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 second stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we visit the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks season can be summarized by Katy Perry’s 2008 hit “Hot n Cold”. They showed signs of being one of the elite, and signs of being a defensive nightmare. Despite their captain’s departure, this team still has a very good core with a few years of window left.
The scores of some of the games over the last two days may have been surprising, but nothing compares to Mike Smith going into Smashville and shutting out the Predators. Smith stopped 43 shots he faced in the 3-0 win over the NHL's Stanley Cup favorite. So what do we make of Smith? Well, facing 43 shots isn't a recipe for success. On the other hand, the Flames have a lot of star power, and Bill Peters has a system that generally leads to puck possession (the downfall in Carolina was goaltending, plain and simple). Smith gave up a bunch of goals to Vancouver last week, so these three games sum him up perfectly. You never know what you're going to get, and it's going to make for a wild ride in head to head leagues. At the end of the day in roto leagues, he should be a solid #2, especially given the volume he's likely to get. Let's take a look at what else happened over the past two nights:
It's not exactly breaking news that John Tavares moves the needle for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He showed why he was worth the mammoth contract on Sunday, scoring a hat trick on seven shots with two PIM in the 7-6 win over the Blackhawks. The main thing that I want to talk about here is Toronto in general. This offense is incredible, but they also remain a sieve defensively. I have a hard time treating them among the truly elite teams in the league until that is tightened up, at least somewhat. That's why I picked them to finish third in the division again. But for us in fantasy, stream everyone you can for the Leafs, and against them for that matter. I'd have a hard time playing any goalie against them right now; it better be someone that's damn good. They're a fantasy gold mine on both sides. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
The Chicago Blackhawks are in last place in their division for the first time in what seems like an eternity. They are lacking in the scoring department in a big way. There's one easily move that Joel Quenneville can make to help their cause: play Alex DeBrincat more. The 20 year old scored his second hat trick of the season on Thursday while adding an assist. He's now tied for third on the team in points and second in goals. However, on a per-minute basis, he scores more goals than anyone on the team by a country mile and he's incredibly close to Kane in points per minute. DeBrincat is averaging under 15 minutes per game on the season and to be blunt, that makes no sense to me. The Blackhawks aren't completely dead in the water, especially if Corey Crawford eventually returns (it's been reported that he could return to the ice "soon"). Either way though, getting DeBrincat more ice time helps the team now and helps his development. He's playing at a 28 goal pace with bottom six ice time! DeBrincat is an elite streamer in 12'ers right now but if his minutes increase as they should, I would bet he becomes a hold down the stretch. Let's take a look at what happened in the NHL over the last two nights:
Am I shocked at how well the Jets are doing? No. Reid and I talked about the Jets' ceiling on the Central Division podcast and we said that second place is certainly within the realm of possibility (I guess we sold them a little short, first is in play). Long term readers know how much I love Connor Hellebuyck. The only reason I was scared off a bit for redrafts is that Kevin Cheveldayoff said that Steve Mason would be their starter to open the season. Well, Mason was lit up in his first game as a Jet and the rest is history. Hellebuyck continued his outstanding breakout season over the weekend, saving 30 of 31 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Flames on Saturday, then a 29 save shutout in the 1-0 win against the Canucks on Sunday. Hellebuyck is currently the #2 goalie on the season, and while there's a chance he falls off a little bit (I'm certain he'll finish as a #1G), I think he's solidified himself as the #2 goalie in dynasty leagues. The Jets are going to be really good for a long time and Hellebuyck will be a big reason and also a beneficiary of the talent around him. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The best line in hockey from last season is at it again. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each had five points in the two Boston wins over the last two nights. Marchand started off with a goal and an assist with three shots in the 4-1 win over Montreal, then bettered that with a goal and two assists with three shots against the Islanders. Bergeron dished two assists on Wednesday before getting his second hat trick in the last two weeks on Thursday. Bergeron is now one point short of being at a point per game while Marchand is well over that, sitting at 1.28 ppg, third in the league. Marchand has provided slam dunk first down value, just exactly what you hoped for when you selected him this year. Bergeron has managed to surpass expectations on a per-game basis. If he didn't miss time, he'd be a top ten forward on the season. These guys are the main reason why the Bruins are one of the best teams in the league and a major Stanley Cup threat if they can manage to upset the Lightning. For our purposes, keep rolling them in seasonal formats, and if you're someone who fires multiple DFS lineups every night, I would make sure to have a Bruins stack on at least one team every night. The upside is simply too high to ignore. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
What the Vegas Golden Knights are doing in their inaugural season is nothing short of spectacular. The only thing I've ever seen like it is Leicester City fighting off relegation before winning the Premier League title the next season at 5000-1 shots. Sure, Vegas was nowhere near that big of a long shot, but to have the best record in the West is remarkable. On Tuesday, they beat their top competition, the Nashville Predators, 3-0. Marc-Andre Fleury led the way with a 28 save shutout. It's a shame Fleury was injured this season because he's been great in 9 of 10 starts. Fleury has won 8 of his 10 starts with a GAA below 2 and save percentage above .940. It's safe to say it will regress some but I'm well past the point of thinking Vegas is going to regress. This team is real and Fleury looks like he'll be a slam dunk #1 fantasy goalie for the rest of the season and going forward. Just a remarkable story that I can't get enough of. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Hey, everyone. I’m Lackeydrinksonme, a Buffalo sports fan and thus a budding alcoholic. I play fantasy everything, and I’ve been in Viz’s fantasy hockey threads for a while now... I’ve also been handing out intermittent advice based on what I’ve seen and gleaned from the world of hockey. I’ve taken a unique approach to my fantasy hockey this year, and have worked to maximize player starts.
Once you get outside of the top 200 overall, you're looking at the last 2-3 picks in a standard 12 man league. There are a few different ways you can go about making your last few picks. You can shoot for upside, get a couple safe players if you already have plenty of upside, fill out your last couple defensemen, grab a goalie out of desperation. I'm going to list a bunch of players in different categories that fall outside of my top 200 that you can target depending on what you're looking for. I'm not going to go into detail on these guys but I will put them in my order of preference. Here is my list: