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For the Record - 2014 Playoff Predictions

by chewy 16. April 2014 05:26

Just a few hours before the puck drops on the most compelling contest in all of sports.  This year, at long last, we have a fixed bracket, making things much easier on those of us obsessed with fantasy contests.  Be sure to get in on the action at NHL.com with your bracket selections.  Here are mine:

 

 

 

Cup Finals:  St. Louis Blues over Boston Bruins.

Despite entering the playoffs on a 6-game losing streak, my faith in St. Louis has not wavered from the start of the season when I projected them to hoist their first ever Cup.  If they can get healthy, no other team can roll 4 lines up front and 3 pair on defense like the Blues.  I was torn over the Boston/Pittsburgh selection, but goaltending has to favor the Bruins.

 

MVP: Alex Steen.  Steen finally emerged as an NHL star this season, leading his squad in goals and assists, despite missing several weeks of action.  He will be clutch.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE

 

Pittsburgh / Columbus

Fleury will be fine in this one.  Which is all anyone needs to hear.  A Pittsburgh loss would rival the '93 Islander upset.

Penguins in 5.

 

Boston / Detroit

Just keeping the playoff streak alive should satisfy Wings fans.  They certainly won't like what they get in Round 1, as they will be completely outclassed by the Bruins.

Bruins in a clean sweep

 

Tampa Bay / Montreal

Coin flip on this one.  Let the goaltending decide it.  With Bishop uncertain and Price in top form…

Canadiens in 6.

 

NY Rangers / Philadelphia

Another coin toss.  The Rangers just seem pieced together wrong, while the Flyers have the 2nd best player in the league on their side.

Flyers in 7.

 

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

 

Colorado / Minnesota

If you're looking for an upset in Round 1, it has to be here.  The Wild are better built for the playoffs than Roy's surprising Avs squad.  If only the Wild had healthy goaltending, they could have challenged St. Louis to come out of the West.

Wild in 6.

 

St. Louis / Chicago

Tough road for the Hawks to repeat in the West.  Toughest fight comes first, which they will lose.

Blues in 5.

 

Anaheim / Dallas

Biggest no-brainer on this side of the bracket.  Ducks should roll here.

Ducks in 5.

 

San Jose / LA

Wish I didn't have to stay past midnight for the next two weeks, but I can't miss what should be the best series of round 1.  When the teams are even, look to the net.  It doesn't get better than Jonathan Quick.

Kings in 6.

 

 

Waiver Wire - Week 18

by chewy 4. February 2014 05:41

Just a couple games left before we break for Sochi.  Here are a handful of potential free agents to consider before shutting down until March.

 

OFFENSE

 

Gustav Nyquist (DET)

While Detroit has struggled to find their way through key injuries, Nyquist has stepped it up.  He has 8 goals in his last 8 games, along with 4 assists during that stretch.  His ice time has steadily climbed, as he has become the go-to guy for the Wings.

 

Antoine Vermette (PHO)

It's tough to get too excited about Vermette.  In 9 NHL seasons, he has rarely emerged as a viable fantasy option.  However, it's tough to ignore what's going on this season in Phoenix.  Vermette has topped 20 goals already, and has contributed 8 tallies in the last 9 games.

 

Mikael Backlund (CGY)

The Flames have been rolling for the past couple of weeks, thanks in large part to the offensive contributions of Backlund.  He has now registered 2 points in each of the last 4 games for Calgary.

 

Tyler Johnson (TB)

With Stamkos threatening a return soon, we may see a diminished role for the Tampa rookie, but he has emerged as a serious talent over the past month.  Johnson has 17 points in his last 19 contests.

 

 

DEFENSE

 

Tyson Barrie (COL)

It has been tough trying to find value at the defensive position at this point in the season, but Barrie's 5 game point streak is worth notice..

 

Dougie Hamilton (BOS)

Hamilton has struggled with various injuries in his sophomore season, but is looking good right now.  He has goals in two straight games and is being counted on in key situations for the Bruins.

 

 

Waiver Wire - Week 16

by chewy 21. January 2014 06:42

We've got just a couple weeks of fantasy action to go before falling into the Olympic slumber.  Don't miss your opportunity to upgrade your roster and prepare your team for the final push before playoff season creeps up.

 

While the wire is typically highlighting lesser known talent, this week there are a number of fantasy veterans who had falled off in recent years or months.  Some of these veterans have turned up the heat in recent weeks:

 

OFFENSE

 

Ryan Clowe (NJ)

The PIMs have dried up a bit, but he's seemed to regain his old scoring touch.  9 points over his last 7 games for the Devils.

 

David Legwand and Mike Fisher (NAS)

The Predators have come back from the dead offensively in January, and the two centers have been leading the cause. Over the past 4 games, Legwand has piled up 7 points, along with a healthy plus-minus and PIM contribution.    Fisher has been even better, with 14 points in 13 games.

 

Brad Richards (NYR)

Another back from the dead?  8 points in 7 games has the up and down veteran back on the upswing.

 

Scott Hartnell (PHI)

Over the last month, Hartnell has been producing at over a point-per-game.  Teaming up with Schenn and Simmonds, the 2nd line in Philly has been on fire.

 

Nazem Kadri (TOR)

Kadri and the Leafs have awoken in the past week.  He has 5 points in his last 3 games. 

 

Brad Marchand (BOS)

Marchand was written off by many for a horrid start to this season.  His ice time and production have steadily crept back in recent weeks.  He has been scoring goals consistently, talling 9 in his last 13 games.  He is capable of being a top 20 fantasy option.

 

 

DEFENSE

 

Andrej Meszaros (PHI)

It's been a few years since Meszaros was a significant fantasy factor.  With 9 points in the last 7 games, he has my attention.

 

 

GOALIES

 

Darcy Kuemper (MIN)

Trying to predict the goalie situation in Minnesota is a bit painful right now.  Backstrom has fallen out of favor.  Harding's health is a mystery.  In steps Kuemper to win 4 of 5 starts, including a shutout.  Not a long-term solution, but you may be able to ride him to the Olympic break.

 

Waiver Wire - Week 14

by chewy 8. January 2014 06:13

We're half way through the NHL campaign already.  With most of the hockey world caught up in debating the snubs for Team Canada, this is your chance to snatch up a gem or two off the waiver wire while their backs are turned.  Here are a handful for your consideration:

 

 

Max Pacioretty (MON)

Pacioretty got off to a very slow start on the season; however, recently, the goals have been coming in bunches.  He has 7 points in his last 4 games.

 

Brayden Schenn (PHI)

4 years into his NHL career, the 5th overall draft pick is just now starting to show some offensive flash.  He scored in 4 of Philly's last 5 games, despite 3rd line minutes.

 

Mark Scheifele (WIN)

Scheifele is starting to emerge into a powerful offensive weapon for Winnepeg in his sophomore season.  He has tallied 18 points in the last 20 games.

 

Chris Stewart (STL)

Nobody is an inconsistent as Stewart over the past several years.  After a horrid start, Stewart went on rampage in December, but fell cold over the past two weeks.  He  has been dropped in many leagues.  He scored again last night, so he may be on the verge of another roll.

 

Alexander Barkov (FLA)

Barkov is making his case for rookie of the year.  Since mid-December, he has averaged more than a point a game, but goes largely unnoticed, toiling in the hockey misery of Miami.

 

Nathan MacKinnon (COL)

The one man who is likely to ruin Barkov's claim to the Calder Trophy this season is coming on strong as well.  6 goals in the last five game, include back to back 2-goal efforts have him disappearing from waiver wires quickly.

 

Jussi Jokinen (PIT)

Malkin is back, and thus, so is Jokinen.  Three straight multi-point performances since Malkin's return.

 

 

 

 

Waiver Wire - Week 11

by chewy 10. December 2013 06:29

It's been a while, but we're back with our weekly waiver wire picks to get your lineup back on track before it's too late.  A number of promising picks have emerged recently, as youngsters get the opportunity to step up to fill the gaps left by injuries.  Let's start in net:

 

GOALIES

 

Antii Raanta (CHI)

Crawford's injury opens the door for Raanta to pile up some wins in the short term, playing for one of the top teams in the NHL.  In the 5 games he's played this season, Raanta has 3 wins to complement a 2.16 GAA and .922 save %.

 

Jonas Gustavsson (DET)

Despite the rash of injuries to their star players, the Wings continue to assemble wins.  Most of those wins lately have come with Howard on the bench and the Monster in net.  The two seems to splitting time at the moment.  This may not endure, but grab some points in the short term.

 

 

 

OFFENSE

 

Ryan Strome (NYI)

He hasn't played a single game in the NHL yet, but he's already being gobbled up by savvy owners, as the Isles prepare to add the AHL's leading scorer to their mix.  New York is desperate for a jolt of life, so they'll be looking to new blood to infuse that life.  Stash him now.

 

Nick Bonino (ANA)

Bonino has quietly been putting together a solid fantasy season as the Duck's 2nd/3rd line center.  He has piled up 11 points over this last 10 games.

 

Steve Downie (PHI)

Since returning from the concussion early last month, Downie has been a solid fantasy starter.  He has sprinkle in his typical helping of PIMs to complement some much needed scoring for the Flyers.

 

 

DEFENSE

 

Andrej Sekera (CAR)

Sekera was drafted in roughly 0% of fantasy leagues, but is quickly being claimed in most.  He is on a scoring tear, with 4 gaols and 4 assists over his last 7 games.

 

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