The numbers have been crunched, trends analyzed, players scouted and matchups to target handpicked.
Remember the Defensive Rankings are one through 30 as worst to best, while the Offensive Rankings are first to worst. For example, the New York Islanders are ranked first in the Defensive Rankings, making them the most favorable matchup.
Good luck this week fake hockey fans and enjoy.
You can download this week’s Power Play Point Potential Rankings below:
*Statistics through January 21st, 2014.
- The free fall of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s penalty killing continues. They currently sit as the sixth most favorable matchup and just over a month ago were twenty-third. They should improve going forward, but they should still be viewed as a middle of the pack team going forward at best.
- It was a bad week for the Flames, who went from a team hovering around the league averages for the past month to the eighth most favorable matchup. They’re not a good hockey team and it is somewhat astonishing they did as well as they did during that stretch. Target the Flames whenever possible going forward.
- The Bruins are another team giving up power play goals in bunches. Among the league’s best penalty killing units all season, the Bruins now sit in the middle of the pack. They’re a veteran led team with an excellent coach, so it is unlikely they’ll continue to regress, so tread carefully if targeting them.
- The weekly Avalanche analysis finds them continuing to improve shorthanded. They currently sit twentieth and their save percentage while down a man is among the league’s best. This team has proven to be extremely inconsistent this season, so if signs point to another slip in their efficiency, load up against them.
- Anaheim has continued to climb out of the favorable ranks and is hovering around the league averages. They might not improve drastically from their current position, but they shouldn’t be viewed as a favorable matchup any longer.
- How about Philly? They haven’t looked back since November 26 and currently sit twenty-fourth in the rankings. Considering how many goals they give up per game and how many penalties they take per game, their ranking is impressive. They’re not a strong defensive team by any stretch, but they’re getting it done shorthanded at least.
- The five most favorable matchups remain the same, the Islanders lead the way, followed by Chicago, Florida, Ottawa and Phoenix respectively.
- Likewise, the five best penalty killing units are Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Vancouver, Montreal and St. Louis once again this week.
On the Offense
- It is time to consider the Nashville Predators’ power play unit among the league’s best. They boast some talented defensemen and gritty forwards up front, who thrive in the dirty areas of the rink. There could be some regression, but they’re above average, make no mistakes about that.
- On January 7, Boston was the fifth ranked team. They have now fallen in two consecutive weeks. There is talent, but expecting anything better than an average power play unit going forward is unrealistic. Expect their shooting percentage to fall down around twelve percent too.
- Montreal has fallen in the rankings weekly since December 2. It has been a slow decline and they currently sit twelfth so improvement is likely. The Habs have power play goals in back-to-back games and should climb back up and flirt with a top ten ranking at worst.
- The Lightning better continue to score with the man advantage with the state of their penalty kill. Currently sitting ninth in the rankings, it is a huge jump from eighteenth, where they sat for three straight installments in the rankings. Victor Hedman‘s return to the lineup is a huge bonus and Steven Stamkos return is pending too!
- On December 18 the Blue Jackets were eleventh in the rankings and fell to twentieth for two weeks and are now back up to fourteenth. They’re similar to the Predators, featuring capable defensemen and gritty forwards. Nathan Horton‘s return will further help and perhaps Marian Gaborik‘s too, if he does indeed ever return.
- The Minnesota Wild are rolling without Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, which has caused their power play to roll right down the rankings to the nineteenth spot. This is the first time all season the Wild haven’t been in the top ten of the league. Consider them a power play unit to avoid at this point.
- Sitting at twenty-seventh, it is tough to get excited about Dallas, but there is potential for this team to improve. Their shooting percentage is up in each of the last four rankings and if it gets closer to the league average, everything else will follow. Their talent is better than their ranking.
- The best are still the best again this week, Washington is followed by the Blues, Penguins, Maple Leafs and Blackhawks as the top five power play units.
C David Legwand, Nashville Predators: Once considered the next Mike Modano, Legwand has quietly had an excellent career in Music City. He is a fringe fantasy player who is on a roll and thriving on the Preds’ power play.
C Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning: His time with Martin St. Louis might be coming to an end, but currently, he is posting excellent point totals. He could retain value when Stamkos returns, or even end up on the wing of the top line.
C Tyler Bozak, Toronto Maple Leafs: With fourteen points in twelve games since returning from injury, there is no reason Bozak should be owned in just thirty-five percent of Yahoo! leagues.
C/RW Chris Kreider, New York Rangers: A balanced fantasy contributor, who plays prime offensive minutes, Kreider is close to being a must-owned player in all formats.
LW/RW Ryane Clowe, New Jersey Devils: Admittedly, it is tough to advise anyone targeting Clowe, but he has ten points in his last eight games. He also brings a gritty game, which enables him to contribute across fantasy hockey categories.
RW Nathan Horton, Columbus Blue Jackets: He isn’t going to be a huge point producer, but Horton should contribute enough across all categories to be a useful asset in the fake game.
D Alex Goligoski, Dallas Stars: If you’re looking for power play points this is the guy. However, he isn’t going to help with your plus/minus or spend much time in the penalty box.
D Eric Gelinas, New Jersey Devils: He has a cannon of a shot and gets power play minutes, however, his ice-time is limited, so he isn’t a viable option in ATOI leagues.
D Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim Ducks: He is a little bit of a streaky scorer, but you can expect production and a solid plus/minus rating from the rookie.
The Week Ahead
Thursday, January 23rd – Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders: The Islanders better hope to avoid playing shorthanded in this one, as the Pens boast the league’s best power play percentage.
Thursday, January 23rd – Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild: The Wild have been weak down a man all season, the Blackhawks have been among the league’s best power play units all season.
Friday, January 24th – Nashville Predators at Calgary Flames: The surging Predators will look to feast on the Flames, who are reeling shorthanded of late.
Friday, January 24th – Colorado Avalanche at Florida Panthers: Colorado is pushing to get among the best power plays in the league, the Panthers are the third most favorable matchup going.
Saturday, January 25th – St. Louis Blues at New York Islanders: Pick on the Islanders as long as they’re the most favorable matchup in the league, but especially when facing a potent Blues’ power play.
Monday, January 27th – Boston Bruins at New York Islanders: See a trend here, the Bruins get a nice matchup here and should have their way with the Islanders weak penalty kill.
Tuesday, January 28th – Florida Panthers at Boston Bruins: After a warmup against the Islanders, the Bruins should be set to beat up on Florida at home too.
Tuesday, January 28th – Ottawa Senators at Columbus Blue Jackets: The Sens are playing great hockey, but they’re still weak shorthanded, while the Blue Jackets’ power play is heating up.
Tuesday, January 28th – Chicago Blackhawks at Calgary Flames: Another mismatch in Cow Town and you can expect the Blackhawks to do some damage with the man advantage.
Tuesday, January 28th – Minnesota Wild at Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks’ power play is on the rise, whereas the Wild have been weak shorthanded all season. Plus, the Ducks are alright at The Pond.