The NHL season starts up again tonight so there’s no better than now to give a preview of the second half. I’m going to focus this article simply from a fantasy perspective; my article yesterday focused on things to look for (link here). I will look at players and teams that I like moving forward (in both redraft and dynasties) and would try to avoid for the rest of the year. Let’s get to it!
Things That I Like:
Pittsburgh Penguins – The offense is finally starting to come together and should continue its recent form. Sidney Crosby has been outstanding for a month and could easily lead the league in points from this point forward. Kris Letang is close to a point per game on the season and continues to get big minutes. With the recent form of the power play, it should only get better. Patric Hornqvist is racking up shots and should benefit from Crosby’s passing. Phil Kessel should start to take advantage of his opportunities while Evgeni Malkin should play as well as he has all season. Carl Hagelin has played well since his move to Pittsburgh and has huge value in leagues that include hits; he’s fringe in 12’ers if you don’t need the special teams points. Marc-Andre Fleury has the best save percentage and goals against average of his career and should start to get more wins. All in all, there’s a lot to like here. I doubt you can buy these guys low since they’ve shown signs but if you can, do so.
Anaheim Ducks – They’ve been a bigger disappointment than the Penguins have; none of their players have lived up to their pre-draft value besides John Gibson. That said, they are the third best possession team in the league and have been the unluckiest team in the league when it comes to PDO (PDO = Shooting Percentage + Save Percentage while on the ice). Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are too talented to play at this level all season. Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg have been great for a few weeks and are worth owning in 12’ers now for the upside they’ve shown. David Perron has played on the first line since his arrival and at the least, is worth streaming, but should be a hold going forward. Finally, Shea Theodore could be the next Shayne Gostisbehere which would be outstanding. If you’re out of contention in a dynasty, make sure to grab him. He should provide plenty of value for the rest of this season too with the top power play time.
Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid – Everybody knows how much I like these two by now. Eichel has dominated over the last 6 weeks with 20 points in his last 18 games while McDavid returns from his injury tonight against the Blue Jackets. It should be great watching these two for the last 2.5 months for the year. Both should be close to a point per game for the rest of the season which is mind-blowing at their age and with reduced scoring around the league. In dynasties, I’m sure they are unattainable but they’re both top 5 assets going forward. In redrafts, I’m sure you can’t get McDavid now that he’s back; his owner waited it out so no reason for a trade now. Eichel would be a great addition selling high on some of the players I mention later.
Benoit Pouliot – This is a bit off the board compared to the other things I like but thought it was worth mentioning. I’ve been ahead of the pack on a few guys lately. For example, I’ve been streaming Vladislav Namestnikov for months and said he was a hold before his hat trick. Same goes with Andre Burakovsky, among others. Pouliot is owned in less than one percent of leagues yet I’m predicting he’s a hold in the near future. He’s been solid to this point of the season with 22 points in 41 points but he’s getting the opportunity to play with McDavid tonight and going forward, along with Jordan Eberle. He has never had the chance to play with talent like this and with how well the first line is currently doing, teams can’t focus all of their attention on this line. If Pouliot plays the last 32 games of the year for the Oilers, I expect him to get 20+ points with good numbers across the board.
The Trade Deadline – I talked about this yesterday here but it’s worth discussing again briefly. I’m going to do a live blog the day of the deadline to give instant feedback instead of making you wait for my thoughts. This will allow you to make swift moves instead of being behind the eight-ball. There will certainly be plenty of value changes, for good and bad, around the league and could give you the extra boost you need down the stretch run.
Being Active – This sounds straightforward but I love it when owners are active, especially in dynasties. If your team is in contention, don’t be afraid to move a future piece for help now. On the other end, if you’re near the bottom of the standings, sell your older players for help down the line. Be on top of things so you can get the best players you need for your situation before they go to your competitor. If you want my thoughts on players going forward or prospects you may not be familiar with, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Things I don’t like:
Ottawa Senators outside of the Two Studs – Erik Karlsson is arguably the best player in the NHL so there are no worries with him. Mike Hoffman is a true sniper who is taking a ton of shots and finally get the power play time. The rest of the team, however, is a big mess. They’re the worst possession team in the league, they allow the most shots in the league and have horrible depth. Bobby Ryan is somebody I’ve expected to slow down for months but it hasn’t happened yet. I’d sell high when you can though because the situation is set up for failure. Mark Stone has been awful for a month plus while Kyle Turris has fallen apart and is currently injured. In dynasties, I’m not panicking with Stone or Turris, especially Stone who is still only 23 years old. For the rest of the year though, I’d try to sell these guys off before their value greatly decreases. It wouldn’t shock me if the Senators are the worst team in the NHL from this point forward.
Devils besides Cory Schneider – I haven’t bought into the Devils all season outside of how good of a goalie Schneider is. With Michael Cammalleri out injured, this greatly weakens the depth of their roster. Adam Henrique fell off the first time Cammy was out injured, Kyle Palmieri has no history of producing at this level and Lee Stempniak hasn’t shown the ability to be consistent throughout his career. Add in that their possession has fallen off and that the division is stacked outside of Columbus with Philly and Carolina coming on and the Devils will be hard-pressed to keep up their early success.
Fringe Players on Bad Teams – This is a generic statement but holds water. The bad teams around the league are only going to get worse when the trade deadline comes around. This will cause the teams to have worse goal differentials and consequently bury you in plus-minus. We obviously aren’t going to extremes here e.g. hold on to Brandon Saad but I wouldn’t be streaming guys on these teams outside of desperation, let alone holding them.
Andrew Ladd – Despite being in last place in their division, the top players on the Jets have been great fantasy assets outside of Ladd. He’s struggled by his high standards and things are about to get tougher. He’s going down to the third line with how well Nikolaj Ehlers has played and this is really going to hurt Ladd. There’s some discussion about him being traded and while it wouldn’t shock me if the Jets moved their captain, I don’t think it happens. He’s somebody who is 100% owned currently that I expect to be dropped in 10’ers and possibly 12’ers if things really go south.
Lazy Owners – Going to be quick about this but be on top of things in your league regardless of where you are in the standings. Nobody likes an absentee owner so don’t hesitate to call out people in your league if they aren’t on top of things. I’m sure others will be thinking the same thing as you and will be glad you did.
Tuesday’s Streamers – With 12 games on the docket, there won’t be much use for streaming tonight. Nevertheless, I’m still going to give you my top 3 options. Here they are:
Benoit Pouliot (0.7%) – See above
Andre Burakovsky (1.7) – He’s absolutely on fire right now and should be owned everywhere while he’s on the second line. Don’t understand why he’s this low owned; grab him.
Teuvo Teravainen (16.1%) – Because he didn’t play in the All-Star game, Jonathan Toews is out for tonight’s game. Teravainen should take his place putting him in a great position to succeed.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back tomorrow with my normal daily notes. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Take care everyone!