One of my main focuses as far as team projections go is coaching, especially when it deals with goaltending. I always love the Isles goalies because of Trotz, or Arizona because of Tocchet. Well, I made the mistake of not giving enough credit to Dave Tippett going to Edmonton. Tippett has always had great defensive teams in Arizona, and that's continued in Edmonton. The biggest beneficiaries have been the goalies, and over the weekend, that was Mikko Koskinen. Koskinen had a 29 save shutout on Friday against the Devils before saving 31 of 33 shots in the 6-2 win over the Ducks on Sunday. His numbers are spectacular as are Mike Smith's. Do I love these guys going forward? No, I still prefer the Isles guys, for example. That said, I probably undersold both of these guys. I think both Koskinen and Smith need to be held and could be decent #2's for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The last lottery pick for the Washington Capitals has really come into his own. Jakub Vrana had an incredible weekend, starting with two goals on eight shots against the Sabres. He followed it up with a hat trick on five shots against the Flames on Sunday. That brings Vrana to 9+5 in 16 games with just under three shots per game. He's a main stay on the second line and second power play unit, so the question is whether or not he's a hold. For now, I lean towards yes. I don't think it'll last all season, but Vrana is playing excellent hockey right now and I want to take advantage of it. The 23 year old has made a jump in every season of his career and looks to be down that path again. Given that he had 24+23 last season, another slight improvement will get right right onto the fringe. Vrana isn't an automatic add given that Washington has only two games this week, but I'm holding onto him while Vrana has his foot on the accelerator. Let's take a look at what else happened this weekend:
While general sports fans were watching playoff baseball (Go Braves!) or Sunday Night Baseball, hockey fans saw one of the best performances of the season take place on the first weekend. Anthony Mantha scored four goals on eight shot, including the winner in the last minute of the game, to beat the Stars 4-3. This comes after an incredible performance in his season opener in which he scored a goal and two assists with five shots and four penalty minutes in the upset win over Nashville. In both games, the players on the top line were at or above 20 minutes each. That's extremely encouraging for their long-term success. Obviously we're not expecting Mantha to be a top 25 player all of a sudden, but the potential is there for 30 goals, 50 PIM and a very good shot rate. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hey guys! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season. Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our 22nd stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re headed right to the Michigan/Ontario border – Detroit Rock City baby! The wings have former players such as Stevie Y at the helm, and boy is this team going to be young and skilled. We saw glimpses of what some of these kids can do last season, will they bring it this season?
We are almost done with forwards as we'll get through the top 80 forwards after this post. Reminder that I will go through the top 100 forwards, then go to an overall top 200 at the end where more forwards will be added. To see my top 60 forwards, you can go through this link here. Let's get to it! 61) Joe Pavelski - It is going to be weird seeing Pavelski in a Stars uniform. He's coming off a great season with the Sharks with 38 goals and 26 assists in 75 games. I do have a few concerns though. One, he shot 20.2% last season, a number surely to regress. That success covered up the second point, that his shot rate dropped down to 2.5 per game, quite a down tick from previous levels. Three, he's 35 years old now, and while I don't expect a massive dropoff, we probably have seen the best of Pavelski. On the good side of things, the Dallas power play should be incredible, and odds are Pavelski will get to play with one of the other star forwards. Two seasons ago, Pavelski had 22+44. I do think the assists go back up towards that number in Dallas, but the goals probably go back below 30 unless the shot rate goes back up.
Detroit's season has been over for months, but they haven't mailed it in. The Red Wings have won six in a row and it starts with their first line. Of late, Tyler Bertuzzi has been on an absolute tear. He had two goals and an assist with five shots on Tuesday, his fourth consecutive third point game! That brings him to 21+26 on the season with 32 PIM and a +13 rating, a great number on a poor team. So what's his value going into next season? It's hard to say. He looks great with Larkin and Mantha, but what if the Red Wings bring someone else in and he's not there to open next season? The PIM also aren't at the elite level I had hoped like his old man brought. I do like Bertuzzi a lot for deeper leagues, but for him to be a play in standard leagues, he'll need to get his shot rate up and maintain the role he's had to finish the season. You don't need streaming on Thursday or Saturday given the massive schedules, but if you need a guy, Bertuzzi is a great choice while he's hotter than hell. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We've reached the finals in almost all formats making this the best time of the year in fantasy hockey. That's if you're still in, of course. I will continue the weekly previews that I've been doing over the last few weeks to provide some strategy and planning ahead in regards to streaming. Again, this is meant to be a compliment to the Playoff Manifesto, not a replacement, so be sure to check that out as well here. Let's get to it!
For those of you doing well in your head to head leagues, this is the most important post of the year. This is my annual playoff manifesto where I break down every team's schedule for the last four weeks of the season. I tell you who are the best teams and players to stream from, who you should look to trade for or away if your deadline hasn't passed, and it allows you to plan ahead with ease. For those who haven't read it in the past, the numbers in the parentheses are how many games the team plays in each of those weeks, with the last number being the last week in the season and preceding accordingly. This is going to be a massive post so let's get right to the 2019 Playoff Manifesto!
On January 3rd, the St. Louis Blues were in last place of the entire NHL. Here we are six weeks later and they're safely in a playoff position. The Blues have matched the longest winning streak in the NHL this season at 10, winning two games this weekend in convincing fashion. First, Jake Allen shutout the Avalanche, then Jordan Binnington shut out the Wild on a back to back. Right now, Binnington is as hot as it gets in the league. I don't expect this to continue, but for now, he's a must start every time out. I still view Allen as somewhat of a desperation play, but with how well the team is playing in front of him, I'm fine with streaming him for the time being. Looks like a coaching change was what they needed to right the ship. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
When we think about Tom Wilson going wild, it usually refers to him doing something dirty and piling up penalty minutes. Don't get me wrong, he's still getting penalty minutes, but he's been fabulous offensively since returning from suspension. Wilson scored two goals and an assist with six shots and two PIM in the 4-1 win over the Islanders on Monday. In his eight games, Wilson has 6+6 with a +6 rating, 11 PIM and 21 SOG. He's also averaging over 20 minutes per night. There's no doubt about it, Wilson should be owned in all formats right now. He's still available in about 1/3rd of leagues, so if you're lucky enough to be in one of them, pounce immediately. Obviously he's not going to stay at a point per game, but the offensive will be solid with this workload, and we know the PIM will be glorious. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: