2021 Fantasy Hockey Week 9 Planner

by Tyler Mulligan
2021 Fantasy Hockey Week 9 Planner

Welcome to the 2021 Fantasy Hockey Week 9 Planner!

We aim to bring a semblance of normality within the ever-changing landscape of the COVID-era NHL.

Now entering Week 9 of the 2021 Fantasy Hockey campaign, fans and fantasy aficionados should be used to a cornucopia of curveballs, postponements, and virulent outbreaks.

Nonetheless, in order to succeed in your quest to beat your friends and work colleagues in drafting and structuring a winning lineup, you'll need to roll with the punches, just as the NHL has dealt with playing a season amidst a global pandemic.

Rolling with the metaphorical punches is what we do when we plan ahead. To get the edge on your opponent, it's always better to be prepared. That way you can stick it to your annoying coworker at the water cooler next Monday.

With the 2021 Fantasy Hockey Week 9 Planner, we bring to you the framework for fantasy success.

2021 Fantasy Hockey Week 9 Planner

Weekly Streaming MVP

Adrian Kempe, C/LW/RW, Los Angeles Kings (52% Rostered)

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Fantasy managers need to take note of Adrian Kempe.

Heading into Sunday’s tilt with the Colorado Avalanche, the dynamic sniper has lit the lamp five times in his past three games, including a hat-trick performance of intrastate rivals Anaheim Ducks.

The 24-year-old is currently on the wing of Los Angeles’ top 5v5 unit alongside Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. More importantly for Fantasy managers, Kempe centers the Kings’ top power-play unit. Two of his last five goals were scored with the man advantage.

After his recent offensive outpouring, the Swiss-born forward is now up to 11 goals and eight assists on the year.

Kempe is owned in about half the Yahoo leagues, but his triple eligibility makes him a Swiss Army knife for those who roster him.

Honorable Mention:

  • Brock Nelson, C, New York Islanders (37% Rostered)
  • Dylan Coghlan, D, Vegas Golden Knights (1% Rostered)
  • Erik Cernak, D, Tampa Bay Lightning (15% Rostered)

Last Week’s MVP:

  • Rickard Rakell, LW/RW, Anaheim Ducks (54% Rostered)

Scheduled Starts

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Most

  • Tampa Bay Lightning: 5 games
  • Pittsburgh Penguins: 5 games

Least

  • Toronto Maple Leafs: 2 games
  • Columbus Blue Jackets: 2 games
  • Ottawa Senators: 2 games

? Postponement Alert ?

  • March 15
    Islanders at Capitals: Rescheduled to April 27
    Stars at Blue Jackets: Rescheduled to March 14
  • March 16
    Coyotes at Ducks: Rescheduled to March 20
    Panthers at Lightning: Rescheduled to March 21
  • March 19
    Penguins at Devils: Rescheduled to March 20
  • March 21
    Penguins at Devils: Rescheduled to April 9

Teams to target

Tampa Bay Lightning

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Notable Players:

  • Steven Stamkos
  • Brayden Point
  • Victor Hedman

The reigning Stanley Cup Champions are in for a busy Week 9 slate. As one of two teams playing five games this week, Tampa Bay should be targeted by Fantasy managers.

Leading the Central Division, Tampa has been dominant as of late, posting an 8-1-1 record over their past 10 games.

The Lightning are a treasure trove for Fantasy managers. Outside of their fourth line, the Bolts’ roster is stacked with offensive firepower.

On their second line, which includes Captain and former Rocket Richard Trophy Winner, Steven Stamkos, is Yanni Gourde and Alex Killorn. Both Gourde and Killorn are rostered in less than 33% of leagues. Despite their lack of ownership, Gourde and Killorn combine for 15 goals and 17 assists.

Either option is solid for Fantasy managers, but Killorn’s edges Gourde because of his superior plus/minus rating and usage on both the powerplay and penalty kill.

With five games in Week 9, the volume alone could account for excellent numbers from the Lightning’s supporting cast.

Also, rumors are going around that explosive sniper Nikita Kucherov could be back sooner than later for Tampa. He’s certainly worth scooping up if he isn’t already under ownership.

Minnesota Wild

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Notable Players:

  • Kirill Kaprizov
  • Mats Zuccarello
  • Kaapo Kahkonen

The West Division is a tale of two halves—the top and bottom half to be more apt.

The top half of the division is filled with Stanley Cup contenders like the Vegas Golden Knights, St. Louis Blues, and the Colorado Avalanche. The bottom half includes the Arizona Coyotes and three struggling California franchises.

Minnesota is among the contenders, sitting in second place in the division. They’ve earned their keep, winning their last two games against the powerhouse Vegas squad.

Winning seven of their last 10 outings, Minnesota is heating up thanks to their young talent.

Kirill Kaprizov is a candidate for rookie of the year, and the return of Mats Zuccarello (40% Rostered), has rejuvenated the Wild’s offense.

Marcus Foligno (29% Rostered) and Jordan Greenway (28% Rostered) are two blue-collar players who fantasy managers may want to target. Both are competent point-getters but rack up PIMs, hits, and other supporting stats.

The Wild have a tough road back-to-back against the Avalanche, but their recent showing against the Golden Knights show that they have what it takes to compete with the league’s best.

Teams to avoid

Columbus Blue Jackets

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Notable Players:

  • Patrik Laine
  • Cam Atkinson
  • Seth Jones

In any job, it’s hard to imagine what your boss is thinking when they make seemingly counterintuitive decisions. Whether you’re an IT analyst, grocery store clerk, or professional hockey player, there are times when the employee and the employer are simply not on the same page.

Head Coach John Tortorella, who is no stranger to making controversial decisions, finds himself in familiar territory with regards to star winger, Patrik Laine.

Laine was essentially swapped for Pierre-Luc Dubois after Torts decided to bench Dubois for not trying hard enough.

That’s fair— Dubois' head wasn’t in it; he wanted out of Columbus.

Now that Torts has a former 40-goal scorer in Laine instead, there shouldn’t be any problem, right?

Wrong, apparently.

After ending his seven-game point drought, with a goal and an assist against Florida, Tortorella awarded Laine by sitting him for the last 6:34 of the third period, as well as the entire overtime period.

“I didn’t bench anybody last night,” said the polarizing bench boss. “I just decided to play some other people in situations late in the third period that I felt more comfortable with at the time.”

Whether or not he “benched” Laine is a moot point, wrapped in semantics. The only thing that matters for Fantasy managers in production and frankly, the Blue Jackets who are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, haven’t been getting it done.

On the season, Columbus has a -18 goal differential—indicative of their lack of chemistry.

I’m not one to point a finger, but the common denominator between the Dubois and Laine situation is Tortorella.

San Jose Sharks

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Notable Players:

  • Erik Karlsson
  • Evander Kane
  • Logan Couture

The San Jose Sharks will have a tough time keeping up in Week 9, with a nightmarish slate ahead of them.

Not only do the Sharks have a two-game series against the West Division leaders, Vegas, they’ll have to take on the surging St. Louis Blues, who have recently reactivated skilled sniper Vladimir Tarasenko from the injured reserve.

Fantasy managers should stay away from San Jose’s goaltenders as they’ll likely be peppered with goals.

The Sharks already have very few viable fantasy options, but the tough schedule makes them even more of a fade candidate in Week 9.

Trade Announcements

The Columbus Blue Jackets acquire defensemen, Mikko Lehtonen, from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for goaltender Veini Vehvailainen.

Lehtonen, who has had trouble breaking the Leafs lineup was publicly unhappy with his position on the taxi squad.

Now that he’ll be on the Blue Jackets, he’ll likely play a bigger role on their team, but lacks viability with regards to fantasy value.


Check out the rest of our Fantasy Hockey content.

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