Week 9 NHL Fantasy Preview

David Carey – March 14, 2021

We’re back and happier than ever to have a few minutes of your attention again this week. I want to start out by saying thank you to the wave of viewers that joined us in week 8 and gave out some positive feedback. As content providers, the goal is to put as much pertinent information in front of you as possible, without sounding like a spreadsheet. Its a bonus when the feedback comes in such waves from readers. Without waiting any longer lets get back to helping YOU with “Sniping the Competition”.

Right out of the gate this week we have some important time frames for you to be aware of. We are now passing the middle of the NHL Fantasy Season! Most leagues will be wrapping up by week 16, given the shortened season you’ve got less time on your hands to work your way back into the playoff picture. Next up, Trade Deadline.. For most leagues this will take place between April 1st and April 10th unless your league has this customized. Be sure to check your league settings or ask your Commissioner if you’re unsure of where this falls. Lastly, playoffs for h2h leagues. Standard playoff schedule will take place from weeks 14-16.

Team Trends

One of my favorite things to keep tabs on! Here is a snapshot of the best 5 and worst 5 teams around the league over their last 10 respective games played. From a fantasy perspective we can relate high level fantasy production to trending teams and vice versa with cold players on bad teams. In week 8 we took a look at some goalies who’s stats lined up with their teams success’/failures. Now into week 9 let’s take a look at the +/- factor for skaters over the past 14 days:

  • Positive Impacts
    • Alex Pietrangelo (VGK)  +10
    • Devon Toews (COL) +9
    • Mattias Ekholm (NSH) +8
  • Negative Impacts
    • Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF) -12
    • Brady Tkachuk (OTT) -9
    • Pavel Zacha (NJ) -9

Outside of the appearance of Mattias Ekholm the players correlate with their team’s recent success or lack their of. Examples of this nature are helpful when weighing out the pros and cons of owning a player like Ristolainen who contributes heavenly in hits and is owned at a 66% rate.

COVID-19 News + Notes

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The biggest COVID related news of the week came Thursday when Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK) entered the NHL protocols shortly before being cleared to play Friday against St Louis. As of Friday March 12th 3 players were in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol:

  • Kyle Turris – Edmonton
  • Olli Maatta – LA Kings
  • Will Butcher – NJ Devils

Unlike the start of the NHL season, I now fully expect NHL organizations to control and limit the exposure from players testing positive or being deemed a close contact. When Kyle Turris entered the protocol early in the week I didn’t give much more though to the situation when that could have full well been an issue that affected some of the top players from the Oilers including NHL superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Games per day

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We’ve got 3 heavy nights that stick out to me this week. First off Monday is going to be much busier than usual with 10 games, followed by Thursday and Saturday combining for 34 of the 56 total GP. We’re going to have a few players sitting on our benches, specifically on Saturday. Look to pivot onto some players who’s teams play on M/W/F/Sunday if you want to maximize your GP on the week knowing that you’ll have an overflowing lineup 1-2x on the week.

  • Monday – 10
  • Tuesday – 7
  • Wednesday – 6
  • Thursday – 10
  • Friday – 5
  • Saturday – 14
  • Sunday – 4

Teams playing 4+ games this week

Its hard to ignore the Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay schedules in week 9 as they play 5x. For a few of you’re weaker players their Saturday game is likely to be spent on the bench. Use these references wisely when planning out your week ahead.

  • Boston Bruins
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Calgary Flames
  • Dallas Stars
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Florida Panthers
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Nashville Predators
  • NJ Devils
  • NY Rangers
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (5) 🚨
  • San Jose Sharks
  • St Louis Blues
  • Tampa Bay Lightning (5) 🚨
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Vegas Golden Knights
  • Washington Capitals
  • Winnipeg Jets

Teams playing 2 games this week

This would be an ideal week to be playing against an opponent with a Matthews/Marner stack. Additionally, both Ottawa and Columbus feature some fringe level fantasy players who are likely to be dropped by a significant amount of owners this week.

  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Toronto Maple Leafs

If you unloaded some of your Calgary players last week I’m sure you’re on track with my reasoning here knowing that you can easily double your GP on the weak after dropping a player who was widely added like Drake Batherson was during Week 7. This week you’ve got a 5-10 players from the 3 teams listed above which won’t hurt you to drop. Use those drops during the end of week 8 if your format contains a 1 day waiting period if possible.

The Snipers Corner – 60 and under

Justin Rosser March 14, 2021

I write an article every 1-2 weeks on players that are under 60% owned and should be considered adding that have potential upside, to see any of my previous articles go to “THE SNIPERS CORNER – 60 AND UNDER“. This week i will be adding a small segment to Dave’s Week 9 Preview article.

Kieffer Bellows (LW, RW) NYI: 4% Rostered

Bellows was drafted by the New York Islanders in round 1, #19 overall in the 2016 entry draft, just to put it in perspective of the value he has to the Islanders. He has also been well over a point per game player in all the leagues he played in, up until the NHL.

With the injury to Anders Lee (placed on LONG TERM IR) on New York’s top line, Kieffer got his chance with the top dogs(M. Barzal & J. Eberle); In only 14:52 ice time, Bellows made a monster impact collecting 2 goals, +2, the GAME WINNING GOAL and 3 SOG. This is a sleeper add and you could probably wait it out a couple more games before the curve catches up and see what he is really made of, but why not take a shot if you have the roster space available.

Bellows is currently NOT on a power play line, but if he indeed picks up where Anders Lee left off, he should earn a spot eventually.

UPDATE: In his second game in, Bellows has already moved up to the second power play unit. πŸ“ˆπŸ“ˆMARCH 14, 2021

Also remember to check out my last weeks “BUY LOW SELL HIGH” article i wrote, this weeks release should be Monday or Tuesday

Justin Rosser March 14, 2021

Players to Add this week

Kasperi Kapanen (LW,RW) PIT – 30% Owned

Source: https://pittsburghhockeynow.com/kasperi-kapanen-pittsburgh-penguins-mike-sullivan-explains-ice-time/
  • 5 GP on the week
  • Plays L2 with Evgeni Malkin
  • In week 8 he posted a 2G/3A/+3 stat line and fortunately tallied 2 GWG
  • Plays NJ 3x between Thursday and Sunday, NJ is allowing 3.57GA per game since returning to action
  • +12 on the season – if you’re league includes this category consider it a bonus

Tomas Hertl (C,LW) SJ – 46% Owned

SAN JOSE, CA – JANUARY 29: San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) celebrates his first-period goal during the San Jose Sharks game versus the Vancouver Canucks on January 29, 2020, at SAP Center at San Jose in San Jose, CA (Photo by Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
  • 4 GP on the week
  • Returned from the COVID-19 protocol Friday Mar 12th and score 1G/1A
  • Centers L2 and plays PP1
  • Contributes with hits averaging over 1.0 per game during his career

Ryan McDonagh (D) TB – 18% Owned / Erik Cernak (D) TB – 15% Owned

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81) takes a shot during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Buffalo N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
  • 5GP on the week
  • These guys play together on Tampa Bay’s 2nd pairing
  • McDonagh is dependable for blocked shots while Cernak contributes with Hits
  • Cernak has added 5pts in his last 4GP
  • Both are great options to stream for the week and are easily picked up and dropped for back to back games in category leagues

Thatcher Demko (G) VAN – 69% owned

Thatcher Demko makes a save for the Vancouver Canucks. photo: Dan Toulgoet
  • Has taken over as the starting goalie in Vancouver
  • 5W in his last 6 Starts
  • In the last 14 days has a 1.78GAA and 948SV%
  • Relative to his pre-season outlook may be available in trade at a discount as compared to his current performance, even if not available in free agency

Players to Drop this week

Drake Batherson (RW) OTT – 39% Owned

  • Only 2GP on the week – Mon / Wed
  • Has recorded 1pt in his last 5GP
  • -6 in his last 5GP
  • OTT had a glimmer of hope for a period of about 2 weeks but reverted back to losing 5 of their past 6 games

Pekka Rinne (G) NSH – 28% Owned

  • NSH has lost 6 of their last 7 games, Rinne has been in net for all 7 of those games while Saros has been on IR
  • 10GA in his last two starts
  • Starts week 9 off with a matchup against TB followed by FLA
  • Has a 3.22GAA and .893SV% on the season

Stats Central

Goalies are an extremely important part of the puzzle in Fantasy Hockey and become even more valuable as the season nears the Fantasy Playoffs. The main categories categories in play are Wins, GAA, SV%, SO and Saves. Some are affected by the team performance (GAA) quite heavily while others are a better indicator of individual performance (SV%). Credit goes out to www.quanthockey.com this week for the stats through Friday March 13th.

Save Percentage(SV%) Leaders

Goals Against Average(GAA) Leaders

Wins (W) Leaders

Shutout (SO) Leaders

Some repeat names appear at the top of most of the categories featured in standard scoring: Vasilevskiy, Fleury, Varlamov and Grubauer. These are the elite of the NHL this season and I expect that most of the championship winning rosters will contain 1-2 of these names. If you were to make a bold move towards the trade deadline of your league see if any of these goalies are able to be traded for. I believe they are worth sacrificing a significant asset.

Lopsided Matchups

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins vs New Jersey Devils: These teams hook up 3x in 4 games spanning Thursday through Sunday. Pittsburgh will have just played Boston twice and should be coming into action against New Jersey with some jump in their step. Conversely New Jersey has looked like they’ve regressed by a few steps since returning from the COVID-19 protocol realted postponement February 16th. In 14 GP since they’ve managed only 4 wins and averaged 3.57GA per game.
  2. Montreal Canadiens @ Vancouver Canucks: Inside the first 10 games on the season Montreal and Vancouver played each other a total of 5 times. During those 5GP Montreal scored 28 goals, an average of 5.6 goals per game. Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson, Jeff Petry and Joel Armia were all clicking at the same time. A number of players from Montreal are currently trending positively in transactions. Consider adding some of the available Montreal players for the back to back games on Fri/Sat.

Fantasy Tip of the week

Look to add or acquire some skaters from the highest scoring teams in the NHL. Up until now, the North division has been regarded for its high scoring games with Edmonton and Toronto leading the way in GF at 100 and 99 respectively. Creeping into the picture now are 3 teams from the Central division: Tampa Bay, Florida and Carolina as well was Washington from the East Division. Its interesting to note that they’ve also played 2-4 less games than Edmonton and Toronto and on a GF per game average are right at the top for the league lead.

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A big shout out to Justin Rosser – @JustinRosser10 for collaborating this week. I encourage you to check out the content he has been producing for Players 60% and under as well as some Buy Low / Sell High opportunities to consider. As always we appreciate you for checking in with us this week and hope that we are preparing you for the week ahead. Feedback is always welcome and drives the content we produce going forward.

David Carey – March 14, 2021

Follow me on Twitter @87_Carey and @fantasymarksmen

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