Looking Ahead: Week 27 (2015-16)

by Mike Schmidt on March 25, 2016

Looking ahead at the teams with the best and worst schedules for the upcoming week for fantasy hockey.

All fantasy owners need help in the short term AND the long term. The Looking Ahead feature identifies one player to plug into lineups in the short term, a second to invest in for the long term, a third to bench for the coming week and a fourth who will struggle to meet expectations for some time. (Update: Because the end of the season is imminent, we’re picking two players to pick up and two to bench in the near future). All players discussed are selected based on their team’s upcoming schedule. Without further ado…

 

The Immediate Fixes (Grab these guys and use them for the next several days)

 

Jakob Silfverberg, LW/RW, Anaheim (Available in 68 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Poolies have been familiar with the 25-year-old Ducks winger for some time, but Silfverberg has never been able to play his way into widespread relevance. Every so often, he finds himself on the same line as Anaheim mainstays like Corey Perry and/or Ryan Getzlaf, and the fantasy community responds with the appropriate level of excitement. Then… nothing really happens. If only Silfverberg would see more than fractions of a minute on the power play per game, then poolies might be able to count on him as an annual 20-goal scorer. All that being said, he’s on a bit of a hot streak right now (even while playing alongside veterans Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Kesler). Fantasy owners looking to catch lightning in a bottle should consider Silfverberg as a bit of a “Hail Mary” play down the stretch.

 

Elias Lindholm, C, Carolina (Available in 95 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Fun-ish fact: The No. 5 overall selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft scored just one point in his first 16 games played during the 2015-16 campaign. Since Nov. 14 of this past year, however, Lindholm has registered a respectable 34 points in 57 contests. He’s been seeing a ton of ice time as of late (no less than 18 minutes, 31 seconds in his past eight appearances) and seems poised to be a big part of Carolina’s future. Dobber even named Lindholm as one of the top players he’s looking to target in 2016-17, but fantasy owners in deep formats that are contending for league championships should consider him for the stretch run. Given his ownership stats, it’s a safe bet this young up-and-comer is available.

 

The Odd Men Out (Their short-term value is cause for concern)

 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Edmonton (Owned in 59 percent of Yahoo leagues) – It would have been nice to see Edmonton move RNH to a team that could use the former No. 1 overall pick, as his talents are a bit underutilized on an Oilers squad with so much depth at the center position. After all, he’s only 22 years of age and (theoretically) ahead of his prime as an NHL player. To make matters worse, Nugent-Hopkins left Tuesday’s game against Arizona after taking a big hit from Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy (one that caused a concussion). He’s putting up Elias Lindholm numbers, and Lindolm isn’t dealing with a serious head injury and playing on a team with three legit centers (RNH, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl).   

 

Zdeno Chara, D, Boston (Owned in 76 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Congrats goes out to Chara and Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa for appearing more often than any other NHL player in the negative section of this column in 2015-16. While Hossa has actually registered three points in his past four games, Chara hasn’t scored in 14 of his last 15 appearances. His last goal? Feb. 13. There is nothing left to say other than that the veteran Boston defenseman should not be in fantasy lineups in the season’s final few days.

 

By taking some time to analyze the upcoming NHL schedule, poolies can gain a significant and measurable edge over their opponents. Now let’s identify some teams that will help or hurt fantasy owners in the coming days.

 

Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)

 

Anaheim – The veteran-laden Ducks will not spend their final days of the month playing at home in sunny California. That being said, Anaheim will benefit from some pretty easy matchups toward the end of March (at Ottawa, at Edmonton and at Calgary). The squad will then kick off the month of April with three straight at home. The rich get richer…

 

Pittsburgh – Another fun-ish fact: The Penguins don’t have more than one evening off between games at any point between now and the end of the season. Congrats, Sidney Crosby owners,

 

Carolina – The Hurricanes close out the month of March with three of four games at home. ‘Nough said.

 

Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)

 

Edmonton – The Oilers will have a tall task ahead of them trying to beat the aforementioned Ducks on the road on Monday, March 28. Then they have four days off. Then they host Calgary. Then they have three days off. Get the point? The volume of games just won’t be there.

 

Ottawa – The Senators will go three days without playing a game near the end of the month of March. Then the squad will close out the month with two straight on the road. Plenty of other NHL teams have it easier during the same time period (like, for example, Anaheim, Pittsburgh and Carolina).

 

Boston – The Bruins play just two games between Friday March, 25 and the end of the month. Then, Boston will begin April with a pair of road contests… against St. Louis and Chicago. That doesn’t bode well for the team’s efforts to finish the regular season on a strong note.

 

Friday, March 25 to Thursday, March 31

Best Bets

Tampa Bay 4.25 – four games – all at home

Pittsburgh 4.15 – four games – DET, NYR, BUF and NSH

Carolina 4.15 – four games – three at home

Buffalo 4.15 – four games – WPG, DET, PIT and TOR

San Jose 4.15 – four games – three at home

Steer Clear

Edmonton 1.75 – two games – LAK and ANA

Boston 2.14 – two games – both on road

Ottawa 2.60 – three games – two on road

Colorado 2.70 – three games – two on road

Columbus 2.71 – three games – all on road

Saturday, March 26 to Friday, April 1

Best Bets

Pittsburgh 4.15 – four games – DET, NYR, BUF and NSH

Carolina 4.15 – four games – three at home

Buffalo 4.15 – four games – WPG, DET, PIT and TOR

San Jose 4.15 – four games – three at home

Washington 4.14 – four games – STL, CBJ, PHI and COL

Steer Clear

Edmonton 1.75 – two games – LAK and ANA

Ottawa 2.60 – three games – two on road

Columbus 2.71 – three games – three on road

New York Rangers 2.71 – three games – two on road

Boston 3.04 – three games – three on road

Sunday, March 27 to Saturday, April 2

Best Bets

Washington 4.28 – four games – CBJ, PHI, COL and ARI

Toronto 4.24 – four games – TBL, FLA, BUF and DET

Nashville 4.21 – four games – COL, ARI, SJS and LAK

Carolina 4.15 – four games – three at home

Pittsburgh 4.06 – four games – NYR, BUF, NSH and NYI

Steer Clear

Edmonton 1.94 – two games – ANA and CGY

Boston 1.95 – two games – both on road

St. Louis 2.21 – two games – COL and BOS

Chicago 2.71 – three games – all on road

Colorado 2.75 – three games – two on road

Monday, March 28 to Sunday, April 3

Best Bets

Pittsburgh 4.31 – four games – three at home

Washington 4.28 – four games – CBJ, PHI, COL and ARI

Anaheim 4.25 – four games – three at home

Toronto 4.24 – four games – TBL, FLA, BUF and DET

Nashville 4.21 – four games – COL, DAL, PIT and SJS

Steer Clear

Edmonton 1.94 – two games – ANA and CGY

New York Rangers 2.16 – two games – CAR and BUF

Columbus 2.76 – three games – all on road

Ottawa 2.76 – three games – all on road

Chicago 2.76 – three games – two on road

Tuesday, March 29 to Monday, April 4

Best Bets

St. Louis 4.51 – four games – three at home

Toronto 4.45 – four games – FLAx2, BUF and DET

Pittsburgh 4.31 – four games – three at home

Florida 4.30 – four games – three at home

New York Islanders 4.15 – four games – four at home

Steer Clear

Edmonton 1.05 – one game – CGY

Calgary 2.66 – three games – all on road

Detroit 2.75 – three games – two on road

Ottawa 2.76 – three games – all on road

Chicago 2.76 – three games – two on road

Wednesday, March 30 to Tuesday, April 5

Best Bets

Washington 4.28 – four games – PHI, COL, ARI and NYI

Anaheim 4.25 – four games – all at home

New York Rangers 4.16 – four games – CAR, BUF, CBJ and TBL

Minnesota 4.15 – four games – OTT, DET, WPG and SJS

Los Angeles 4.10 – four games – CGY, DAL, VAN and CGY

Steer Clear

Edmonton 1.05 – one game – CGY

Detroit 1.99 – two games – MIN and TOR

Vancouver 2.80 – three games – two on road

Boston 2.81 – three games – two on road

San Jose 2.81 – three games – two on road

Thursday, March 31 to Wednesday, April 6

Best Bets

Toronto 4.45 – four games – three at home

New York Rangers 4.16 – four games – CAR, BUF, CBJ and TBL

Minnesota 4.15 – four games – OTT, DET, WPG and SJS

Los Angeles 4.10 – four games – CGYx2, DAL and VAN

Pittsburgh 4.05 – four games – NSH, NYI, PHI and OTT

Steer Clear

Edmonton 2.15 – two games – CGY and VAN

Winnipeg 2.65 – three games – CHI, MIN and ANA

Calgary 2.80 – three games – two on road

Boston 2.81 – three games – two on road

San Jose 2.81 – three games – two on road