NHL Fantasy Preview – Week 20

NHL Fantasy Preview, Week 20

Table of Contents

NHL Fantasy Preview – Week 20

Episode 102 of the Fantasy Hockey Hacks Podcast! Week 19 of the NHL was filled with trades, trade rumours, injuries, upsets and plenty of offence! As we do each week, we’ll check in on John’s list, “hack” our way through the NHL’s Headlines, go through the week’s schedule, make recommendations for waiver wire adds, and discuss our weekly Rankings Risers & Fallers (Top 200 Rankings) – Powered By Left Wing Lock. Thank you again to Mike McLaughlin for joining us, fantastic insight as always!

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  • Ryan O’Reilly is a Toronto Maple Leaf
  • Alex Ovechkin leaves the Capitals indefinitely
  • Auston Matthews returns from injury
  • Jakub Vrana reclled by the Red Wings
  • Patrick Kane records his ninth career hat trick

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John’s List

If you have been listening to our podcast for a while, you’ve undoubtedly heard about “John’s List”; which is basically John’s $h!t list of players past and present. If you have any suggestions for players/subjects we should add to the list, let us know!

The Edmonton Oilers – Watching the Oilers go 1-1-4 in their last 6 contests against the likes of PHI (1-2 SO L), MTL (2-6 L), DET (4-5 SO L), NYR (4-5 SO L), and COL (5-6 OTL) has slowly made me fucking insane! I tune-in each game expecting a different result, but instead, I see the same results – a shootout or overtime loss after blowing an early multi-goal lead.🤬

Fantasy Lock Of The Week (February 13 – 19, 2023) | Presented by Left Wing Lock
🔥Nathan MacKinnon, C, 100% Rostered (Yahoo)

MacKinnon is rolling right now with 12 points (5 goals) in his last 5 games played! Shooting at an outrageous 5.4 SOG/GM, MacKinnon is on-pace for a career-best 125 points and 35 goals. 

9 Points (3 Goals), 1 GWG, 1 PPP, 28 SOG, +6, 70.8% PP Share, 23:07 TOI in 4 games played during week 19.

Headlines W/ The Hacks | February 13 -19, 2023

Headlines This Week
  • The Detroit Red Wings recalled Forward Jacob Vrana from the AHL
  • Mikey Anderson has signed an 8 year contract extension with the LA Kings with $4.125 million per season. Anderson has 13 points in 55 games this season
  • Alexander Ovechkin has taken a leave of absence from the Capitals, His father passed away this past Wednesday. We extend our condolences to Alex and his family. He could return to Washington as early as tomorrow (Tuesday)
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired Ryan O’Reilly and Nolan Acarri in a 3 team trade. The Leafs get O’Reilly and Acarri from St Louis. St Louis received Mikhail Abramov and Adam Gaudette along with 2023 1st round pick, Ottawa’s 2023 3rd round pick and the Leafs 2024 2nd round pick. Minnesota receives the Leafs 2025 4th round pick, the Blue’s retain 50% of O’Reilly’s salary and the Wild 25% as part of the trade. 
  • With an assist in the 1st period vs the Rangers on Friday. Connor McDavid reached the 100 point mark on Friday for the 6th time in his 8 year NHL career. 
  • The Black Hawks announce Jonathon Toews will not be traded this season. Toews is still suffering from the effects of long covid and chronic immune response syndrome.
Injury News: The Good
  • Austin Matthews returned to the Leafs lineup on Wednesday. Matthews recorded 2 points in his return, a goal and an assist. 
  • Shane Gostisbehere returned to the Coyotes lineup on Sunday. He played 22:15 with an assist and 5 shots on goal.
  • Tristan Jarry has been activated from IR, he is also starting Monday’s game vs the Islanders

Injury News: The Bad
  • We have an update on Ottawa Senators goaltender Anton Forsberg. After his collision with Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Hymam, Forsberg tore his MCL in both legs.
  • The Islanders announced today Matt Barzal is week to week with a lower body injury. Barzal was injured from what looked like a knee on knee hit by Craig Smith on Saturday vs the Bruins. The Islanders are hoping he will return during the regular season.
  • Montreal defenseman Arbor Xhekaj is out indefinitely with an upper body injury suffered on Sunday vs the Edmonton Oilers
  • Thatcher Demko suffered a setback in his recovery. The Canucks did not release any more details. He will still be traveling with the team.
Injury News: Keep an eye on.
  • Sam Bennett is day to day after suffering and lower body injury vs the Blues on Tuesday
  • Timo Meir is day to day after suffering and an upper body injury in Saturday’s game vs the Sabres
  • Travis Konecny suffered and upper body injury in there Monday game vs the Flames, he was seen with his arm in a sling after the game
  • Adin Hill suffered a “bump” Vs the Lightning Saturday night. 
  • The Avalanche report Gabriel Landeskog has started skating. Landeskog has not played a games this season after undergoing surgery in the off season
  • The Panthers website reports Anthony Duclair could return to the lineup as soon as Friday. Duclair has not played a game yet this season after tearing his achilles tendon in the off season.
  • Evander Kane did not play Sunday vs the Colorado Avalanche do to an upper body injury
  • Cale Makar missed Sunday’s game vs the Oilers with an Upper body injury. He has just returned to the Avs lineup the game before from an upper body injury.
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Edge Work | NHL Schedule, Week 20

The segment where we put in the work to give you the EDGE in your fantasy hockey leagues! 

Need To Know: 

The NHL schedule rolls on in typical fashion during week 20, with Tuesday (9), Thursday (10), and Saturday (11) being the busiest nights this week. There are a total of 52 games on the schedule; and 4 “light days” (50% or fewer NHL teams in action) with Monday (6), Wednesday (3), Friday (6), and Sunday (7) being slower days. 

In terms of optimizing the schedule, the New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets are the ONLY teams to play all 4 of their games on “light days”. There are 7 other teams that happen to play 2 of their 4 games on light days – BUF, CGY, LAK, MIN, NYR, PHI, PIT. 

In the flip side, there are 4 teams next week that play just twice, and should be avoided, if possible – Arizona, Colorado, Dallas, and Florida.  

According to Left Wing Lock’s Strength Of Schedule metric, the Toronto Maple Leafs (@BUF, Vs.MIN, @SEA), have the most favourable schedule at -15;. The New York Islanders (@PIT, Vs.WPG, Vs.LAK, @WPG) have the toughest schedule with a +12 strength of schedule rating. 

  • Monday – 6 Games
  • Tuesday – 9 Games
  • Wednesday – 3 Games
  • Thursday – 10 Games
  • Friday – 6 Games
  • Saturday – 11 Games
  • Sunday – 7 Games

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Edge Work | Waiver Wire Targets, NHL Week 20

Waiver wire targets will be focused on players with ownership ~50% or less. SOS = Strength of Schedule, according to Left Wing Lock. Lower number = Easier Schedule, Higher Number = Harder Schedule.  

Top Waiver Wire Targets

🎯 Boone Jenner (C), CBJ | Rostered: 34% (Yahoo) | GP: 3 (Vs.MIN, Vs.EDM, @MIN, +6 SOS) | Line: 1 (w/ Gaudreau & Marchenko, PP1) 
  • Boone Jenner is on-pace for 56 points, which would be the second-highest total of his career. With 16 goals in 44 games, Jenner is also scoring at an 82-game pace of 30 goals. The Blue Jackets captain is also shooting at a career-best 3.3 SOG/GM and 11.5 FOW/GM! 8 points (5 goals) in his last 10 games played.
🎯 Ryan O’Reilly (C), TOR | Rostered: 39% (Yahoo) | GP: 3 (@BUF, Vs.MIN, @SEA, -15 SOS) | Line: 1 (w/ Tavares & Marner, PP2) 
  • With Friday’s 3-way deal between St.Louis, Toronto, and Minnesota, Ryan O’Reilly joins the Leafs; which could really go either way in terms of the former Blues captain’s fantasy value. If O’Reilly winds up at 3C and PP2, he is essentially droppable. However, if Toronto decides to stack their top 6, O’Reilly could see time next to Tavares and Marner… UPDATE: O’Reilly did in fact debut with the Leafs next to Tavares and Marner, playing 16:12 with 1 assist, 2 hits, and winning 86% of his draws! NOTE: 57.6 IPP is well down from what we have seen from O’Reilly during his career. -24 is a career-low.
🎯 Alexander Barabanov (LW), SJS | Rostered: 21% (Yahoo) | GP: 3 (Vs.SEA, Vs.NSH, Vs.CHI, +11 SOS) | Line: 2 (Couture & Essymont, PP1) 
  • Barabanov is having a career-season so far with 36 points and 10 goals in 51 games; just shy of a 60 point pace over 82 games. Playing next to Couture in the top 6, and on the first PP unit, Barabanov should continue to be productive. 8 points (4 goals) in his last 6 games played. NOTE: 1.8 SOG/GM is a career-best; as is his 62.2% PP Share. 10.1 tEVSH% slightly elevated. 58.1 IPP could improve…
🎯 Anthony Cirelli (C/LW), TB | Rostered: 16% (Yahoo) | GP: 4 (Vs.ANA, Vs.BUF, @DET, @PIT, -7 SOS) | Line: 2 (w/ Stamkos & Killorn) 
  • Anthony Cirelli is shooting at a career-best 2.3 SOG/GM this year, while also winning over 53% of his draws (another career-high); and he has been heating up of late with 6 points and 3 goals in his last 4 games played. NOTE: 8.6 iSH% is below 3-year (11%) and career (13%) averages. 
🎯 Mikael Backlund (C), CGY | Rostered: 32% (Yahoo) | GP: 4 (Vs.PHI, @ARI, @VGK, @COL, 0 SOS) | Line: 3 (w/ Coleman & Mangiapane) 
  • The long-time Flame has been absolutely red-hot since December 27th, posting 20 points (6 goals) in his last 22 games played! Calgary has an intriguing 4-game schedule this week, with plenty of potential to generate offense. It should also be noted that over his last 5 games, Backlund is averaging 4.2 SOG/GM, seeing more than 50% PP Share, and playing between 18 and 20 minutes per night. Great option for next week, and possibly down the stretch. NOTE: 3.1 SOG/GM and 1.14 Hits/GM this season are both career-highs. 62 CF% also a career-best. No red flags with regard to iSH%, tEVSH%, or IPP.
🎯 James Van Riemsdyk (LW/RW), PHI | Rostered: 3% (Yahoo) | GP: 4 (@CGY, @EDM, Vs.MTL, @NJD, +0 SOS) | Line: 1 (w/ Frost & Konecny, PP1) 
  • There has been plenty of trade speculation around JVR, a pending UFA, and capable goal-scorer. It’s been a rough stretch for the 33-year old, but he does have 4 games on the schedule this week and still has a place on the team’s top power play unit. Fingers crossed for a trade to a more favourable situation though…
🎯 Jakub Vrana (LW), DET | Rostered: 19% (Yahoo) | GP: 3 (@WSH, Vs.NYR, Vs.TB, +11 SOS) | Line: 1 (w/ Player & Player, PPx) 
  • It still remains to be seen if Vrana will actually play for the Red Wings again, but it’s certainly something worth monitoring. Vrana has shown to be an effective 5v5 player.

