There was a very good article on the site yesterday from Eastern Edge writer Brennan Des looked at Tage Thompson and some New Jersey hot starts. What caught my eye in that article was Brennan looking at the fantasy playoff schedule. We are a quarter of the way into the season and leagues with fantasy playoffs typically have them over the final month of the season; perhaps another 15 games or so. That means we have ~45 games worth of play time left in regular season fantasy leagues, which is not very much time.
I wanted to take this Ramblings to look to the playoff schedule. There are fantasy teams out there that are 6-1 or 7-0 or whatever, and are likely to cruise to their playoffs. Funny enough, there are never fantasy articles written for these teams. It is always about how to rebound from a bad start, or how to sell off current assets to build for the future. What about teams that don't really need to change much?
The fact there isn't much to change is the reason for the lack of ink spilled, but that doesn't mean there aren't preparations that can't be made. So, with that in mind, let's look at the post-Olympic schedule, maybe some injured players that will return, and what top-end fantasy rosters should do. We will be looking from the start of March through to the end of April.
Evgeni Malkin/Jack Eichel
The two big returnees from injury, at least among forwards, are Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and Vegas's Jack Eichel. While they have different timelines – Malkin has been skating with teammates in a non-contact jersey of late while Eichel is just three weeks removed from neck surgery and will need at least two more months – they both have the potential to be monsters in the fantasy playoffs.
From March 10th through the end of the month, a span of 22 days, the Penguins have 12 games. Included in those dozen contests are two against the Rangers, one against Buffalo, and one against the Islanders (if they don't turn their ship around). Four of those 12 games are also on Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday, giving us plenty of off-days to use Malkin as well. His problem is that once March is over, the team enters April with just five games in 11 days and three of those games are Colorado or Washington. After that, the next five games include Boston twice, and then the fantasy season ends. It is a tight window of Malkin's value that closes as soon as the calendar turns to April, but he will have a lot of value in mid-late March if he's healthy.
For Eichel, the Golden Knights hav