As the new year approaches, one of the best resolutions that fantasy hockey managers can make is to better prepare for fantasy playoffs. Every year, so many good teams fail to adequately prepare for NHL fantasy playoffs and end up losing to a much lower seed.
This is avoidable!
Good managers need to start prepping now. Here’s what you need to know about fantasy playoffs this season.
The fantasy hockey playoffs schedule
This season, fantasy playoffs in most leagues start in Week 23, which starts on March 20, 2023. Round Two is in Week 24 starting on March 27, 2023. Round Three, which is usually the final round, is a double week that goes from April 3–14, 2023.
It’s important to keep the final week in mind as your weekly adds will need to be managed carefully. If you burn your adds early in the week, it will be tough to make roster changes when you may need them most.
Teams to favour and avoid
There are several teams that have more games in the playoff weeks. Look for adds or trades for players on these teams well in advance, especially if you’ve cruised into a top spot already. Now is your time to prepare for playoffs.
In Week 23, the first week of fantasy playoffs, every team in the NHL has at least three games on the schedule. However, 14 teams have four games, making them more valuable than the others.
These teams are ARI, BOS, CAR, CGY, CHI, COL, DET, FLA, NSH, OTT, PIT, STL, TOR, VAN.
In addition, Colorado, Detroit, and Vancouver have the easiest schedules that week. Colorado really sticks out with one game against Chicago and two against Arizona; this is definitely a team to load up on if you can.
On the other side, Ottawa and Carolina have the hardest schedule out of the teams with four games.
Best team: COL
Worst team: OTT
In Week 24, it’s the same story as Week 23: every team has at least three games. Exactly half the league plays four games this week: BOS, CAR, DET, FLA, OTT, PIT, STL, ANA, CBJ, EDM, LAK, MTL, NJD, NYI, NYR, PHI.
Out of these 16 teams, Edmonton and Florida have the easiest schedules. Edmonton faces ARI, VGK, LAK, and ANA; while Florida faces OTT, TOR, MTL, and CBJ.
The New York Islanders has the most difficult schedule with games against NJD, WSH, TBL, and CAR.
Best team: EDM
Worst team: NYI
With the double week, there is quite a disparity between the teams with the most games and the teams with the fewest. Colorado, Nashville, and Seattle have the most games in this long week with seven, while the Islanders has the fewest games with just four. A total of 11 teams have six games while the remaining 17 teams have five games.
Out of the teams with seven games, Colorado once again has the easiest schedule, followed closely by Seattle. Nashville has the hardest schedule by far with most of their games against top-10 teams in the NHL.
Best team: COL
Worst team: NYI
Players to add
Colorado is definitely a team you want to load up on. Of course, with the Avalanche being one of the best teams in the NHL, it is going to be a challenge to have more than a couple on your roster. However, if you can manage trades for middle-six options like J.T. Compher, Evan Rodrigues, or Artturi Lehkonen, it may come in handy come playoff time.
Better yet, if you can pry away a top player like Gabriel Landeskog or Valeri Nichushkin from an owner who is on the bubble and needs to make a push to get into the playoffs, it’ll be worth it.
Two other teams that are solid bets to load up on are Detroit and Edmonton. Detroit will likely miss the playoffs and many teams like them can put up great numbers in garbage time. Players like David Perron, Lucas Raymond, and Dominik Kubalik should be on your radar.
For Edmonton, Evander Kane will likely be back, which means a much more balanced approach to their forward lines. Players like Klim Kostin and Jesse Puljujarvi are likely cheap adds who could help in a pinch.
Players to drop
On the flip side, if you have New York Islanders players that have been nice steals off the waiver wire, it might be time to ship them away. Players like Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau might be great right now, but have a good chance of being deadweight in fantasy playoffs.
Ottawa is another team with a tougher schedule in the playoff weeks. They’re deep up front with lots of fantasy relevant options, but shipping them out for players on teams that play 2 or 3 more times in those weeks might be better.
Overall, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg, and Washington have the fewest games in the fantasy playoff weeks. But, their schedules aren’t weak enough to warrant trading away their top players. Keep an eye on players on these teams, though. If a good offer comes your way, consider this when making your decision.