The 2006-07 season is upon us. By this time you have almost certainly drafted your fantasy teams, and hopefully you don't need a beer to wash away your tears as you scan over your roster. Be that as it may, we felt it was time to unveil our top 50 fantasy performers heading into the new season. These rankings are subjective, that's what they pay me the big bucks to put these lists together, so hopefully I won't offend too many of you with my wacky decisions. With that, here is the initial installment of The Power Play for the 2006-07 NHL season.
1. Miikka Kiprusoff, G, CAL: Vezina Trophy winner is clearly the best player in the game compared to others at the same position. Kipper led the league in GAA (2.07), SV% (.929) and shutouts (10) and was second in wins (42).
2. Joe Thornton, C, SJ: Thornton led the NHL with 125 points, including 96 assists, a total which would have placed him 10th in points if he didn't score a single goal.
3. Dany Heatley, RW, OTT: Heatley, in his fourth season, set career highs in every offensive category including 103 points, with 43 of them coming on the power play.
4. Alexander Ovechkin, LW, WAS: AO was only the second rookie ever with 50 goals (he scored 52) and 100 points (106). He also led the NHL with 425 shots on goal.
5. Sidney Crosby, C, PIT: With 102 points and 110 penalty minutes, Crosby was a double threat last season. He also finished strong scoring 19 points in his last nine games.
6. Jaromir Jagr, LW, NYR: 54 goals and 52 power-play points highlight Jagr's 123-point season. Keep an eye on how his shoulder responds to offseason surgery.
7. Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, ATL: Ilya is the most dominant power-play force in the game after leading the NHL with 27 man-advantage goals and 56 power-play points.
8. Jason Spezza, C, OTT: Spezza, in just his third season, scored 90 points in only 68 games with 41 of them coming with the man advantage.
9. Martin Brodeur, G, NJ: With an NHL-leading 43 wins last season, Brodeur has won at least 34 games in each of the past 10 years.
10. Daniel Alfredsson, LW, OTT: The Sens captain had eight game-winning goals, five short-handed tallies, and career-highs in goals (43), assists (60), points (103) and plus/minus (+29) a year ago.
11. Jonathan Cheechoo, RW, SJ: Led the NHL with 56 goals last season on his way to a career-high 93 points. The Cheechoo Train also was second in the league with 24 power-play goals and posted a not-too-shabby +23.
12. Roberto Luongo, G, VAN: Luongo led the league with 75 games played and he had 35 wins and a .914 SV% for a non-playoff team in Florida.
13. Eric Staal, LW, CAR: Staal scored 100 points last year for the champs after he netted just 31 points as a rookie in 2003-04.
14. Marian Hossa, RW, ATL: Hossa had 92 points, a +17, seven short-handed goals and 39 power-play points in a stunningly impressive overall season last year.
15. Nicklas Lidstrom, D, DET: Led all defensemen with a career-high 80 points, Lidstrom also had a career-high 50 points on the power play. However, Lidstrom is 36, so be careful here.
16. Pavel Datsyuk, C, DET: Datsyuk had 87 points in 75 games last year after scoring 68 in 75 games in 2003 and 2004.
17. Peter Forsberg, C, PHI: 75 points in 60 games is a pace of over 100 in a full season. Forsberg's injured ankle is healing quickly, and he should be ready to go on opening night.
18. Olli Jokinen, C, FLA: Career-best 89 points, +14 and 37 power-play points last year. What will he do for an encore if paired with Todd Bertuzzi?
19. Henrik Zetterberg, LW, DET: Last year he had 85 points, the previous two seasons combined only 87.
20. Simon Gagne, LW, PHI: Had a career-high in goals (47) and points (79) playing a fair amount of his games without injured linemate Forsberg.
21. Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR: In most years, he would have won the Rookie of the Year with the season he had: 30 wins, .922 SV%, 2.24 GAA.
22. Manny Fernandez, G, MIN: 30 wins, 2.29 GAA, .919 SV% in first full season as the No. 1 in nets. With an improved offense, he could challenge the 40-win barrier.
23. Patrick Marleau, C, SJ: Overlooked behind Thornton and Cheechoo, Marleau had a career best 34 goals, 86 points and 20 power-play goals and is still only 27.
24. Marty Turco, G, DAL: Won 41 games, but had career worst .898 SV% for the Stars last season.
25. Brad Richards, C, TB: The definition of a power-play specialist, Richards had 46 of his 91 points with the man advantage. Richards point total has gone up the last three seasons; can he top 100 this year?