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!