Hey, hockey nerds!
This is the first installment of my new weekly streaming column to hopefully give you an edge at the tail end of your weekly matchup (or to pad those roto stats as the week finishes out). The idea is to focus on teams that play both Friday and Sunday (hence the “Sundae” pun…boy I’m funny) so you can get the most bang for your waiver-pickup buck, but this week the schedule is a little odd since it’s the first one. So, no one plays both Friday and Sunday this time around. It’s all good, we’ll just roll with it! In addition to Friday/Sunday targets, I’ll do a quick look at the week ahead to give you insight into teams that are playing the most (and least) desirable schedules. Again, the purpose of this column moving forward will primarily be teams playing both Friday and Sunday each week. I think the snapshots are useful for planning ahead, but I won’t be taking the time to target each every streamer worth your while.
One quick disclaimer: I’m writing this on Wednesday before games start, so these are just educated assumptions on my part. What I’m thinking might happen (deployment-wise) could very well change by puck drop.
Alrighty. Let’s jump on in!
Note: For the sake of uniformity and convenience on my part, only players rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues will be included. Also, a “***” denotes a priority stream, in my humble opinion.
Anaheim Ducks (v. MIN)
Rickard Rakell (11% rostered): Ricky Raks is a top-line, top PP guy for the Ducks. Sure, the Anaheim Ducks are more like the Anaheim Sucks, but there’s still a chance he’ll score you some points. The Sucks, oops I mean the Ducks, once again have the most off nights in the league at 45. That’s streaming gold. Raks could score a hat trick or lay a goose egg, but the shot volume is decent and he will probably chip in a hit or two as well. But that deployment tho! Best it can get. He’s also historically a better player at home.
***Max Comtois (27% rostered): Only 27%! I drafted this dude on most of my teams (not that I have many teams this year; learned that lesson the hard way with baseball). Comtois is slated to be opposite Rakell on the top line and top power play. There’s way more upside here, hence the ownership disparity. He hits a ton and has good offensive skills to boot. Now, I will say that fact that Anaheim has so many off nights is why I drafted him, and if he starts slow then I’ll just drop the fool and make it a streaming spot. But if there’s anyone to own in Anaheim, in my book it’s Mad Max. His shot rate ticked up a bit in the final weeks last season, as did his PP TOI.
Jamie Drysdale (29% rostered): As of writing, Drysdale is projected to be the PP1 QB from the get-go. If that changes then you can probably safely ignore this streaming recommendation. But if it sticks, and if Trevor Zegras is there with him…this could turn into something pretty special pretty quick. Drysdale is an even better stream for points since I don’t think very many bangs are in his future.
Ryan Getzlaf (4% rostered): You might be chuckling right now, but Getzlaf is still useful in fantasy hockey. Cheap assists, especially cheap power play assists, are always welcome, and he should still center the first unit. But Getzlaf’s real contributions come in banger leagues: he’s gonna hit and he’s also gonna block a ton of shots (for a forward). If you find the bang streams to be in short order on the wire, gritty forwards who aren’t afraid to throw their bodies in front of shots are a good fallback option.
Josh Manson (1% rostered): Good for two things only: hits and blocks.
Chicago Blackhawks (@ NJ)
***Tyler Johnson (27% rostered): TyJo is a little hit or miss, always has been, but he’s gonna be PP1 with the all the Hawks studs. You gotta stream that. Absolutely gotta. You borderline gotta even hold that! It’s surprising to me that not many GMs (Yahoo ones at least) have caught on to the deployment this guy will be getting. He’s not afraid to hit, either. Potential big time value here.
Connor Murphy (12% rostered): Like Manson, he’s mainly good for two things: hits and blocks. Lots of hits and blocks. Could give you a cheap point here or there and sometimes he’ll rip off, like, 5 SOG out of nowhere. The offensive stuff is rather “meh” overall, but if you skimped on bangs on draft day, then stream this dude any chance you get. Should easily tally 300 hits+blocks over the course of a full season.
Minnesota Wild (@ ANA)
***Joel Eriksson Ek (45% rostered): I love cheap guys like this. Top line center who will also get PP1 minutes, flanked by uber stud Kirill Kaprizov at even strength and both Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala on the man-advantage. Ek loves to hit and he’ll get you cheap points just by proxy. Plus, like, it’s Anaheim, amirite?
Mats Zuccarello (17% rostered): Good deployment for Zucc as well. Top line, top PP, you get the idea. Big Z is good mostly for assists, though. Other than that, you can’t count on all that much from him. A goal would be swell, but he’s more likely to toss a couple apples your way instead.
Alex Goligoski (9% rostered): Basically the defensive counterpart to Zucc (minus the PP deployment), Goligoski is good for assists since he’ll see top-pairing time at even strength most likely. He’s also a good contributor of hits and blocks if you need those.
Marcus Foligno (12% rostered): Foligno will crunch bodies but also gets second line and second PP unit deployment. Very cheap source for potential points but will most assuredly rack up the hits.
New Jersey Devils (v. CHI)
Nico Hischier (29% rostered): Guys like Hischier aren’t my favorite streams because there’s nothing coming if there aren’t any points. Still, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, as Michael Scott said Wayne Gretzky said. Top six forward on a team that’s improving (for real this time…looking at you, Nikita Gusev), plus he’ll be on a PP1 unit that features superstar Dougie Hamilton now.
Yegor Sharangovich (20% rostered): Shara should see top-line minutes but he’ll likely be relegated to the second PP unit. Again, same situation as Hischier really. No points, no nothin’, but he did have 18 of those in his last 22 games last year.
Tomas Tatar (10% rostered): Tatar is very talented and should see top PP time. He’s slated as a third-line winger right now, though, but that could always change. Unlike the previous two guys, Tatar does hit at least a little. He’s a decent bet for PPP and 1-2 hits. Could do worse!
