Fantrax Playoff Commissioner: NHL Playoff Pool Cheat Sheet
It’s time to preview a regular-season matchup between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks.
Oh wait, it’s playoff time?
Yes, it is. For the first time in the NHL’s history, the regular season will still be going while the NHL playoffs begins. Crazy right? That doesn’t leave you a lot of time to get prepared for your playoff pool. I can help you out a bit.
A team from each division will make it to the final four. The NHL then takes these teams and reseeds them for the conference final. That gives us a bit of a built-in strategy.
Pick one team from each division and try to focus on taking players from those teams. Sometimes, you can gamble on a top scorer who you think will win a round as well. I tend to like both of those strategies, rather than picking and choosing from every playoff team.
My own personal playoff bracket ultimately doesn’t matter too much. I’ll give you my thoughts at the end of the piece, but everyone has their own opinions on who will go farther. Instead, I want to focus on the information for all of the 16 teams. There is usually a lot of luck involved and of course, reffing. You have to love reffing.
Let’s go through each team and figure out what the lay of the land is heading into the postseason.
Fantasy Hockey season isn’t over until Fantrax says it’s over. Create or join a new league featuring players from this year’s NHL postseason. Our NHL Playoff Commissioner game comes complete with all the same features and options as our regular-season game, just with a little added playoff intensity.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins
Sleepers to watch: The Penguins have a lot of balanced scoring, so there are plenty of sleeper options to choose from. Bryan Rust continues to be underrated. He nails it in the cushy spot next to Sidney Crosby. Kasperi Kapanen put up 9 points in his last 10 games. Jared McCann had 16 points in his last 20 games in a breakout campaign. We all know what Jeff Carter can do in the playoffs. The older veteran scored 9 goals in 14 games since being acquired near the trade deadline. Last but not least – Jason Zucker found his legs with 11 points in his last 20 games and got his main man Evgeni Malkin back near the end to help set him up.
Deep sleeper: If you need to take a certain amount of D, watch the health status of Mike Matheson. Matheson ended the season with 9 points in his last 16 games. It may have been the best stretch of NHL hockey for him yet. He is skating and practicing coming off an injury.
Goalies: Tristan Jarry got a bit banged up near the end of the season, but he’s good to go for game one. Jarry is the undisputable starter if you have Pittsburgh going far. He rebounded well following a disastrous start to his year.
2. Washington Capitals
Be wary: T.J. Oshie finished the season on a tear with 13 goals in 19 games, but he also got hurt near the end. The team says he’s day-to-day. Sniff around the injury news and if he’s good to go, he becomes an obvious pick. Evgeny Kuznetsov is not so safe. He’s in Covid protocol and was scratched on May 3 for disciplinary reasons. Kuznetsov’s wild uneven season also only saw him pot 9 goals in 41 games. If you have Washington going far, take him, as he’s too talented to be left on the board with a fairly solid playoff pedigree. If you’re not so sure about Washington, Kuznetsov is certainly trending down coming into game one.
Sleepers: Anthony Mantha has been a nice fit since being acquired in a surprise move at the trade deadline. He won’t be easy to knock off the puck in his first ever playoff appearance and packs a wicked shot. He looks way more engaged than he did in Detroit. When the Caps won the Cup in 2018, Lars Eller had 18 points and Tom Wilson had 15 points. As long as Wilson avoids suspension, both of those players could contribute key depth scoring. Dmitry Orlov has 15 points in his last 21 games, a wicked pace for a D-man. Justin Schultz has two Stanley Cup rings and a very respectable 25 points in his last 41 playoff games.
Deep sleeper: While everyone is focused on Washington’s big boys, Daniel Sprong is quietly lighting up the scoresheet. He scored 10 points in his last 18 games and could be a surprise producer facing lower defensive pairings.
Goalies: I expect Vitek Vanecek to start game one. Ilya Samsonov is in Covid protocol and faced team discipline. Vanecek put up 21 wins as a rookie but wasn’t supposed to play as much as he did this season with a pedestrian .908 save percentage. If Washington struggles early, and Samsonov is cleared, they could make a quick switch. This is not a fun goalie situation to predict for fantasy pools.
