It’s Thursday in the final week of the regular season and that means you not only have to keep an eye on how many games each team has left over the next 72 hours, but you also have to track who is riding the pine and the opportunities that may create for streaming success. Oh yes, the brutal reality of those of us in leagues that use the final week of the season as the championship round comes back to bite us once again as many star players will be getting rested as the playoff picture is nearly complete. Frankly, I’m against this policy in Head-to-Head leagues for this very reason. Do you really decide who is the better team when half your guys are benched? I suppose in H2H it’s more about being attentive and making sure your lineup is always fresh and stacked as opposed to the roto mentality that rewards the manager who puts the best team on the ice over the full course of the season rather than last week. At any rate, lets get into the games remaining business and I’ll et into who is sitting and who is starting after the jump because baby, there’s almost no hockey left and you don’t want to lose your league because you started Rick Nash and found out too late that he’s a healthy scratch. By the bye, he’s a healthy scratch tonight. Anyway, here’s the list o’ games remaining by team:
Games Remaining for Week 25 Apr 6-Apr 11:
2 Games – Phoenix Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets
1 Game – Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals
That’s a lot of teams with two games left, but bear in mind that there are only four teams playing two games after today; the Sabres, Jackets, Isles and Pens. The other twenty-some teams play a game today and one more for the rest of the week. If you’re trying to stack your lineup for this weekend those are the teams to target for streamers. Every team plays on the final day, so it won’t be hard to stack for Sunday. Good luck, y’all! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
Devan Dubnyk will finally get a rest tonight after starting an insane thirty nine games in a row for the Wild and Darcy Kuemper will get the start versus the Preds. I wouldn’t suggest streaming Kuemps as he hasn’t sniffed the crease since the Nixon administration so expect some rust. Also, the Wild are vying for position, but nothing more, so don’t expect them to go all out in this one.
Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, and Marc Staal will all be healthy scratches tonight. Zucc was scratched in the Rangers’ last tilt due to “general body soreness” so giving him some extra rest now that the Rangers have absolutely nothing to play for seemed like a foregone conclusion. The rest of the guys will likely be back for the final game, but there are no guarantees here because again, they have nothing to play for until next week.
Ryan Miller is back and suiting up as Eddie Lack’s backup tonight. If that’s the case I’d imagine that they’ll start Miller in the final game of the season to give him some reps before the playoffs start next week. If you own Lack you likely own Miller, so keep a close eye on this situation if your goalie categories are coming down to the wire.
Nino Niederreiter remains out with a foot problem. I doubt we’ll see him again in the regular season.
Zach Parise is a healthy scratch tonight. There’s no word on whether he’ll play on the final day of the season, but I figure he will though I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t. Real helpful, I know.
Thomas Vanek will not play tonight. Apparently he has an undisclosed injury, but I suspect it’s a minor annoyance they’re giving him a chance to heal up for before the dance. Don’t expect him back for the final game either.
Justin Abdelkader is doubtful for tonight’s tilt with a hand injury, but he may be back sooner than later. The Red Wings are on the bubble and they need Abs back in there, so don’t drop him just yet if you can afford to hold him for another day or so.
Victor Hedman returns from his latest injury tonight. He missed three games so expect him to play in both of the Bolts’ remaining tilts.
Cam Atkinson has a bum wrist and he’s doubtful for the Jackets’ final two games. With nothing to play for I doubt they rush him back.
Henrik Lundqvist will likely start both of the Rangers’ remaining games. He needs the reps, though you wouldn’t know it by watching him play since his return. Either way, Cam Talbot has zero value at this point so he can be dropped.
Ryan Getzlaf has missed the last two games with general soreness and like many other studs on playoff bound teams you can expect him to be out for at least another game, though he will likely play in the season finale so he stays sharp to start the playoffs.
Max Pacioretty is done for the regular season and will miss the Habs’ last two games.
Sergei Bobrovsky, G (W, 35 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – Bob sure picked a killer time to drop a shutout for his owners. Sadly, most of his owners are likely already eliminated from the playoffs so I’m not sure how many people really benefited from this one. Either way you can expect him to start both of the remaining games for Columbus.
James Reimer, G (L, 16 SV, 4 GA, .800%) – At this point I can’t blame Leafs goalies for giving up a lot of goals, but coughing up four on just 20 shots is inexcusable for any goalie. Reimer is done this season and that’s fitting because the Leafs were done months ago.
Scott Hartnell, RW (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG) – Hartnell continues to produce late in the season for his owners and continued the trend last night with a goal and a helper. He has four points (2 G, 2 A) over his last four games and 30 points in 35 games since the All-Star Break. He’ll finish just shy of 30 goals and 60 points with a nice helping of peripheral stats across the board proving once again that he’s absolutely worth owning in all formats. Expect a similar season or better from him in 2015 when Columbus puts a full, healthy team on the ice.
Marko Dano, C (1 A, 1 PT, 6 SOG, +1) – Don’t look now but Dano is scoring again. He has five points (1 G, 4 A) over his last five games and he’ll deliver some hits for you, too. The Jackets have nothing to play for but Dano has a roster spot to fight for next season, which he’ll almost assuredly get, but it never hurts to leave a good impression on the team brass going into the offseason and that’s just what Dano is doing. He’s a decent streaming option.
Brandon Dubinsky, C (2 A, 2 PTS, +1) – I don’t know that I can forgive this recent surge in production from Dubs. I drafted you, I trusted you, you were the chosen one! And this is what I get. Nothing until my team is eliminated and then the offensive explosion I waited for all. season. long. Granted I didn’t draft Dubs for big offensive numbers, but come on! The salt is real, y’all!
Nick Foligno, LW (1 A, 5 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) – I wasn’t able to get on the Foggy train all season long, I just couldn’t buy it. Even now after he’s put up a line of 30/42/72/+13 in 77 games I’m still not buying. Yeah, he was great this year, but he’s also shooting at a 17% clip, nearly five points higher than his career average. Expect him to miss the 30-goal plateau next season. Honestly, this will probably be the best overall year of his career so don’t draft him next season expecting a repeat.
Tuukka Rask, G (L, 30 SV, 3 GA, .909%) – Just when fantasy owners and Boston Bruins fans need Rage Monster to step up, he coughs up three goals on 33 shots in a loss to the Caps. Expect Rask in net for both of Boston’s remaining games. I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this final opportunity to drop the line one more time; never draft goalies in the first round, it’s almost never worth it.
Braden Holtby, G (W, 27 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – On the other end of the ice Holtby blanked the fading Bruins steering aside all 27 shots he faced. That gives him an absolutely spectacular season line of 41-19-10/2.21/.923 in 72 games played and he’s just 25-years-old. Uh, yeah, I’ll have an extra large order of Braden’s with a side of Holtby in next year’s drafts. Don’t skimp on the gravy. God help you if you skimp on the gravy!
John Carlson, D (1 G, 4 SOG, +2) – JC pots a goal on four shots last night as he wraps up the season I’ve been faithfully waiting for him to put up for years now. He may sit in the final game for the Caps, but even if he does he’ll finish with a robust season line of 12/42/54/+12 in 81 games. He’s a top 20 defenseman now and he could be even better in 2015.
Marcus Johansson, LW (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG) – Guys like Johansson aren’t sexy but they’re the kind of secondary scoring forwards you need on a complete team. He potted his 20th goal of the season last night and added a helper for flavor, too. That gives him 47 points in 81 games with a plus-9 for the year and you can expect more of the same from him next season.
Nicklas Backstrom, C (2 A, 2 SOG, +2) – Must be the Adderall!
Jhonas Enroth, G (W, 19 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – I wondered whether many owners were able to take advantage of Sergei Bobrovsky’s shutout last night but I know almost no one picked this one up. Given how poorly Kari Lehtonen has played all season the Stars might as well roll Enroth out there for the last few games and that’s exactly what they’re doing. He’s actually been pretty solid over this last three or four starts, so he might be worth a stream on the final day of the season if you’re desperate.
Frederik Andersen, G (L, 28 SV, 4 GA, .875%) – I like Freddy, I really do, but I think John Gibson is the goalie of the future for the Ducks. Freddy proved that again last night with a 4-0 loss to the woeful Stars and despite a solid season that likely ends with a line of 34-12-5/2.40/.914 in 53 games, I don’t think he can hold of Gibsy for much longer.
Jordie Benn, D (1 G, 2 SOG, +2) – I saw “J. Benn” and a goal next to the name and figured “Damn son, Jamie remains a beast even when it means nothing. Dude might be more valuable than Tyler Seguin, C (1 A, 3 SOG, +2).” And then I saw it was Jordie, not Jamie. Tickertease!
Jamie Benn, C (3 A, 3 SOG, +2) – That’s more like it.