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!
Another trade domino fell on Sunday as Blake Coleman was traded to Tampa Bay for a first round pick (Vancouver's conditional first from the Miller trade) and Nolan Foote.  Coleman is in the midst of a breakout season with 21+10, 40 PIM and over three shots per game.  So how much will this move help him?  On one hand, going to Tampa Bay is good for any player.  On the other hand, his ice time is surely going to decrease.  While he won't play Monday, I'd still hold Coleman to see what develops.  He's signed for only 1.85m for next season which I assume is a big factor in the price.  This is a great return for New Jersey, as Foote should end up as a second line winger who is a goal scorer.  He has an elite shot and knows how to use his big frame.  For now, I assume Jesper Bratt moves onto the first line, but he's still only a middling streamer.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Mark Stone has had a pretty good season by his standards, albeit not as great as I had hoped.  Perhaps that'll change now that he had his best game of the season.  Stone went off on Thursday scoring two goals and three assists while adding five shots on goal and two PIM.  That brings him up to 20+33 in 56 games while being +10 and well over 2.5 shots per game.  Stone used to be a two shot per game player, but it has taken a big jump since last season, and especially when he went to Vegas.  He should be a clear top 50 player going forward, and I think there's a good chance he ends up topping 80 points for the first time in his career.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Last season, Leon Draisaitl had a massive breakout with 50+55.  It seemed naive to expect better, but he's going to blow 105 points out of the water.  Draisaitl scored two goals on six shots on Friday before dishing four assists with three shots on Saturday.  That brings him to 29+54 in 52 games.  That's over an assist per game!  Sure, the penalty minutes have dried up and he's -7, but who cares!?  He has four points more than his teammate for the most in the NHL and is now over three shots per game.  It's not a lock that the Oilers make the playoffs, but they're a clear favorite to make it now, mostly on the backs of Draisaitl and McDavid.  Even with the poor plus-minus and PIM, Leon is still the fourth best skater for the season.  At this point, his floor is a top ten forward which puts him in a class of the world's truly elite.  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:
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:
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:
We're at the end of individual rankings!  Almost 15,000 words later, we've ranked the top 100 forwards and 40 defensemen.  Now, we conclude that with my goaltending rankings.  I'm going to start by talking about my goaltending strategy for drafts, then split the goalies into tiers.  I'm not going to go in-depth on every goalie, just the ones that I feel are worth talking about, mostly because I'm higher or lower on somebody.  The reason I don't want to go very in-depth on every goalie is that the variance on goaltending from season to season is massive.  In other words, even the best goalies have poor seasons from time to time, and guys will come out of nowhere to have excellent seasons.  Did anyone know who Jordan Binnington was a year ago?  The public certainly did not.  Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss were afterthoughts for most.  Darcy Kuemper was the backup and wasn't drafted outside of deep leagues.  Those goalies were the 3rd-6th ranked goalies at the end of the season.  This is why I never draft goalies in the first two rounds, and never more than one in the first 7-8 rounds.  If you like to have one presumed top end goalie, that's fine, go for it in the 4th-5th rounds if they're still there.  Just do not reach, because the range of outcomes in goalies is incredibly wide, while forwards and defensemen are much more certain.  Any other questions on this, let me know in the comments section below.  Here are my tiers:
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 17th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re headed to Bean Town, home of the Eastern Conference Champion Bruins! The Bruins were one game away from hoisting Lord Stanley… Dang it, Gloria! That being said, this team had very little turnover from this past season to now, and should be primed for another great season in the extremely competitive Atlantic.