20 Fantasy Thoughts: A comprehensive rundown as fantasy playoffs begin

It’s put up or shut up time in the fantasy hockey world.

For many managers, predominantly those in standard head-to-head leagues, Monday marks the beginning of the fantasy playoffs, a multi-week journey to anoint a league champion.

First off, kudos to everyone who qualified for the postseason. Suffice it is to say, it’s been another challenging fantasy campaign filled with an overabundance of uncertainty and unpredictability. But unbelievably, we got through it!

As many of you know by now, I’m a strong proponent of schedule manipulation, especially this time of year. Every point is magnified in the playoffs, so it’s imperative to squeeze out as much juice as you can from your roster. With this ideology, you want to target players with busy slates and dump out on guys who are less active. Of course, employ this strategy within reason. To that point, I’d say anyone under 60 per cent owned is fair game to be dropped for strategical purposes.

Moving forward, I’ll be starting my Sunday piece with a comprehensive rundown of the upcoming week in the NHL.

So, let’s get to it, shall we?

1. Mar. 28 – Apr. 3 is tentatively slated to feature 54 games.

Monday: 5 Games

Tuesday: 9 Games

Wednesday: 6 Games

Thursday: 9 Games

Friday: 7 Games

Saturday: 9 Games

Sunday: 9 Games

2. In total, there are 14 four-game teams to target depth adds from: ANA, ARI, BUF, CAR, CHI, DAL, EDM, FLA, LAK, MIN, NYI, NYR, SEA, STL.

Personally, I would take a closer look at these two schedules:

Edmonton Oilers: Mon (ARI), Wed (LAK), Fri (STL), Sun (@ANA)

Waiver Looks: Kailer Yamamoto, Derick Brassard

SN Fantasy: Connor McDavid 4, Evander Kane 2

New York Islanders: Tues (@CBJ), Thurs (CBJ), Fri (@NYR), Sun (@NJD)

Waiver Looks: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson

SN Fantasy: NYI Goalies 3, Noah Dobson 1

3. Conversely, I’d stay away from Nashville and Washington. Each team has a league-low two games this week.

4. Additionally, here’s a full scope for the month of April:

16 games – TBL, DAL, MIN, OTT, STL, NYI

15 games – NSH, SEA, ARI, NJD, FLA, PHI, BOS, SJS, TOR, DET, CGY

14 games – NYR, CHI, MTL, BUF, EDM, CAR, COL, CBJ, WSH

13 games – VAN, PIT, WPG, ANA, VGK, LAK

5. If you’re facing a roster crunch, don’t be afraid to cut ties with Max Pacioretty. The Golden Knights sniper recently suffered a setback in his recovery from an undisclosed injury and there’s no timetable for a possible return. At this point, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll be able to return in time to make a meaningful impact in the fantasy playoffs.

6. Through all the turmoil in Sin City, Logan Thompson has emerged as a semi-serviceable streamer option in-between the pipes. In eight March appearances, the 25-year-old has posted a 4-3-0 record along with a 3.10 goals-against and 0.909 save percentage.

7. Lost in the shuffle of all the Evgenii Dadonov hoopla is the fact that the Russian has been on fire lately. The dual-eligible winger now has six goals and three assists in his past six outings. Take a flier. They’re going to miss him in Anaheim, that’s for sure.

8. Internally in St. Louis, newcomer Nick Leddy is your best bet when it comes to Torey Krug’s injury replacement.

Externally, Josh Morrissey, Rasmus Andersson, Sean Durzi and Vince Dunn have been providing some solid value lately.

9. Even though Minnesota acquired Marc-Andre Fleury on deadline day, I’d hold onto Cam Talbot —at least for the time being. The 34-year-old has won seven consecutive starts allowing two goals or less in five of them.

10. Scoop up Nico Hischier. The Devils centre tallied an assist on Saturday night in Washington to extend his point streak to a modest five games (2 G, 7 A). Ride the hot hand!

11. Ditto for Kevin Hayes in Philadelphia. The 29-year-old has notched seven points in the past five games and 12 in 11 since returning from injury.

12. Sticking in Philly, I’ve been appreciating what Joel Farabee’s been bringing to the table lately. The dual-eligible winger has nine points in the past seven contests. Take a look.

13. One last hit on the Flyers: Contemplate streaming 26-year-old rookie Hayden Hodgson. Through two NHL games, the undrafted forward has been seeing over 16 minutes a night in a top-six/first power play role. Talk about value.

14. Big weekend for NCAA signings. Montreal agreed to terms with Hobey Baker Award nominee D Jordan Harris (Northeastern) and Toronto inked a deal with 2019 fourth-rounder Nick Abruzzese (Harvard). Both should make their NHL debuts this week.

15. Now that he’s back, Drake Batherson should indisputably be viewed as a must-own file moving forward. After missing two months with a high ankle sprain, the Sens sniper notched an assist in his return to the lineup on Saturday night. Clandestinely, he’s up to 35 points in 32 games this season.

16. Boston’s Erik Haula is heating up again. The 31-year-old has tallied seven points during a mini three-game point streak. Take a look.

17. Buffalo plays four times this week, which should further incentivize you to go out and grab Tage Thompson. The tri-eligible forward is up to 27 goals on the season, including four in the past six games.

18. Cut ties with Matt Boldy. After a hot start, the rook has gone ice cold. He’s been pointless in five straight and six of seven. Move on.

19. Collectively, we should start putting some more respect on Dylan Strome’s name. In the grand scheme of things, it was probably the right decision for the Hawks to hang onto him. In the past 12 games, the 25-year-old has tallied 18 points and has been held without a point in just one of those contests.

20. The Oilers should trade for a goalie. Oh wait.

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