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.
The player with the most points this weekend was Connor. No, not McDavid. Kyle Connor continued his terrific season with two amazing games. First, he scored a goal and dished three assists against the Senators. Then, he followed it up on Sunday by scoring two goals and an assist with five shots in the win against the Blackhawks. That brings Connor up to a point per game on the season, 26+30 in 56 games. Connor is developing into one of the unheralded stars in the league. Overshadowed by Scheifele and Laine on his own team, this will be Connor's third straight 30 goal season at age 23. His shot rate is over three per game now and the penalty minutes have jumped quite a bit. I'm not sure how much higher his ceiling is, if at all, but it doesn't have to get higher. Connor has established himself as a player whose floor is 30+30 with plenty of upside from there. He's going to be a top 50 player (conservatively) for a long time, mixing in seasons where he's a top 25 player overall when he has some good fortune. The Jets are in terrific shape going forward offensively, now they have to do whatever they can to improve their blue line. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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!
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?
The last lottery pick for the Washington Capitals has really come into his own. Jakub Vrana had an incredible weekend, starting with two goals on eight shots against the Sabres. He followed it up with a hat trick on five shots against the Flames on Sunday. That brings Vrana to 9+5 in 16 games with just under three shots per game. He's a main stay on the second line and second power play unit, so the question is whether or not he's a hold. For now, I lean towards yes. I don't think it'll last all season, but Vrana is playing excellent hockey right now and I want to take advantage of it. The 23 year old has made a jump in every season of his career and looks to be down that path again. Given that he had 24+23 last season, another slight improvement will get right right onto the fringe. Vrana isn't an automatic add given that Washington has only two games this week, but I'm holding onto him while Vrana has his foot on the accelerator. Let's take a look at what else happened this weekend:
While general sports fans were watching playoff baseball (Go Braves!) or Sunday Night Baseball, hockey fans saw one of the best performances of the season take place on the first weekend. Anthony Mantha scored four goals on eight shot, including the winner in the last minute of the game, to beat the Stars 4-3. This comes after an incredible performance in his season opener in which he scored a goal and two assists with five shots and four penalty minutes in the upset win over Nashville. In both games, the players on the top line were at or above 20 minutes each. That's extremely encouraging for their long-term success. Obviously we're not expecting Mantha to be a top 25 player all of a sudden, but the potential is there for 30 goals, 50 PIM and a very good shot rate. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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 12th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re heading South, wayyyyy South to look at the Dallas Stars! With a great team defence and consistently great goaltending, the Stars found themselves a goal away from playing in the WCF. With their secondary scoring questions answered and a few loose ends tied, this team is looking like an absolute wagon in this log-jam of a Central.
Hey everyone! I'll be starting my rankings next week, but for now, I'll be writing a post on offseason winners. Losers will be coming tomorrow. There has been plenty of player movement that I haven't broken down yet so we might as well get right to it! WINNERS Mikhail Sergachev - I already wrote a sleeper post on Sergachev that you can read here.
One of my favorite late round gambles on the blue line this season was Erik Gustafsson. Gustafsson played 35 games last season and has 16 points and two shots per game. That doesn't sound great, but that was with zero power play time and limited minutes. Keith and Seabrook were falling off a cliff giving Gustafsson prime opportunity. He took advantage of it and then some. Gustafsson dished three assists on Monday night while putting a shot on goal and adding 4 PIM. That brings Gustafsson up to a whopping 17+42 with 34 PIM and almost exactly two shots per game. That's with 18 STP, a number which could be higher if he played on PP1 all year. So what do we make of Gustafsson for next season? Well, it's early to say. I think these numbers are mostly sustainable as long as Chicago doesn't add a PP specialist in the offseason. I don't expect them to with the young guys they have coming, especially Jokiharju, but there's always a chance. Gustafsson looks like he'll be a solid #3 next season, possibly a bottom end #2. The goals will probably come down a bit, but 40+ assists should be a near lock with Chicago's style and strong PP, and he's average in PIM and shot rate. If he's going to be better, it's because he takes a few more shots. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday night:
We've reached the finals in almost all formats making this the best time of the year in fantasy hockey. That's if you're still in, of course. I will continue the weekly previews that I've been doing over the last few weeks to provide some strategy and planning ahead in regards to streaming. Again, this is meant to be a compliment to the Playoff Manifesto, not a replacement, so be sure to check that out as well here. Let's get to it!