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 Pacific 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: Pacific Division
Schedule Analysis: It is a smooth finish to the season for the Ducks. They only play six games through the first two playoff weeks, but in week two they travel through Western Canada to face Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver — which is a dream week. This week, the Capitals and Panthers are two plus matchups at home and bookend a tough game in San Jose. In the week of the fantasy finals, the Ducks get the Jets, Oilers and Predaots at home before heading to Edmonton to finish on Sunday, April 6th. It is a great finishing stretch for the Ducks and their fantasy owners.
Power Play Assessment: It took forever, but finally, the Ducks look like they might be getting going on the power play. Their lineup is in constant flux and knowing who is going to dress each night in an issue, let alone who will log minutes with the man advantage, so tread carefully there. However, whoever lines up alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry gets an automatic boost and it might just been Teemu Selanne. Nick Bonino continues to log significant power play minutes and Patrick Maroon is a big body to keep tabs on. Defensively, it is Cam Fowler and the gang. Hampus Lindholm, Francois Beauchemin and Luca Sbisa are all in the mix.
Players to Watch: Given the friendly schedule, all Ducks are potential fantasy assets. Monitor to see if someone does stick with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, with the likely candidates being Teemu Selanne, Kyle Palmieri and Patrick Maroon. Nick Bonino has been the trigger man in the slot on the power play all year and the Ducks’ top four defensemen are all valuable.
Schedule Analysis: It is a light schedule, with only three games in the first and last week of the fantasy season, but of late, the Flames have been major spoilers and playing well. Week one and three look good though, Buffalo, Nashville at home and a road game in province against the Oilers to start isn’t daunting and a Toronto, Tampa Bay and Florida road trip to finish isn’t either. Week two is a different story. The Flames host San Jose, Anaheim and the New York Rangers, before visiting Ottawa on March 30th. Overall, it is pretty neutral.
Power Play Assessment: The Flames power play has been better of late, thanks in large part to Mark Giordano and his partner a man up, Kris Russell. Chris Butler and T.J. Brodie are also getting substantial time with the man advantage. The big four to keep tabs on up front are Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Mike Cammalleri and Curtis Glencross. Backlund in particular has been a force of late and showing signs of why he was a first round choice in 2007. Monahan is having a fine rookie season and is playing well.
Players to Watch: For the majority of the season, the Flames have been fantasy afterthoughts and you’re not going to want to drop a player of significance to add anyone from Calgary. But, there could be some sneaky upside here. Mike Cammalleri and the above mentioned Mikael Backlund and Sean Monahan are playing well and producing offensively. Mark Giordano shouldn’t be available in any leagues, but is worth checking on and is the only defenseman worth targeting for the Flames.
Schedule Analysis: Week one isn’t difficult, but only three games is a shame, because it is awful after. Home dates with Nashville, Buffalo and Calgary is the end of the road for fantasy upside for the Oilers. Week two has three more home games, but the Sharks, Ducks and Rangers head to town. In the final week, the Oilers head to San Jose, Anaheim and Phoenix, before they host the Ducks on Sunday, April 6th. It is a difficult stretch and sucks any fantasy hope from your Oilers, if there was any left to begin with.
Power Play Assessment: The Oilers’ power play has underachieved all season and will likely continue to do so through the final stages of the season. The talent is there, but it is time to give up on anyone not named Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz, if you haven’t done so already. David Perron could be included as well, maybe. It is has been that bad for the Oilers and there is no reason to expect things to improve. Oscar Klefbom is the only potential addition from Edmonton.
Players to Watch: Oscar Klefbom is a high-end talent, but it is unlikely he rises to fantasy relevancy this season. He could be worth a wildcard addition, but keeping expectations in check is advised. Adding and dropping any Oilers at this point is a no-win situation, you have to stick by their top players and avoid the rest of the team. Hopefully, for Edmonton fans anyway, they can figure it out before next season.
Los Angeles Kings
Schedule Analysis: The Coyotes, Capitals and Panthers head to Los Angeles in week one, which projects positively for the Kings. In week two, a road trip into Pennsylvania will test the Kings, but they’re next to matchup proof at this point and finish week two in Washington, before hosting the Jets. In the final week of the fantasy season, the Kings host Minnesota and Phoenix, which is followed by road games in San Jose and Vancouver. Overall, the schedule is more friendly than foul and the Kings should finish well.
Power Play Assessment: To this point in the season, the Kings’ power play has been an utter disappointment. The addition of Marian Gaborik will help, if for no other reason than to beef up the second unit, which he isn’t skating on. The first unit has all-world talents and should begin to click anytime. The second unit isn’t as dynamic, but Mike Richards is an underrated power play scorer and Tyler Toffoli is an emerging force. On the blue line, Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov, Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez are all relevant fantasy options. Alec Martinez’s recent solid play has kept him in the lineup, but there is potential for him to be the odd man out in the future too, so monitor his status nightly.
Players to Watch: Surprisingly, Marian Gaborik and Tyler Toffoli are available in some leagues, but neither should be. Likewise, make sure Slava Voynov, Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez are all taken too. Justin Williams is worth a roster spot, while Mike Richards usually excels when the games matter most. He’ll reward fantasy owners who take the plunge and it is recommended, especially if you need additional grit.
Schedule Analysis: The Coyotes’ schedule is up, down and all-around. Week one has just three games, with real tests on the road in Los Angeles and a home date against the Bruins, in between is a comfy matchup against the Panthers. Week two features a difficult road trip, with stops in New York, against the Rangers, followed by Pittsburgh and New Jersey. Week three has two great matchups at home against the Jets and Oilers, which is sandwiched with a road game in Los Angeles. Take the good with the bad, target those favorable matchups and fade the Coyotes in the difficult ones, because few Coyotes are automatic must start fantasy options.
Power Play Assessment: The Coyotes power play is among the league’s best. Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson are must stop fantasy players, while the forward corps is not. Mike Ribeiro, Radim Vrbata, Shane Doan, Mikkel Boedker and Antoine Vermette are all hit-or-miss fantasy options, but started only in favorable fantasy matchups. The injury to Martin Hanzel cannot be underestimated either.
Players to Watch: Defensemen like Michael Stone and Derek Morris have potential in the right matchups, but on defense it is Keith Yandle’s and Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s show. Brandon McMillan has shown some offensive capabilities and if he can carve out a role on the power play, could be worth a look, but it is pretty set in Phoenix. They’re going to score with the man advantage, but it usually goes through Yandle, Ekman-Larrson and Mike Ribeiro, who are likely unavailable. Make sure Shane Doan isn’t wasting away on your waiver wire too, he is a must own fantasy player.
San Jose Sharks
Schedule Analysis: It is very smooth swimming for the Sharks through the fantasy playoffs. Each week features a tough matchup, but they’re surrounding by great ones. Week one has home games against the Panthers, Ducks and Capitals. Week two starts in Alberta with the Flames and Oilers, followed by a home game against the Jets, before a trip to Denver. Title week has three more home games, with the Oilers, Kings and Predators headed to the Shark Tank. Keep your Sharks in the lineup and enjoy their comfy schedule when it matters most.
Power Play Assessment: The Sharks should be a lot better with the man advantage, but given their even strength scoring and upcoming schedule it is tough to complain. For reasons I cannot explain or understand, Logan Couture has been bumped from the top unit, which features Marty Havlat. It is puzzling. Matt Nieto, Brent Burns and even Tommy Wingels are getting power play time at the same rate as Couture. Dan Boyle eats the big minutes on defense, followed by Jason Demers and Matt Irwin.
Players to Watch: Matt Nieto needs to be owned, he is a gifted youngster playing prime offensive minutes. Otherwise, most of the important Sharks upfront are likely unavailable. Matt Irwin and Jason Demers might be worth a look, but their context is better than their skills and therefore aren’t ideal fantasy options. Nieto is someone to go search for, but make sure the top options aren’t somehow sitting there unowned.
Schedule Analysis: Somehow, things are getting worse for the Canucks, as they play just eight games over the final three weeks of the fantasy season. Week one isn’t a fantasy nightmare, a trip to Tampa Bay is followed by home games against the Predators and Sabres. Things get worse quickly though, road games against the Wild and Avalanche, before they face Anaheim at home to conclude week two. In the final week of the fantasy season, the Canucks play just twice, hosting the Rangers and Kings. Similar to the Oilers, send your Canucks packing.
Power Play Assessment: The Canucks are beat up with injuries and even when they were healthy their power play was awful. Nicklas Jensen might be worth a look and there is no point in dropping Henrik Sedin or Alexander Edler, but the fantasy value might be dry elsewhere. Perhaps, you can hold onto Jason Garrison, but there is no upside.
Players to Watch: Nicklas Jensen has generated some late season buzz and has proven capable of scoring. He is alone among his teammates when it comes to potential fantasy additions.