David Carey – March 21, 2021
Fantasy Hockey is well past the midway point of the season and is nearing the trade deadline in both the NHL (Apr 12th) and for Fantasy hockey leagues. Its especially an important time to consider if your league has keeper(s). I recommend aiming to give yourself some options for the following year so that you aren’t completely reliant upon and player who misses most of, or even an entire season like we are seeing in 2021 with Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Seguin. Without waiting any longer lets get back to helping YOU with “Sniping the Competition”.
The Avalanche are on fire of late including a 6-0 shutout victory against Minnesota on Saturday afternoon. Cale Makar has returned to the lineup and made an instant impact for the team while Mikko Rantanen and Garbriel Landeskog have picked up the pace of late and have now combined for 7G/13A in their last 5GP. Add in the goaltending of Phillip Grubauer who was named the NHL 1st Star in week 8 and who has allowed 2GA in his last 5 GP and you’ve got the recipe for a group of league winning players.
On the flip side of the equation Buffalo is now in a tier of their own going winless in their last 13GP. The situation is so bad that its hard to know if they will be able to hit double digits in wins on the season. They currently sit 6-19-4 and show no signs of life. If you haven’t dropped or traded away your Sabres players the time to do so is now.
COVID-19 News + Notes
The NHL has officially postponed the Bruins @ Sabres March 20th as well as Islanders @ Bruins March 23rd after Bruins DeBrusk, Krejci, Pastrnak and Smtih were all placed into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols on Friday Mar 19th. In addition to those players the following players are involved in the NHL protocol:
- Sean Kuraly – Boston Bruins
- Alex Texier – Columbus Blue Jackets
- Noah Dobson– NY Islanders
- Phillip Di Giuseppe – NY Rangers
It had been nearly a calendar month since the last game was postponed due to COVID-19 before Boston/Buffalo was affected Saturday night. The NHL Public Relations department has said that a buffer period of 7-10 days is built in before the playoffs have to kick off. The curtailment of the postponed game trend from early in the season bodes well for the league. Without any further significant impact to the season the finish to the NHL season should be fairly seamless. In the cases of teams like Dallas who have had multiple games postponed so far its becoming apparent that some of those rescheduled games will not fall within the Fantasy Hockey season schedule so adjust your expectations accordingly.
Games per day
A very similar weekly schedule to week 9 with the heaviest of the nights coming Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Again we will need to plan ahead for our lineups throughout the week hoping to avoid having to bench players on the busiest nights of the week.
- Monday – 10
- Tuesday – 5
- Wednesday – 6
- Thursday – 11
- Friday – 5
- Saturday – 11
- Sunday – 7
Teams playing 4 games this week
Another long list of teams playing 4x on the week. Many of the rescheduled games from earlier in the season are now falling within the current NHL weeks and subsequent weeks also have a similar trend so expect this section to be as full as it is now going forward.
- Anaheim Ducks
- Arizona Coyotes
- Buffalo Sabres
- Calgary Flames
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Colorado Avalanche
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Dallas Stars
- Detroit Red Wings
- Edmonton Oilers
- Florida Panthers
- Montreal Canadiens
- Nashville Predators
- NJ Devils
- NY Rangers
- Ottawa Senators
- Philadelphia Flyers
- San Jose Sharks
- St Louis Blues
- Winnipeg Jets
Teams playing 2 games this week
For the second week in a row Toronto plays only twice. This week they are joined by Vancouver and LA.
- LA Kings
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Vancouver Canucks
Consider reaching out to a Manager holding a player from one of these 3 teams which you’d like to trade for. With so few games played on the week and trade deadline approaching its a good time to pull the trigger on buy low type offers.
Players to Add this week
Jamie Drysdale (D) ANA – 15% Owned
- 4 GP on the week
- Plays PP1 and has been entrusted with 18+ TOI per game
- In his first NHL appearance he scored 1G/1A
- Was drafted 1st round, 6th Overall by Anaheim
- 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship – Team Canada
Tomas Hertl (C,LW) SJ – 46% Owned
- 4 GP on the week
- Returned from the COVID-19 protocol Friday Mar 12th and has since tallied 2G/4A
- Centers L2 and plays PP1
- Contributing in accessory categories Hertl provides a pretty steady floor for a GM looking to add in a variety of ways on a busy week
Jack Campbell (G) TOR – 31% Owned
- This is a heads up for GMs for a streaming option to have in you back pocket but note that Toronto only plays twice on the week
- Campbell has posted back to back 30+ SV shutouts
- Fredrick Andersen is injured and missed Saturday night’s game against Calgary – he additionally admitted that he is still dealing with a LBI
- Campbell is a low risk play THU against OTT but would be a much higher risk Saturday night against a red hot EDM team
Filip Hronek (D) DET – 27% owned
- 4GP this week
- Plays on the top defensive pairing for DET and QB’s the DET PP1
- Posted 1G/7A in 4GP against TB/CAR, two of the NHL’s top teams
- Plays a very consistent 23:00+ TOI per night
Players to Drop this week
Alex Iaffalo (LW) LAK – 12% Owned
- Only 2GP on the week – Mon / Wed
- A well timed drop should you currently hold Iafallo, who has trended over the past week would occur after he plays Wednesday night against San Jose
- This is a player who will easily be added back again in weeks to come
Jack Eichel (C) BUF – 89% Owned
- Latest news indicates that Eichel is out for the foreseeable future with what is believed to be a neck injury
- Plays for a train wreck of a team
- Has already missed a significant amount of games handcuffing Managers due to his name value
- Has scored only twice this sesaon
Here’s one for the banger leagues out there. Week to week you’re able to add players from the list about unless their name happens to be Tkachuk. This is a great group of players to have in the back of your mind if Hits are a relative category or point value in your Fantasy Hockey Format.
- ANYONE vs Buffalo Sabres: Its getting pretty silly in terms of the state of the Buffalo Sabres. Without Jack Eichel dressed the Sabres lack top end scoring ability that comes with a super star on the ice. Buffalo has lost their last 13 GP and the end is not yet in sight. Just 6 wins on the season has me recommending that you target against Buffalo where ever possible. This week they play NYR x1, PIT x2, BOS x1
- ANYONE vs Philadelphia Flyers: Very similar to Buffalo, its getting ugly in Philly right now. Carter Hart’s struggles on the season have been well documented in addition to the team’s absolute chaos in front of him. The defensive corps for Philadelphia is changing out on a nightly basis and consistency is far away at this point from expected. Philadelphia has allowed 32 GA in their last 6 GP. This is a team which you should be targeting against in season long format and DFS.
Fantasy Tip of the week
Benching goalies against tough matchups or when ahead in GAA/SV%
In a category based league where you’ve reached your minimum appearances for the week and have a lead in GAA/SV% you can prevent your goalie statistics from getting any worse by benching your goalies at the end of the week. Most GM’s are aware of this option and utilize this feature once or twice over the course of the season. Its a bit of a flex while your ahead and playing to conserve a win but could end up being a very wise decision, specifically in a scenario where your goalie playing on Sunday gets pulled after allowing 3 quick goals in the 1st period of the game.
Cheers to all of our fans and followers this week. Throughout the course of the season we’ve discussed plenty of players, teams, strategy and situations to avoid. Our team is committed to helping you win your Fantasy Hockey League(s) this year. Let us know how we can help make that a reality for you by contacting us on Twitter @fantasymarksmen or by email email@example.com.
David Carey – March 21, 2021