We're back for part two of the Playoff Manifesto.  For those that didn't read Part One, you can read that here.  Today, we will cover the Western Conference.  To see the template of which I'm working with, check out the details in the Eastern Conference post.  For this one, let's get right to it! ST. LOUIS BLUES: 4, 3, 3, 3 This is pretty much the worst streaming schedule possible.  There are only three teams that don't have a back-to-back over the last four weeks.  We'll get to them later in this post, but at least their games are more bunched together with a 4,3,4 in the first three weeks for both.  They're every other night the first two weeks, then have two days off in the middle of the third week, before finishing every other day.  Honestly, there's not much to say here.  Thirteen games is average so hold the usuals, and don't stream Blues.
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:
He's backkkk.  Justin Williams made his return on Sunday, totaling three shots on goal in 13 minutes of action before scoring the shootout winner for the Hurricanes.  So what should we expect from him going forward?  Well, the Hurricanes are in a bigger dog fight for the playoffs than expected, so I do expect Williams' workload to ramp up sooner than later.  He skated on the fourth line in this game, but there's a spot for him right now in the top six that's currently occupied by Foegele.  It should only be a matter of time until he fills that role.  How much does that matter?  Well, we know that Williams is a great source of shots.  He pushed close to three per game last season while totaling 53 points and 44 PIM.  That sounds like a guy firmly on the fringe to me.  I wouldn't be rushing to grab Williams, especially with Carolina only having one game between now and January 31st, but he's back to elite streamer status with the upside of being a bottom end hold.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
James Neal opened the season on an absolute tear, a stretch that included a four goal game.  He fell off dramatically over the last two months, but he had another massive game on Tuesday.  Neal had a hat trick and an assist in the 7-5 win over the Rangers.  So should we care?  I mean, the Rangers are a disaster defensively.  And the answer is... yes and no.  What great advice!  It all comes down to your team needs.  Neal has been excellent on the power play and should continue to do so on Edmonton's first unit.  The goals are going to keep coming in.  On the other hand, he's -23 and has only eight assists on the season.  If you're desperate for goals and power play points, or are in a league with extra categories that include PPG, then there's a case to hold Neal.  Otherwise, I would prefer to stream him so he doesn't tank my plus-minus while also giving less assists than any other fantasy relevant player.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three nights:
Loyal Razzballers know that I've been a big fan of Juuse Saros for a while.  He's had a tough start to this season, but I still believe in the player long term.  Saros was less than two minutes from a shutout on Tuesday, making 24 saves on 25 shots in the 2-1 win over the Sharks.  His overall numbers are still poor, but the Predators have started to tighten up defensively.  Saros is still only 24 years old and is one of the best long term goaltending prospects.  Saros is starting to see even more action starting five of the last eight games.  There's real upside here so if you need goaltending help, I'd grab him now.  Additionally, I would try to get him in a dynasty league before he boosts his value back up.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It was only a matter of time before Vegas got on a heater.  The Golden Knights won their fourth straight game on Tuesday night and Jonathan Marchessault led the way.  Marchesssault scored a hat trick on a whopping 9 shots on goal to beat the Devils 4-3.  While Marchessault hasn't quite gotten back to the level he was at in his first season in Vegas, he has been very good this season.  He has 8+13 in 30 games with an elite 104 SOG.  If anything, we should expect more goals because even after this hat trick, he's still at a career low shooting percentage.  I'm expecting Vegas to go on a massive run soon and Marchessault should be at the forefront.  This is also a good point for anyone looking to make a futures bet to place a wager on Vegas to win the Cup.  No, I don't think they're the best team, but you can get them at 20 or 22-1 at the moment and they might have the best chance in the league to make the Conference Finals given the weak division.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
The gap between Brad Marchand and the rest of the league right now for fantasy hockey is incredible.  Marchand scored five points on Monday, tallying two goals and three assists and a +4 rating.  It's nothing new, but the first line in Boston has managed to find a way to get even better.  Marchand is crushing every category with 10+18 in 15 games with a +13 rating, 28 PIM and 41 SOG.  He's as good of a bet as any to finish as the #1 player in fantasy this season.  Honestly, he'd be my pick as long as he avoids a lengthy suspension.  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:
Yesterday, I wrote about the winners of the NHL Offseason, so I think you can see where this is going.  For those that missed yesterday's post, you can check that out here.  Now let's go to the other side of the spectrum and get some Beck in here, or Three Doors Down if you're into that kind of thing.  Here's a breakdown of the biggest losers!
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 third stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re in Sin City covering the Vegas Golden Knights! After a movie-script-esque inaugural season, Vegas saw no Sophomore Slump, securing the #3 seed in the Pacific Division. Their recent stockpiling of former Atlantic division studs has left them cap-strapped, and they have had to deal away a couple of their players they absolutely SNAKED from opposing GMs. According to most sites, the Golden Knights have the highest odds to win the West. Here are the players that may make that possible: