Hey everyone!  While there are still a bunch of teams that have their bye this week, it’s nowhere near as many as last week.  The lack of games made it the lightest week of the season and leaving little to talk about fantasy wise.  Therefore, I’m going to use this post to make one fantasy hockey prediction for each team for the rest of the season.  We’ll be back to the usual daily notes on Wednesday and Friday this week.  Let’s get going!

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There have been a few big games by individuals this season but Patrice Bergeron’s on Saturday is the new leader for the best of the year.  Bergeron scored four goals and added an assist with seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Hurricanes.  Bergeron was the second player this year to score four goals after Alex Ovechkin.  Per usual, Bergeron is crushing all of the categories.  He’s playing around a 40+35 pace while already having a +19 rating, solid PIM and pushing four shots per game.  Bergeron is a slam dunk top 50 player for the rest of the season who should push towards the top 25.  Again, the top line in Boston is as good as it gets and Bergeron is at the forefront of their success.  That line just gave up their first goal against at even strength all season!  Remarkable stuff.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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Hey, everyone.

This is being written before my Buffalo Bills face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the playoffs. I’m predicting 17-14 Bills.

As you might know by now, my managing style and what I discuss in my advice column is maximizing games played and putting more skaters on the ice that your opponent. I use data pulled from my own league as well as the two RCL’s to give this idea some supporting data, so let’s hop to it.

Using the Active Stats tabs from my most competitive league as well as the two RCL’s, I’ve compiled a table of every matchup we’ve played this year (I finally added weeks 11-13 to my master sheet!) Out of 580 data points, managers who have played ten or more skaters (as of the end of week 13) than their opponents are 65-5-6. 65 wins, 5 losses, 6 ties. Even 5 more players on-ice than your opponent moves your meter considerably closer to the Wins column (from a coin-flip to winning 62% of the time). Yes, some teams might have better players, or might put up more points (G+A), but nothing correlates more accurately to a Win than the difference of games played between teams. Points, goalie starts, you name it… the bottom line is, you want to put more decent skaters on the ice per week than your opponent, and wins will follow.

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Winnipeg cooled off the red hot Oilers on Wednesday night winning 4-3.  They’d probably trade that win if it meant Mark Scheifele wasn’t injured.  The Jets superstar center fell awkwardly into the boards in the second period and did not return.  This is mostly guesswork on my part but from watching a ton of hockey over the years, it looked like Scheifele severely damaged his shoulder or collarbone.  Either way, we could be looking at a significant absence.  What does it mean going forward for the Jets in fantasy hockey?  I think we see the top two lines get their minutes evened out.  Consequently, it would give a small boost to Laine and Ehlers while a slight down tick to Wheeler and Connor.  The potential winner is Bryan Little.  Little scored a goal in this game on three shots and played over 21 minutes.  The Jets lack a true replacement as a top six center so it’ll be interesting to see what the Jets lines look like tomorrow in practice and during the next game.  My speculation: Little becomes must-own, one other player becomes a streamer (Armia?) and not much else changes.  Here’s to hoping Scheifele isn’t out too long for everyone.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Wednesday night after a three day hiatus for the NHL:

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Ryan Getzlaf has been killing it for the Ducks since they were known as The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.  He’s been bald for that long too!  Getzlaf missed extensive time this year due to injury but he’s been great when in the lineup.  He had his best game of the season on Thursday dishing four assists and adding two shots in the 5-4 OT win over the Islanders.  To be honest, he wasn’t even the best player on his team for fantasy (more on that guy later), but Getzlaf’s fantasy impact is much greater.  Getzlaf now has 2+13 in only 12 games so far.  He played almost 25 minutes in this game which just goes to show you, everything is in place for Getzlaf to get back to being a top 50 player for the rest of the season.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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Reid and I talked about Tristan Jarry extensively on last week’s podcast.  We said that he should be picked up immediately with Matt Murray out for at least a few weeks, mostly because the Penguins had a back-to-back against the hapless Sabres.  Well, Jarry delivered and then some in both games.  He started off with a 34 save shutout in Buffalo before allowing 1 goal on 33 shots in Pittsburgh on Saturday.  The schedule isn’t great this week with the Rangers, Islanders, and Maple Leafs on deck, but they’re all at home.  At the least, Jarry is a nice spec add to see how things go against better competition.  He’s still available in over 70% of leagues so go grab him now.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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Jake Guentzel started awfully slow this season after an outstanding playoff run for the Penguins last season.  He’s started to pick things up and had his best game to date on Monday, scoring two goals and an assist with six shots in the 5-4 OT win over the Flyers.  That gives Guentzel six goals in his last six games, more than he had in his first 20 games combined.  He’s actually benefited quite a bit from Evgeni Malkin’s injury as Guentzel took his spot on the first power play unit.  That said, I’m hoping Malkin slides between Guentzel and Kessel on the second line when he returns which should really help Guentzel at even strength.  Obviously he’s a must own but here’s to hoping Guentzel keeps building on this and pushes towards being the top 50-75 player that was expected from him after leading the Stanley Cup Playoffs in goals.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Monday night:

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All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year.  Sure, it’s only two games, but boy did they have some excitement.  On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third.  Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time.  Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory.  To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season.  Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him.  The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals.  At least for now, I’m not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either.  Let’s take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:

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After the season from hell in 2015-16, the Columbus Blue Jackets took the NHL by storm to begin last season and never looked back.  Their goalie won the Vezina Trophy, their rookie defenseman was a Calder finalist and a bunch of their forwards broke through in a big way.  Now, they have some more young forwards on the way and made another blockbuster trade bringing in Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad.  Let’s take a look at what Torts is working with:

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At this time last year, the Columbus Blue Jackets were a trendy pick to make a jump into the playoffs. Let’s just say that almost any chance of that was shot down in the first two weeks of the season. The Blue Jackets starting 0-8 and lost the first 7 by at least 2 goals. The team was a complete mess leading them to fire their coach and hire John Tortorella, who let’s just say belongs nowhere near an NHL bench. They also altered the core of their franchise with the Seth Jones – Ryan Johansen blockbuster and look for the team to breakout post-hype. The Jackets have a lot of interesting young forwards along with some older guys who still carry plenty of value so let’s take a look!

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