It’s here!  The 2021 NHL Season will finally start at 5:30 EST tonight in a battle of Pennsylvania.  I’m going to give some late minute updates in this post for your streaming and DFS needs.  Let’s get to it!

The lines in Philadelphia are quite different than we are used to.  Most notably, Kevin Hayes is starting the season centering Claude Giroux and Joel Farabee, while Hayes is also playing on the first power play unit.  He had a solid first season in Philadelphia, but year two could be even better.  Hayes had only seven PPP last season so if that increases on the top unit, he could play into a bottom end hold.  Worst case, he should be an elite streamer.

Toronto is going to go with two balanced power plays to open the season which I strongly disagree with.  Joe Thornton and Wayne Simmonds on the first power play while John Tavares and William Nylander on the second unit is simply a mistake.  I’m not convinced it lasts, but it makes Thornton a decent streamer and Simmonds a bottom end one.  Additionally, it looks like Mikko Lehtonen won’t play on opening night which is disappointing when that means Zach Bogosian is playing.  T.J. Brodie will be on the second power play unit if Lehtonen isn’t in the lineup.  I’m completely out on Brodie for season long fantasy purposes, but he’s an okay punt defenseman in DFS.

The NHL’s LTIR enforcement on Opening Night means that according to Frank Seravalli, Tyler Johnson and Luke Schenn won’t be in the opening night lineup today.  Schenn is fantasy irrelevant, but Johnson out changes the second line.  I’m guessing that will put Mathieu Joseph on the second line which makes him a DFS punt and deep league sleeper.

Erik Johnson is looking doubtful for opening night.  It sounds like Conor Timmins and Ian Cole will both be in the lineup while Bowen Byram will not be.  Byram will be in quarantine through Friday, but there’s talk that he won’t be activated at that point.  Personally, I don’t understand it as he has very little to gain from playing in the AHL or being on the taxi squad, but it’s worth monitoring.

Nils Hoglander is going to start in the top six for Vancouver which could make him a streamer down the line.  If J.T. Miller misses the opener (he didn’t practice Tuesday), Jake Virtanen should move onto the top line and be a strong DFS option against the Oilers.

UPDATE: Miller has been ruled out for the opener.

Tage Thompson is definitely starting the season on the first line in Buffalo.  I really want to see what the minutes distribution is between the lines before rushing to any conclusions, but there’s some real potential here.  On the other hand, much to my chagrin, Jeff Skinner is outside of the top six for the time being.  Yes, he’s at least playing with Dylan Cozens, but whoever their center is won’t be as offensively oriented as I would like.  I’m not dropping Skinner, but he is on a short leash already even though it’s based on nothing he has done.

It seems pretty clear now that Keith Yandle is going to be scratched for the Panthers opener.  Well, if you’ve been reading my stuff lately, you won’t have Yandle on your team and will have plenty of Aaron Ekblad so we’ve gained some value before the season even starts!

John Leonard is going to get the first crack on playing on the second line in San Jose with Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl.  Leonard, a former sixth round pick, led the NCAA in goals last season at UMass Amherst.  For those of you in super deep leagues, he’s definitely a name worth monitoring and potentially grabbing right away to see if it clicks.  Welcome to the Razzball Database!

Sergei Bobrovsky is not expected to be ready for the season opener.  That would leave Chris Driedger and Samuel Montembault as the Panthers goaltending duo for the time being.  The Panthers will be started the season late because of COVID postponements, but this duo is worth gambling on as a stream when they play Chicago or Detroit.

Mikael Granlund is going to miss the start of the season.  Tough break for him as he looks to build his value back up on a one year deal.  Nashville’s lineup gets a bit thinner.

The retirement of Corey Crawford bumps up Mackenzie Blackwood into a middling to bottom end #2 goalie.  It’s hard to see the upside in that division even though I like him long term.

Chandler Stephenson is getting first crack at centering Vegas’ first line.  He’s a decent streamer in deep leagues and a DFS option, but I don’t think he’s quite valuable enough to stream in 12 teamers since he doesn’t get power play time.

That’s all for now guys.  I’ll be back tomorrow recapping actual hockey games!  As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below.  Thanks for reading, take care!

  1. DantheNonHockeyMan says:

    Hi Vic

    It would be kewl if you could update your top 200.

    I enjoy your posts, keep up the great work


    • DantheNonHockeyMan says:

      Oops, sorry I meant Viz

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      I generally don’t update the top 200 throughout the season. One, everyone’s drafts are already done so I don’t really see the point of it. Two, it’s very time consuming to me, and being the only hockey writer, I’m more focused on the day to day at this point than the big picture. I’ll answer any specific questions that you have, but the only chance I do an update is around mid-season, and even that is going to be unlikely this season with no All-Star break

  2. Peter Parker says:

    Good morning VIZ! Well, here we are ready for the puck drop tonight! I had my draft last night and what a blast as for a few hours I had a bit of normalcy. Lets hope Covid doesn’t hurt the NHL too much. Anyway, please take a look at my team (12-team league) and give it to me straight:
    G, A, +/-, PPG, PPP, SHG, GWG, SOG;
    W, GAA, SV%, SHO

    Auston Matthews
    Mitchell Marner
    Jonny Gaudreau
    Mark Scheifele
    Kyle Conner
    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
    Kevin Fiala
    Bo Horvat
    Oliver Bjorkstrand
    Jason Zucker
    Sam Reinhart
    Dylan Strome
    Nikita Gusev
    Christian Dvorak

    Rasmus Dahlin
    Zach Werenski
    P.K. Subban
    Rasmus Andersson

    Semyon Varalmov
    Linus Ullmark

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      You’re rolling the dice a bit in net, but man, that forward group is amazing. How many players do you start at each position? I might be looking to turn Gusev or Dvorak into a goalie, even if it’s say, Halak who will play 40% of the games. Depends who is on your waiver wire, but volume is important.

      • Peter Parker says:

        Good morning Viz! Yeah, I know I rolled the dice on a few goalies. And I will see what Dvorak does early and make that call. My goalie options would be from these few:
        Allen (Jake)

        Your suggestions please??


        • Viz

          Viz says:

          I’m down on pretty much all of those guys. I guess I would roll the dice on Rinne bouncing back?

          • Peter Parker says:

            Good morning Viz! First, I really want to thank you for the time you spend on this… especially the time you take to answer everyone’s questions. You are very much appreciated. For someone like me with no life… fantasy hockey is life!! LOL
            Anyway, Rinne will certainly get starts behind a very solid defense, so he is an option… although I looked through his stats from last season, and OH MY GOD they were awful!!! What do you think of Georgiev??

            THANK YOU!

            • Viz

              Viz says:

              Haha of course, no problem at all. I’m loving all the questions and comments I’m getting, makes this feel worth my time.

              He was absolutely terrible, no doubt about it. I like Georgiev more in a vacuum, but there are so many teams that the Rangers will play where I’m not that comfortable starting him. We know we can play Rinne against Detroit and Chicago, and even Florida, Columbus, and Dallas don’t scare me offensively, so I think I’d gamble on Rinne here, but I would be fine with Georgiev if you want to stay away completely.

  3. nick says:

    Thanks for all your help and rankings VIZ 🙂

    here is my team (keeper), pretty nice

    C. Elias PETERSSON
    C. Patrick BERGERON
    LW. Evander KANE
    LW. Kyle CONNOR
    D. KRUG
    Util BARRIE (D)
    Util Taylor HALL (LW)
    Bench Burakovski / Max DOMI / DUCLAIR/ Grzelcyk
    IR Brad Marchand (probable for tonite)

    G. Grubauer
    G Varlamov
    Bench Linus ULLMARK
    IR BOB

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Of course Nick, no problem! Looking pretty damn good!

  4. Itookdonscherry says:

    Question for you. Just did my third draft. 12 team H2H category league. Standard category system 6 offensive, 4 goalie cats. A team only drafted Hellybucyk and Bishop. I was wondering if a Malkin and Samsonov for Draisatl trade would be considered fair? Would leave me with Saros, Ullmark and Sorokin as my goalies.

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      I’m really high on Malkin this year so I would lean towards nothing doing the move, but I do think it’s fair and not that lopsided. It would be a bit risky to leave yourself with those goalies too, a risk I’m not opposed to taking, but I don’t think the upgrade from Malkin to Draisaitl is that significant for you to take that gamble.

  5. Chris says:

    Hey Viz!

    Feels good to have you back in office!

    I’m kinda on the Robert Thomas’ bandwagon. I wanna pick him off on the FA market but I only my only “droppable” player is Roope Hintz. I understand that both players are breakout sleepers candidate and it’s especially tough to predict, but would you take a chance on Thomas instead of Hintz? Here are my league cats:


    Thank you and happy opening night!

    • Itookdonscherry says:

      I would take Thomas because of the better lineup and potential linemates. It is tough picking the breakouts though.

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Hey Chris, glad to hear from you! Definitely two breakout candidates, and I guess it depends how much you care about hits. In general, I prefer Thomas by a decent amount, but he’s really bad in hits. That’s something that generally doesn’t change much, although it should go up a tiny bit with more ice time. If your team is strong in hits (or terrible even and you’re basically punting it), I’d say make the move for Thomas. If you’re middle of the pack, I guess I would prefer to keep Hintz so you don’t drive that category to being really weak if it isn’t already.

  6. BigBun says:

    Hey Viz, good luck this season! I inadvertently focused too much on D and G in my draft, do you think I made enough good F picks late to make up for it? 16 team league, 3 goalie starts per week, G/A/P/+-/PPP/SOG/BLK/W/GAA/SV%/SHO

    McDavid (K)

    Erik Gustafsson


    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Thanks, appreciate it! I still think your forward group is solid and has some upside. I particularly like Kahun in a 16 man league, if he sticks with Draisaitl this could be a big steal. I’m also incredibly high on Rust compared to consensus so overall, I’d be pretty happy.

