It's that time of the year! We are rapidly closing in on the fantasy hockey playoffs, and to help everybody out in terms of streaming and bottom end holds, I am back with my playoff manifesto. For those that are new here, I will break down the schedule of every team in the league over the last four weeks of the NHL Season (that means games starting with this Monday, 3/9) and highlight anything important, both good and bad. A few things to note before I get going.
It's safe to say that at 26 years old, Jonathan Huberdeau has plenty of hockey to play in his career. The scary thing is that he's going to destroy the Panthers point record. In Sunday's big win over the Maple Leafs, Huberdeau had a goal and an assist to pass Olli Jokinen for the most points in franchise history. After last season's breakout campaign where Huberdeau had 92 points, he's on pace to blow by that this season with 61 points in their first 45 games. The shot rate has fallen off to slightly below average, but I don't think anyone who drafted Huberdeau is complaining. He's a safe bet to finish as a top 20 overall player this season, and since he's entering his prime along with some of his other teammates (notably Barkov), the future is incredibly bright. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I'm a big fan of the revenge game and Semyon Varlamov had one on Monday night against his old team in Colorado. Varlamov had a 32 save shutout to earn the 1-0 victory. I have a few points on Varly. One, he's proving to be the #1 goalie we hoped he would be when he went to the Islanders. Barry Trotz has the best defensive system in the league. Two, how the hell wasn't he an All-Star? He's clearly had the best season for goalies in his division. I get having Korpisalo because the Jackets need a representative, but Holtby? Come on, Varly has been much better. Anyways, keep rolling the Isles goalies. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Things escalated over the weekend with the Devils holding out Taylor Hall from two games due to precautionary reasons. A trade is on the horizon, and all indications are that the team wants to get a deal done before the trade freeze on the 19th. There's no guarantee that it happens, but Shero seems to want to make the big move now. So what does that do for Hall owners in fantasy? Well, if you're in a weekly lineup league, you have to bench him this week. The Devils already don't play until Wednesday this week, and if Hall is still on the team then, I highly doubt that he plays. There's also the chance that there are some visa issues for Hall when he is traded which causes him to miss a game. This is a clear blow to the rest of the Devils. Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, and Kyle Palmieri all lose a big chunk of value. I would still hold Palmieri, but in redrafts, I think I would cut the other two guys and only look to stream them. The Devils are really devoid of talent on the wings and as good as Hischier and Hughes are going to be, I doubt it will be consistently good for this entire season. Let's take a look at some other things going on around the NHL:
We're back with part two of this two part series. In today's post, I am going to talk about the rest of the league that I didn't talk about on Monday and hit on one or two things that are interesting for fantasy hockey. After today, I will be back to normal daily notes on Wednesday. Let's get to it! MONTREAL CANADIENS Montreal is falling apart at the moment having lost their last eight games. Carey Price has been a disaster with his season numbers below .900 sv% and his GAA above 3. It's to the point where I wouldn't be playing him every night. With the Islanders on the second of a back-to-back, I don't mind playing him tonight, but I definitely wouldn't play him against Colorado later in the week.
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.
We are almost done with forwards as we'll get through the top 80 forwards after this post. Reminder that I will go through the top 100 forwards, then go to an overall top 200 at the end where more forwards will be added. To see my top 60 forwards, you can go through this link here. Let's get to it! 61) Joe Pavelski - It is going to be weird seeing Pavelski in a Stars uniform. He's coming off a great season with the Sharks with 38 goals and 26 assists in 75 games. I do have a few concerns though. One, he shot 20.2% last season, a number surely to regress. That success covered up the second point, that his shot rate dropped down to 2.5 per game, quite a down tick from previous levels. Three, he's 35 years old now, and while I don't expect a massive dropoff, we probably have seen the best of Pavelski. On the good side of things, the Dallas power play should be incredible, and odds are Pavelski will get to play with one of the other star forwards. Two seasons ago, Pavelski had 22+44. I do think the assists go back up towards that number in Dallas, but the goals probably go back below 30 unless the shot rate goes back up.
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!
On January 3rd, the St. Louis Blues were in last place of the entire NHL. Here we are six weeks later and they're safely in a playoff position. The Blues have matched the longest winning streak in the NHL this season at 10, winning two games this weekend in convincing fashion. First, Jake Allen shutout the Avalanche, then Jordan Binnington shut out the Wild on a back to back. Right now, Binnington is as hot as it gets in the league. I don't expect this to continue, but for now, he's a must start every time out. I still view Allen as somewhat of a desperation play, but with how well the team is playing in front of him, I'm fine with streaming him for the time being. Looks like a coaching change was what they needed to right the ship. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It was only a matter of time until Vladimir Tarasenko picked up his play. Tarasenko had four goals over the weekend, including a hat trick on Sunday, in two games against the Predators. That gives him an eight game point streak to get to 22+19 on the season. Obviously that's still disappointing, but there's time for him to salvage the season. Hell, the Blues are even in a playoff spot now because of how bad the Western Conference is. Look for them to make some additions at the deadline because of all of the moves they made in the summer. Missing the playoffs would be a major disappointment, and creating depth for the lineup would help things out for Tarasenko. The buy low window is probably closed but there's a strong chance that he's a top 30 player the rest of the way. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: