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Eastern Conference: Fantasy Hockey Playoff Preview

Fantasy hockey playoffs offer a unique and thrilling experience for enthusiasts. Unlike regular season pools, playoff drafts focus on selecting players from teams expected to advance the furthest in the postseason, rather than simply choosing the top performers. Let’s delve into the strategies and insights essential for navigating fantasy hockey playoffs.

Fantasy Hockey Playoff Draft Strategy

In fantasy hockey playoffs, the drafting strategy revolves around selecting players from teams anticipated to make deep playoff runs. It’s not always about picking the highest-scoring individuals. For instance, if you believe the New York Rangers will clinch the Cup, selecting Artemi Panarin over Connor McDavid as the first overall pick makes sense.

To assist with your playoff draft, I’ve categorized fantasy-relevant players into tiers, acknowledging some playoff bias based on extensive experience in fantasy hockey playoff pools.

Playoff Scoring System

Before diving into the tiers, it’s crucial to understand the standard playoff scoring system, such as the one utilized in Fantrax playoff pools:


  • 1 point for a goal
  • 1 point for an assist


  • 3 points for a win
  • 2 points for a shutout

Metropolitan Division

New York Rangers

Tier 1: Artemi Panarin (LW), Igor Shesterkin (G)

Panarin’s exceptional performance with 120 points during the season makes him a top-tier choice. Shesterkin’s potential to secure 16 wins, earning 48 points, plus shutouts, adds to his appeal.

Tier 2: Mika Zibanejad (C), Adam Fox (D), Chris Kreider (LW), Vincent Trocheck (C)

Each of these players possesses the capability to maintain a point-per-game pace during playoffs, with Trocheck and Kreider’s robust playing styles often thriving in postseason conditions.

Tier 3: Alexis Lafreniere (LW/RW)

Given more significant opportunities, Lafreniere could easily fit into the second tier.

Tier 4: K’Andre Miller (D), Alex Wennberg (C), Jacob Trouba (D), Jack Roslovic (LW/RW), Erik Gustafsson

Players with the potential to surpass regular season performances and deliver clutch plays.

Carolina Hurricanes

Tier 1: Sebastian Aho (C), Jake Guentzel (LW/RW)

Guentzel’s prowess in playoff goal-scoring and Aho’s track record of 58 points in 63 career playoff games make them top-tier selections.

Tier 2: Andrei Svechnikov (LW), Seth Jarvis (RW), Brent Burns (D), Frederik Andersen (G)

Svechnikov’s potential breakout and Jarvis’s impact on the team’s performance highlight this tier, alongside Burns’s defensive prowess and Andersen’s stellar goaltending.

Tier 3: Martin Necas (C), Brady Skjei (D), Teuvo Teravainen (LW/RW), Jaccob Slavin (D)

Supplementary scorers are crucial for the Hurricanes’ playoff success.

Tier 4: Stefan Noesen (LW/RW), Evgeny Kuznetsov (C), Jordan Staal (C), Jesper Kotkaniemi (C/LW)

Players offer depth scoring and potential game-changing performances.

New York Islanders

Tier 1: Matthew Barzal (LW)

Barzal stands out as the primary scoring option on a team lacking elite offensive talent.

Tier 2: Bo Horvat (C), Brock Nelson (C), Noah Dobson (D)

These players have the potential to lead the team in playoff scoring.

Tier 3: Ilya Sorokin (G), Semyon Varlamov (G), Kyle Palmieri (RW)

Sorokin’s struggles and uncertainty in goaltending responsibilities drop them to this tier, while Palmieri’s history of clutch goals adds value.

Tier 4: Jean-Gabriel Pageau (C), Anders Lee (LW)

Providing strong depth scoring options for later rounds.

Washington Capitals

Tier 1: Alexander Ovechkin (LW)

Despite a subpar season by Ovechkin’s standards, his playoff performance potential remains high.

Tier 3: John Carlson (D), Dylan Strome (C), TJ Oshie (RW), Charlie Lindgren (G)

Supplementary scoring options are vital for the Capitals’ playoff aspirations.

Tier 4: Connor McMichael (C), Max Pacioretty (LW), Tom Wilson (LW)

While not expected to deliver big numbers, they can contribute to the team’s success.

Atlantic Division

Florida Panthers

Tier 1: Matthew Tkachuk (LW), Aleksander Barkov (C)

Tkachuk and Barkov hold the potential to lead the team in scoring during a deep playoff run.

Tier 2: Sam Reinhart (RW), Sergei Bobrovsky (G), Carter Verhaeghe, Brandon Montour (D)

Reinhart’s scoring consistency, Bobrovsky’s goaltending prowess, and the supporting roles of Verhaeghe and Montour add depth to the team.

Tier 3: Vladimir Tarasenko (RW), Gustav Forsling (D)

Both players offer depth scoring options and could exceed expectations.

Tier 4: Anton Lundell (C), Eetu Luostarinen (C), Anton Stralman (D)

Additional depth scorers who could make significant contributions if the Panthers advance.

Boston Bruins

Tier 1: David Pastrnak (RW)

Pastrnak stands out as the primary scoring threat on a Bruins team lacking elite offensive firepower.

Tier 2: Brad Marchand (LW), Charlie McAvoy (D), Jeremy Swayman (G)

Marchand and McAvoy provide essential secondary scoring and defensive stability, while Swayman has emerged as a reliable goaltending option.

Tier 3: Pavel Zacha (LW), Charlie Coyle (C), Linus Ullmark (G)

These players contribute to the Bruins’ balanced scoring attack and defensive prowess.

Tier 4: Jake DeBrusk (LW), Trent Frederic (C), Morgan Geekie (C), Danton Heinen (LW), James van Riemsdyk

Depth options are capable of making significant contributions in a playoff series.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Tier 1: Auston Matthews (C), Mitch Marner (RW), William Nylander (RW)

These three top-tier scorers are crucial to the Maple Leafs’ playoff success and are likely to be drafted early.

Tier 2: John Tavares (C), Morgan Rielly (D)

Tavares and Rielly offer significant point-per-game potential and are key contributors to the team’s offense and defense.

Tier 3: Tyler Bertuzzi (LW/RW), Max Domi (LW/RW)

These players provide supplementary scoring and could offer good value in later rounds.

Tier 4: Matthew Knies (LW), Brian McMann (C), Nick Robertson (LW/RW)

Depth pieces with the potential for double-digit points if the Maple Leafs advance deep into the playoffs.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tier 1: Nikita Kucherov (RW), Steven Stamkos (C/LW), Brayden Point (C), Andrei Vasilevskiy (G)

The Lightning’s top performers are proven playoff performers and are expected to lead the team’s charge.

Tier 2: Victor Hedman (D), Brandon Hagel (LW/RW)

Hedman remains one of the league’s best offensive defensemen, while Hagel has emerged as a key forward for the Lightning.

Tier 3: Anthony Cirelli (C)

Cirelli provides valuable depth scoring and contributes to the team’s overall success.

Tier 4: Nick Paul (LW), Darren Raddysh (D)

Paul and Raddysh offer depth options with the potential to make significant contributions in clutch situations.

In fantasy hockey playoffs, success hinges on strategic drafting based on the teams you believe will advance furthest. Utilize these tier rankings to make informed decisions and maximize your chances of victory. Good luck and enjoy the playoffs!

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