The schedule for Week 23 is more spread out with Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday featuring a weekly high of nine games each. Even the usually light Monday schedule features five games, only one less than Wednesday and two less than Friday.
As fantasy hockey head-to-head leagues begin their playoffs – if they haven’t started already – this week is all about spreading out the pickups and games. There’s no need to load up on certain days because games are scarce, though note that Sunday could be a key determinator with nine games to choose from.
P% = season points percentage
Opp. P% = opponents’ season points percentage
Diff. = difference between P% and Opp. P%
Green is good. Red is bad. All advanced stats courtesy naturalstatrick.com.
The Stars are the only team who are slated to play all four of their games on the road. They were atrocious at the beginning of the season but since Jan. 1 have gone 11-7-1 and the ninth-best points percentage. It’s also a road trip with little travel since their first two games will be in Anaheim before moving up to the Bay Area and then ending in Seattle.
Jake Oettinger has been a very good workhorse and Scott Wedgewood should figure into at least one of the weekend games, and there’s no worry with him after his 44-save debut, not to mention he’s already played against both San Jose and Seattle this season. While the Stars’ offense continues to lean on their top line, note that Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have scored a combined six points in their past three games.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Knights have one of the easiest schedules in Week 23 with two games against the Kraken and then a Sunday matchup against the Canucks, and after a five-game losing streak has won four of their past six. Logan Thompson has emerged as their starter and he’s generally been pretty good, though still not the caliber of goalie you’d expect from what was supposed to be one of the Western Conference’s top contenders. Still, there’s a chance Thompson could go 3-0-0 this week.
On offense, we assume that Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone will have minimal roles, if at all, for the rest of the season due to injury, but again it’s their role players who have made the biggest impact, including Chandler Stephenson, Nicolas Roy and Jonathan Marchessault. Jack Eichel definitely still has some ways to go to re-capture his peak Sabres form, but it’s interesting to note that he’s been making an impact at both ends of the ice; he’s got three blocked shots and eight hits to go with his three points in four games, turning into a multi-category beast. The biggest name, however, has been Evgenii Dadonov, who is playing like he wants to remain in Vegas, scoring five points in two games including their most recent overtime winner. Alec Martinez has just returned from injury and may need a few more games to get back up to speed, so his impact will likely be bigger in Week 24 than Week 23.
Usually, when a team trades away their veterans, the young players in the system get a chance to prove their worth, but that hasn’t really been the case for the Ducks. Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry continue with business as usual despite increased ice time, but other pieces of their young core such as Max Comtois and Sam Steel continue to struggle, combining for just one assist in three games. With goaltending that has been some of the worst in the league, the Ducks should probably be avoided for the rest of the season.
Los Angeles Kings
Todd McLellan’s going with the win-and-you’re-in approach in net, the problem is that neither Cal Petersen nor Jonathan Quick have been able to win two straight games since Petersen did it in early March. Asides from Monday’s match against the Kraken, whom they’ve already beaten twice this season, road stops in Edmonton and Calgary (on back-to-back nights) and Winnipeg does not bode well even though the schedule matrix has them ranked sixth.
The only reprieve in their schedule might be the matchup against the Oilers because it should be a boon for the Kings’ offense, otherwise they the Flames and Jets have formidable offenses and continue to trend up. The return of Viktor Arvidsson has bumped Arthur Kaliyev down the depth chart so he’s no longer a good option anymore, but note that rookie defensemen Sean Durzi and Jordan Spence have been very good on offense, and their kid line of Quinton Byfield between Rasmus Kupari and Gabe Vilardi combined for five points in their past three games.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues are undesirable in Week 23 for the same reasons the Kings are: tough schedule and their play is trending in the wrong direction. The Blues’ situation is even direr than the Kings because both Ville Husso and Jordan Binnington are struggling, and they’ve lost five of their past six games. They will face a hungry Canucks squad on Monday and Wednesday, who have gone 2-0-1 on a tough road trip through the Central Division so far, and then visit Edmonton and Calgary in back-to-back nights. Top scorer Jordan Kyrou has really struggled and been moved down to the third line and benched at various points. It’s best to avoid the Blues for now even though they’re ranked eighth.
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