2014-2015 NHL Preview Guide




Fantasy Hockey Pool Scoring System

We are often asked here at Fantasy Hockey Standard, "What is the most common way to score a fantasy hockey pool?"  Our answer is that there are many variations, and that there isn't necessarily one right way; however, there is a system that creates the right balance between performance and position.  We call it the Classic Canadian Hockey Pool Scoring System.


It works like this:


1. Create a roster consisting of Forwards, Defensemen and Goalies, then choose the correct number of each to accurately represent a real life NHL hockey team.  If the ratio of Forwards to Defensemen to Goalies on the ice is 3:2:1, then a fantasy roster should represent that ratio.  Take the ratio a step further and include the bench.  In total, there are 20 players dressed for one team: most commonly it's 12 Forwards, 6 D-men, and 2 Goalies.  In addition, 3 additional players take the pre-game skate, and upwards of 5 total reserves (or more once injuries are factored in) may be active with an NHL team at any given time.


If we apply these ratios to fantasy hockey, a balanced hockey pool roster might look like this:

Forwards Defensemen Goalies Reserve
3 2 1 x
11 7 2 x
12 6 2 x
12 6 2 3
12 6 2 5


Truth is that any variation of this is fine.  


As well, the number of forwards you can even allow per roster will depend greatly on the number of teams in your league.  For example, in the Fantasy Hockey Standard House League, due to the number of participants, we reduce the number of Defensemen and Forwards, but maintain the ratio.  We also include two specialized roster spots with their own unique scoring systems, which compensates for the slim pickings at Forward late in a draft where there are more than 12 poolies.  And, we hold 5 players on a reserve bench who do not collect points, but who can be substituted into our active roster to compensate for hot/cold streaks and injuries:

Forwards Defensemen Goalies Enforcer Rookie Reserve
8 4 1 1 1 5


Go one step further and break the forwards into positions.  There are more scoring centers in the NHL than wingers, so note that in your break down.  Using our house league roster, we recommend 3 Centers, 2 Rightwingers, 2 Leftwingers and 1 Flex Forward.  If you use 12 forwards, then 5 Centers, 3 RW, 3 LW and 1 Flex Forward would work well.


2. Next, the actual scoring system should reflect the magnitude of various NHL scoring situations.  We appreciate pools out there where a single point is awarded for a goal and assist and nothing more, but fantasy pools take it a step further by awarding extra points under special circumstances.  Note: we apply this scoring system across the board to Forwards, Defensemen, and Rookies.

Statistic Fantasy Points
Goal 1
Assist 1
Power Play Goal +1
Shorthanded Goal +1
Game Winning Goal +1
Overtime Goal +1
Shootout Goal +1 or +2
Hat Trick Bonus +3


The first clarification we should make here is regarding the Power Play Goal.  We've had this debate with poolies through the years: they argue that the power play is actually a situation when it is easier to score a goal and, therefore, should not be awarded an additional fantasy point.  We see the merit in this argument, however the purpose behind awarding an additional point for a PPG is to add the aspect of stocking power play specialists on a fantasy roster.  It adds an element of strategy on draft day and throughout the season.  


The shootout goal is a tricky stat to compensate correctly.  The NHL tracks shootout goals and shootout clinching goals, the latter of which is the player who is listed as having scored the winning goal in the shootout.  If your pool wants to score all shootout goals, we recommend a single point for each, but if your pool has the option of tracking shootout winners, we recommend awarding 2 points to the shootout winning goal, and nothing to the other goals in the shootout.  The reason being is that the shootout is a special situation, when the pressure dynamics of the game ease drastically.  Further, many players never even get a chance to shoot, whereas others are given a shot at every opportunity.  The key for fantasy scoring the shootout is to not give too much weight to these stats, rather to balance their significance with the statistics that are more hard to come by in the course of regular gameplay.  


Lastly, the hat trick bonus at +3 just feels right: 3 Goals = 3 additional fantasy points.  Hat tricks are relatively rare, yet the best offensive players can be counted on to bag one or two over the course of a season.  A hefty reward for the 3 goal effort can make for an exciting night of hockey action when a player on your fantasy team is already skating with 2 goals to his credit.


3. Goalies are the next player-type to include in the Classic Canadian Scoring System.  Their statistics are quite different from the Skaters, but there are a few stats that are quintessentially representative of their play, while also being easy to track.  We score Goalies like this:

Statistic Fantasy Points
Win 2
Shutout +2 or +3
Overtime/Shootout Win +1
Goal 5
Assist 2


The Win is the most obvious stat to track, and the Shutout is a nice compliment.  Some poolies like to award three points for the Shutout, but we prefer only two because 1) it prevents a top Goalie's point total from being out of balance with the top Forwards at the end of the season (think Jonathan Quick and his 10 shutouts in 2011-2012), and 2) because awarding an additional bonus point for the win in OT/Shootout takes a Goalie's potential fantasy point total for one game to a nice round five points.  


The Goalie goal we award 5 points for because it is perhaps the rarest play in all of hockey, while a Goalie assist is more common, but still far less likely than a Skater getting an assist.  By awarding 2 points for a Goalie assist, the play is the equivalent of a Skater notching a shorthanded goal in this system, which feels about right.


4. The last element to the Classic Canadian is the Enforcer ​or Fighter​, which is an unofficial position in the NHL.  This player's job is to be a physical presence on the ice, and he collects a lot of penalty minutes via infractions, fights and misconduct penalties, but he (usually) does not collect very many goals and assists.  In the Classic Canadian we score Enforcers like this:

Statistic Fantasy Points
Penalties in Minutes 0.2
Major Penalties/Fights +2


The key with scoring Enforcers is that they should not​ collect points for goals and assists.  In this way, they more truly reflect their unique role on a real hockey team.  This player is sent out on the ice to make a physical impact, not to score goals.  While they surely do, awarding offensive points would skew their season-ending total too far up.  (If you do allow Enforcers to score in offensive categories, we suggest downgrading the fantasy worth of penalty minutes and fights greatly, and then allowing all players on the roster to score PIMs to create an even playing field.)


Under this system, the enforcer collects points for every penalty minute (from minors to misconducts), and then also receives 2 bonus points for a major - bringing the total for a fight up to 4 points.  A player who fights often has the potential for big nights, but even Zenon Konopka only fights so many times per season.  One thing you don't want is for the Enforcer to outscore (or really even come close) to the top Forwards in your pool because they simply aren't as valuable for a real hockey franchise.  Enforcer scoring should be pegged to the rest of your scoring system, so adjust it as necessary to achieve the correct balance.


Note: Including this position in your pool can be a challenge when using online hosting sites because many of the current service providers do not​ allow for sub-scoring systems within the Skaters on a fantasy roster.




There you have the Classic Canadian Hockey Pool Scoring System. It's fairly standard, and adds multiple elements of strategy beyond your basic goals and assists pool.  This type of a system makes pre-draft research more important and, for hockey lovers, diving into the facts and figures to get ready for the season is what being a hardcore fan is all about.  And of course, feel free to pick and choose what you like from this scoring system, especially because your fellow poolies can be quite stubborn when it comes to change.


For an in-depth breakdown of all the different types of hockey pool scoring systems - from box pools to rotisserie/roto scoring heads-up leagues - purchase a copy of our Regular Season Draft Guide, available each year from our website by mid-August.  ​Fantasy Hockey Standard ​is the premier fantasy hockey pool draft guide: chalk-a-block full of all the stats and current player news needed to dominate on draft day.