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.
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!
There wasn't a lot of action the last two days after the All-Star Break, but sadly we saw what certainly appeared to be a severe injury. Linus Ullmark has established himself as the clear #1 goalie for the Sabres this season playing at a league average level. He collapsed to the ice on Tuesday against the Senators with what appeared to be a bad leg injury. There hasn't been an update yet, but I would be surprised to see if he ends up out for the season. So what does that mean for the Sabres and for us fantasy hockey players? Well, the Sabres are far from the best situation, but Ullmark has been serviceable. Carter Hutton has been one of the worst goalies in the league, so unless he has a bunch of good starts in a row, I have no interest in using him. I suspect that Jonas Johansson is called up from Rochester. Johansson is a former third round pick who was an AHL All-Star this season. He's taken a huge jump forward as he was serviceable in the ECHL last season but that's about it. However, goalies are strange and perhaps he catches lightning in a bottle. I wouldn't rush to add him, but he's a name worth monitoring. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
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:
Not sure David Pastrnak even knows who Christopher Columbus is, but he sure dominated on his day Monday. Pastrnak won the game for the Bruins scoring all four goals on five shots. Two of those goals were on the power play, he chipped in two penalty minutes, and finished +1. I generally don't like to lead off posts talking about superstars, but I feel obligated to give Pasta props for a four goal game. The top seven going into the season were pretty clear for me but who was eighth was a debate. I ultimately decided on Draisaitl but went with Pastrnak in the nine spot. So far, so good. Look for the Bruins top line to dominate on a nightly basis. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
As a companion to my Top 200, this post is going to cover the big preseason news from the last few weeks, along with the players that I'm targeting at the end of drafts in standard 12 man leagues. In 12'ers, the waiver wire isn't a complete wasteland, so my goal is to shoot for the moon and hope that our late picks break out in a big way. Last season, my favorite target was Elias Lindholm and we all know how that worked out. We're barely over a week away from the season starting so it's time to buckle down and adjust our board wherever necessary. Let's break down what I've been looking at:
We're at the end of individual rankings! Almost 15,000 words later, we've ranked the top 100 forwards and 40 defensemen. Now, we conclude that with my goaltending rankings. I'm going to start by talking about my goaltending strategy for drafts, then split the goalies into tiers. I'm not going to go in-depth on every goalie, just the ones that I feel are worth talking about, mostly because I'm higher or lower on somebody. The reason I don't want to go very in-depth on every goalie is that the variance on goaltending from season to season is massive. In other words, even the best goalies have poor seasons from time to time, and guys will come out of nowhere to have excellent seasons. Did anyone know who Jordan Binnington was a year ago? The public certainly did not. Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss were afterthoughts for most. Darcy Kuemper was the backup and wasn't drafted outside of deep leagues. Those goalies were the 3rd-6th ranked goalies at the end of the season. This is why I never draft goalies in the first two rounds, and never more than one in the first 7-8 rounds. If you like to have one presumed top end goalie, that's fine, go for it in the 4th-5th rounds if they're still there. Just do not reach, because the range of outcomes in goalies is incredibly wide, while forwards and defensemen are much more certain. Any other questions on this, let me know in the comments section below. Here are my tiers:
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 fifth stop on the 31 in 31 tour, the Vancouver Canucks! The Canucks have had a busy – and awfully confusing – off-season. Nonetheless, their top-six got much better and their prospects got a year older.
Detroit's season has been over for months, but they haven't mailed it in. The Red Wings have won six in a row and it starts with their first line. Of late, Tyler Bertuzzi has been on an absolute tear. He had two goals and an assist with five shots on Tuesday, his fourth consecutive third point game! That brings him to 21+26 on the season with 32 PIM and a +13 rating, a great number on a poor team. So what's his value going into next season? It's hard to say. He looks great with Larkin and Mantha, but what if the Red Wings bring someone else in and he's not there to open next season? The PIM also aren't at the elite level I had hoped like his old man brought. I do like Bertuzzi a lot for deeper leagues, but for him to be a play in standard leagues, he'll need to get his shot rate up and maintain the role he's had to finish the season. You don't need streaming on Thursday or Saturday given the massive schedules, but if you need a guy, Bertuzzi is a great choice while he's hotter than hell. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: