The Fantasy Hockey Playoffs start tonight and an expanded team-by-team overview of the Power Play Point Potential Rankings is in order. To best prepare your Fantasy Hockey teams for the most important time of the season, also check out these Central Division Team Previews from Zach Schipper.
The data has been crunched for the latest edition of the Power Play Point Potential Rankings.
Power Play Point Potential Rankings: Central Division
Schedule Analysis: Almost matchup proof, the Blackhawks play four, four and three games a week through the fantasy playoff season. The Blues and Flyers in week one will be tough games, but Carolina and Nashville should be plus fantasy nights. Ottawa shouldn’t test the defending champs, but Dallas is playing well and Pittsburgh and Boston aren’t favorable. In the final week, Minnesota, Columbus and St. Louis again isn’t ideal. It is a tough run for the Hawks, but you’re not sitting their top-tier fantasy players. Thinking twice about their complementary players might be in order though.
Power Play Assessment: The Hawks’ power play units are established, so mining hidden fantasy value is unlikely. Marian Hossa is back, but note Ben Smith has been seeing time with the man advantage of late. This is an elite power play, so even with a tough schedule when it counts most, there is no reason to avoid the Hawks’ top options.
Players to Watch: As noted, Ben Smith may be worth a look in the deepest of formats, while Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad should be scouted out first. On defense, Nick Leddy has been a complimentary player all season and is worth a look, although, he plays on the third defense pairing. The Hawks’ best players should all be unavailable in your leagues.
Schedule Analysis: The success story of the NHL Season, the Aves have two light weeks to start the fantasy playoffs, with three games in each. The Bruins in week one and Sharks in week two make it a tough run, although, both of those contests are in Denver. It really isn’t an ideal schedule throughout though, in week three, a slate of Columbus, followed by the Rangers, Blues and Penguins is tough business. Colorado has been depleted by injuries too, so you’re starting their stars regardless and likely avoiding everyone else.
Power Play Assessment: The injuries haven’t slowed down the Aves’ power play. Matt Duchene has emerged as a top talent in the NHL, with Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O’Reilly showcasing their value on a nightly basis. John Mitchell has stepped up in Paul Stastny‘s absence and Jamie McGinn has all the power forward intangibles. Figuring out Colorado’s defense is a difficult task, certainly Erik Johnson is their best player, but he doesn’t always get power play time. Similarly, Tyson Barrie is an offensive threat every time he is on the ice, but doesn’t always get opportunities either. Meanwhile, unknowns, Nick Holden and Andre Benoit eat up all kinds of ice time with the man advantage.
Players to Watch: John Mitchell is worth a look in fantasy leagues as long as he has Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon flanking him. The same goes for Jamie McGinn until he drops from the top six. The defense, as mentioned is another story, but Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie are the two to target, while Nick Holden and Andre Benoit make for depth additions in deep leagues.
Schedule Analysis: Starting the fantasy playoff schedule with two games in Pennsylvania is rough, but hosting Ottawa in Big D will salvage a three game first week. The second week has similar ups and downs, road games against the Black Hawks and Blues, with home contests against Winnipeg and Nashville. The final week of the season is gravy though, as the Stars get the Captials, Hurricanes, Lightning and Panthers. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin owners should be thrilled.
Power Play Assessment: The Stars’ power play has finally turned the corner. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are super star offensive players, but Alex Goligoski‘s improved play has been a huge plus. Alex Chiasson and Erik Cole are big bodies with good hands and Ray Whitney has made a career threading the needle with the man advantage. Sergei Gonchar is long in the tooth, but still gets his power play opportunities, while Trevor Daley isn’t an option in fantasy leagues.
Players to Watch: Alex Chiasson was red-hot to start the season and could thrive down the stretch, especially if he can remain on the top power play unit. Alex Goligoski needs to be owned in all leagues, while Ray Whitney might be worth a look, as he is even getting some even-strength time with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn.
Schedule Analysis: Get set for week one, as the Wild will take the ice five times, which is potential gold in the fantasy playoffs. A home-and-home with the Red Wings to end the week could win many first round tilts. The Bruins tonight, Monday isn’t ideal, but the Islanders and Devils are plus matchups. It gets tough fast though. After the Wild face Vancouver at home they visit the Blues, Coyotes, Kings and Blackhawks, before hosting the Penguins to finish the season. Add a few Wild players for week one and don’t get attached.
Power Play Assessment: The Wild have the clientele to produce and have been clicking of late. Minnesota has two powerful units and all ten players need to be on your fantasy radar. Take note of Charlie Coyle is playing with Mikko Koivu and Matt Moulson, on what has been the top unit, but isn’t always at even-strength. The second unit has been the Wild’s most productive line. Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and Mikael Granlund are joined by Dany Heatley with the man advantage. Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin are getting manning the point on the power play.
Players to Watch: Mikael Granlund, Matt Moulson, Jason Pominville and Mikko Koivu could be available in a few leagues out there and especially this week, shouldn’t be. Charlie Coyle’s fantasy stock would be higher if he was guaranteed top six minutes, while Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon are worth a look in this busy first week of the fantasy playoffs. Check over the availability of Wild players in your leagues, for counting stats this week.
Schedule Analysis: Most notably, the Predators have only two games in the final week of the fantasy season and they’re road contests against the Ducks and Sharks. It is a little softer in week one though, the Western Canadian trio of Edmonton Vancouver and Calgary are nice games leading into Chicago on Sunday. Week two is a push, Colorado and Buffalo at home, a trip to Dallas and back to Nashville to host the Capitals on Sunday. If you own Predators, drop all of them not named Shea after the first two weeks. Nothing good can come from a trip to California when fantasy titles are being decided.
Power Play Assessment: The clientele is weak up front, but the Predators power play runs through their defensemen and it is quite a talented group. Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis can all fire the puck, which enables the Preds’ grit up front to earn their paychecks. Mike Fisher leads the top unit and is flanked by Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson, while Craig Smith plays with Matt Cullen and Nick Spaling on the second unit. Yes, these are their power play units, hence the production runs through their defense.
Players to Watch: Patric Hornqvist could be worth a look, along with Mike Fisher, but this team leaves a lot to be desired in the fake hockey department. Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi could also help, but again, you’re in desperation mode adding anyone from Music City.
St. Louis Blues
Schedule Analysis: Another matchup proof team, the Blues get four games in week one, starting at home against the Jets and followed by three straight on the road in Chicago and the Pennsylvania tandem. Week two has three contests, with a road game in Toronto and home games against the Wild and Stars. Week three concludes on the road in Chicago, but starts with three straight in St. Louis, hosting the Flyers, Sabres and Avalanche. Overall, it isn’t an ideal schedule, but as arguably the top team in the league, the Blues will be fine through the fantasy playoffs.
Power Play Assessment: A top unit, with all kinds of talent, which is likely unavailable in your fake leagues. Furthermore, the Blues like to throw their players into a blender and the result is their power play units. In the past three games, ten players have seen power play minutes for the Blues. On defense, it isn’t as complicated. Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester anchor the second unit with Kevin Shattenkirk looking after the first.
Players to Watch: If any of the following Blues are availble in your league consider adding them: Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, Vladimir Sobotka, Steve Ott, Patrik Berglund and Derek Roy. Assuming T.J. Oshie, Alexander Steen and David Backes are taken of course. On defesne, the above mentioned three should all be unavailable too.
Schedule Analysis: Starting tonight against the just discussed Blues, in St. Louis is tough, but home games against the Aves and Canes are a little more favorable. Week two is a mess and total avoid territory. A trip to Dallas is followed by road games in San Jose and Los Angeles. Note the Jets have only six games through the first two weeks and week three is tough too. The Jets finish in California against Anaheim before heading to Phoenix. Finally home on April 3rd, the Jets host Pittsburgh before heading to Toronto to finish their season. It is a difficult run for the Jets, with just three home games and an awful run through the Pacific Division.
Power Play Assessment: The Jets’ power play has been a disappointment all season and as discussed above, things aren’t looking up. The talent is there, but the production isn’t. The Jets are clearly missing a high-end scorer or puck distributor. Their run and gun style clearly isn’t transitioning to their power play opportunities. Given their upcoming schedule, the fantasy playoffs are looking bleak for owners of Jets’ players.
Players to Watch: The Jets broke out in a big way offensively yesterday, but had been struggling to that point. Where they go from here is debatable, they have the tough schedule, but taking a peek to make sure Blake Wheeler, Evander Kane, Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd aren’t available is a must. On defense, Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien are must owns. The road trip through the Pacific Division is daunting though and shouldn’t be underestimated as those teams are fighting for playoff positions and seeding.