Fantasy Hockey Playoffs Power Play Preview: Atlantic Division

Carl Soderberg
Boston Bruins center Carl Soderberg Kim Klement USA TODAY Sports

The Fantasy Hockey Playoffs start next week 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 Atlantic Division Team Previews from Zach Schipper.

The data has been crunched for the latest edition of the Power Play Point Potential Rankings.

Offensive Power Play Point Potential Rankings

Defensive Power Play Point Potential Rankings
Power Play Point Potential Rankings: Atlantic Division
 
Boston Bruins

Schedule Analysis: The Bruins get a a few favorable matchups in the first week of the playoffs, against the Wild and Coyotes, but the Devils are among the league’s stingiest down a man. The next two weeks are essentially a wash. The Blackhawks and Leafs have both been improved recently, although both teams remain among the top ten favorable matchups. Washington is a friendly matchup too, while the Red Wings and Flyers—who Boston faces twice—aren’t.

Power Play Assessment: The Bruins spent the entire 2013 season in a funk, but currently sit fourth in the Offensive Power Play Point Potential Rankings. Thanks to defensemen Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara in front of the net, this power play is clicking on all clynders.

Players to Watch: There are three here, Loui Eriksson and countrymen Carl Soderberg have formed instant chemistry and it is showing on the score sheet. Additionally, Andrej Meszaros is manning the second power play unit and is worth a look down the stretch.
 
Buffalo Sabres

Schedule Analysis: Frankly, if you’re roster has many Sabres, the playoffs you’re concerned with are likely another twelve months away. Even worse, the first week of the schedule is horrible for Buffalo’s power play and it is more of the same in the final week. The Sabres have two solid matchups though against the Predators and Lightning on March 27th and 29th respectively.

Power Play Assessment: Much of the team’s firepower has been relocated and Chris Stewart‘s injury didn’t help, but there has been little offensive jam all season. One of the league’s worst power plays isn’t going to suddenly get hot.

Players to Watch: Up front, Cody Hodgson, Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford might be opportunistic additions on the two above mentioned nights. On defense, Christian Ehrhoff and Tyler Myers are playing solid hockey, given their surroundings and could be viable throughout the rest of the season.
 
Detroit Red Wings

Schedule Analysis: Week one has a nice home-and-home, back-to-back with the Wild and a date with the Leafs, for three favorable matchups. Hosting the Penguins on March 20th, however, is not. The second week is more of the same, two favorable matchups against the Leafs and Lightning, with the Blue Jackets and Canadiens being not so much. Boston, Buffalo and Montreal await in the final week and present average at best matchups.

Power Play Assessment: The Red Wings are depleted by injuries but weren’t able to get their power play going with success even when they were healthy. The clientele consists of youthful exuberence and veteran savvy, a mixture which could begin to produce at a better clip so don’t ignore the Wings when it counts the most.

Players to Watch: David Legwand has been given a significant role since joining the club, whereas Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan are carving out their on slots on the depth chart. Danny Dekeyser could be worth a look on defense and don’t underrate Daniel Alfredsson if he is available on your waiver wire—potentially even Todd Bertuzzi. Obviously, make sure Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist are taken.
 
Florida Panthers

Schedule Analysis: Trips to Phoenix on March 20th, Long Islande on April 1st and the Senators headed to Miami on March 25th present the most favorable matchups on the schedule. With Carolina and Calgary also heading to sunny Florida during the fantasy playoffs there could be opportunities for the Cats.

Power Play Assessment: Opportunities are one thing, unfortunately the Panthers have the league’s worst power play and it isn’t close. Given the recent carousel they’ve been sending out with the man advantage, it is difficult to project just who will see the ice making matters worse. A largely favorable schedule, with a spoiler’s role to play could be fantasy gold, but good luck figuring out who to pick up.

Players to Watch: Brian Campbell and Tom Gilbert run the top unit, we know this and Dmitry Kulikov is getting ample time, with Ed Jovanoski seeing some time. Up front, Brad Boyes could be a speculative add, with Nick Bjugstad, Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Fleischmann boasting the most offensive talent. But, as mentioned, figuring out who gets the power play time for the Panthers is tough of late.
 
