That's where the point-multipliers lie. That's what'll be lead to fantasy success.