Fantasy Hockey

Fantasy Hockey Playoff Preview

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With the NHL Regular Season coming to a close this past weekend now is the time for everyone to get ready for their NHL Playoff Pools! With parity increasing every year and no clear-cut favourite in this years field it is safe to say that luck will be the biggest driving force in bringing you to the top of your pool. Having said that there are still strategies that will give you the best opportunity to win that I will present to you in the Fantasy Six Pack Fantasy Hockey Playoff Preview!

Here are some tips for success to give you the best chance to win your Fantasy Hockey Playoff Pool:

1. Draft by teams not players: The best chance you have of winning is to have as many players as possible on the teams that make the Stanley Cup Finals. Therefore, your early picks will likely dictate which players you target in the later rounds. If you draft Steven Stamkos early on then you should look to load up on as many players on the Lightning as possible. In addition, it’s important to try and target players on one team in the East and one team in the West.


Steven Stamkos

Credit: Clyde Caplan

2. Target teams with depth: Just because you identify a team that has players that you want to go after doesn’t mean someone else won’t share that exact same idea. Therefore, you should try and target the teams with the most offensive talent. That way you know that even though you might not get the exact player you want there should be someone available in almost every round. For the reason the teams you should target are the St. Louis Blues, the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning as they are all teams that not only put the puck in the back of net on a consistent but spread the wealth as well. Going after a team like Montreal for that reason would not make as much sense as they are very reliant on only a few players for a significant portion of their goals.

3. Stay away from Sidney Crosby (C – PIT) and Evgeni Malkin (C/RW – PIT): This may be the first time that sentence has ever been used in a fantasy hockey context but it is undoubtedly the smart thing to do. The Penguins backed their way into the playoffs and are decimated with injuries. While Sid and Geno may be two of the top five players in the NHL their stay in the 2015 NHL Postseason is likely to be a short one. The Rangers have been the best team in the NHL and should take care of the Pens fairly easily. While even in a short series both Crosby and Malkin could put up a lot of points they will likely be drafted too high, they should be going at the end of the 2nd round at the earliest and I doubt they will last that long. Try and target lesser known players like Jaden Schwartz and Tyler Johnson instead.

4. Don’t be afraid of lower seeds: The three hottest teams in the NHL have been the Ottawa Senators, the Calgary Flames and the Minnesota Wild. None of them have home-ice advantage in their respective series but all have an excellent chance to advance to the second round and beyond. Another team to look out for is the Winnipeg Jets who are sure to play some inspiring hockey in front of their hometown fans who haven’t seen playoff hockey in two decades. Lower-seeded teams go on deep runs all the time and the 7th and 8th seeds have won an incredible 36% of series over the past twenty years. The perfect example is the Los Angeles Kings who won the cup as an 8-seed in 2012.

5.Wait on Goalies: During the regular season this year Carey Price likely carried many teams to Fantasy Hockey championships. Goaltenders are essential in Fantasy Hockey during the regular season but are not as important in playoff pools. Any goalie can get hot at the right time and carry their team in the playoffs which is part of what makes the NHL playoffs so random. Try and load up on as many offensive stars you can and worry about your goaltender later.

6. Look at Advanced Stats: Teams with strong possession numbers have typically had success in the

Credit: Christine Grabig

Credit: Christine Grabig

playoffs. This year the numbers point to the Chicago Blackhawks. Of course, you should be looking to grab players like Toews and Hossa early on but also look to players like Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell who are all proven playoff performers.

7. Don’t sleep on Patrick Kane (RW – CHI): Before Kane went down with an injury he was having a Hart Trophy-calibre season. While it is unknown when exactly he will come back, he has been skating and should be back sooner rather than later. The Hawks should handle the Preds easily as Nashville has not looked the same over the past couple of months. If Kane were healthy he would be a candidate for the number 1 overall pick so if you can grab him at the end of the 2nd or at the beginning 3rd round that could be the risk/reward pick that takes your team over the top.

8. Get a ticket to the Tarasenskshow: I believe when we reflect on the 2015 NHL Postseason one of the things we will remember is the emergence of Vladimir Tarasenko as an elite NHL player. The Blues have had very good teams ever since Ken Hitchcock has taken over but have never had a true offensive difference maker which has contributed to their lack of success in the playoffs. That is no longer the case and I think Tarasenko will lead the Blues on a deep run and will display how he is one of if not the most talented players in the league. Grab him in the top 5 picks.

9. Expect a different Capitals team: The Caps have developed a reputation as a team that can’t get it done in the playoffs. Both Ovi and the Capitals have always been thought of as one-dimensional but Barry Trotz has changed that perception since he has been put in as head coach. The Caps are a complete team and are an excellent candidate to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Isles have slowed down after getting to a hot-start and expect the Caps to get past their previous playoff failures in symbolic fashion by taking down Jaroslav Halak. Other than superstars Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom try and grab John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen.

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10. Reputation Matters: The playoffs are a different game and year after year the same players seem to step up or not come through in the crunch time. Players like Rick Nash, Max Pacioretty and Marc-Andre Fleury still have much to prove in the second season while players like Jonathan Toews, PK Subban and Henrik Zetterberg thrive at this time year after year. In addition, some sleepers that have stepped up in previous playoffs are: Lars Eller, Joel Ward, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Bryan Bickell, and Alex Burrows.

I hope these tips help bring you much success in your Fantasy Hockey Playoff Pools!

About Jordan Slapcoff

Jordan is from Montreal, Canada and has live there his entire life. He has recently graduated from McGill University with Major in Anatomy in Cell Biology and a Minor in Management. He has been playing Fantasy Sports for over ten years and is a huge fan of both Hockey and Football and has had much success in both. Jordan is also a lifelong fan of the Montreal Canadiens. He will be writing about Fantasy Hockey for Fantasy Six Pack and you can follow him on Twitter: @jordslap.

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