April 15, 2024

Fantasy hockey preview – Goalie streamers to win your playoff matchup

This marks the start of the third to last scoring period of the fantasy hockey campaign. Here in Week 24, you should know where you stand.

Hopefully you have a strong lineup built ready to continue battle in these final weeks. But if not, we will still be here highlighting the fringes of fantasy and looking for any angle to exploit off your leagues free-agent pile as the season winds down.

Be cautious with your goaltending starts as the position remains as unpredictable as ever. If you don’t have Juuse Saros or Igor Shesterkin, you are probably at least putting some thought into who to start this coming week. Just remember that the crease giveth and the crease taketh away.

Look at some of the names who are top 10 for fantasy points among goaltenders in March: Charlie Lindgren, Calvin Pickard, Laurent Brossoit, Karel Vejmelka and Daniil Tarasov. That’s half of the top 10 that I’m not sure isn’t the backup goaltender. I mean, Lindgren has clearly beaten out Darcy Kuemper to be the Capitals starter, but the other ones? They might be the backup if each of those teams started a playoff series tomorrow (not that the Blue Jackets or Coyotes have such dreams).

So do you confidently keep rolling with Lindgren? Take a chance on Tarasov? These are questions you have to weigh and you should at least consider the schedule when doing so. Lindgren and the Capitals play the Red Wings, Maple Leafs and Bruins this week; while Tarasov and the Blue Jackets get two dates with the Penguins and one with the Coyotes. The softer opponents are clearly in Tarasov’s corner, but Lindgren has been pretty lights out against strong opposition too. How do we weigh these recently hot goaltenders against starting Connor Hellenuyck, who has had a terrible month of March, sitting 27th

There is no easy answer. But that’s why we play this game.

The Vegas Golden Knights play a back-to-back set Monday-Tuesday, while the Boston Bruins play a back-to-back set on Tuesday-Wednesday. They are the only two teams squeezing in more than one game in the early part of the week.

The Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders don’t play at all until Thursday.

Resources: Goalie depth chart | Daily lines | Projections | Play for free | Player rater | Most added/dropped | Mock draft lobby | How to watch on ESPN+

Stock up

Yegor Sharangovich, C, Calgary Flames (61.2% available): It’s been a couple of games without Sharangovich popping off for some goals, so he’s probably due. Oh, is that the Blackhawks next on the schedule?

Tyler Johnson, C, Chicago Blackhawks (98.6% available): I noted Nick Foligno and Philipp Kurashev last week for their fantasy performances as they draft off Connor Bedard. But I’d be remiss not to also highlight Johnson, who has posted 2.29 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in his past 10 while playing with Bedard both on and off the power play.

Jake Neighbours, W, St. Louis Blues (91.7% available): Clearly in play-out-the-string mode, the Blues are pushing Neighbours with increasing ice time — and he’s responding. On a six-game point streak with five goals and two helpers, Neighbours has been locked in with Robert Thomas at even strength and on the power play.

Conor Garland, R, Vancouver Canucks (98.1% available): The latest line iterations for the Canucks has Garland and Nils Hoglander flanking Elias Pettersson. The trio was responsible for two goals on Saturday with all three collecting a point on both of them.

Mason Appleton, C, Winnipeg Jets (98.2% available): As the Jets have been shaking up the depth chart, Appleton has been the beneficiary of some time on a line with Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers. It’s modest, but he’s averaged 1.8 fantasy points across 10 games.

Casey DeSmith, G, Vancouver Canucks (83.6% available): There isn’t a clamoring for Demko now at the early part of his injury-return window because DeSmith has settled in nicely. To be fair, his three-game win streak came against the Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames, which is mostly against the bottom half of the standings. This week includes the Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks, so I don’t know if we are ready to lock DeSmith into lineups only to see him eaten by the Kings and Stars.

Stock down

Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston Bruins (0.8% available): It’s been 10 games since McAvoy last scored a point. Some of that will come down to bad luck, as his role hasn’t changed as leader of the defense. But some of that is on him for shooting less; he took 25 shots in February but currently has just 10 in March.

Streamer specials

Pyotr Kochetkov, G, Carolina Hurricanes (57.3% available): The very important fantasy question is: Does Kochetkov having a rough outing against the Capitals on Friday cause coach Rod Brind’Amour to break the even rotation with Frederik Andersen in the crease? If it doesn’t, we’ll see Kochetkov in two great matchups for Week 24 of the fantasy season against the Penguins and Canadiens.

Chandler Stephenson, C, Vegas Golden Knights (51.3% available): As the Golden Knights still tinker with their lines now that basically everyone expected to be healthy is on the ice, Stephenson found himself next to Jack Eichel on Saturday. Eichel scored twice, with Stephenson assisting on both.

Jake DeBrusk, W, Boston Bruins (40.3% available): Currently on a personal tear, with 12 points in 10 games that add up to 27.7 fantasy points, DeBrusk is a great kick-start for the week since the Bruins play Tuesday and Wednesday.

Logan Thompson, G, Vegas Golden Knights (99.9% available): With Hill out on a day-to-day basis for now, Thompson could pick up both these starts. The Predators are a landmine, but the Blues are a good place to earn some fantasy points in the crease.