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!
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.
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:
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:
Loyal Razzballers know that I've been a big fan of Juuse Saros for a while.  He's had a tough start to this season, but I still believe in the player long term.  Saros was less than two minutes from a shutout on Tuesday, making 24 saves on 25 shots in the 2-1 win over the Sharks.  His overall numbers are still poor, but the Predators have started to tighten up defensively.  Saros is still only 24 years old and is one of the best long term goaltending prospects.  Saros is starting to see even more action starting five of the last eight games.  There's real upside here so if you need goaltending help, I'd grab him now.  Additionally, I would try to get him in a dynasty league before he boosts his value back up.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
For two periods, the Red Wings were locking the Canucks down defensively.  They went into the third period up 2-0 but that lead didn't last long.  In fact, the Canucks ended up scoring five goals in the third to win with ease.  They were lead by their captain, Bo Horvat, who had his first career hat trick in the victory.  Loyal Razzballers know how much I like Dr. Bo as a player.  It's been a slow start, but here's why I'm buying Horvat (and another Canuck I'll talk about later).  One, Horvat is shooting the puck at an excellent rate.  He's over three shots per game on the season.  Two, and the main reason, is that Horvat is back on the first power play unit.  In fact, two of his goals came on that unit.  There's a ton of potential in that group and Horvat should be a beneficiary.  He's an easy hold and should push the top 100 going forward.  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! Sven back with another 31 in 31. 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 third stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re in Sin City covering the Vegas Golden Knights! After a movie-script-esque inaugural season, Vegas saw no Sophomore Slump, securing the #3 seed in the Pacific Division. Their recent stockpiling of former Atlantic division studs has left them cap-strapped, and they have had to deal away a couple of their players they absolutely SNAKED from opposing GMs. According to most sites, the Golden Knights have the highest odds to win the West. Here are the players that may make that possible: