The end of the NHL regular season, and therefore the normal fantasy season, is upon us. Insert all of the sad face emojis here. Once the regular season is finished, I will set up a bracket challenge for all of us Razzballers on nhl.com so be sure to be on the lookout for that next Monday. But for now, more important things, winning your championship! I’m going to put some basic guidelines for what I’d be looking to do with your team the last few days to position yourself as best as possible. Let’s get right to it!
The first thing to do is set your lineup for Saturday. But wait Viz, today is Friday! <checks calendar> Damn, you’re right! But that’s not the point, the point is that every single team in the league plays on Saturday. Set your lineup for that day so you know what players on your team are expendable. The skaters on your bench should be the guys that you cut for streamers tonight (assuming you’re in a redraft and not a keeper) or on Sunday unless they play on one of the following teams: Sabres, Blue Jackets, Flyers, Islanders, Ducks, Capitals. Those teams play either tonight or Sunday and are the teams with players we will be looking to stream. I’d at least keep one of your backup goalies in case one of your starters sit (more on that later).
Which skaters should you be starting? Unlike other sports, you don’t see many guys sitting out in hockey at the end of the season. That said, players on teams who are fighting to get into the playoffs, battling for seeding or to make a good impression are generally the way to go. For example, the Ducks are trying for their division title while the Avalanche have given up on the season. Get your Ducks in your starting lineup. The Red Wings, Bruins and Flyers are going for two spots so get all of their players in. Same goes with the Stars and Blues as they battle for first in the Central.
The next thing to do is grab guys from tonight’s game (Buffalo versus Columbus). Obviously if any of the studs are available, grab them. Otherwise, go to my favorite streamer, Sam Reinhart, first, then I’d go Johan Larsson, Alexander Wennberg and Oliver Bjorkstand for forwards. If you need a defenseman, I’d go with Casey Nelson. Neither goalie is confirmed at this point but I’d look for Chad Johnson and Sergei Bobrovsky to get the starts, especially Johnson.
The games are spaced out throughout the day on Saturday so keep an eye on late scratches and especially who is starting in goal. Unless you’re certain that a goaltender in a late game is going to start in a later game, I’d start a goalie earlier in the day over him just to make sure you get the start. Obviously, if you’re in a head to head league and you’re winning the categories with ease, you have the option of waiting for later goalies and sitting them if you’re ahead in those categories. But in general, I’d be looking to start goalies earlier in the day, especially on those teams I mentioned above since the game means something to them.
Lastly, once 12:30 hits on Saturday and the rosters are locked for the day, cut anyone to get guys from the Islanders, Flyers, Ducks and Capitals. My preference would be guys on the Ducks if the game determines whether they win the Pacific or not. Jamie McGinn would be my first choice because you’re looking at some thin options e.g. Andrew Cogliano next. Philadelphia players would be my next choice if the game decides whether or not they make the playoffs. Grab the highest owned guys available. There’s the chance Alex Ovechkin sits if Patrick Kane doesn’t catch him in goals before the game which would be unfortunate for his owners. Again, grab the highest percentage owned guys available for both the Capitals and Islanders. If you want a deeper option, I would go with Shane Prince since Anders Lee left injured on Thursday and there’s little reason for him to be rushed back.
That’s all for now guys. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below and I’ll answer them as soon as possible. I’ll post on Monday with details about the playoff pool and an RCL recap. Best of luck to everyone over the last three days of the season. Take care!