Another fantasy hockey season is just about in the books, and the NHL playoffs kick off later this week. And what a year it was. After a season off due to the lockout, the NHL returned in full force, with a faster style, higher scoring and less clutching and grabbing. In short, it was a more exciting game, and one that drew the fans back quicker than expected.
Just look at those scoring totals: NHL teams have averaged 3.02 goals per game in 2005-06, a vast improvement over the 2.57 rate in 2003-04, the year before the lockout. Once the season ends tonight, six players -- and possibly nine -- will have cracked the 100-point plateau, after no one topped 94 points in 2003-04; and four players -- possibly five -- will have cracked the 50-goal plateau, after no one scored more than 41 times in 2003-04. Offense was certainly on the rise, and we can only hope it's a trend here to stay. It sure makes for a more interesting NHL, and fantasy, game.
Speaking of fantasy, now that the regular season, and with it our season, is coming to a close, let's take a look back at this year's most notable standouts: