Welcome to a fantasy hockey column that is off the beaten path. It is a work in progress. The goal is to give you a four week blow by blow digest of what is going on. Whether it has gone wrong or right, the idea is go through the past, present, and future in a different way. Fantasy hockey owners do not have it easy this time of year. Lots of events can happen that are not always in our hands. Let’s dig in.
Today’s edition will be very short due to time constraints. Coming editions will feature different insights from around the NHL, the fantasy landscape, and beyond.
Overall, there are four games on the docket. Boston and Chicago play at 12:30 pm ET. The teams combined for 11 goals yesterday in a wild affair. One of two things happen. Either, this goes completely dead or bonkers. Frankly, a little of both may occur. This is a game where streamers could be in long supply. This is all about taking risk. Most fantasy hockey playoffs get underway tomorrow (some did this week). Looking to the top sixes is fine but if desperate, explore some bottom six streamers. Take a few risks. If one is trying to maintain, look at what your opponents are doing. Do not panic though. One of the biggest mistakes is to make a reactionary move that does not pan out.
The Evening Games
Dallas and Pittsburgh is expected to be the fun game. With Pittsburgh not getting rest, and that glaring no goal last night, expect some fireworks. This is more of the same with the usual top six suspects. Pittsburgh’s power play looked good against Toronto and may do so against Dallas. The problem is that the Stars are one of those teams that normally does not take a ton of penalties. Vancouver and Arizona is the game which features the most volatility. There are streamers that can be picked on by the plenty. Keep in mind, these are two teams which do not have a ton of fantasy hockey ownership. Antti Raanta has been frequently scooped up but the forwards and even defense are in play for Arizona. Calgary going against the New York Islanders is intriguing only because the Islanders have little to play for but pride arguably. They are nine points out of a playoff spot. Ten points out this time of year usually means see you next season.
The Mathew Barzal show continues. Watch him on the power play and the second line. At some point, do not be surprised to see him get some top line time sprinkled in. He has shown little signs of slowing down and possession wise has been a major driver for New York. His point a game pace has buoyed many fantasy teams. Calgary will have the “3M line” against the Tavares trio. This should free up Calgary’s top line against the second line in what should be a battle.
Lessons From Saturday
This time of year comes down to think but do not overthink. What the hell is he talking about? Nashville and New Jersey was by far, the most unexpected result. Top lines did not do very much aside from Sami Vatanen, who scored again. He now has 13 points in 14 games. Most of the other games kind of went along the lines of what was expected. Ryan Spooner now has 12 points in his last seven games and has fit right into the New York Rangers top six.
Again, it comes down to sense and sensibility this time of year. Getting too cute often backfires more than it works. St. Louis blowing out Los Angeles was the “it was bound to occur eventually” game. Those things happen. Washington shut down San Jose as the Sharks have had trouble scoring lately. It seems like the early season issues have resurfaced including a dormant 5 on 5 attack. Vegas struggled a bit with Buffalo yesterday and needed a shootout. With the injuries mounting there, expect a few games like that from the Golden Knights. They play on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday this week.
Antti Niemi is still pretty good. He did not get the win against Tampa Bay but delivered another quality start on Saturday, He stopped all but two shots and had 30+ saves. If one needs a stopgap, he will be owned in the single digits most everywhere. Finding patches to fix the leaks is key especially this year. Goalie injuries seem to be at an elevated risk along with the injuries in general.
Advice For This Week
Watch the balanced schedule. Also, note teams that are on extended road trips like New Jersey (California trip). Monday features eight games and Tuesday only seven. That will surprise some people. Be aware of that.
Good luck today and as always, I will be on Twitter all day @ChrisWasselDFS.