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 21st stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re shuffling off to Buffalo to talk about the Sabres! 50 years of existence for the Sabres, and what a time it should be to be rooting for them. With some interesting offseason moves to add some much-needed depth, will this be the year Buffalo claws for a wildcard spot?
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!
Well if I had to guess who would have the second four goal game of the season, I'm not sure Brad Richardson would have been in the first 500 guesses. Richardson single-handedly carried the Coyotes to victory on Thursday with those four goals on six shots, adding two PIM with a +4 rating. Richardson has 16 goals in 48 games now, a career high in his 14th season. For those of you in deep leagues, I would grab Richardson for the faceoff boost too. In standard leagues, I'm probably passing still despite playing at a 27 goal pace. Everything about it screams unsustainable, but we have to give props to him burying four in one game. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's nothing new when Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler have big games, and both managed to do so twice this weekend. In Friday's 5-2 win over the Avalanche, Wheeler registered a point on all five goals, going 1+4, while Scheifele scored a goal and two assists with three shots. They followed that up with Wheeler getting two more assists and Scheifele posting a 2+1 game. Wheeler already has 20 assists in 16 games to go with 19 PIM and 3 goals, while Scheifele is up to 9+10 with 20 PIM. Wheeler was a borderline first round pick that I had ranked as a high second rounder, while Scheifele was more 2nd/3rd range. With his shot rate at exactly 2.5 per game right now, that solidifies him as a second round value. Remember when ESPN had him ranked in the 60s? Hilarious. These two should continue to put up points no matter the opposition. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Everyone knew that Elias Pettersson was an elite prospect who was going to score plenty in the NHL. In a year where rookies around the NHL actually look like rookies, Pettersson is lighting the world on fire. Petterson scored two goals and added three assists in the 7-6 win over Colorado on Friday, boosting his totals to an insane 9+6 in 9 games so far. Obviously he's not going to shoot 39% all season, but after lower minutes to open the year, Pettersson has played at least 18 minutes in each of the last four games, including the last two over 20. For redrafts, he should be a borderline top 50 player this season. In dynasties, Pettersson is a top 20 talent. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hey, everyone. Your extended-play streamer column is here. I hope your fantasy weeks went well, and that you maximized games played and put more skaters on the ice than your opponent. I’m a big believer in accountability, and will be following up on the data I am collecting, and how the previous weeks have panned out. Because I write these over the weekend, matchups are still occurring, so I will use data from the previous completed week, pulled from my most competitive league as well as the two RCL’s.
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:
I was all in on the Tampa Bay Lightning again this year picking them to make the Stanley Cup Finals. Obviously they don't crown champions 3 weeks into the season but Tampa has started off incredibly well. They've had some depth players step up but at the end of the day, their studs have been incredible. The top two players in points in the NHL by a wide margin are both Lightning players with Steven Stamkos. Tampa Bay blitzed Pittsburgh 7-1 on Saturday and Stamkos led the way with a goal, three assists and four shots on goal. That gives Stamkos a whopping 17 points (3+14) in 9 games. Stamkos was a player who consistently dropped in my drafts into the third round and while it's too early to celebrate given Stamkos' injury, it's been the dream start. Fingers crossed that he stays healthy because Stammer could be a top 10, maybe even top 5 player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Last season for the New York Rangers was both a success and disappointment. The Rangers were the 4th team in a 4 team race in the Metro division last season but that was a huge boost to their playoff chances since that meant they would cross over into the Atlantic Division. After beating the Canadiens in the first round, the Rangers were upset by the Senators in Round 2. A few big offseason moves give the Rangers a different feel than in the past. Off went mainstays Derek Stepan and Dan Girardi, in comes Kevin Shattenkirk. A few forwards will be placed into bigger roles giving us a few potential value forwards. Let's take a look at what Alain "The Brain" Vigneault has to work with:
I think most fantasy hockey players would agree that Antti Raanta is worth streaming every time he gets the start. The problem has been that Raanta rarely plays because he's behind one of the best goalies in the world, Henrik Lundqvist. A healthy Lundqvist never sat three games in a row while healthy. Until this weekend. After a game on Thursday, Vigneault turned to Raanta again and he posted a 26 save shutout in the 1-0 win over his former team in Chicago. To the surprise of everyone, Raanta started again on Sunday and posted another shutout, this time an easy 5-0 win over the Devils in which Raanta posted 19 saves. If you streamed Raanta on Sunday, hold him until Tuesday to see if he gets another game. This certainly isn't going to last, this is Lundqvist's team, but ride the hot wave while you can. At the least, Raanta is a must-stream every time he gets the nod. Let's take a look at everything else that happened over the weekend: