Which NHL teams have the best and worst schedules remaining
It’s one thing to point to the schedule and say that as of today, February 28, the Nashville Predators have 25 games left and the New York Islanders only have 19. It’s very easy to do because it’s true.
But the remaining games are just one of the considerations. Who are these games against? This is for the skewers team, but I’ll leave some tidbits for one-on-one leagues down below.
Below is a list of all NHL teams, their remaining games as of February 28, and the cumulative total of all opposition goals remaining against 60. In other words, how many goals are likely to be scored. I didn’t bother with each team’s own goals for 60 points, as we want to operate from an individual point of view; This way you can make your own estimate of how likely a player is to score based on how many goals his opponent concedes.
Other NHL schedules
As you can see, we get a fairly wide range from 77.07 to 59.36 for the remaining opponents. You can also see that more games usually means more goals, but not always; For example, the #1 Colorado Avalanche has fewer games left than the #2 Nashville Predators.
With the schedule table in mind, here are a few trades you could potentially make in the free agent market given the best schedule. The removal suggestions suggested here, for the record, are not necessarily the best suggestion for your team. They are included as an example of players who are not performing up to par and have a poor schedule ahead.
Move fault wires based on a schedule
Add JT Copher, C/W, Colorado Avalanche (28.7%) and exclude Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Washington Capitals (71.0%)
Compher is the No. 2 Avs hub unless something happens before Friday’s trading deadline. At this stage, it would be a big move to oust Comfer as he was an adequate replacement for what the Aws lost at Nazem Kadri in the off-season. There is a clear chemistry between Komfer and Mikko Rantanen at the second line and Komfer is doing well on the powerplay, where he will remain at least until the return of Gabriel Landeskog at the end of March.
As for Kuznetsov, we finally see the trio of Tom Wilson, Alex Ovechkin and Kuznetsov together again, but too little, too late. His fantastic 1.6 points per game (FPPG) this season is what really stands out, not his four points on Saturday. Maybe you can find a more suitable player for your roster, but given the upcoming schedule, I’d rather have Compher on my team.
Add Bowen Byram, D.C., Colorado Avalanche (41.2%) and remove Aaron Ekblad, D.P., Florida Panthers (93.9%).
It’s hard to say how much of Byram’s current juice will be gone when Cale Makar returns to the Avalanche lineup. But I don’t think it will be too much. He got three of his eight points on the powerplay, but he may still have some minor work ahead of him, even with Makar in the roster. The key point, however, is that Byram could get a longer streak as the Avs show caution with their young superstar quarterback. They don’t risk missing the playoffs without him, and two head injuries in a few weeks likely lend an element of caution to his return this time around.
As for Ekblad, he has way too many stretch marks without glasses. His current streak is six games, and in December-January he had a seven-game no-streak. He is behind more powerplay time to Brandon Montour, who has been ahead of him in powerplay points (7 to 5) and powerplay time per game (4:01 to 3:18) since January 1.
Add Tommy Novak, C, Nashville Predators (3.8%), and remove Kevin Hayes, C, Philadelphia Flyers (42.3%)
The combination of Ryan Johansen’s injury and the ongoing layoffs of Preds forwards before the trade deadline has resulted in Novak being promoted to top forward. On Sunday, he played Mikael Granlund and Matt Duchenne and also joined them in the top powerplay group. Novak played in the AHL for the previous three seasons but found himself this year with 26 points in 25 games for the Milwaukee Admirals. The scoring touchdown saw him rise to prominence in the NHL, with 11 points in just five games since joining the top six.
Hayes, for his part, has gone completely silent with just one assist in his last seven games and 0.8 FPPG in the last month. The Flyers don’t have a clear timetable going forward, so perhaps Hayes’ only potential savior is a trade – his name will join the speculation list before Friday’s deadline.
Add Vince Dunn, defenseman, Seattle Cracken (76.4%) and exclude John Carlson, defenseman, Washington Capitals (91.9%).
Admittedly, Dunn is a bit less approachable than some of the others, but he’s worth checking out in any league. He became the powerplay quarterback and the team’s best puck-handling defenseman. He has already beaten his previous record for points and assists and needs one more goal to match that mark. His 11 goals are eighth among all defenders. Dunn and Kraken must take advantage of their busy schedule to finish the season, which includes three shows with Arizona, two with Anaheim and one each with Columbus, Chicago and Vancouver.
Add Jared McCann, C/W, Seattle Kraken (46.1%) and remove Sam Bennett, C/W, Florida Panthers (63.2%)
Andre Burakovsky does pose some threat to McCann as Kraken favored Burakovsky on the top line when he was healthy. But his lingering lower body problem has given McCann some good work lately with Matty Beniers and Jordan Eberle. The trio with McCann have a better expected goal count at 60 and a much better goal count at 60 (MoneyPack). McCann should have no problem scoring 30 goals this season and 40 could potentially be reached thanks to a profitable schedule.
As for Bennett, I’m wondering if there’s a third line waiting for him after his eventual return. With a healthy Anthony Duclair, the Panthers have seven of their best hitters, and that’s not counting rising Eeta Luostarinen. I’m guessing this might be a little fear-mongering since Duclair was healthy for only one game and Alexander Barkov missed it, but I’m wondering if Duclair’s return will allow the Panthers to stick to what has been their best line this season: Barkov , Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhage. Overall, the line has limited use (175 minutes), but ranks fifth in the NHL (minimum 150 minutes) in goals per 60 (4.81, all through MoneyPack). That would potentially leave Bennett in the cold, especially if Anton Lundell can claim the next center seat.
Add Gabriel Landeskog, W, Colorado Avalanche (86.7%) and remove Matthew Barzal, C, New York Islanders (71.7%)
Is it safe to assume that Barzal could miss most of the rest of the schedule? Maybe, maybe not, considering how Isles’ first reaction was to not speculate about whether he would be back for training camp (like next season!) and then return the next day to “a week after weeks.” The state of affairs. It’s muddy water related to the league’s worst remaining scheduling.
Landeskog, on the other hand, is back on the ice and he still has a goal to return in mid-March. As seen on the schedule, he returns to the team with the best remaining schedule. If he’s still in your league, he can be a game changer in fantasy playoffs and stretches. The only problem would be that the Avs would pull “Nikita Kucherov” and cause Landeskog to accidentally, uh, return just in time for the actual NHL playoffs (when there’s no salary cap), thus removing him from the fantasy universe for the rest of it. season. Whether this is a real issue or not will depend on how the Avs cap situation looks after Friday’s trading deadline. If they throw in a bunch of salary that seems to eat into what Landeskog takes on the long-term injury reserve, I suddenly have doubts about whether he’ll be back. Not that the teams did it on purpose, right? Right?
Playoff fantasy one on one
The default Sportzshala playoff system for most of you is two rounds, each two weeks long. To make it easier to inform any free agent decisions over time, here are the same charts as above, but only for games after March 13 (both playoff rounds) and March 27 (championship round).
The Avs are still the best fantasy postseason players, and just for the record, this is about the time that Gabriel Landeskog can return to the current optimal timeline. The Canucks and Blue Jackets at the top of the charts are pleasant surprises as both teams have a few players who could be useful for streaming on and off the roster.
The Lightning’s schedule is bad, but a lot of that is down to three games with the New Jersey Devils in just one week to open the fantasy playoffs. But they also have games with Boston, the Carolinas, the Islanders (two), and the Leafs, who are in the top 10 teams in goals at 60.
And just for the two-week head-to-head championship round, we have the following.
Based on all three tables, head-to-head leagues should focus on getting any potentially valuable Avalanche and Kraken into their rosters as early as possible. These are the teams that manage to be at or near the top of the list in all three instances of the schedule we’ve covered here. The Kraken played the Arizona Coyotes three times during the Championship Game and also faced the Ducks, Blackhawks, and Canucks.