The third week of the NHL season presented some major challenges in fantasy hockey leagues.
COVID-19 caused the postponement of 13 games across the league, with four more already postponed for Week 4, bringing the growing total of affected games to 26.
Teams have played between nine and 15 games, a massive gap in the shortened season.
It makes schedule watching and streaming that much more important every week to ensure we get our man games and counting stats.
Week 4 Lookahead Notes:
Like Week 3, it’s a light NHL schedule across the board in week 4.
Arizona, Anaheim, Buffalo, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pittsburgh are all limited to just two games, while Colorado will play just once. Feel free to cut any middle tier players from these teams, they’re not worth waiting around for.
There are only seven teams with four games scheduled: Nashville, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Vegas, and Washington.
Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich is only 38 per cent rostered. He has eight points through 10 games playing on the top line and first power-play unit.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay gets Nashville twice and Florida twice, both ranked in the bottom 15 in goals allowed per game.
Alex Killorn (25 per cent rostered) has six points through nine games, and is enjoying time on the Lightning’s top power-play unit. Both players could help out in the counting stats with the extra games this week. Stream away.
W: Nick Ritchie, Boston Bruins (44 per cent rostered, up 25 per cent)
Nick Ritchie has been planted in front of the net on the Bruins top power play this season, and even with the return of David Pastrnak, it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere. The result has been four power-play goals through 11 games, one back of the league lead. The problem for Ritchie is he doesn’t do much at 5-on-5, with just two of his nine points coming at even strength. Either way, with the Bruins power play currently sixth in the league at 33 per cent, any piece of that is a valuable fantasy commodity.
W: Mike Hoffman, St. Louis Blues (83 per cent rostered, up 2 per cent)
After recording just two points in his first six games with the Blues, Mike Hoffman has since turned it on, with three goals, five points over his past five games. The big performance came on Thursday. Hoffman scored twice on nine shots, and played a season-high 19 minutes. Craig Berube has moved Hoffman to the top line with Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron, so we can expect the average ice time to increase. Hoffman is currently on the second power-play unit and seeing just two minutes of PP time a game. A bump up to the top unit could mean a massive boost in production for Hoffman, who’s hoping to reach the 20-goal plateau for an incredible seventh straight season. The elite scoring winger is somehow still available in one of every five fantasy hockey leagues.
C, W: Jack Roslovic, Columbus Blue Jackets (4 per cent rostered, up 2 per cent)
Jack Roslovic’s first few games with the Jackets were underwhelming. He had just a pair of shots working as the third-line centre. Maybe all he needed was former Jets teammate Patrik Laine to join the party. Roslovic has since been bumped up to the top six, centering a line with Laine and Cam Atkinson, and the trio has delivered. Roslovic has six points over his past four games, with two points coming on the power play. John Tortorella has been impressed with him so far, and although he’s been shuffling the lines quite a bit with all the new faces in town, Roslovic has a good shot at sticking right where he is in the lineup. He’s worth an add to see if he keeps this up.
W: Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers (97 per cent rostered, down 2 per cent)
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the Travis Konecny owners out there. He stormed out of the gate with eight points in his first seven games, continuing his production from last year’s breakout season. Konecny was then a surprising healthy scratch just two games later, with Alain Vigneault stating that Konecny’s “5-on-5 game needs to be better.” Message not received. Konecny has now been held pointless in five straight games, and his ice time is down a full two minutes per game compared to last season. If that wasn’t enough, the Flyers just exploded for seven goals against the Capitals on Sunday, and Konecny finished with just one SOG. There are definitely some frustrated fantasy managers out there ready to cut ties, so now would be a good time to send a buy-low offer and see if you can capitalize on the recent slump. Konecny is too good of a player to continue on like this. The return of former linemate Sean Couturier should help as well, given Vigneault gets the band back together.
G: Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators (76 per cent rostered, down 9 per cent)
This was supposed to be the year Juuse Saros stepped up his game and finally took the upper hand in Nashville’s crease. That hasn’t been the case. Saros has an .893 save percentage and a 3.31 goals-against average through his seven games, getting pulled in two of his starts. Nashville as a team hasn’t been great defensively. They currently sit ninth-worst in the league, giving up 3.27 goals per game. They’re also dead last in the league with a 65 per cent penalty kill. Things will likely get better for Saros (since they can’t get much worse) but the panic might be settling in if you drafted him as your top goaltender. Leave him on the bench until the team figures it out.