The NHL is back! Or will be soon enough, and that means that it's time to get ready for another season of fantasy hockey on ESPN.com. Of course, there are some differences between playing a typical 82-game fantasy hockey season and this season's truncated version, so here are some answers to questions we've been getting thus far. Bear in mind that we'll continue to update this FAQ file as more information comes to light over the coming days.
When is the NHL season going to start?
The latest reports indicate that the season will begin either on Jan. 15 (for a 50-game season) or Jan. 19 (for a 48-game season). Once the official ruling has been made, that will be reflected in ESPN fantasy hockey scheduling. Check back with us later this week.
When can I join a league or schedule my draft?
ESPN Standard (free and prize-eligible), custom and League Manager leagues are forming right now, and draft times are available. Once a new league is set up, the league manager can set this up via the "LM Tools" link on the league home page. If you wish to activate an ESPN league from the 2011-12 season, your league manager can do so by accessing a link on that page as well.
Can I take my 2012 league and make it a keeper league for 2013?
This option is available in our League Manager product. You may edit your league's keeper settings for the current season at any time before your league is drafted. Make sure you give your league members plenty of time to set their keepers prior to the draft. League managers may also input their league's keepers for individual owners.
My league already drafted this past fall. Do those draft results still stand or will we have to do an entire re-draft?
For ESPN standard (free and prize-eligible) and custom leagues that have already completed a draft, the results will stand as is. For League Manager leagues, in which "LM Tools" are available to the league owner, you have the option of re-drafting at any time.
For head-to-head leagues, how long will the season last, and when do the playoffs start?
This information is contingent upon the official schedule release; as a result, more information will be forthcoming on this topic.
When will the trading deadline be for ESPN fantasy hockey leagues?
As with other scheduling questions, this is also contingent upon the official release of the schedule, and we'll have more info on this soon.
Have any veteran players announced their retirement during the lockout? Are all the players that played in Europe (and elsewhere) during the lockout coming back to their teams?
We will be scrubbing the player database to make sure all players are on appropriate teams or listed as free agents. However, we generally keep retired players in the pool for a year or more before scrubbing them out, to account for the possibility of un-retirement. With projections and profiles on more than 400 players, you should have plenty of information on active players to avoid drafting any dead weight. We will have the "scrub" done by the end of the week, along with updated rankings, projections and profiles.