Week 3 in the NHL was a tough one for many Fantasy Managers. In many cases you likely found yourself with only 80% of your players playing their scheduled games and struggling to keep pace in your league or weekly matchup. You weren’t alone if those points sounded familiar. In week 4 we hope to learn from those struggles and give you helpful advice for the week ahead. Perhaps we’ll keep an add or two until the late portion of the week just in case we need a goalie to fill in or a couple of hits to put us into the win column.
COVID-19 News + Notes
COVID-19 and its associated protocols ran rampant throughout the United States NHL teams this past week. The New Jersey Devils made headlines with a whopping 17 players in the NHL COVID-19 protocol while Buffalo’s situation garnered a lot of attention, and rightfully so. Ralph Kruger, the team’s head coach, tested positive mid week followed by their games being postponed and additional players being put into the leagues protocol. In the last 24 hours even more Dylan Cozens and Curtis Lazar were also added to the leagues protocol list.
As of February 16 of the 24 US NHL teams had been affected by COVID-19, a total of 41 players were in NHL COVID-19 protocols and a total of 26 games had been postponed around the league. These are whopping numbers but all things considered I believe that we should be crediting NHL and its leadership group for managing the young season very well to date. An encouraging sign came Friday when the NHL announced that it had rescheduled 27 games which had previously been postponed:
My advice to Fantasy Managers reading this article is to consider splitting up some team stacks that you may have on your roster. While traditionally loading up on players from the top scoring lines in the NHL has been a successful trend, in 2021 this could prove to be costly for your team’s success knowing that entire series between teams are being postponed until future dates in the NHL. If you were lucky in week 3 you were not heavily affected by the postponed games, but looking around your respective leagues you’ll see that some of your fellow managers have lineups with 5+ players missing due to their games being postponed.
Teams playing 4 games this week
If you followed our advice last week and added a few players who’s teams played 4 games on the week you are surely seeing the benefit that a few extra SOG, Hits or BS can have on your weekly totals. Here is the list of teams who suit up 4x this week:
- Nashville Predators
- Ottawa Senators
- New York Rangers
- Philadelphia Flyers
- St. Louis Blues
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Vegas Golden Knights
- Washington Capitals
Teams playing 2 games this week
Simply because a team has only two games on the week doesn’t mean you should look to cut or trade key players from those teams. As we mentioned last week, try and keep your expectations in check for those players and if your going to drop a player or two, consider your fringe players from these teams first:
- Anaheim Ducks
- Buffalo Sabres
- Colorado Avalanche
- Minnesota Wild
- New Jersey Devils
- Pittsburgh Penguins
Fantasy tip of the week
Last week we talked about setting our lineups for the week well in advance of puck drop Monday night. This week we are going to build on that very basic tip and recommend you take that one step further. Map out your games played for each day of the week from Monday to Sunday, then repeat the same process for your opponent and compare. Should you find yourself sitting more than 5 games played behind your opponent you need are projecting to lose, even with a stronger roster. Conversely if your sitting with more games played than your opponent understand that this should be a successful week for you. Lastly, always look to maximize the games played on your roster over the course of a week. We’ll get further into that point in week 5!
Dave Carey – Follow me on Twitter @ 87_Carey