We've finally reached the final four weeks of the regular season. That means fantasy hockey playoffs! This post is meant to help you plan for this specific week on a micro-sense. For the macro picture, check the the Eastern Conference Playoff Manifesto here and the Western Conference here. We'll take a look at every day this week and point out the best streamers to use or what games to target. Let's get to it!
It's that time of the year! We are rapidly closing in on the fantasy hockey playoffs, and to help everybody out in terms of streaming and bottom end holds, I am back with my playoff manifesto. For those that are new here, I will break down the schedule of every team in the league over the last four weeks of the NHL Season (that means games starting with this Monday, 3/9) and highlight anything important, both good and bad. A few things to note before I get going.
First off, sorry for the delay in getting a post up following the trade deadline. I'm in Vegas to see the Sabres Friday night and with the snow in Buffalo, traveling issues came up cutting into my time to write. Anyways, this seems like a good point to highlight certain things around the league that are having an impact in fantasy hockey. Next week, I'm going to start with my playoff manifesto so everyone in head to head leagues can plan ahead in regards to streaming and bottom end holds. Let's get to it!
He's backkkk. Justin Williams made his return on Sunday, totaling three shots on goal in 13 minutes of action before scoring the shootout winner for the Hurricanes. So what should we expect from him going forward? Well, the Hurricanes are in a bigger dog fight for the playoffs than expected, so I do expect Williams' workload to ramp up sooner than later. He skated on the fourth line in this game, but there's a spot for him right now in the top six that's currently occupied by Foegele. It should only be a matter of time until he fills that role. How much does that matter? Well, we know that Williams is a great source of shots. He pushed close to three per game last season while totaling 53 points and 44 PIM. That sounds like a guy firmly on the fringe to me. I wouldn't be rushing to grab Williams, especially with Carolina only having one game between now and January 31st, but he's back to elite streamer status with the upside of being a bottom end hold. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have taken a beating this season in terms of injuries, but they've kept chugging along piling up the wins. On Tuesday, Sidney Crosby returned and he didn't miss a beat. Crosby had a goal and three assists with three shots in the 7-3 win over the Wild. So what impact does Crosby's return to the lineup have in fantasy? Crosby centered Jared McCann and Dominik Simon on Tuesday. McCann had a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM while Simon had a goal and an assist. These two guys are massive winners in this. Both are elite streamers with upside from there. Of the two, I prefer McCann going forward. Props to Joey Jo Jo Jr. Shabadoo for picking Crosby for three points! Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In my Monday post, I called Frank Vatrano the best streamer of the night. As simple as my rationale was, getting to play with Barkov does wonders for anyone. Vatrano has been playing well lately, but the jump to the first line helps tremendously, and he showed how on Monday. Vatrano scored a goal and dished three assists in the 6-2 win over the Sharks, putting five shots on goal in the process. Normally, I'd say go get Vatrano right now to see what happens. There's definitely upside going forward. The problem is that the Panthers don't play again until next Friday. For those in roto leagues, I would grab Vatrano now and stash him on your bench. In head to head leagues, I would wait until the middle of next week unless a spot opens up on your roster due to someone going on injured reserve. However, I definitely want Vatrano for the back-to-back next weekend, so don't wait until last minute so you avoid somebody else sniping you on him. There's a real chance Vatrano, who was a prolific AHL goal scorer and showed upside before in Boston, could become a hold for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened this week:
To say the season for Philadelphia as been a mess is an understatement. First they fire Hextall as GM, then the mess last week of Hakstol being fired as coach, only to still be the coach for a couple days as new GM Chuck Fletcher said no decision has been made, only for Hakstol to be fired anyways. They were in last place in the Eastern Conference on Monday when Fletcher decided to recall Carter Hart. The 20 year old is arguably the best goaltending prospect in the league, and he received his first NHL start on Tuesday. Hart saved 20 of 22 shots against the Red Wings getting his first career win by a score of 3-2. Look, I'm not saying Hart is a future superstar. Goaltending is extremely unpredictable and it seems like Philadelphia has been cursed in net for a while. However, he has as good of a chance as any young goaltender to be a starter for years to come. For that alone, he's worth grabbing in all formats, especially dynasties. Who knows how long that Fletcher keeps Hart on the big squad, but it seems like he should be up going forward. Either he plays so well they have to roll Hart, or they fall out of it completely and want to get him more playing time. There's no guarantee it's good now either, but I doubt another goalie with more upside will show up on the waiver wire later on in the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Mark Stone has been a favorite of Razzball Hockey (aka me) for a few years now. One of the most underrated players in hockey, Stone is an above average first liner, no doubt about it. Somebody is going to pay him a ton in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent and he'll be worth every penny. Stone had an incredible game on Tuesday scoring two goals on seven shots while adding in three assists as well. That brings him to 6+12 in 15 games. He's somehow available in 25% of leagues on ESPN, which is crazy. Stone should be owned everywhere, and while I've been clamoring for him to be traded so he's even better, it's become abundantly clear that he'll produce just fine in Ottawa this season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
No, I'm not talking about the musical. I've used "Teach Me How to Dougie" before, so I needed to change it up. Dougie Hamilton scored the first hat trick of his career on Saturday, albeit in a 6-3 loss to the Panthers. He probably won't match last season's 50 point total, but Hamilton has been just as good. He's over three shots per game, the plus-minus is solid, the PIM are there, and a career high in goals is a near-certainty (he needs one more). As someone who has a betting ticket on the Flames to win the Cup, I just wish Glen Gulutzan would play Dougie more. Their first pair is so damn good that there's no reason for Hamilton to be under 25 minutes per game. Regardless, he's a solid #2 fantasy D for the all-around contribution with upside to be a bottom-end #1. With his recent play (11 points in his last 10 games), hopefully that happens. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
In Wednesday's daily notes, I said that if I could, I would be looking to buy low on all of the elite goalies. Obviously some at different levels than others, but everyone knows my love for Devan Dubnyk and the Wild as a regular season team. I own plenty of Dubnyk stock again this year and it's been nowhere near as fun as last season when he took the league by storm. Dubnyk was a monster on Thursday night stopping all 41 shots he faced in the 3-0 win over the Canadiens. Four of Dubnyk's last eight starts (yes, one has bad against Toronto Wednesday but that's Toronto) have been strong so perhaps there's something building here. Expect things for Dubnyk, and the Wild in general, to keep improving sooner than later. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: