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Preparing for a shortened season

Will the Islanders' Nino Niederreiter benefit from a shortened season by gaining a full-time NHL roster spot? (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

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Will the Islanders' Nino Niederreiter benefit from a shortened season by gaining a full-time NHL roster spot? (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

Fantasy hockey is back! Fantasy owners are pulling their sheets out of their desk drawers, dusting them off, and - alright, it's 2013 so they're actually visiting fantasy hockey websites. Get ready to cram a lot of information in a small amount of time. Instead of taking the month of September to flip through fantasy guides, take notes and prepare your team - you have less than two weeks.

The season is looking as though it will be 48 games long, with an outside shot at 50. But let's assume 48. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

1. Treat players in terms of a 48-game season. Get in that mindset.
You will eventually get used to this way of thinking, but it's better if you do it right now. Stop thinking that a defenseman who gets 26 points this year is unsatisfactory. It's actually pretty good - it's like 45 points over an 82-game slate. Here is a quick conversion list:

A 75-point guy is now a 44-point guy.
A 70-point guy is now a 41-point guy.
A 65-point guy is now a 38-point guy.
A 60-point guy is now a 35-point guy.
A 55-point guy is now a 32-point guy.
A 50-point guy is now a 29-point guy.
A 45-point guy is now a 26-point guy.

2. Injury information will surprise you.
Be ready. Injury information will start leaking out when training camp starts and then it will come fast and furious. Much of it will shock you. In the past two weeks we discovered that Tuomo Ruutu is probably out for the season (hip) and Nathan Gerbe underwent surgery on his back last summer. We didn't see either coming. There will be more of this stuff coming our way. Stay on top of it.

Gerbe, by the way, will probably be sidelined until February or so, as a very loose guideline.

3. Key Dates
The NHL is pushing for a trade deadline of April 5 and the last games of the season could be May 3. The weekend of March 9-10 will be the approximate midpoint. Set your fantasy league deadlines, mid-season drafts, etc. accordingly.

4. Which player types are helped by the lockout:
A - The older players who would normally lose steam after 60 games or so, such as Teemu Selanne (Anaheim), Jaromir Jagr (Dallas), Steve Sullivan (Phoenix) and Ray Whitney (Dallas).

B - Injury-prone players have fewer games to get hurt in, such as Niklas Kronwall (Detroit), Mike Cammalleri (Calgary) and Rene Bourque (Montreal).

C - Rookies/Sophomores who were either rushed last year or would have been rushed this year, such as Craig Smith (Nashville), Brett Connolly (Tampa Bay), Ryan Johansen (Columbus), Magnus Paajarvi (Edmonton), Nino Niederreiter (NY Islanders), Justin Schultz (Edmonton) and Cam Atkinson (Columbus).

5. Which player types are hurt by the lockout:
I just have one type here. The “tweeners” who landed on, but didn't secure, a scoring line spot last year, such as Ryan Malone (Tampa Bay), Curtis Glencross (Calgary), Pascal Dupuis (Pittsburgh) and Brad Boyes (NY Islanders).

The lockout has given some of the younger players a little extra time to hone their game in other leagues. So while, in October, there was no way Nino Niederreiter was going to steal quality scoring-line ice time from Boyes, he now has a chance to do that after a great start in the American League. Boyes, meanwhile, was idle.

Fantasy Pool Look is back Thursday as well. For this Thursday, let's reopen the Mailbag. Fire me your fantasy hockey questions here.

Also note, the Fantasy Hockey Guide that I sell at DobberHockey is now fully updated based on injuries that happened throughout the lockout, with projections based on the shortened season.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.

Want more fantasy insider information or to contact The Dobber? Check out dobberhockey.com or follow him on Twitter at @DobberHockey.

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