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!
It's my favorite day of the year! It's the NHL Trade Deadline, and I'll be updating this post throughout the day with instant analysis on every single move. I'm starting this post now with moves over the weekend and will start up again around noon EST and be here through the hour after the trade deadline. Let's get to it!
Andre Burakovsky has gone back and forth between bottom end hold and elite streamer for most of the season. Right now, we're in one of his upswings again. Burakovsky had a goal and three assists in the 6-1 Colorado win over the Sabres on Tuesday. That's a whopping 10 points in the last 4 games and 14 in the past 8 for Burakovsky. He also has Ottawa, the Kings twice, and Buffalo again over the next three weeks. He's an easy hold while he's on fire and the schedule remains incredibly soft. 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:
It was only a matter of time until Mikko Rantanen had a big game. The Finn had his second career hat trick on Saturday, scoring on all three of his shots against the Devils. Please, blog, may I have some more?
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:
Things can change quickly in hockey. Matt Murray led the Pens to two Stanley Cups, then struggled mightily last season and to open this year. Now, Murray has caught fire once again. The netminder had a 33 save shutout on Friday against the Jets. That means in his last 6 games, he's allowed 6 goals total with his worst save percentage being .931. We've seen the upside before, and that's of a top 5 goaltender, if not more. First off, he's somehow available in 15% of leagues, which is absurd. If you're lucky enough to be in one, grab him immediately. Two, if you own Casey DeSmith, you can safely drop him. Lastly, I doubt you'll be able to trade for him given his hot run, but I'd much rather do that than sell high. The upside of Murray is too high to pass on, and with the Pens playing as well as they lately, the floor is fairly high too. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
You don't need me to tell you how good Evgeni Malkin is at hockey. I'm still flabbergasted that he wasn't one of the players in the NHL 100 because he's clearly one of the best 100 players ever. Certainly better than Toews or Keith. I also wanted to use the word flabbergasted in a sentence. Oh, yeah, so about that Malkin fella. He scored his 12th career hat trick on Tuesday night as the Penguins kept rolling against the Sharks. Malkin is well over a point per game, gives great penalty minutes, and the shot rate remains over three points per game. As I always say about Malkin, just stay healthy! As noted here, the playoff schedule is rough for the Pens, but Malkin should definitely help you get to that point. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Here's what I said about Jonathan Marchessault in my season preview of the Florida Panthers: "Jared McCann and Jonathan Marchessault are the two Panthers I can see taking a late flier on in deep leagues... Marchessault scored 18 points in 45 games for Tampa Bay last season despite averaging only 12 minutes of ice time per game. When Tampa was hit with injuries, Marchessault filled in admirably. If Florida was hit by the injury bug, I could see both of these guys becoming relevant in 12’ers; for now they are potential waiting for their chance." And that's me quoting me! Well, Florida did get struck by the injury bug and while McCann didn't provide much value this season, Marchessault certainly did. The return of their two best players hasn't hurt Marchessault at all. In fact, it's helped him on the power play. He recorded his first career hat trick in the 7-0 win over the Blackhawk, which also included four shots and four PIM. That brings Marchessault's totals to 28+20 with 34 PIM and 2.5 shots per game in 67 GP. Not bad for a guy the Panthers signed for $750k for this season and next. The Panthers have an interesting offseason ahead to determine how their forward core is going to look next season. Regardless, I think Marchessault is worry of a late round pick next season. I don't think there's more upside than what he's doing this season but there's no complaints with a 34+25 per 82 games when he's not hurting you elsewhere. I expect the Panthers to be back in the playoffs next season with Marchessault providing some nice depth behind the big guns. Let's take a look at what else happened this weekend around the league:
Cory Schneider has been a mainstay among the top of goaltending rankings for the past few years in fantasy hockey. To say this year has been a disappointment to this point would be quite the understatement. The good thing is that there's plenty of time for him to turn the tide. Schneider had his first shutout of the season on Thursday making 16 saves in the 4-0 win over the Flyers. Yes, it was a great spot for the Devils but regardless, they took it to the Flyers and Schneider stepped up when called upon. I would ask Schneider's owner about a trade and see if you can buy low on him. He's established himself as a true #1 fantasy goalie for years and I think he plays that way the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two days: