Hey everyone! While there are still a bunch of teams that have their bye this week, it’s nowhere near as many as last week. The lack of games made it the lightest week of the season and leaving little to talk about fantasy wise. Therefore, I’m going to use this post to make one bold fantasy hockey prediction for each team for the rest of the season. We’ll be back to the usual daily notes on Wednesday and Friday this week. Let’s get going!
ANAHEIM DUCKS – None of the Ducks blueliners will remain a hold for the rest of the season in standard leagues. They currently have four guys who are worth considering: Cam Fowler, Brandon Montour, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson. Right now, Montour is the highest owned on ESPN at 51% while Lindholm is approaching 25%. All of them are right around a 40 point pace. Montour is the most well-rounded, Manson is cleaning up on PIM and +/- but with no STP, Lindholm is okay enough across the board and Fowler is reaching the biggest opportunity playing on the first power play unit. However, Montour is currently on the third pair and off the first power play unit, Manson’s 18 assists are quite fluky, Fowler’s shot rate has massively regressed and Lindholm doesn’t stand out anywhere despite being among the league’s elite in real life. Right now, you can justify holding all of them depending on team needs, but at some point, you’re going to want to cut all of them. None of them will play their way into must-hold status.
ARIZONA COYOTES – Jakob Chychrun approaches 50% ownership. He’s been solid since he’s returned from injury with 8 points in 16 games and a strong shot rate. The penalty minutes are non-existent (literally, 0) but he’s also avoided a bad plus-minus. Chychrun has moved onto the first power play unit and is seeing steady minutes in the 21-23 range. Given where Arizona is, there’s no reason for Tocchet to not start giving Chychrun even more of a workload to see what he’s capable of. I’ll say Chychrun gets 20+ points in their last 37 games and there comes a point where he’s a nice option at the bottom of your roster.
BOSTON BRUINS – Tuukka Rask disappoints in the second half, mostly due to lack of volume. I’m saying this as someone who really likes this Bruins team. The problem is two fold. One, Rask’s insane run of allowing 0 or 1 goal for a few weeks straight isn’t going to repeat itself. That has dramatically shifted his numbers, mainly his GAA. The main issue is that the Bruins will have little ambition. They’re quite a bit better than Toronto and a long shot to catch Tampa Bay. More importantly, do they even want to try and catch Tampa? I think we could see Boston follow the Rangers path of last season. I don’t think push Rask and get a little sloppy defensively. I’m not saying he’s a disaster but I think more of a top end #2 than #1.
BUFFALO SABRES – Jack Eichel is top five in points in the second half. Eichel sits 25th in the league in points right now but his December was even better. Getting Kane off his line helps quite a bit because it lets Eichel have the puck on his stick more. I think we see an improvement from the Sabres PP which will be enough to get Eichel somewhere around 1.25 points per game the rest of the way.
CALGARY FLAMES – Dougie Hamilton is a top 5 defenseman the rest of the way. The Flames on fire, pun intended, and the top pair of Calgary is carrying them defensively. My guess is that Hamilton plays at a 50-55 point pace the rest of the way while being double digit plus and providing great PIM. In other words, expect him to be last season’s Hamilton with marginally more offense.
CAROLINA HURRICANES – They trade for a goalie but nothing changes. This seems extremely unlikely given that Scott Darling can’t be moved with how bad he’s been and Cam Ward has been there forever. But all things must come to an end and Ward’s contract is up after the season anyways. Carolina takes a chance on a new goalie but unless a goalie surprisingly comes on the market, it’s hard to predict good things for whoever comes in. Carolina has a clear playoff roster through the skaters but their goalies end up costing them the playoffs.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS – Anthony Duclair plays his way into a top six role and has a stretch of being a hold while being at least a streamer throughout. Duclair is currently on the third line and is already receiving power play time. We’ve seen plenty of guys take off playing with Toews or Kane and I think we see the same from Duclair. The change in scenery should do him well.
COLORADO AVALANCHE – Samuel Girard becomes a quality source of assists (but nothing else). I love Girard long term but the secondary categories right now keep him from having much fantasy relevance. However, he’s up on the first power play unit now so I think we could see him get 20+ assists in the last 40 games for Colorado. That’ll make him worth owning on certain teams if you’re in desperate need of assists.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – Pierre-Luc Dubois has 25 points in the last 36 games of their season. Dubois’ minutes are through the roof and the Columbus power play can’t get any worse. He’s been a mainstay with Panarin and I think we start to see more consistency from Dubois. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s a hold by the end of the season.
DALLAS STARS – Dallas makes a big trade that adds them a fifth hold offensively. Right now, Dallas has loaded up putting the three big guns on the same line. That makes everyone else besides Klingberg a bottom end streamer at best. However, the time for Dallas is now before Seguin gets a big raise in the summer of 2019. They have a strong prospect system and I think they tap into it to make a forward acquisition. Perhaps that makes Dallas spread out the top guys again making more guys streamers. Perhaps the new guy helps someone (Faksa?) take another level. They’re an extremely interesting trade deadline team.
DETROIT RED WINGS – Anthony Mantha is the highest owned player on Detroit at season’s end. Everyone who reads these parts know my love for Mantha. Well, he’s back on the top line again and with Detroit out of the playoff picture, there’s no reason for Mantha’s workload to be limited. Look for him to have 25ish points the rest of the way with big PIM and a solid shot rate.
EDMONTON OILERS – Darnell Nurse becomes a team-specific hold for many teams. Nurse is playing on the first pair now and should start to get more minutes as the Oilers remain out of it. They might as well see what the 22 year old can do as his future has a massive impact on how the Oilers build their blue line. The PIM are there already and we’re starting to see some points, even playing time in OT. Think something along the lines of Phaneuf from the past couple years for Nurse the rest of the way.
FLORIDA PANTHERS – Evgenii Dadonov has over 30 points in the last 39 games and reaches 90+% ownership. This top line for Florida has been unstoppable all season and it should continue. I had Dadonov in my top 100 in the preseason because I believe in his ability. Right at point per game isn’t out of the question.
LOS ANGELES KINGS – The Kings make only minor adds at the trade deadline eventually putting them in playoff danger. Sure, Jeff Carter will be back and that’s a big add in a way, but this team is struggling now after their rosy start. The defense is a disaster (why the hell is Alec Martinez still owned in 49% of leagues!?) and you can’t count on many teams offensively. I don’t see anyone emerging from their group of streamers and it’s hard to count on Quick playing as well as he did in the first half. With the Flames coming on, San Jose chugging along, and all 7 teams in the Central in contention, a once-playoff lock moves its way onto the fringe in L.A.
MINNESOTA WILD – Devan Dubnyk is a top 5 goalie ROS. Not extremely bold but there’s nothing interesting for their skaters and Dubnyk currently sits as the #15 goalie on the player rater. I think he gets huge volume with the Wild right in the thick of a battle for a wild card. We know how good Dubnyk can be and I think we see that top end level going forward.
MONTREAL CANADIENS – They end the year with two holds maximum. Obviously Carey Price isn’t going anywhere so there’s one. I think that either Shea Weber doesn’t return this year or they even end up trading Max Pacioretty. Jonathan Drouin isn’t even close anymore and everyone is an okay streamer. This team is a mess and I don’t see that fixing.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS – Mattias Ekholm scores 15 points or less in their last 40 games. I’ve been saying for months that Ekholm’s fantasy value will go down the toilet when Ryan Ellis returned. Well, Ellis is back and I’m sticking with my guns. Despite playing at a 41 point pace to this point, I think we see a 30 point pace the rest of the way. If you can trade him for someone with comparable numbers to this point, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’d guess his ownership ends around 25%.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS – A second hold emerges from the Devils forwards: Kyle Palmieri. I would be holding him right now but I think he plays at a level that it’s not even a debate. Palmieri has been a hold for two years running and I’m not changing that because of his injury. The shot rate is excellent, the PIM are solid enough and the PPP are coming in strong. He’s a very nice stable option across the board.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS – The Islanders make a significant add to their blue line at the deadline which helps their entire roster. The time is now for the Islanders whether they like it or not. Josh Bailey‘s emergence gives them a second massive free agent that they’ll either lose or have to give a massive raise. Like mentioned above with Carolina, it’s hard to find a goaltending upgrade, so the Islanders add someone (Mike Green?) because, well, making the playoffs is huge for their organization.
NEW YORK RANGERS – They end up selling despite being in the playoff hunt. I wouldn’t even be shocked if they make some blockbuster trade, although it seems more likely in the offseason. The Rangers never sell, but Chris Kreider‘s brutal situation has really weakened the lineup and depending on how the next few weeks go, I think they wise up and sell some players.
OTTAWA SENATORS – They make an awful trade that significantly hurts the franchise going forward. My guess it that guy is Mike Hoffman. Sure, Hoffman hasn’t been as good this year, but he’s had some awful luck. He’s also signed for two more seasons so it doesn’t make any sense to move him, but there’s been ton of rumors around Hoffman. If that happens, we’re looking at a team with two total holds. Not like three is much better.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS – It’s tough to find anything to predict with them. They are so straight forward and are locked into the majority of their roster so they don’t have much room to add. I’ll say that Michal Neuvirth gets some more action down the stretch and that he ends up being more valuable than Brian Elliott. In fact, I’ll say Elliott ends up having negative value the rest of the way. His value is solely from wins right now and if that drops at all, he’s an easy minus.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS – Evgeni Malkin is the #1 player the rest of the way. Obviously he’s a massive injury risk but Malkin is playing extremely well right now. Add in his penalty minutes contribution with over a point per game and elite shots and Malkin can win you your league. Just stay healthy!
SAN JOSE SHARKS – The Sharks make the biggest trade at the deadline. They’re a prime destination for one of these elite wingers, be it Evander Kane, Hoffman, Patches, etc. With Brent Burns back on track and Logan Couture having an excellent season, it’s worth the Sharks trying to make another run. God knows they need the scoring help so we could see a boost to Couture or even streamers like Tomas Hertl if they make a trade.
ST. LOUIS BLUES – Carter Hutton starts at least half of the games the rest of the way. There’s no way around it, he’s been much better than Jake Allen. You can tell Mike Yeo knows it lately as Hutton is starting to get more starts. Hutton is still available in over 75% of leagues; I’d go grab him now just because of the potential upside.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING – Another team where it’s hard to find a bold prediction given how strong they are top to bottom. I’ll say Nikita Kucherov becomes the first player not named Ovechkin to score 50 goals in a season and that he’s the first player to reach 110 points since Henrik Sedin.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS – After a brutal stretch that included time on the fourth line, William Nylander ends up topping last season’s point total. He’ll need 30 points in his last 37 games to do so. I have faith that the minutes increase will last and that Toronto’s top line finds their way again.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS – Thomas Vanek gets traded at the deadline again, and this time makes a positive impact in his new place. For whatever reason, Vanek didn’t work in Florida last season, but Vanek has been strong in Vancouver after he was in Detroit to open last season. He’s not quite at hold level now because of his plus-minus but if he goes to the right spot, I could see that changing.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS – Jonathan Marchessault is a top ten forward for the second half. The Corsi God doesn’t slow down at all continuing to crush all six categories. Also, Reilly Smith gets to 80% owned or higher. It should be damn near 100 but if Marchessault is still at 83%, I can’t say Smith should be higher than that.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS – Philipp Grubauer is the best streamer in the second half. It looks like the Caps will win the division again. This means lessening Braden Holtby‘s load down the stretch again. Enter Grubauer, who is playing very well again after a dreadful start. I was going to say Alex Ovechkin gets his 8th 50 goal season, which would be one off the most all-time, but didn’t think that was bold enough.
WINNIPEG JETS – Patrik Laine finishes third in the league in goals. He’s five back of third right now with 8 guys between him and third. The big thing is the minutes are up and the shot rate is starting to climb. With his shot, Laine can get on a massive heater at any time, and I think he has one in him.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Wednesday with daily notes recapping Monday and Tuesday’s questions. Also, Lackeydrinksonme will have streaming advice on Monday afternoon so be on the lookout for that. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Thanks for reading, take care!