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Hey, everyone.

After an exciting weekend of football playoffs, it’s time to put our heads down and manage the tar out of the (for many of you) last five weeks of the fantasy hockey regular season. These last few weeks can be make-or-break, so think about making that trade or setting free that underperforming player. Many NHL teams are coming into or coming off their bye weeks, so this week is also one of the weirdest for scheduling.

As you might know by now, my managing style and what I discuss in my advice column is maximizing games played and putting more skaters on the ice that your opponent. I use data pulled from my own league as well as the two RCL’s to give this idea some supporting data, so let’s jump in.

Using the Active Stats tabs from my most competitive league as well as the two RCL’s, I’ve compiled a table of every matchup we’ve played this year (weeks 14-15 will be added next week).  Out of 580 data points, managers who have played ten or more skaters (as of the end of week 13) than their opponents are 65-5-6. 65 wins, 5 losses, 6 ties. Even 5 more players on-ice than your opponent moves your meter considerably closer to the Wins column (from a coin-flip to winning 62% of the time). Yes, some teams might have better players, or might put up more points (G+A), but nothing correlates more accurately to a Win than the difference of games played between teams. Points, goalie starts, you name it… the bottom line is, you want to put more decent skaters on the ice per week than your opponent, and wins will follow.

To wrap that up, this column isn’t for spot-streams, it is for grabbing players on Monday or Tuesday and having them play on short-slate days in order to maximize player starts.

A side note is that micro-managing your lineup this way means fewer counting stats left on the bench. An opponent I played had Dylan Larkin sitting when he got a SHP, which is a total waste you cannot get back. When I play, I rarely, if ever, have a player on the bench accumulating stats.

In order to give Razzball readers a potential plus-6 or plus-8 skaters on the week of 1/8, I’m going to cover the three teams with an optimal schedule to grab additional starts. This is an interesting week with a ton of teams only playing one or two games, so be sure to look at your own team and plan accordingly.

Week of 1/15

Because of the ASG, some leagues have a longer matchup, but I’m going to stick to doing week-to-week streams.

Teams to target:

Anaheim (M, W, F, Su) and Montreal (M, W, F, St)

Anaheim: The Ducks have an excellent week for streaming, as they play on every shorter-slate day. With Anaheim looking to stay in the playoff hunt, I expect their role playing guys to turn up the heat down the stretch. Hampus Lindholm is a good place to start- available in ¾ of ESPN leagues, he has great possession numbers and is riding a nice hot streak. I liked Andrew Cogliano this week, but unfortunately he’s suspended, so we’ll look at Nick Ritchie, who is well behind on expected goals but also contributes in hits and penalty minutes. No time like the present to regress towards the expected goals mean!  Finally, Ondrej Kase has solid possession and has done a lot with the TOI he’s been given- if you’re in a deep league he is a terrific add for 2-3 games.

Montreal:  The Habs are kind of an offensive dead zone, but you can take a gander at Brendan Gallagher, who takes a ton of shots and can stack up hits and PIM on the side. Artturi Lehkonen is the other player I might consider, with time on the penalty play, very solid Corsi For, and a ton of room to make up some goals.

I see a pair of very promising back-to-backs this week that you can take advantage of if you’re streaming goalies. Aaron Dell is having an awesome season, and San Jose is back-to-back M/T and St/Su. Two starts from the second best backup currently playing? Yes please. Also worth a long, smoldering look is Carter Hutton– the Blues don’t have any back-to-backs, but with five games before the break my vote is that they give him one or two of those to keep the rust off. Keep an eye on starting goalies for Hutton- STL faces Ottawa twice and Arizona once over the next two weeks.

I’ll post a follow-up about the short week before the weekend, but I’ll let you know it will likely be on players from Calgary, Chicago, and Toronto, so definitely inquire if anyone is sitting on your waiver wire and you’re thinking about picking him up for a game or two.

That’s it for now. I’ll be watching this thread as much as I reasonably can all week, so if you have questions that you want an arbiter for, I will chime in (and will work to give you the best information I have). I am sure Viz and Reid will also pop in every so often.

Good luck this week!!

