SUN Hockey Pool

Fantasy's Top 75

CHRIS NICHOLS -- For SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 1:13 PM ET

Overcoming a bad fantasy draft can certainly be accomplished over the course of a season, but why shoot yourself in the foot before the first puck is dropped?

There are a lot of drafting strategies out there but your dominant philosophy should revolve around minimizing risky selections.

Simply put, this means that at least the first half of your draft should be spent grabbing guys that are historically able to stay healthy and produce. If you grab Mario Lemieux in the first round because you're blinded by the excitement of Crosby, Gonchar, Palffy, et al and then Mario goes down after nine games like in '03-4, you have no one to blame but yourself. 66 might notch 120 points, but I'll take the safe 90-point guy instead of chancing the big hurt, thanks.

Eric Lindros and Jason Allison could easily have 70-80 point seasons, but their risk factors pushed them just outside of the top 75. Fellow injury problem child Marc Savard barely made it in based on my hunch he'll beat his career best this season. The most notable omission to the list is Patrik Elias because he's slated to miss at least the first ten games of the season while he recovers from hepatitis A and there are questions about how effective he'll be upon returning.

Here are the top 75 fantasy picks for the coming season based on single season leagues counting goals, assists, plus/minus, power play points, penalty minutes and shots for skaters; goals against, save percentage and wins for goalies.

In this type of scoring system power forwards are extremely valuable; more so, in fact, than many higher scoring forwards. Similarly, stud defensemen are always at a premium and that's why you'll find guys like Sergei Gonchar and Scott Niedermayer so high on the list.

Stay tuned to SLAM! during the preseason for more fantasy articles: Friday will be a "players of interest" column, and then next week look for an entire article dedicated to players you should target via draft or trade in keeper leagues. And in case you missed it, earlier this week we ranked fantasy goalies from top to bottom.


TOP TEN
1. Markus Naslund: No one has more points over past three seasons
2. Ilya Kovalchuk: Scoring machine, but watch contract situation
3. Todd Bertuzzi: Power forward should still dominate
4. Jarome Iginla: More offensive depth increases value
5. Joe Thornton: Rugged center has something to prove
6. Martin Brodeur: Still a stud, but without two key D
7. Miikka Kiprusoff: Solid blueline, well-coached
8. Rick Nash: Assist, +/- totals will improve
9. Roberto Luongo: Arbitration mess shouldn't be distraction
10. Sergei Gonchar: Hands down your best option on D

11-20
11. Dany Heatley: These goods ain't damaged
12. Evgeni Nabokov: Stud goalie, great team
13. Brad Richards: Tampa's offense still flying
14. Scott Niedermayer: Fantasy game improves in Anaheim
15. Joe Sakic: Yawn. Another 80+point season.
16. Martin St. Louis: Let's see one more solid campaign
17. Peter Forsberg: Preseason injury emphasizes risk
18. Robert Esche: Hatcher and Rathje enhance underrated goalie
19. Marty Turco: 1.72 and 1.98 GAA in two seasons as a starter
20. Ziggy Palffy: Stocked Pens team could spell career year

21-30
21. Dan Cloutier: Canucks still a top team
22. Zdeno Chara: PIM's, +/- push him ahead of better scoring D
23. Jaromir Jagr: No clutching and grabbing = resurgence
24. Brian Leetch: Old man can still pile up points
25. Dominik Hasek: Sens defense too good to pass him up
26. Jose Theodore: Habs moving in right direction
27. Marian Hossa: Sniper should hit 85 points
28. Mats Sundin: A consistent threat
29. Andrew Raycroft: Finally signed, Boston still strong
30. Jason Spezza: Burgeoning talent set to ascend scoring charts

31-40
31. Ed Jovanovski: Possible career best coming
32. Nick Lidstrom: Should rebound from off-year
33. Ed Belfour: Reports of his demise greatly exaggerated
34. Vincent Lecavalier: Consistency is finally here
35. Rob Blake: PIM's, points, the whole package
36. Bill Guerin: One of few fantasy power forwards
37. Brendan Shanahan: Still puts up tough man stats
38. Keith Tkachuk: Came to camp overweight
39. Daniel Alfredsson: Sens captain can be counted on
40. Milan Hejduk: Injury downgrades value slightly

41-50
41. Chris Pronger: Free-wheeling Oilers great fit
42. Mario Lemieux: 1.5 to 2.5 ppg, but how many GP?
43. Sidney Crosby: Figure 65 points with 85 upside
44. Bryan Berard: Too often forgotten in fantasy leagues
45. David Aebischer: Loss of Foote and Forsberg hurts
46. Tomas Vokoun: Preds better than '03-4
47. Mark Recchi: Old-timer poised for great season
48. Glen Murray: Shots, goals are great assets
49. Shane Doan: Largely unnoticed power forward
50. Jeff O'Neill: Should thrive in Toronto with points, PIM's

51-60
51. Martin Havlat: Point-per-game guy, but low SOG totals
52. Alex Tanguay: Aves need him more than ever
53. J.S. Giguere: Should deliver consistency this time
54. Pavel Datsyuk: 75-80 points, low PIM's, SOG
55. Ladislav Nagy: Unheralded scoring prowess
56. Alex Yashin: His best season in Isles' uniform yet
57. Alex Kovalev: Pumped and ready to go
58. Robert Lang: Still has game
59. Rick DiPietro: Great pick for keeper leagues
60. Wade Redden: Consistent, durable - epitome of safe pick

61-70
61. Marek Zidlicky: Power play magician
62. Nik Khabibulin: Hawks better with several key additions
63. Paul Kariya: New NHL made for this guy
64. Kari Lehtonen: Possibly a huge sleeper pick
65. Pavol Demitra: Hugely underrated fantasy producer
66. Dwayne Roloson: Lemaire should keep Wild competitive
67. Kimmo Timonen: Lots of power play chances this season
68. Mathieu Schneider: Year off should mean fresh legs
69. Bryan McCabe: Slightly less points than '03-4
70. Adrian Aucoin: Big boost to Hawks' offense on D

71-75
71. Miro Satan: 76-point career high could be history
72. Mike Modano: '03-4 was just a blip, right?
73. Marian Gaborik: Big rebound season coming
74. Kim Johnsson: More offense, same good +/-
75. Marc Savard: Will set career high this year

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