With the season coming to a close in the next couple weeks, I am going to switch things up just a tad. Due to a myriad of factors, chief among them being a reluctance to regurgitate the same facts and figures to the readers who have heard these things multiple times throughout the season, I will be covering the major changes that take place in the fantasy hockey landscape down the stretch. With the NCAA and Canadian Junior Hockey seasons coming to a close, we are in the midst of several prospect call-ups, and some are making an immediate impact. I will also touch on important injuries, line changes, and other impactful tidbits that will help you achieve DFS success.
The normal caveats apply, so be careful to consider pricing on the DFS site you play on, as well as their scoring, and the options around that player’s price range. With that said, here are some players who have recently come onto the scene, and may (or may not, as sometimes may be the case) be fantasy relevant in the closing weeks of the season.
Stats are gathered from War-On-Ice.com, Corsica.Hockey, and Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com
Lines and Player Matchups are gathered from LeftWingLock.com and HockeyViz.com
Oliver Bjorkstrand (CBJ) – Bjorkstrand was called up from the AHL prior to last Thursday’s game, and coach John Tortorella was quoted as saying something to the extent of “we will give him as much Powerplay time as he can handle” in testament to his great offensive skillset. Bjorkstrand was part of the two-headed monster that Denmark (yes, Denmark) ran out in the World Juniors tournament in December 2014. Him and Nikolaj Ehlers, a Jets prospect who you might be familiar with, as he excelled this season as he gained ice time, led the charge, as Denmark won their first ever WJC game in the top division (with the USA, Canada, etc..) in their program’s history. Bjorkstrand was every bit as heralded a prospect as Ehlers (who has excelled in his first season in the NHL) and came through for the Blue Jackets, playing on the PP1 and scoring 2 goals on 8 shots in his first 3 games. He is playing on the 2nd line alongside Brandon Dubinsky, and is good for at least 15 minutes a night. Until his price rises above min salary, there is no reason for him not to be locked into your lineups.
Anthony Mantha (DET) – Mantha was a very similar call up to Bjorkstrand, but finds himself struggling to gain a consistent role like Bjorkstrand. He’s skating alongside Datsyuk at both 5v5 and on the PP2 (Datsyuk plays both units pretty much), but hasn’t cracked 15 minutes yet, and bottomed out at 10.5 minutes last game. Meanwhile, Bjorkstrand played 18 minutes last game. If you have to pick one, I would definitely go Bjorkstrand, but Mantha is a great value play as well, as it only takes on PP point or a few shots to pay off his meager salary.
Nic Petan (WPG) – Oh hey look, another value winger (on most sites)! Petan is slotted into the WPG1 spot alongside Scheifele and Wheeler, and looks to be on the PP1 unit as well, as he should replace Mathieu Perrault, out with a concussion. Petan should be spotlighted as the Jets play out the string, and not Burmistrov, who was playing the PP1 in Perrault’s absence last game. Petan is the top Jets prospect not named Kyle Connor (who is currently leading Michigan through the Frozen Four tournament), and it’s about time he saw a real opportunity to shine. I think he is a great play tonight and as long as he stays on WPG’s top unit, as his minimum salary and high-skill level should combine to give him a fantastic chance to exceed value.
Brandon Pirri (ANA) – With David Perron knocked out for the foreseeable future, the Ducks are rolling out a top unit featuring Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and … Brandon Pirri. Yes, their new acquisition from the trade deadline, received for a 6th rounder, gets the chance to shine with two of the top players in the league. He’s exceptionally cheap across the industry, and has a great shot, with great iCorsi/60 numbers for a cheap option, taking 15 5v5 shot attempts per 60 minutes on the season, and his main issue in Florida was receiving the TOI to do anything with. Now, he should see at least 14-15 minutes (as Boudreau still likes to be creative with his line deployment) and some PP time, making him a great stacking option to go with Getzlaf or Perry as they take on the reeling Canadiens.
If you have any questions, or want to talk hockey, or prospects, or anything at all (I’m from New York, I’ll be bored for a while now), hit me up on Twitter @Mattman1398. Good luck tonight, and as always:
Thanks for reading!