Fantasy Hockey Championship Round – Sit ’em, start’ em watch
As the regular season draws to a close, we have a few busy days ahead in the NHL, with 15 games scheduled for Saturday and 14 more on Monday. Which means managers competing in a variety of fantastic leagues that allow for daily adjustments will have decisions to make. You (probably) can’t play everyone.
Competing with limited seats in the lineup – which is most leagues – some prominent fantasy artists will be forced to sit in place of others. These choices can be difficult. In a rare NHL Sit ’em / Start’ em addition, here’s a look at some quality players who would otherwise be better off on your bench, at least over the next three days. And a handful of which you could turn to instead. With less than two weeks to compete in ESPN.com, choosing the right one in one day could be the difference between winning it all and settling for not being the top spot.
Sit them down?
The New York Rangers: In net, there isn’t much incentive to activate a member of the Rangers – including fantastic heavyweights Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and defender Adam Fox – in Saturday’s game, assuming Semyon Varlamov takes over. the start in the net for the Islanders. In five previous meetings, Varlamov has shutout New York three times (including this Thursday) and forced them to just one goal once. I guess coach Barry Trotz could start Ilya Sorokin against Panarin and Co. instead, but why? If you toss a coin between a Ranger and another prominent fantasy figure on Saturday, go for the latter.
Anthony Mantha, RW / LW, Washington Capitals (Selected 83.9% of ESPN.com leagues): After scoring one goal in each of his first four games as a member of the Capitals after the trade deadline, Mantha has since collected one assist in four games since. Put the old Red Wing in the place of another reasonable forward asset until he gets back to it, starting with Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh and Monday’s test against the Rangers.
Josh Anderson, RW, Montreal Canadiens (73.4%): The Canadiens forward has two goals – scored in the same Edmonton game on April 21 – and no assists in his last eight games. And he didn’t really light her up much before. The latest reshuffle in Montreal sees the power forward on a line with Jesperi Kotkaniemi, which doesn’t inspire much immediate enthusiasm either. I would look to other options over the next few days, especially on Monday’s tilt with the visiting Maple Leafs.
Erik Karlsson, D, San Jose Sharks (83.0%): The San Jose defenseman has scored one on seven shots in four previous games with the Avalanche this season – the Sharks’ opponent Friday, Saturday and again Monday. This is hardly an encouraging result for the former Norris Trophy winner, who was simply a fantastic asset in 2021. Additionally, Philipp Grubauer is expected to return to Colorado Territory after spending more than two weeks under COVID from the league. 19 protocol. Fantasy managers with other adequate blue line options could give Karlsson a pass on Saturday and Monday.
Cam Talbot, G, Minnesota Savage (87.9%): Of the group of goalies to choose from this weekend, the current No. 1 in the Wild is not a favorite. Saturday’s opponent, the visiting Blues, totaled nine goals over Talbot in this week’s two-game set (both losses for Minnesota), while Monday’s game with Vegas is even less appealing. The Golden Knights have averaged 5.4 goals per game with 10 straight wins. There isn’t a goalie on the planet worth testing against these scoring vibes right now.
Darcy Kuemper, G, Arizona Coyotes (54.3%): It bears repeating, the Golden Knights have averaged 5.4 goals per game with 10 straight wins. Kuemper has won twice in six attempts since returning from injury on April 17. The Coyotes host Vegas on Friday and again on Saturday. I’m looking at other options on the net on Kuemper on these dates, no doubt.
Mike Hoffman, LW / RW, St. Louis Blues (82.5%): It took most of three months, but it looks like he finally figured it out in St. Louis. After missing two games earlier this month, Hoffman has since broken out for seven goals and four assists in eight games. Fantasy managers who had (understandably) criticized the struggling winger should re-enlist when the Blues face the Wild on Saturday and the Ducks on Monday. Hoffman got his mojo back.
Nazem Kadri, C, Colorado Avalanche (56.7%): I know, I know, the spirited center hasn’t had the most productive month for the Avalanche, contributing a pair of assists overall. However, Colorado head coach Jared Bednar recently hinted that Kadri is doing a lot of good and will quickly come out of his current funk. How about during the club’s upcoming four games against the Porous Sharks? Only the Devils have been more generous in allowing goals since mid-April. And Kadri has more points against the Sharks than any other club – seven, including three with the extra skater – although he’s only faced them four times. The old Maple Leaf could indeed be in for a rather (much needed) productive weekend.
Josh Norris, C, Ottawa Senators (39.4%): The Senators are scoring goals and winning games and having a lot of fun these days, including the team‘s frontline center. Accumulating fantasy points with aplomb, Norris has registered seven goals and six assists in 12 games since April 5. He should be active in just about every goal league in ESPN.com’s fantasy spectrum. Ottawa will face the Canadiens on Saturday, still without Carey-Price.
Sam Bennett, C / LW, Florida Panthers (34.2%): Florida rookie failed to register just one point once since joining his new team in the middle of the month, otherwise generating five goals and six assists in seven games. Even with the only misfire against Carolina, the second-row center averages nearly three fantasy points per fight. The Panthers face the Blackhawks – who conceded 3.62 goals per game in April – on Saturday, and the Stars on Monday. Get Bennett in your roster.
Additional Notes: Play your favorite Boston Bruins on the next when they host the Sabers on Saturday and visit the Devils on Monday and Tuesday – not just the elite fantasy performers. Center David Krejci, for example, comes across as an underrated commodity with a huge advantage, given the games. … The same goes for the Philadelphia Flyers, when they play in New Jersey on Saturday. In particular the combo before Sean Couturier / Jakub Voracek.