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!
First off, sorry for the delay in getting a post up following the trade deadline.  I'm in Vegas to see the Sabres Friday night and with the snow in Buffalo, traveling issues came up cutting into my time to write.  Anyways, this seems like a good point to highlight certain things around the league that are having an impact in fantasy hockey.  Next week, I'm going to start with my playoff manifesto so everyone in head to head leagues can plan ahead in regards to streaming and bottom end holds.  Let's get to it!
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:
The first week after the All-Star Break is always an interesting one to navigate for fantasy hockey, especially in head to head leagues.  We have a bunch of teams that are on a bye week making some short schedules.  This makes streaming a necessity, so for today's post, I'm going to go break down every day's schedule and highlight some players I'd like to stream.  Let's get to it!
Life without Couturier hasn't been as good without Claude Giroux.  He started the turnaround on Thursday night.  Giroux scored two goals and two assists with three shots and two PIM in the 5-3 win over Carolina.  That brings Giroux up to 17 points in 22 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but the shot rate is the best of his career.  75 shots in 22 games is a huge step forward, and if that continues, we could be looking at a new career high in goals.  Yes, he only has 7 to this point, but we could be on the verge of a heater.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Brayden Point made his season debut on Thursday for a big showdown with the Maple Leafs.  Unsurprisingly, he started right where he left off, scoring two goals and adding an assist with five shots in the 7-3 win.  The Bucs beat the Argonauts!  Anyways, we know how good Point is and that he's an elite options in all formats.  A couple other takeaways from this game.  One, Point went on the first line with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, who had four points each.  If that line sticks together, watch out.  Two, the new fifth person on the top power play unit was Anthony Cirelli, who ended up with three assists, two on the power play.  I'm a big fan of Cirelli's game but he didn't get the opportunity.  Now, he is centering the second line and on the top power play unit.  He's a must own in all formats.  Three, Tampa Bay really is the better version of Toronto.  The defensemen on Toronto just can't keep up.  I mean, Cody Ceci?  Even Rielly and Barrie aren't good defensively.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The first draft pick in Vegas history, Cody Glass, scored the first goal of his career in his first game, a 4-1 win over the Sharks.  First, the good news.  He played with Mark Stone (G+A) and Max Pacioretty (A, 5 SOG) which puts Glass in a great position to succeed going forward.  He also played with these guys on the power play.  The bad news: his minutes were down because Gallant doesn't trust him defensively yet.  Whenever they had a defensive zone start, Stastny started on the ice and would go off for Glass if they exited the zone.  Yes, it's only a defensive zone start, but on a team that transitions as well as Vegas does, the more minutes the better, and Glass didn't cross the 15 minute mark.  I'm good with picking him up if you want the upside, but let's not go crazy spending a lot of FAAB on Glass.  I like him plenty long term, and perhaps Stone drags him into be a hold all season, but it's far from a guarantee.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the first two nights of the season:
We are reaching the end of my forward rankings as I complete the top 100 today.  Drafts are starting to approach, so my plan is to power through defensemen and goaltending by the middle of next week so everyone has my rankings available.  Again, for those who haven't seen my earlier rankings, you can see them here.  Let's get to it! 81) Jonathan Toews - I'll be sliding up Toews 5-10 spots forward spots from here when I update as this was an oversight on my part.  Toews set a career high in both goals and assists last season with 35+46.  The PIM are always solid and the shot rate is better than average.  The question is how sustainable are the points?  The previous three seasons he had 58, 58, and 52 points in 80, 72, 74 games respectively.  An increase in shot rate also came with a big jump in shooting percentage over the last two seasons, so color me a bit skeptical.  That said, 65ish points with solid secondary numbers has plenty of value in the middle rounds.
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 ninth stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we start up our Central Division breakdown in Music City with the Nashville Predators. The Preds are still on the cusp of something great, but their results have only regressed since their 2017 Finals appearance. To land one of the free-agent big fish, they had to salary dump a big fish of their own. In a Central that looks as competitive as ever, here’s who the Preds will rely on to finish back on top.