With only a couple weeks left in the season, it’s time to lock down and make that final push. In this post, I’m going to highlight some notable things around the NHL and their fantasy impact, along with looking at the schedule for the week ahead and what we can do with that. Let’s get to it!
Alex Nedeljkovic is only three games away from becoming a restricted free agent instead of an unrestricted free agent. It’s easier for Carolina to do with Petr Mrazek banged up (he could play if necessary, but Carolina won’t push him), so expect Nedeljkovic to start at least three times down the stretch. He’s still available in almost 70% of leagues which I do not understand. I would add him immediately if he’s available.
Conor Garland is out week-to-week. If you can’t stash him on IR, you have to let him go. Arizona has two games against the Sharks coming up so stream their top guys if available.
Carey Price returned to Montreal and remains without a timetable to return. As noted last week, Jake Allen should get the vast majority of the starts until the end of the season, or Montreal clinches.
Mika Zibanejad had another hat trick, his third of the season, against the Sabres on Sunday. He’s worked his way all the way back to a 75 point pace over 82 games and almost three shots per. Quite the recovery after a dreadful start.
In the last two games against Carolina, Sam Bennett played over 21 minutes. If you need an early streamer for this week, Bennett is a great choice. He starts with a back-to-back against Nashville and plays three games in four nights with a Chicago game on the back end. Home ice is still on the line for the top three in this division so expect the Panthers to push.
I know the team has been terrible, but I wanted to give some credit to Sam Reinhart. He has 21 goals on the season now, a 37 game pace over a full season. What happens with Reinhart in the off-season will be fascinating as he’s a year away from unrestricted free agency. It’s clear that he’s not riding Eichel’s coattails and he can drive his own line with reasonable success, especially individually.
Dylan Larkin will be out for the remainder of the season. Really tough season for Larkin, who I know is going to be extremely difficult to rank next season. I don’t doubt his talent one bit, and the supporting cast should improve with Raymond and Seider in the fold. The PIM and shots are great too. I expect to be higher on him than most because the upside is extremely high, but he’s obviously a big risk.
I mentioned it briefly on Friday, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returned in Edmonton’s last game and played over 26 minutes. Get him back in your lineups immediately.
The Kings get to play the Ducks four times this week. Right now, Andreas Athanasiou is playing with Kopitar on the first line, along with Alex Iafallo. Both of these guys, along with Adrian Kempe, are elite streamers, especially in weekly lineup leagues. Cal Petersen also should be owned everywhere for this stretch, although I do prefer Nedeljkovic over him.
As mentioned above, the Panthers have a back-to-back to open the week with the Predators. While Bennett is the top streamer, you have a handful to choose from. Frank Vatrano, Anthony Duclair, and Nikita Gusev are all viable options, with Eeli Tolvanen clearly the top option from Nashville.
The other opening back-to-back is the Stars and Hurricanes. Not a ton of streaming options on these teams as most of the guys are holds, but Steven Lorentz is available in almost every league and is currently on the first line with Aho and Svechnikov. Teravainen should be back soon, but in the meantime, Lorentz is a great deep league streamer. Welcome to the Razzball Database!
A massive note is that there is only one game next Sunday. Tampa Bay will be playing Detroit, who they also play on Saturday. For those of you in head to head leagues with matchups that end on Sunday, you need to get ahead of the curve and pick up players for this game. With 15 games on the docket for Saturday, you can let go of whoever you aren’t starting for this game. It all depends on who is playing with who at that point, but Alex Killorn, Alex Barre-Boulet, and Filip Zadina should be the best options of the players widely available. It could also be a Curtis McElhinney game on Sunday? Obviously we don’t know that a week in advance, but it would be worth adding him in head-to-head leagues. Best case, you’re ahead in goalie stats going into Sunday and you block your opponent from adding him, then you put him on the bench and lock up goalie stats.
The Flyers have three games in a row against the Devils, who have been absolutely dreadful to finish the season. They capped their recent losing streak by blowing a two goal lead in the last 90 seconds on Sunday. Sadly, most of their players are owned, but Wade Allison could be a deep league streamer.
Three Point Challenge: We will do Tuesday’s games per usual. I now have 4 correct picks, Veritas remains in second with two with Eli Man Penguin Boy, and Chet joins the group with one pick. You can not select McDavid, Draisaitl, Kane, Marner, Matthews, Scheifele, Marchand, MacKinnon, Panarin, or Crosby. I’m going to take Brayden Point against the Blackhawks.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Wednesday recapping the action from the next two nights. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Best of luck to everyone in their fantasy playoffs or deep in their roto leagues! Thanks for reading, take care!