Week 7 NHL Fantasy Preview

Hello again everyone and welcome back for another week of NHL previews. We hope that you are improving the state of your team weekly and managing to have fun during this difficult 2021 Fantasy Hockey season. Last week we talked about being active in managing your team by adding/dropping players with the goal of maximizing your games played over the week and into the following one. Keep that up over the next weeks, we are into the part of the season when some of your fellow managers will fall of in their activity and potentially in the standings too. Keep focused and keep grinding, the difference between making and missing the playoffs is often just a few points. This is where consistent managers start to pull away from the pack. Over the next week we are looking to catch up with our readers and open ourselves up to some more specific questions or topics you’d like to see us break down.

COVID-19 News + Notes

COVID-19 is back in the NHL but once again I want to give some commendation to the NHL and NHLPA for working extremely hard to manage the COVID-19 protocols and continue to protect players without worrying about the potential cost of games being delayed. Bottom line its the right thing to do and with the exception of a messy stretch from weeks 2-4 the NHL seems to be fairing well. Somewhere in between the tight ship that the NFL ran and the guinea pig race that the MLB ran in 2020. As of Feb 28 the following players are currently in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol”

  • Kaapo Kakko NYR
  • Travis Konecny PHI
  • Tomas Hertl SJ
Games per day

The week ahead yet again is pretty balanced from a games per day perspective. That means less sit/start decisions on the busiest 3 days of the week – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. A more balanced games per day allows for us to feature a few more players from teams which we believe to have a matchup advantage over opponents without running the risk of having to bench others.

  • Monday – 7
  • Tuesday – 8
  • Wednesday – 6
  • Thursday – 10
  • Friday – 6
  • Saturday – 12
  • Sunday – 8
Teams playing 4 games this week

Last week 19 teams saw their schedule include 4+ games on the week. Again in week 7 it will appear as if listing teams who DON’T play 4 games would prove to be prudent. None the less, lets list them out:

  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Calgary Flames
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Dallas Stars
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Florida Panthers
  • Minnesota Wild
  • Nashville Predators
  • NJ Devils
  • NY Islanders
  • NY Rangers
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • San Jose Sharks
  • St Louis Blues
  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Vegas Golden Knights
  • Winnipeg Jets
Teams playing 2 games this week
  • Detroit Red Wings
Players to Add in the week

In week 6 we looked at three players, all forwards, that Fantasy GM’s could look towards for some straight forward reasoning: Games played per week, positive game scripts and output in a variety of categories. These didn’t all come through for us and its a good point to keep in mind that when looking to players with sub 50% ownership we’re throwing darts at results we hope to achieve, not guarantees.

  • Sam Reinhart (C, RW) BUF – Through 4GP, 2G, 2A, 3PPP, +1, 10SOG, 2HIT
  • Brandon Saad (LW,RW) COL – 3GP, 5SOG, Had a baby Wednesday, -2, 1BS
  • Nino Niederreiter (LW,RW) CAR – 4GP, 7SOG, 4HIT, 1BS

Jean-Gabriel Pageau (C) NYI 44% Owned

  • 4 GP on the week
  • 7G in his last 9GP
  • 20.5% Shooting Percentage
  • 33 Hits, 20 Blocked Shots
  • 2 Short Handed Goals on the season
  • +4 on the season

Drake Batherson (RW) OTT – 14% Owned

  • 4 GP on the week
  • Plays against CGY 3x on the week who have a concern in net with a seemingly minor injury to Jacob Markstrom
  • 6G in his last 7 GP
  • Adds accessory stats in 36 Hits 15 Blocked Shots on the season
  • Plays the Point on PP1
Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2014 Nickin Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Flyers 1-0 in the shootout. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Nick Leddy (D) NYI – 15% Owned

  • 4GP on the week
  • 7A in his last 8 GP
  • Plays on the 2nd Pairing with Scott Mayfield and plays PP2
  • NYI are 7-4 in their last 11 games
  • 9th on the season amongst defensemen with 12A

Brian Elliot (G) PHI – 32% Owned

  • 922SV% on the year prior to his shutout against Buffalo
  • Coming off of a shutout in his last start
  • Has split time with Carter Hart on the season
  • Has a better SV% and GAA than Hart
  • Plays for an outstanding team which has been without its top Center for much of 2021 Sean Couturier
  • Plays Pittsburgh 3x in the weak and will surely start 1 of 3 games
Players to Drop this week

Tomas Hertl (C, LW) SJ57% Owned

  • Hertl has been added to the COVID-19 protocols and will miss a total of 14 days
  • On the year Hertl has 6G,5A, -5 with 33SOG, 14HIT and 10BS
  • He will surely sit on waivers, unclaimed and allow you to pick him back up upon his return from COVID protocols

Dylan Larkin (C) DET – 73% Owned

  • Only 2GP on the week
  • Only contributes in SOG and FW
  • You’re probably looking for a reason to cut ties with him and any other Red Wings players you have shares of
  • -7 on the season
Lopsided Matchups

Last week we began talking about matchups which we would look to key in on. Toronto drew Ottawa 3x in one week and the top guns for the Leafs made it count across a multitude of stat categories for Fantasy Managers. You didn’t need to have Auston Matthews or Mitch Marner to realize the advantage adding Maple Leaf players and we are going to continue that in this week’s matchups.

Let move on to week 7 and review a fun stat from another great industry stat provider at www.puckbase.com. We have workable sample sizes which and are going to focus on two key categories:

  1. GA per game: This is an average of the amount of goals that a team allows per game. Ottawa is currently ranked worst in the league averaging 3.96G/gm allowed while the TB Lightning are 0.01 ahead of VGK at 2.05G/gm allowed.
  2. GF-GA: This compares the amount of goals for to the amount of goals against on average per game. Again we have Ottawa ranking worst in the league but if we look a little further then you can find a team like Anaheim who is currently 5th worst at -0.86. This speaks to the amount of goals we expect them to produce per game and gives us a good reason to target against them. A good time to apply this stat would be when selecting a goalie to stream.
  1. Colorado Avalanche(9-6-1) – The Avalanche play the Sharks 2x and the Ducks 2x. With the Avalanche coming off a stretch of games against VGK they have been relatively flat from a fantasy perspective and would benefit from some games with weaker opponents. SJ has allowed the 2nd most goals against per game at 3.71 while Anaheim ranks 5th worst in )GF-GA) on the season at (-0.85). Colorado is full of players on the fringes of fantasy relevance such as Kadri, Saad, Toews and Graves which you can add this week with 4GP and likely positive stat lines.
  2. New York Islanders(10-6-3) – The Islanders play the Sabres 3x and the Rangers once. Thats 4GP on the week against some teams currently without star players. Buffalo is without Jack Eichel who is DTD with a lower body injury while NYR are without Artemi Panarin who has taken a leave of absence from the team. These are all plus matchups and before you factor that each of these opponents are currently without their respective top player. Again I’m going to recommend you look at the fringe players from the Islanders this wee for additions to you roster as steaming options or players you hold for another week.
Fantasy Tip of the week

Make a trade! Simple and straight forward, make a trade… one that improves your team. There are a variety of ways to do that which I specifically recommend you explore:

  1. Trade away the 3rd+ player you have from the same team. Too many players from the same team isn’t a winning strategy.
  2. Trying to Buy low or Sell high on a player
  3. Capitalizing on team schedules and trends
  4. Pivoting off players of concern – injuries, line changes, special teams changes

This week I’m going to talk you through a universally applicable method that you can use, regardless of the sport or the stakes. Its simple advice that anyone can apply:

  1. Take a look at each of the other GM’s rosters in your league
  2. Try and identify any weakness’ they may have
    • A weak set of goaltenders
    • Too many players from the same team
    • Injuries or postponements
    • A poor defensive group
    • Very low scoring in a certain category
  3. Take a look at your roster and list the top areas of strength you have
  4. Look to find a GM that would benefit from your strengths
  5. Reach out to that GM and identify that you see an opportunity for a deal to come together
  6. Make a strong offer which benefits you slightly more that your opponent
    • Given the work you’ve done finding this trade partner it should be a deal to your benefit, at least slightly
  7. Negotiate as you will from that point on

Good Fantasy managers will be doing these types of reviews several times per year with aspirations to complete one or two trades with every other GM in the league. This provides the best opportunity to uncover which other GM’s will be most receptive to your offers and keeps your interests in line with improvement week to week.

I appreciate those of you who have been following along with my weekly NHL Fantasy Previews. Your suggestions and feedback go a long way towards shaping future points of discussion and are always viewed as helpful. Feel free to reach out, comment and share with anyone you play Fantasy Hockey with. I’m always up for some hockey talk. May your season continue to trend up!

-Dave Carey

Follow me on Twitter @87_Carey and @fantasymarksmen

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