  7. Tony S says:

    I’m in a 16 team league so the goalie pickings are pretty slim. I have Bobs but I can place him on the IR while he’s out so should I pick up somebody to replace him for the first week? I can choose from Quick, Subban, Jones, Dubnyk or could go with his backup, Driedger.

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      I guess I would go with Driedger. I want nothing to do with Quick or Subban, and I’m scared about the Sharks. I’m okay with gambling on Jones, it sounds like he’s getting first crack tomorrow, but these guys all have big downside.

  8. Yr Never Too Old For Balloons says:

    that 20 teamer where i got to keep STL players at a max 200 budget predraft (lower players were free predraft, so i kept husso/kostin to prospects list (max 5) and paid for perunovich, later put him down there too. we’re also doing a prospect draft (mostly for guys not in yahoo, but since it started before waivers went off some bigger names went in that too so far). after predraft max budget of 200 (i had less money than most teams with the guys i kept), we had 100 added to auction online draft. hits/blocks/faceoffs/shots/PPP/SHP added, standard goalie stuff. real life rosters. auctions always got weird stuff going on since teams are broke or not broke at differing times. kucherov some forgot wasn’t kept by TB who has an owner (but he’s a top 5 most expensive player out all year this year), so he wasn’t bid till later, only cost 35 (some others were in the 50’s).
    C (4): ROR (kept predraft)
    – henrique (3 in draft, nobody gives a shit about this dude, who’s a top line center also at LW).
    – r-joey (last highish end center, 21)
    – rob thomas (KP)
    – s.steel (weird ANA didn’t keep, he kept small budget then won good players though, 1)
    LW (4): marchessault (C, 24)
    – mccann (after senko i was nearly out of money, dude hits all categories though, 1)
    – sanford (waivered today)
    – schwartz (KP)
    RW (4): hoffman (KP)
    – schenn (C, KP)
    – fiala (knew i wanted to get one of him or meier, meier went for 34, him 25, the lack of hits on fiala is why cheaper i’d bet)
    – compher (streamer added today)
    – a.johnsson (LW, 2)
    D (6, here is where i couldn’t afford anybody good): parayko (KP)
    – krug (KP)
    – severson (1)
    – c.murphy (1)
    – gudas (1)
    – edmundson (streamer)
    – dumoulin (streamer)
    G (1): binnington (KP)
    – koskinen (EDM kept no goalies, off waivers today)
    IR/IR+: senko (20, i had him priced worth 23, predraft he would’ve cost 20, winning him cost me options almost entirely was down to like 15 for 10 roster slots left)
    – j.robertson (FA today)
    – c.petersen (1, that’s crazy, LA didn’t want to keep at cost and nobody else left with money to outbid me)
    NA (5): kyrou (KP)
    – comtois (waivered)
    – vatanen (1)
    prospect list: kostin (KP), perunovich (KP), husso (KP), tomasino (prospect draft 1st round)

    • Yr Never Too Old For Balloons says:

      when i was writing up the 250ish players that weren’t kept predraft preauction i made sure to rank in groups of 20 and try to get at least one from each of the top 4 groups at least, even though i had bottom 5 money to use. was able to with fiala, marchessault, r-joey and senko in top 4 groups of 20. only negative for sure was going after fiala/marchessault first left me knowing i’d need another topish center, and no money for D men. senko i knew i’d try to get unless he got crazy expensive (which i thought was a real possible thing, i gave up on perron at 15 bucks, he went for 16)

      • Yr Never Too Old For Balloons says:

        i know not to trust preseason depth charts mostly at all for prospects, but good lord basically EVERY one of them is being AHL’d or taxi’d. even kyrou is set to likely be scratched tonight. i get it with the guys who’ve never played NHL yet, and there are a LOT of those. don’t get comtois not playing either. some others i can’t think of (wahlstrom too)

        • Yr Never Too Old For Balloons says:

          man it’s ugly to go from football (where every possible player to miss a game is reported on numerous times daily till gametime) to hockey on these. apparently kyrou may have only played (from the reports i’m seeing he was likely scratched) since hoffman’s visa issue (which of course nobody reported on, not once, till roughly 5 minutes before the game). wonder what % of writers at rotoworld in hockey relative to football, like 20-25%, something like that. i could’ve dropped compher to get kyrou in so right now i guess i gained a PPP.

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Looks pretty good! I really liked what I saw from Kyrou tonight for what it’s worth

  9. Chris Herman says:

    Would you drop Yandle for Gustaffson?

    • Yr Never Too Old For Balloons says:


    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Yes I would

  10. Mando says:

    Elvis Merzlikins got dropped by a team in my super deep points dynasty league. We have 16 teams, no penalty or anything for keeping who you want as long as you meet the roster limits, and G scoring is pretty high. My current Gs are Hellebuyck, Binnington, Delia and Ullmark plus Ian Scott and Vitek Vanecek in my minors. Ignoring the minors, I was wonderng what your opinion would be on a price to add Elvis off of waivers. I have $74 left out of my $75 for the rest of the year. Thanks.

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      In a deep league like this, I would pay quite a bit, maybe $30? At the least, he would be an incredible trade chip, and best case he ends up being a top 10 goalie eventually.

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