Eastern Edge: Previewing Islanders/Panthers and Maple Leafs/Blue Jackets

Brennan Des


In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll break down the New York/Florida and Toronto/Columbus matchups from a fantasy hockey perspective. Obviously, no one knows what's going to happen in the playoffs, but hopefully these thoughts can give you some ideas as you prepare for your playoff pool.

Check out last week's article where we looked at the Montreal/Pittsburgh and Carolina/New York matchups.


  1. New York Islanders (35-23-10) vs. 10. Florida Panthers (35-26-8)


I mentioned this last week, but I think it's worth repeating as we discuss the Panthers-Islanders series. If you have to draft one fantasy roster that you stick with throughout the playoffs, you should avoid drafting players from matchups that seem even. You see, if you're stuck with the same roster throughout the playoffs, you don't want players that are likely to be eliminated in the play-in round. According to the oddsmakers, Florida and New York are pretty evenly matched. Although the Islanders are slightly favoured, smart mathematicians in Vegas think that each team has roughly a 50-percent chance of winning. However, that also means each team has a 50-percent chance of losing. Does it make sense to load up your roster with a bunch of Islanders if there's a 50-percent chance they get eliminated in the play-in round?

The Florida Panthers performed well offensively this year, scoring 3.30 goals per game. The team's forward corps features a couple of superstars in Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. Huberdeau scored at a 93-point pace this season, proving that his 92-point campaign last year wasn't a fluke. However, Barkov wasn't quite able to replicate last year's scoring dominance, putting up a 77-point pace this season after tallying 96 points last year. Regardless, 77 points is nothing to scoff at, especially considering his elite defensive abilities.  Aside from their superstars, Florida also has a number of offen