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Holiday Special: Fantasy Predictions for the New Year

By NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

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Holiday Special: Fantasy Predictions for the New Year
Fantasy Insiders Pete Jensen and Deborah Francisco bring you 30 bold fantasy hockey predictions for the New Year.
The start of the New Year may signal an end to the holiday season, but it represents a positive outlook for the year to come. While reflecting on the fantasy hockey year that was in 2011, many questions loom as to which players will define the landscape in 2012.

Whether superstars or unsung heroes, players from around the League will excel in different categories to help your fantasy squad make a push for a championship.

Thus, NHL.com Fantasy Insiders Pete Jensen and Deborah Francisco have painted a picture for the New Year by casting 30 bold predictions for 2012. Our experts have selected a compelling name from each of the 30 NHL teams, and predict strong second halves from each of those players.

So, with that, here's a player from each NHL team that we expect to shine in 2012...




ATLANTIC DIVISION:

Adam Henrique will join fellow rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the only first-year players to amass 70 points this season. -- PJ

Matt Martin will post a 25-plus point, 100-plus SOG season -- while also ending Cal Clutterbuck's two-year reign as the League's hits leader. -- PJ

Brandon Dubinsky, who has come alive in his last six games (3 G, 3 A) for the Rangers, will reward his patient fantasy owners with a 50-point season. -- PJ

With James van Riemsdyk poised for a bounce-back second half and Jaromir Jagr still a dynamic scoring force, Claude Giroux will capture the scoring title. -- PJ

James Neal will continue his blistering pace to lead the Penguins in goals and will nearly double his career total with at least 40 goals. -- DF



NORTHEAST DIVISION

Tyler Seguin will triple his point total from his rookie season, and lead the League in plus-minus in the process. -- PJ

Thomas Vanek will not miss a game this season, and will ignite the Sabres' offense in the second half en route to the first 90-point season of his career. -- PJ

Despite scoring only three times in 38 games, P.K. Subban will brush off his sophomore struggles by finishing with 15 goals, 15 PPP and over 200 SOG. -- PJ

Erik Karlsson will finish this season as the most valuable fantasy defenseman with the most assists, points and shots of any blueliner in the League. -- DF

Leafs' right wing Phil Kessel will have his first career 40-goal season. -- DF



SOUTHEAST DIVISION:

Jussi Jokinen, already a bright spot for the Canes, will finish his campaign with a positive rating, 25 PPP and an output of 40 assists for the first time of his career. -- PJ

The Panthers' trio of Kris Versteeg, Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann will combine for 200 points. -- DF

As the Lightning prep for a second-half surge, Marc-Andre Bergeron will post a 50-point season -- with at least 20 of those points coming on the power-play. -- PJ

Mike Green will return from injury and rediscover his form as a point-per-game force on the blue line for Washington. -- PJ

Ondrej Pavelec will post career highs of 65 starts, 30 wins and 8 shutouts as the Jets make their push for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. -- PJ



CENTRAL DIVISION:

Jeff Carter has brushed off a slow, injury-plagued start with 7 goals and 2 assists in his last 11 games. If healthy, Carter will make a push for his fourth straight 30-goal season. -- PJ

Jonathan Toews will make up ground and fend off Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the NHL lead in goals by season's end. -- PJ

Jimmy Howard will become the first goaltender since Martin Brodeur in 2009-10 to reach 45 wins. -- DF

Ryan Suter will continue to lead the League in total ice time, and will finish in the top five among fantasy defensemen in points. -- PJ

Brian Elliott will continue to share time in net for the Blues with Jaroslav Halak, but lead the League in goals-against-average en route to a career-best 30-win season. -- PJ



NORTHWEST DIVISION:

Jarome Iginla will end the 2011-12 season with at least 30 goals for the 11th straight season. It will also be his first 300 SOG output since 07-08. -- DF

Ryan O'Reilly has already surpassed his scoring total from his first two seasons (26 points) and will tally a career-best 20 goals and at least 40 assists, stepping up in the injury absence of Matt Duchene to lead the club in scoring. -- DF

The Oilers' "Kid Line" will continue to be effective, and Jordan Eberle will finish the season with more points than each of his linemates, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, while doubling his point total from last season (43). -- DF

Minnesota's Dany Heatley has found his niche in Minnesota's system and will finish the season with at least 300 shots -- his first 300-plus campaign since the 2005-06 season (310). -- DF

Alongside the Sedin twins, Alexandre Burrows will lead the Canucks in goals and break his previous career high (35). -- DF



PACIFIC DIVISION:

Despite the Ducks unexpected slump this season, Teemu Selanne will finish as one of the top-five fantasy right wings in 2011-12. -- DF

Jamie Benn will finish the season with a career-best 50 assists, and will lead the Stars in scoring with over 70 points. -- DF

By season's end, Jonathan Quick will compile the most shutouts in the League, breaking his previous career-best (6), as well as his career-high saves total with 2,000. -- DF

Keith Yandle will finish with over 50 points for the second straight season. -- DF
   
Sophomore Logan Couture will finish the season with 40 goals for San Jose and will reach over 200 shots for the second straight season. -- DF



Feel free to voice your opinion in the comment section as to which players you believe will make the biggest fantasy impacts in 2012. To submit a question for NHL.com's weekly Fantasy Mailbag, contact fantasy insider Pete Jensen at PJensen@NHL.com.


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