Montreal Canadiens

Schedule Analysis: It is largely a miss through the first two weeks of the playoffs, with just the Leafs on March 22nd and the Panthers on March 29th. However, business picks up in the final week of the season. The Habs draw both the Ligthning and Senators, who are among the league’s most favorable matchups.

Power Play Assessment: Montreal’s power play is a middle of the pack bunch, the punch from Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban isn’t enough. Thomas Vanek‘s arrival certainly helps things, but is it enough and is there enough time to develop some chemistry? The answer is yes, but you’ll likely be hard pressed to find the big four on any waiver wires: Max Pacioretty and the previously mentioned three.

Players to Watch: Look to the kids in Montreal. Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk are capable offensive producers and should do damage on the second power play unit alongside veterans Tomas Plekanec, Daniel Briere. Gallagher might keep his spot alongside David Desharnais and Pacioretty, but I would bet Vanek claims it.
 
Ottawa Senators

Schedule Analysis: There might be the perfect storm for fantasy hockey purposes in Ottawa. The team gets all kinds of favorable matchups down the stretch and needs wins. It is make or break time for the Senators. Only their two matchups with the Rangers are difficult matchups, while their other nine games are plus or average contests.

Power Play Assessment: The clientele is there to turn things up, but Ottawa has stayed true to being just outside the top third of the league all season. Jason Spezza is hot and Ales Hemsky appears to have found immediate chemistry flanking him. If Bobby Ryan and Kyle Turris can hit a surge … look out. Obviously, Erik Karlsson is the man, but don’t overlook Chris Phillips‘ potential to chip in with the man advantage.

Players to Watch: Beyond the above mentioned Hemsky and Phillips, Mika Zibanejad and Mike Hoffman are seeing prime power play time. On the second unit, Milan Michalek is likely widely available and could serve as a backup plan if Hemsky isn’t. There are options in Ottawa and the schedule is friendly.
 
Tampa Bay Lightning

Schedule Analysis: It is a pretty neutral run for Tampa Bay. They have some excellent matchups, most notably March 19th and 20th when they visit the Leafs and Senators and the New York Islanders on March 27th. Otherwise, there are some tougher tests and average matchups. The obvious questions are, who are the post trade deadline Tampa Bay Lightning and is Steven Stamkos still elite after his injury and without Martin St. Louis? The Stamkos question wont apply in September, but a serious injury needs recovery time.

Power Play Assessment: The weapons are there and even when Stamkos went down, they continued to produce, but replacing Martin St. Louis’ production could be a different story. Teddy Purcell has excellent chemistry with Stamkos and is an underrated scorer, while Victor Hedman is entering top-tier status as a fantasy rearguard. Make no mistakes about the talent, but the questions still linger and winning might not be as easy as it was.

Players to Watch: Teddy Purcell should be owned in next to all formats now, while Alex Killorn has been a fringe fantasy option all season. Valtteri Filppula and Ondrej Palat are both options as well. On defense, Michael Kostka has been logging time alongside Victor Hedman and playing on the second power play unit. Tampa Bay should be able to generate offense.
 
Toronto Maple Leafs

Schedule Analysis: Horrible, the Leafs will be playing tough hockey through the end of the fantasy season, with only Tampa Bay as a favorable matchup on March 19th. Otherwise, it is average to difficult throughout.

Power Play Assessment: The Leafs have a high-powered power play. It has been one of the best in the league for two straight seasons and most nights they win or lose based on whether they convert on their opportunities with the man advantage. There are pros despite the schedule though, as both units have been consistent all season and the clientele is capable of beating the best penalty killing units.

Players to Watch: The Leafs’ top six are likely owned in all leagues, or else, they should be added. On defense, Cody Franson‘s poor play has opened the door for Jake Gardiner, who if available should be added. He is risky, but his skating and offensive vision is exceptional. Morgan Rielly is another young defensemen to monitor.

Good Luck in your Fantasy Hockey Playoffs!

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