3. Boston Bruins
The line that can’t be stopped right now: Taylor Hall, David Krejci, and Craig Smith enter the postseason on a bender. Krejci has 23 points in his last 23 games, loving his newfound chemistry with trade deadline acquisition Taylor Hall, who also has 14 points in his last 16 games. Smith has 18 points in his last 23 games. While teams try to focus on shutting down Boston’s big no.1 line, this line is having a field day with lower competition. Don’t be afraid of taking Hall or Krejci early. Craig Smith is not a noted playoff performer. He only has 10 playoff points in his last 44 playoff games. I still think you can take him, but just be more wary.
Sleepers: Charlie McAvoy is probably the D-man you want from this team, however, both Mike Reilly and Matt Grzelcyk had similar production down the stretch for Boston. Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle are struggling, but Boston needs them to wake up to go far.
Deep sleeper: Due to his role on the powerplay, Nick Ritchie could always produce more points than expected by standing in front of the net. He’s hard to push out of the crease. Watch to see if he gets unit one time with the big boys.
Goalie: Tuukka Rask is back after leaving the bubble early for personal reasons. He’s the undisputed starter. If he gets hurt, it’ll be rookie Jeremy Swayman coming in relief. Swayman sparkled with a 7-3 record, a 1.50 GAA and a .945 save percentage. If Rask goes down, Boston is in capable hands.
4. New York Islanders
Who to take: The Islanders don’t necessarily have any home run picks. Their team has always been by committee. That being said, if you believe Barry Trotz will coach the Island for a deep run, there are five forwards to grab. Matt Barzal and Jordan Eberle headline the scoring top line as the two most creative forwards. However, the second line of Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, and Josh Bailey finished the season hot. Beauvillier threw in 17 points in his last 20 games. Don’t forget that when this team made round three in the bubble, Bailey and Nelson led scoring with 20 and 18 points respectively.
Be wary: The Isles 3rd line has names with pedigree, but the tap has been dry of recent. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Kyle Palmieri have a combined 9 points in the last 19 games, and Oliver Wahlstrom is a rookie. I’d only be taking these players if you have this team in the cup final or winning it all, and even then, take them later.
Goalie: Semyon Varlamov put up a dazzling .929 save percentage. He got injured near the end of the season, but coach Barry Trotz says he’s okay. Varlamov is a key factor in this team winning close games. Don’t be surprised if rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin gets some time as well. Trotz does not fear changing his goalies up.
1. Carolina Hurricanes
Obvious picks: Sebastian Aho, Dougie Hamilton
Who to take: This is probably the deepest Carolina team since the 2006 Cup-winning squad. Feel free to take Vincent Trocheck, Andrei Svechnikov, and Martin Necas without an issue. All of them had over 40 points. Veteran center Jordan Staal will be a tough matchup for teams with his highest points-per-game since 2012. Nino Niederreiter also rebounded strong with a 20-goal campaign, just be wary that his career playoff production is a little disappointing.
Sleeper: He shouldn’t be a sleeper, but Teuvo Teravainen missed a lot of time this season due to a concussion. He still finished the year with 6 points in his last 8 games and 15 points in 21 games overall. There is an argument to be had that Teravainen should be the second Hurricane off the board in your drafts. Don’t forget about him when he’s lower on your statistical pages.
Goalies: This situation is a bit choppy to try to decipher. I expect Petr Mrazek to be the game one starter. He’s been Rod Brind’Amour’s no.1 guy for years. However, if Mrazek struggles, Alex Nedeljkovic tied for the team lead in wins with 15 and led the way with a .932 save percentage. Don’t forget: No team claimed him on waivers in January! Rod the Bod may go with the hottest hand, just keep in mind Mrazek is the favorite until proven otherwise.
2. Florida Panthers
Sleepers: The brilliance of Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau rubs off on all of the depth. What a story this team is! Sam Bennett is the best trade deadline acquisition so far with 15 points in 10 games as a Panther. Anthony Duclair has 16 points in his last 14 games. Alex Wennberg has 10 goals in his last 20 games, which is more than his last two full seasons combined! Carter Verhaeghe had a breakout campaign after leaving the press box in Tampa Bay. It only cost the team one million bucks for his 36 points in 43 games. Patric Hornqvist is a proven playoff performer who gets his points in front of the crease. Last but not least, MacKenzie Weegar is the no.1 D that nobody is talking about. Since Aaron Ekblad’s injury, Weegar is shining. The stud blueliner has 17 points in his last 18 games.
Deep sleeper: Grigori Denisenko is only 20 years old. He led Team Russia with 9 points at the World Juniors in 2019. He barely played minutes on this team but had 4 assists in his last 5 games. If you have Florida winning the cup, Denisenko is a fun last pick. He’ll be fighting for ice time with fellow Russian Nikita Gusev and rookie Owen Tippett.
Goalies: I expect Sergei Bobrovsky to start game one. After all, he gets paid the big bucks. Is it a mistake? I think so. If Bobrovsky lets in a few softies, Chris Driedger is ready with a vastly superior .927 save percentage to Bobrovsky’s .906. The last time Bobrovsky faced the Tampa Bay Lightning, he helped steal the series. Will it happen again? I don’t expect to see Spencer Knight, the young American goalie prospect, to see any time unless both goalies get hurt.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning
Treat him like one of the big boys: Ondrej Palat put up monster numbers. With 46 points in 55 games, Palat has re-established himself as a surefire top-line core member of Tampa Bay. After an impressive run in the bubble too, don’t be shy about taking him high.
Sleepers: Yanni Gourde and Blake Coleman may seem more like depth pieces on this team to you. However, 14 points and 13 points in the bubble respectively placed them 5th and 6th in team scoring. Both guys produced at similar clips down the regular-season stretch. Alex Killorn is always a gamer at this time.
Be wary: When we think of Tampa Bay, we sometimes believe everyone will be productive because of how explosive their offense is. With Stamkos and Kucherov making their returns, there will be lots of mouths to feed. Be careful of taking players who won’t get powerplay opportunities or simply haven’t seen the puck go in the net. Mikhail Sergachev and Tyler Johnson are big names, but they’ve been a little cold with only 15 points combined in their last 21 games. More puzzling: Anthony Cirelli has 0 goals with a measly 1 assist in his last 21 games. Cirelli is used in shutdown situations so don’t expect a very productive postseason from him. He only had 9 points in 25 games in the bubble too.
Goalies: Andrei Vasilevskiy is a Vezina candidate. He’s quite possibly the best goalie in the league. Take him without thinking.
4. Nashville Predators
Who to take: If Nashville goes far in the playoffs, I don’t expect they’ll have many high scorers. Roman Josi is a top D-man if you have the upset here. Filip Forsberg will put on the moves as usual. I think Nashville will give Carolina a run in round one, but they’re not a very fantasy-friendly squad as a more defensively oriented team.
Sleepers: If you need D, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm have produced big totals before. Mikael Granlund got hot near the end with 12 points in his last 18 games. For Nashville to do any damage, we’re going to have to see production from two of the big names: Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson. Johansen actually has very good career playoff numbers if you’re looking for a late-round surprise pick. 48 career points in 57 playoff games. He’ll get the minutes and chances.
Be wary: Matt Duchene has an eight million dollar cap hit and only provided the team with 13 points in 34 games. I’d steer clear.
Goalies: Juuse Saros is on a mind-blowing run. It’s his play that got Nashville into the postseason. Since April 1, Saros led the league with 11 wins and a .930 save percentage to go with it. This is Saros’ team right now. If Nashville makes it far, this is their MVP. Pekka Rinne has the experience but I don’t think the leash is short on Saros either.
1. Vegas Golden Knights
Who to take: If you’re taking Vegas to the final, which many of you are, it’s a deep squad to pick players from. Since April 1, at least 12 players on the roster scored at a 0.50 points-per-game pace or higher. There’s your typical Golden Knights who have been there since the beginning: Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith and the fastest big man in the league, Alex Tuch. All of them are safer bets. Max Pacioretty is probably the highest upside pick of them all, just watch his injury status. He’s missed the past few games with no real update on when he will return. If he was healthy, he’d be an obvious pick.
Sleepers: Chandler Stephenson isn’t the biggest name on Vegas, but he has one of the biggest roles besides Mark Stone on the top line. Stephenson has 15 points in his last 19 games and put up career-high numbers across the board. Alec Martinez also produced the best points-per-game clip of his career. You may remember some clutch overtime goals from him as an LA King. He had a surprising amount of points for the Knights blue line.
Deep sleepers: If you’re taking Vegas to win it all and want to roll the dice, Tomas Nosek has 8 points in his last 12 games. Nicolas Roy also has 11 points in his last 19 games. Both players could hover around 10 points if the squad makes a big run.
Goalies: It’s the best tandem in the league, but also has the potential to frustrate fantasy owners. I suspect Marc-Andre Fleury will get the game one start as a Vezina candidate. Fleury should be a top-flight high pick. If you need a goalie and it’s getting later in the draft, taking a chance on Robin Lehner isn’t a bad idea. Coach Peter DeBoer has shown in the past he is willing to ride a hot hand, and really likes Lehner.
2. Colorado Avalanche
Who to take: I didn’t list him in the obvious picks, but I feel like Andre Burakovsky is one. He has 20 points in his last 20 games, proving last season’s breakout wasn’t an aberration. Normally I’d tell you to be wary about Nazem Kadri. He only has 1 goal in his last 20 games. I feel like he won’t shoot only 1.8% in the playoffs, especially after being very productive in the bubble. I’m not worried about picking him. Watch to see who gets the 5th spot on the first powerplay unit next to the elite four listed above. That’ll be important.
Be wary: Brandon Saad may miss the first few games of the playoffs. He is working his way back from an injury. Samuel Girard also missed time near the end of the season due to injury, only producing 4 points in his last 14 games. Girard’s offense will be a key component for the team if they want the Stanley Cup. He’s back, but may not be 100%. Joonas Donskoi comes into the playoffs quite cold. He only has two points in his last 15 games.
Sleeper: The Avs have lots of depth. It’s hard to predict sometimes who will pop off on given night. On D, I like Devon Toews. He has 15 points in 33 playoff games in his career. GM Joe Sakic stole him in a trade in the offseason. He’s paid dividends.
Deep sleeper: It all depends on how he is utilized, but rookie Alex Newhook got an NHL taste and didn’t look out of place at all. Newhook put up two assists in a massive divisional game against the Golden Knights. If you have the Avalanche winning the cup, he may be a surprise candidate for 10 points.
Goalies: Philipp Grubauer’s steady goaltending proved massive for Colorado throughout the season. A career high 29 wins to go along with a 1.95 GAA looks great on the resume. It’s hard not to think about what could have happened for the Avs if Grubauer didn’t get hurt against Dallas in the bubble. Grubauer should be a high pick in drafts with goalies involved. Keep his injury history in mind. The Avs would be in much deeper trouble if Jonas Johansson or Devan Dubnyk have to grab the net.
3. Minnesota Wild
Obvious picks: Kirill Kaprizov, Kevin Fiala
Sleepers: The two mentioned above are driving this bus with their stellar dynamic play. If you feel like Minnesota could go on a run, there are other options to look at. Nick Bonino has produced big in the playoffs before. He is coming off a 17 points in 21 games run. The Wild also saw key support scoring from Mats Zuccarello, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jordan Greenway and Marcus Foligno. All four of those forwards were on at least a 0.55 points-per-game pace. Zuccarello led the way with a solid 35 points in 42 games. If you’re taking a D-man, Jared Spurgeon started slow, but he’s the man to grab. Spurgeon sees top unit powerplay time. The captain also has 15 points in his last 21 games.
Be wary: Zach Parise and Ryan Suter represent the heart of the 2010s Minnesota Wild franchise. Their production in 2021 does not. They only have a combined 12 points since April 1. Parise has also been a healthy scratch. Be careful of selecting these names.
Goalies: Cam Talbot is the man to own. He’ll have a pretty decent leash to start here. Talbot quietly had a really nice season, with 19 wins and a .915 save percentage. He’s not your best option, but he’s a good one. Kaapo Kahkonen had a fantastic stretch midway through the year but I don’t see this as a 1A/1B situation.
4. St. Louis Blues
Obvious picks: Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron
Who to take: This Blues squad isn’t the same one that won the Stanley Cup in 2019. Something is missing. That being said, they won’t be an easy out. There are players to grab here who won’t get taken as hoards of Golden Knights and Avalanche guys go off the board. As far as hot players go, Torey Krug finally scored his first goal as a Blue. He has 13 points in his last 15 games. The usual suspects will also all be sitting on your draft lists, with very lukewarm seasons under their belt. Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, and Vladimir Tarasenko are all names you already know to be productive. Just be aware this version of Tarasenko is not the one you remember so fondly. Younger addition Jordan Kyrou started off very hot but cooled off as the season progressed. Still, he has great hands.
Sleepers: Some of those trusty veterans I mentioned earlier have been outscored by other guys down the lineup. Tyler Bozak is having a late resurgence. Mike Hoffman was trade deadline fodder but is picking it up. Sammy Blais has 8 points in his last 12 games. Even though Torey Krug is looking like his normal self, it hasn’t stopped Justin Faulk or Vince Dunn from also getting pucks through to the net. Robert Thomas doesn’t have impressive-looking numbers but he battled injuries all year. They’ll need him to produce.
Goalies: Jordan Binnington is the man for game one. His performance in the bubble was bad enough that I don’t think it’s repeatable. Saying that, while his numbers are once again GOOD, they’re not GREAT. Binnington will have to find his level of play from 2019 to give St. Louis a shot.
1. Toronto Maple Leafs
Sleepers: Don’t forget about Zach Hyman. Hyman’s been injured for the last while but I expect he’ll get his top line duties back shortly. He’s practicing and looks primed to return in game one. Nick Foligno returned to the lineup versus Ottawa in a cushy spot beside John Tavares and William Nylander. That’s a place for him to produce surprising numbers. Jason Spezza is determined for that Stanley Cup, producing his best numbers since 2017. If you need a D-man, Jake Muzzin is battle tested.
Be wary: Morgan Rielly sometimes is thought of as an obvious pick, but I’d drop him a tier. He only has 8 points in his last 18 games and even saw himself taken off the top powerplay unit. He’s back on there, though. If you have Toronto far, don’t worry about taking him, but maybe think about passing if you have Toronto bounced in round two. I know some will love Joe Thornton and Wayne Simmonds as sleeper picks, but they really slowed down their scoring in the second half of the season.
Goalies: It’d be hard not to give Jack Campbell the game one start. He took the starter reigns and ran with it. A glistening 17-2-2 record with a .923 save percentage is more than any fan could ask for. Despite this, I do wonder if he’ll be on a shorter leash due to the pressure the Leafs are under to win a playoff series. Frederik Andersen is waiting in the wings, healthy again after a disappointing few months.
2. Edmonton Oilers
Obvious picks: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl
Who to take: Connor McDavid has 41 points in his last 18 games. That’s Mario Lemieux levels. Anyone who is stapled to him at five-on-five or the powerplay is going to produce. Tyson Barrie leads the NHL in secondary assists. A lot of that is because he just has to push the puck a few feet to McDavid, who makes the magic happen. Darnell Nurse has a similar situation but ended the season with a career-high 16 goals as a cherry on top. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is still the third fiddle on the team. He’ll collect some points by virtue of the top powerplay unit. If you have the Oilers winning a round, then any of RNH, Barrie or Nurse are good support picks later on in your drafts.
Sleepers: Jesse Puljujarvi gets to play at five-on-five with Connor McDavid. Enough said. He has 12 points in his last 18 games. He may also see some net-front time on the powerplay. The Oilers tend to cycle Puljujarvi, Alex Chiasson and James Neal for opportunities there. Puljujarvi is the safest bet for points. Keep in mind Mark Letestu had 11 points in the 2017 playoffs by virtue of getting powerplay time with McDavid and Draisaitl. Also keep an eye on Dominik Kahun, who has a chance right now to play with McDavid on his left flank.
Be wary: Kailer Yamamoto sat against Montreal due to a lingering injury. He only has one goal in his last 25 games. It may be bothering him a lot.
Goalies: Mike Smith turned back time with a renaissance year. I’ll be honest – I didn’t think it was possible. A 21-6-2 record with a .923 save percentage. Dave Tippett loves Iron Mike. With Mikko Koskinen’s struggles, I expect a long leash for Smith in between the posts.
3. Winnipeg Jets
Who to take: Controversial take perhaps, but I see Nikolaj Ehlers as the team’s best skater. He put up 23 points in his last 23 games before going down to an injury. His status is crucial to Winnipeg’s hopes. They freefall without him. Check his status before picking the Oilers vs Jets series if you have the time.
Sleepers: Andrew Copp finally broke out at the age of 26. Copp had stated in interviews he felt he had more offense to give. 39 points in 55 games is exactly that.
Be wary: During Winnipeg’s recent run of wretched play, a few key players slumped hard. Paul Stastny only has 15 points in his last 31 games. Neal Pionk hasn’t scored a goal since February. Josh Morrissey’s offense has taken a back seat due to his role. Likewise for Adam Lowry. The most concerning Jet on this list is also the most promising. Pierre-Luc Dubois hasn’t lived up to the hype since the big trade for Patrik Laine earlier this season. Dubois only has 4 goals in his last 31 games in Winnipeg. Despite that, if you have Winnipeg in your final four…I’d gamble on it. After all, he put up 10 points in 10 games for Columbus in the bubble. This team will need Dubois to win matchups at center against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Tall task, but he was a beast versus Toronto in August.
Goalies: This is Connor Hellebuyck’s show. He was not immune to the struggles during the Jets’ recent turbulence. He is the X factor for Winnipeg in this playoffs. When he’s on top, he can stand on his head and win you games by himself. He couldn’t stop Connor McDavid at all during their season series. That’ll have to change.
4. Montreal Canadiens
Who to take: Montreal is a very “by committee” team. It makes it harder for fantasy poolies to take players off their squad. However, I think there are four safer options. Nick Suzuki has 21 points in his last 24 games. He also led Montreal in points in the bubble with 7 in 10 games. Tyler Toffoli is one of the best free agent signings of the 2020 offseason. His 28 goals leads Montreal by eleven! Jeff Petry is in the Norris Trophy conversation with 42 points, good for 2nd on the team. The most important of all might be Brendan Gallagher. He’s had a lot of time off due to injury but is expected back for game one. He’s going to drive Toronto players crazy and score goals while he is at it.
Sleepers: A good amount of Habs lately find themselves struggling offensively. Tomas Tatar only has 9 points in his last 19 games battling injuries. Prized offseason acquisition Josh Anderson has only 8 points in his last 23 games. Phillip Danault only has 7 points in his last 21 games and now finds himself concussed. They’ll need him back badly to match up against Auston Matthews. Even Shea Weber has missed a bunch of time due to an upper body injury, only producing one goal in his last 16 outings. This team has multiple guys who need to bounce back soon. More importantly, they need health. If you believe coach Dominque Ducharme, they’ll be fine. We’ll see.
Deep sleeper: Cole Caufield really doesn’t look out of place in the NHL. His wicked wrister has led to four goals in ten games for the rookie. He’s just getting started. This guy is the X factor for a Montreal team who gets possession but can’t finish.
Goalies: We haven’t seen Carey Price in a while due to a concussion suffered against the Oilers. It’s been Jake Allen’s show, but he’s underwhelmed of late. It’s expected that we see Carey Price starting in net for game one. His play probably decides how competitive the series will be against the Leafs. Price went 6-1-2 in the month of March with a .931 save percentage before injuries took their toll. He also has three straight playoffs under his belt with a save percentage of .920 or higher. This man is desperate to win. Will he be sharp enough?
My Own Personal Picks
I hope that brings you up to speed. As I said before, I don’t view my own personal playoff bracket as having much meaning. For entertainment purposes, here is what I am going with:
North Division: Montreal – I don’t know who will come out of the North division. It’s the best Leafs team in a long time. Connor McDavid is scorching hot. I also enjoy chaos, and this would create the most in Canada. If Montreal has anything going for them: Playoff Carey Price, lots of depth if healthy, and a team built to kill the neutral zone while they clutch and grab through playoff reffing.
West Division: Colorado – Vegas is a tough competitor. However, I haven’t seen a team dominate at 5v5 like the Avalanche did this season in a long time.
East Division: Boston – The Bruins are hot at the right time. GM Don Sweeney had a perfect trade deadline. Taylor Hall & Mike Reilly are fantastic additions to help create a very balanced team. I don’t want to dismiss the brilliance of Barry Trotz, but I like this core in Boston to give it one last big ride.
Central Division: Tampa Bay – Carolina and Florida provide hard matchups, but Tampa Bay gets a healthy Nikita Kucherov back. It’s just unfair.
Final four: Colorado over Montreal, Boston over Tampa Bay
Final: Colorado vs Boston
Stanley Cup Winner: Colorado wins their first Stanley Cup in 20 years.
There, now it’s documented for all of you to make fun of me for later! Eventually I’ll learn not to make playoff predictions. The great Bob McKenzie never does.
Draft smart, and thanks for reading! I wish you luck on your own cup quest.
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