Fantasy Hockey: Playoff Push
With the playoffs starting next week for many leagues, let’s take a look at how you can bolster your line up as some of you look to win money, and other looks for bragging rights. But first, with the recent trade deadline coming and going, we’re going to see how it may have helped you or your opponents.
Petr Mrazek – G – Philadelphia Flyers
Mrazek was actually having an okay year in Detroit but was getting limited starts behind a team on the outside looking in. Since the deadline, Mrazek already has 4 starts posting a 3-1 record, 1.97 GAA and .928 save percentage. Mrazek owners got the better side of this deal. If he’s still free in your league and you’re looking for some help in the net, take a chance on Mrazek. As long as he lays off the cheese steaks, he could continue to be a great addition to your team.
Rick Nash – LW – Boston Bruins
Any fantasy owners in leagues deep enough to keep Rick Nash (or loyal enough not to drop him for obvious better choices) were rewarded when he was traded to the Boston Bruins. Getting away from downward spiral known as the New York Rangers has already paid dividends for Nash owners. He’s already come out of his New York State hibernation by picking up 2 goals, 1 assist and a whopping 15 shots on goal in three games. Patrice Bergeron is out with a broken foot for quite some time, and Nash spent most of his time with Marchand and Pastrnak so there’s no reason to think he won’t be successful in Boston.
Paul Stastny – C – Winnipeg Jets
Our old friend Paul Statsny waived his NTC to get out of what appears to be a toxic locker room and one of the worst teams in the league as of late in the St. Louis Blues. Slotting in between Laine and Ehlers, Stastny has already found success netting 1 goal and 1 assist in his first game with the Jets. My bets are that he flies as far as the Jets do.
Evander Kane – San Jose Sharks
One of the highest profile players to make a splash before the trade deadline (for a less than ideal return) certainly saw his stock rise when he was shipped from Buffalo to the San Jose Sharks. Kane has picked up 3 assists in two games while serving on a line with Pavelski and Donskoi. He had 20 goals in 60 games in Buffalo, but I’d expect his assists to see a big spike, as he only had 20 of those as well.
Wait and See
Patrick Maroon – LW – New Jersey Devils
Although Maroon is escaping another terrible Oilers team, we will wait and see if his fantasy value increases at all. He was on pace for about the same amount as points that he got last year and was used on the bottom six in his first game with New Jersey. That being said, he was on the top unit, with league MVP candidate Taylor Hall on a still not great, but not entirely inept power play unit (EDM 14.3% to NJD 19.9%). He probably fell out of favor in many fantasy leagues, and could be a value pick up from free agency. Small sample size and all, he notched 2 assists in his first game with the Devils.
Tomas Tatar – LW – Vegas Golden Knights
Tomas Tatar is in a wait and see, but ultimately, I think his fantasy stock drops to the bottom of the ocean (unless it’s a super deep league). Although in most leagues he carries that ever so lovely LW,RW determination, I fear his ice time will continue to be third line minutes. In his first game with Vegas, he only got 12:38 of ice time and saw second unit PP time. Feel free to roll the dice, but don’t expect to get lucky.
Derick Brassard – C – Pittsburgh Penguins
Derick Brassard is another player going from a bad team/big minutes situation to a good team/less minutes situation, so this could go either way. Brassard didn’t get too much power play time, and is serving on the “third” line currently for the Pens. However, when the going gets tough, the Pens love to stack their top lines so in certain situations, his playing time could increase but as a whole, I think he will tread water. He gathered 15:15 of ice time, and in an 8-4 loss, still managed an assist and to be +1.
Vladislav Namestnikov – C – New York Rangers
Namestnikov is in the opposite situation as Brassard, going from the good team and less ice time, to the poor team with more ice time. The Rangers just traded away a bunch of good players, so the talent that Namestnikov has to work with is a little more Barren than Tampa Bay, however he still managed to post 1-1-2 +1 with three shots in his first game with the Rangers.
Waiver Wire Additions
Yanni Gourde – C – Tampa Bay Lightning
If he’s still available in your league (for some reason), pick him up! He’s notched 6 assists in his last five games and is recently coming off being named February’s rookie of the month. In most leagues, he also has RW/C capability.
Sami Vatanen – D – New Jersey Devils
As the Devils heat up, so does Vatanen. 7 assists in his last 7 games while averaging nearly 24 minutes a night show that New Jersey is leaning on him hard. Defensive depth is hit or miss in fantasy leagues, so depending on how many defensemen you are allowed, he may be a solid pick up.
Travis Konecny – C – Philadelphia Flyers
As a very flexible player in fantasy with LW/C/RW designation, Konecny can be a very useful pick up to ensure that you get the maxmimum amount of games from your players. At 3-5-8 and +7 over his last 8 games, he’s been on a hot streak (as have the Flyers).
Best of luck to you all as you enter the playoffs, or at least have a chance to play spoiler for your opponents. And to those of you in the Burgundy Rainbow leagues, may the best Avs fan win.
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