We're back for part two of the Playoff Manifesto. For those that didn't read Part One, you can read that here. Today, we will cover the Western Conference. To see the template of which I'm working with, check out the details in the Eastern Conference post. For this one, let's get right to it! ST. LOUIS BLUES: 4, 3, 3, 3 This is pretty much the worst streaming schedule possible. There are only three teams that don't have a back-to-back over the last four weeks. We'll get to them later in this post, but at least their games are more bunched together with a 4,3,4 in the first three weeks for both. They're every other night the first two weeks, then have two days off in the middle of the third week, before finishing every other day. Honestly, there's not much to say here. Thirteen games is average so hold the usuals, and don't stream Blues.
Poor Ottawa. The Penguins were coming off six straight losses before Tuesday night and it wasn't hard to imagine them destroying the Senators. They did just that scoring seven goals. So what can we take away from this game? Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are good! Oh, you meant besides the obvious. Well, Bryan Rust had a hat trick after only two goals in the previous thirteen games. This eliminates any doubt about Rust being a hold. Jason Zucker had a goal and two assists with three shots. He has ten points in the last ten games so yeah, he's an easy hold too as expected after his trade to the Steel City. Conor Sheary also had a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. I wrote during the Trade Deadline post that I don't believe in Sheary despite the move. Honestly, I still don't, but getting to play with Crosby and Zucker right now just has to put him into the streaming realm. The power play time will be minimal so it's mostly for deep leagues, but Sheary does have some relevance once again. Let's see what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
Who had Noel Acciari scoring seven goals in one week this season? Alright, who had Acciari scoring more than seven goals this season? After Acciari scored a hat trick last Monday against the Senators, Acciari managed to follow it up with another hat trick plus an assist against the Stars on Friday. Acciari scored again on Saturday against Carolina completing one of the craziest weeks we've ever seen from a depth hockey player. So should we care? Probably, yes. He's playing with Jonathan Huberdeau who is piling up assists looking to feed Acciari at the moment. The problem is that Acciari isn't getting power play time yet, but he could get PP2 time sooner than later. However, he still played over 17 minutes last game without the power play time which is enough to have value. He's the epitome of a hot schmotato so I would look to stream him against Tampa on Monday and carrying that into Saturday's game against Detroit. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It was only a matter of time before Vegas got on a heater. The Golden Knights won their fourth straight game on Tuesday night and Jonathan Marchessault led the way. Marchesssault scored a hat trick on a whopping 9 shots on goal to beat the Devils 4-3. While Marchessault hasn't quite gotten back to the level he was at in his first season in Vegas, he has been very good this season. He has 8+13 in 30 games with an elite 104 SOG. If anything, we should expect more goals because even after this hat trick, he's still at a career low shooting percentage. I'm expecting Vegas to go on a massive run soon and Marchessault should be at the forefront. This is also a good point for anyone looking to make a futures bet to place a wager on Vegas to win the Cup. No, I don't think they're the best team, but you can get them at 20 or 22-1 at the moment and they might have the best chance in the league to make the Conference Finals given the weak division. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
We've seen this story before. Last year, upper management called out Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin for poor play. This year, it was Jim Montgomery. Benn had one goal through 20 games, but he now has three over the last two games. Benn scored two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM in the 6-1 win over the Canucks. This came after a goal and an assist on four shots against the Oilers. He wasn't going to shoot 2% forever, but Benn did not look good over the first six weeks of the season. That said, we've seen a big hot streak from him before so there is hope he can do it again. The schedule looks fairly good over the short term so I'm expecting Benn to turn this nice stretch into a hot streak. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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 gap between Brad Marchand and the rest of the league right now for fantasy hockey is incredible. Marchand scored five points on Monday, tallying two goals and three assists and a +4 rating. It's nothing new, but the first line in Boston has managed to find a way to get even better. Marchand is crushing every category with 10+18 in 15 games with a +13 rating, 28 PIM and 41 SOG. He's as good of a bet as any to finish as the #1 player in fantasy this season. Honestly, he'd be my pick as long as he avoids a lengthy suspension. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
It's time for the first hold/stream post of the year. For those unfamiliar, I will go through every team and list every player who is a hold or streamer, and comment on individuals where necessary. This will certainly be a long post, so let's get right to it!