🎯Michael Matheson (D), MTL | Rostered: 8% (Yahoo) | GP: 3 (@NJD, @PHI, Vs.OTT, +3 SOS) | Line: 2 (w/ Barron, PP1) 
  • If you’re looking for a defenceman that gets PP1 duties, Matheson is an option that is available in more than 90% of Yahoo leagues. Over his last 10 games, Matheson is playing over 24 minutes per game, nearly 70% PP Share, contributing 1.5 hits per game, and roughly 2 blocks per game. Add to that, 5 points and 1 goal in his last 6 contests – on-pace for 45 points over 82 games; and you have a player that is serviceable across most/all formats. NOTE: 46.2 IPP is a bit high for a defenceman; 4.3 iSH% is below 3-year (6.6) and career (6.0) averages.
🎯K’Andre Miller (D), NYR | Rostered: 57% (Yahoo) | GP: 4 (Vs.WPG, @DET, @WSH, Vs.LAK, 0 SOS) | Line: 2 (w/ Trouba) 
  • With the Tarasenko and Motte acquisitions, the Rangers are showing they mean business; and Miller is a big part of this group. On-pace for 44 points and contributing nearly 2.5 hits and 1.25 blocks per game, Miller is capable of contributing to your fantasy rosters down the stretch. 5 points and 1 goal in his last 6 games, including his first career three-point game. 
🎯 Karel Vejmelka (G), ARI | Rostered: 54% (Yahoo) | GP: 2 (Vs.CGY, Vs.NSH, -3 SOS) | Role: Starter (69% Net Share)
  • The Arizona net minder is 4-0-1 in his last 5 starts with a 2.20 GAA, .936 SV%, and 1 shutout – incredible numbers considering the team in front of him. The Yotes play just twice next week, but both games take place on light days, and against relatively beatable teams in Calgary and Nashville. NOTE: .916 EVSV% is a career-high, .858 PKSV% suggests performance has not been boosted by luck. 
🎯 Jaroslav Halak (G), NYR | Rostered: 8% (Yahoo) | GP: 4 (Vs.WPG, @DET, @WSH, Vs.LAK, 0 SOS) | Role: Backup (28% Net Share)
  • The 37-year old veteran is 7-0-0 with a 2.14 GAA, and .927 SV% in his last 7 games played. Halak doesn’t see much action for the Rangers, having appeared in just 28% of their contests; but lately he has been a reliable source of quality starts. The Rangers have already added Tarasenko, and may improve before the trade deadline – great option for spot starts. NOTE: .900 PKSV% suggests Halak’s play will come back down to earth. 
🎯 Philip Grubauer (G), SEA | Rostered: 25% (Yahoo) | GP: 3 (@SJS, Vs.BOS, Vs.TOR, 6 SOS) | Role: Starter (39% Net Share)
  • We mentioned Grubauer recently as a player to watch closely or stash for later, and that advice appears to have been sound, based on the fact that Grubauer has started 6 of the last 8 games for Seattle. Over that stretch, the former Av posted a 4-1-1 record with a 1.98 GAA, .921 SV%, and 2.8 GSAx! Some tough matchups this week, but Grubauer should see two starts. NOTE: .800 PKSV% shows there is still room for improvement and performance has not been boosted by luck. Also, Martin Jones continues to be absolutely awful, particularly over his last 4 starts where he has given up 17 goals and posted a save percentage of .825 or lower twice…
ALSO: Mads Sogaard (17%, OTT). No Cam Talbot this week and Anton Forberg already on the shelf.

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