  1. We have a 3 goalie max. I have Vasilevskiy & Martin Jones, then I usually stream my 3rd slot. Unfortunately, the way Jones is playing, I almost feel like I have to hand cuff him with Aaron Dell. Jones has allowed at least4 goals in 7 of 12 games since Dec. 1. It could have been 8 games, but he was pulled on Saturday night after allowing 3 goals on 6 shots in less than 14 minutes of play. Yikes! Jones only allowed 4-plus goals in 3 of his first 17 games to start the season. He only won 3 games in that stretch! Jarry & Hutton are available and look like great options right now, but with the Sharks bust schedule I’m holding with Dell right now. Just be patient longer and hope Martin Jones comes around? He’s coating me opportunities right now. Great write-up Lackeydrinksonme. We have 5 moves/week in a points league and can make moves daily, so your advice still carries over to how I manage my team, Maximizing players by streaming guys in. Thanks!

    • Lackeydrinksonme

      Lackeydrinksonme says:
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      @madden_curser:

      With the heavy weekend for SJ I would hold onto Dell and see what happens. Will he take over the starting job? Probably not, but you never know with Jones playing like he is. You’re lined up for a good week if you have Vasilevskiey and Dell/Jones, except for maybe the VGK start for Vas.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @madden_curser: What place are you in in your league? I think how much you need the potential short term gain has an impact on whether you make a drastic move. I love Hutton’s upside, especially with Allen struggling even more than Jones, but I understand wanting to cover yourself with both Sharks goalies. I’m interested to see how he looks today against the Kings.

      • @Viz: I am tied for the top spot at 12 – 3. We had a 3 way tie at the top, but I just bumped off one of them this last week. To be truthful, streaming goalies requires a lot of attention and if I could find a guy that would pan out as a decent no. 3, I would sit tight and only stream a player slot or two. You have to keep checking who will start. Jarry played Saturday with back-to-backs, so I dropped Jarry Saturday night for Stalock Sunday. Instead Duby went back-to-back Sunday, and so did Jarry. Luckily I still squeaked by! Thanks Viz & Lackeydrinksonme.

      • @Viz: Ya, I believe Dell is a pending UFA. You gotta think Martin Jones will given every chance to succeed, If you think Hutton is the way to go, I can hope he is still available after Dell starts either today or tomorrow’s back-to-back games. Holding Jones & Dell is too difficult when you only have 3 available goalie slots. Thanks Viz.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @madden_curser: No problem! Jones looks great today to this point which is encouraging. I doubt someone will be rushing to grab Hutton for a start at Toronto tomorrow, so I’d hold Dell for tomorrow and go from there.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @madden_curser: and you’re right, Dell is UFA at the end of the season

  2. JJ says:
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    Hey Lackeydrinksonme,
    Somebody just dropped Pavelski. I think that even though he struggled the first quarter of the season, he has to be owned. Would you drop Arvidsson or Backes to pick him up?

    • Lackeydrinksonme

      Lackeydrinksonme says:
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      @JJ:

      Arvidsson is probably the best of the three, with good TOI/PPTOI and the best shot rate.

      I don’t *really* like Backes for Pavelski, but with nearly three minutes of ice time on Backes including a minute and a half on PP, Pavelski is a better chance for counting stats in general. I think I just talked myself into it. As a side note Paveksli IS behind on expected goals, he’s been pretty unlucky. I can see some regression to the mean, but he’s also getting some tread on his tires so he might not pick up the pace. I’d say go for it… hope this helps

      • Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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        @Lackeydrinksonme: backes has more tread on the tires than pavelski with how he plays.

        • Lackeydrinksonme

          Lackeydrinksonme says:
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          @Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves:

          Backes is on top of Pavelski in P/G as well as SOG/G. I like Pavelski for his TOI and role on the power-play, both of which lead Backes by a good margin. The pair of them aren’t getting younger, though.

  3. jump on it says:
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    With Crawford possibly being on season ending IR, who is better pickup going forward: Anton Forsberg or Jeff Glass?

    • Lackeydrinksonme

      Lackeydrinksonme says:
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      @jump on it:

      Too close to make a clear call, but I like Forsberg for the time being. I’d tread carefully here, though, as both goalies are much worse than Crawford and the Chicago D is one of the worst at giving up high-danger scoring chances, which is a stat that’s turned Holtby into a fairly different goalie this year. You’ll probably grab wins, but your GAA and sv% might not be pretty.

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