Ryan Graves (7% rostered): The resident Bang Daddy for NJ. He’ll be bad cop to Hamilton’s good cop on the top pairing. Not much offensive upside but 4 or 5 hits+blocks per night is a safe bet.
Philadelphia Flyers (v. VAN)
Cam Atkinson (49% rostered): New man Cam has gotta be pretty stoked getting out of Columbus. I know he liked it there and the fans loved him, but the grass is much greener in Philly (figuratively speaking, of course). Doesn’t look like he’ll be top line or top PP, but dude loves to crank shots and you can’t always find that on the wire. Stream if you’re lacking in shots but there’s a solid chance he’ll score you a goal as well.
Rasmus Ristolainen (49% rostered): It’s very unlikely this guy is available if your leagues count blocks, but Risto still offers plenty of cheap value in standard leagues on account of them hits. Honestly I’d argue he’s a borderline hold depending on how your team is built, but stream him for hits if you need ’em and don’t look back.
***Travis Konecny (45% rostered): I still like TK. People seem to be down on him for some reason. I see a top line, top PP RW who has real 60-point upside and can give you a hit (or more) per game. Vancouver’s 5v5 and PK defense were just flat out terrible last year in xGA/60, and a guy like TK loves to get right in front of the net for garbage goals. I love this matchup.
Scott Laughton (4% rostered): Laughton is another garbage goal guy who also loves to hit. If you miss out on TK, I’d fall back on this one simply for the fact he’ll give you hits if nothing else.
Vancouver Canucks (@ PHI)
Nils Hoglander (17% rostered): Solid amount of offensive upside with Hoglander. Would exactly prioritize him, but if pickins are slim then you may as well stream and see what you get. Slated for second line, second PP minutes for now.
Vasily Podkolzin (10% rostered): I wrote in my Canucks team preview how pumped I am about Podz. I got a feeling he’s gonna want to come out and make a big impression in the first week. Very interested to see how he fares in his first NHL game today (Wednesday). He’ll hit and he can score. I imagine he’ll be a strong option in leagues that count takeaways, as well.
Tyler Myers (7% rostered): He’s to Quinn Hughes as Ryan Graves is to Dougie Hamilton. Stream for hits/blocks.
Dallas Stars (@ OTT)
Braden Holtby (16% rostered): If all goes how I think it will, Holtby’s first start of the year should be Sunday against Ottawa. A likely-still-Brady-Tkachukless Ottawa. It’ll be Dallas’s third game of the week and the second half of a back-to-back. Ottawa also will be playing their second part of a back-to-back, so two tired squads will be batting it out in the only game slated for the day.
Ryan Suter (33% rostered): Don’t love Suter, but given 1). he’ll get at least PP2 exposure, 2). it’s the only game of the day, and 3). it’s against Ottawa, why not take your shot if you have a transaction to burn? Chance at points, chance at PPP, and some bangs to go with it.
Denis Gurianov (29% rostered): I thought this guy might morph into a real 30+ goal threat by now, but I’m not quite that confident in him anymore. But, still, PP2 time isn’t the worst thing in the world. He can provide some hits at the very least.
Esa Lindell (18% rostered): Lindell is great for hits and blocks with a tiny chance for some offense as well.
Luke Glendening (2% rostered): Y’all. This guy is my favorite deep cut. The folks over in the Five Hole Fantasy Hockey Discord server know all about my love affair with Luke Glendening. He only matters in leagues that count hits and blocks, but that’s almost all I ever play in. He’s especially awesome in leagues that count those along with FOW. He’s basically like having an extra bang-heavy defender who can also win you double-digit faceoffs on any given night. LOVE me some Luke Glendening.
Ottawa Senators (v. DAL)
Anton Forsberg (0% rostered, LOL): This one’s a little murky. As of right now it’s not even clear if Matt Murray will be ready for the season. Battling a non-COVID illness. So this could be Murray’s start if Forsberg starts the year as the “starter.” But anyway, Murray himself is only 15% rostered. For good reason. Desperate times call for desperate measures; depending on where you’re at in your matchup goalie-wise come Sunday, you may want to stream one of these guys and hope for the best.
***Josh Norris (49% rostered): Barely making the cut is Ottawa’s top line and top PP center. I’m pretty high on Norris in general, especially when Brady comes back (“when”…not “if,” right?!). Solid points upside, solid PPP upside, and he will bring well over a hit per game. Hard to argue against upside this cheap, especially when a hits floor is in the mix. Being the only game of the day, I’d stream this guy over anyone else I’ve got in this Sunday section.
Connor Brown (18% rostered): Not nearly as exciting as Norris, but Brown can score. There’s not much in the peripherals department, however. PP1 exposure makes him a solid enough play regardless. Maybe as a Plan B or C.
Nikita Zaitsev (3% rostered): Bangs on bangs. If you need ’em, I’d prioritize him over Lindell given I’m sure he’ll be seeing more pucks come his way then Lindell will be seeing come his.
Week 2 Snapshot
Teams with 4 games: ANA, DET, NSH, NYI, SJ
Teams with 3 home games: ARZ, CHI, MIN, MTL, NJ, PHI, VGK
Teams with 3 off nights: BOS, VGK
Teams with 2 off nights: PHI, SJ, STL, TOR
Teams with just 2 games: CAR, DAL, OTT, PIT, TB
Teams with back-to-backs: ANA, BUF, DET, EDM, LA, MIN, NSH, NYI, SEA, SJ, TOR
Next week’s Friday/Sunday splits: BOS, SJ, VGK
I do a some fantasy baseball as well as a some fantasy hockey here at Razzball. Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. DMs are always open for questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc. Odds are good I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at any given time.