We've finally reached the final four weeks of the regular season.  That means fantasy hockey playoffs!  This post is meant to help you plan for this specific week on a micro-sense.  For the macro picture, check the the Eastern Conference Playoff Manifesto here and the Western Conference here.  We'll take a look at every day this week and point out the best streamers to use or what games to target.  Let's get to it!
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!
It's my favorite day of the year!  It's the NHL Trade Deadline, and I'll be updating this post throughout the day with instant analysis on every single move.  I'm starting this post now with moves over the weekend and will start up again around noon EST and be here through the hour after the trade deadline.  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:
For years, Patric Hornqvist has been an easy hold in fantasy, but last season brought some doubt if the 32 year old would get back to that level.  Injuries have set back Honrqvist this season, but his first three games back have been strong, namely the last two.  On Thursday, Hornqvist scored two goals on eight shots in the 3-2 loss to the Sharks.  So why am I excited for Hornqvist?  One is the shots.  He's pushing three per game which brings plenty of value.  Two is the top power play time on a strong unit.  Three, and this is the main one, is that Sidney Crosby should be returning within a week or so, and given the injuries Pittsburgh has suffered, it seems likely that Hornqvist ends up playing on his wing.  This would do wonders for his value and give him the chance to be a solid hold again.  Hornqvist is available in almost two-thirds of leagues right now which makes him an incredible speculation add in all formats.  If he can stay healthy and plays with Crosby, we could get borderline top 100 value the rest of the way from Hornqvist.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
Who had Noel Acciari scoring seven goals in one week this season?  Alright, who had Acciari scoring more than seven goals this season?  After Acciari scored a hat trick last Monday against the Senators, Acciari managed to follow it up with another hat trick plus an assist against the Stars on Friday.  Acciari scored again on Saturday against Carolina completing one of the craziest weeks we've ever seen from a depth hockey player.  So should we care?  Probably, yes.  He's playing with Jonathan Huberdeau who is piling up assists looking to feed Acciari at the moment.  The problem is that Acciari isn't getting power play time yet, but he could get PP2 time sooner than later.  However, he still played over 17 minutes last game without the power play time which is enough to have value.  He's the epitome of a hot schmotato so I would look to stream him against Tampa on Monday and carrying that into Saturday's game against Detroit.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There weren't that many notable performances over the last two nights, but the big win came from the Wild going into Tampa Bay and emerging victorious.  The ultra-rare line with two players with Z last names led the charge as Mats Zuccarello had a goal and two assists with two shots while Jason Zucker had a goal and an assist with two shots.  Zuccarello is on a nice tear lately with 9 points in the last 9 games.  He's had moments of being a hold in the past, but that time is not now.  He's just under 1.5 shots per game which eliminates Zucc as a hold.  However, he's moving to the second tier of streamers.  Zucker is a tier above Zuccarello, but he's still only a top end streamer.  You simply can't shoot over 20% forever.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Three years ago, Ben Bishop was the #1 player in fantasy hockey.  The following year, he struggled in Tampa, then they moved him to Dallas.  Last season, Bishop was solid, but he's been at his best this season.  Bishop posted a shutout on Tuesday, stopping all 28 shots he faced in the 1-0 win over the Rangers.  Injuries have hurt his volume, but Bishop is approaching a 2.20/.930 stat line.  That is pushing towards being the #1 goalie in the league again.  He won't end up there because of the lack of starts, but with the Stars battling for the playoffs, Bishop has the ability to win people fantasy titles this season.  The Stars play 14 games in the fantasy playoffs (more details on their schedule here) which is the most of anyone in the league.  Look for Bishop to be a massive difference maker down the stretch.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
To say the season for Philadelphia as been a mess is an understatement.  First they fire Hextall as GM, then the mess last week of Hakstol being fired as coach, only to still be the coach for a couple days as new GM Chuck Fletcher said no decision has been made, only for Hakstol to be fired anyways.  They were in last place in the Eastern Conference on Monday when Fletcher decided to recall Carter Hart.  The 20 year old is arguably the best goaltending prospect in the league, and he received his first NHL start on Tuesday.  Hart saved 20 of 22 shots against the Red Wings getting his first career win by a score of 3-2.  Look, I'm not saying Hart is a future superstar.  Goaltending is extremely unpredictable and it seems like Philadelphia has been cursed in net for a while.  However, he has as good of a chance as any young goaltender to be a starter for years to come.  For that alone, he's worth grabbing in all formats, especially dynasties.  Who knows how long that Fletcher keeps Hart on the big squad, but it seems like he should be up going forward.  Either he plays so well they have to roll Hart, or they fall out of it completely and want to get him more playing time.  There's no guarantee it's good now either, but I doubt another goalie with more upside will show up on the waiver wire later on in the season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: