After Sochi: taking a look at the teams to target/avoid due to the schedule


Here are some teams to target and avoid for the next week or two, several players to target who may be available in your league as well as teams that play a light schedule in the upcoming week.


Los Angeles Kings = Target


Games: 4 (2H/2A)

Favorable Matchups:

    - @ Colorado

        > 6th most shots allowed per game

        > Ten goals allowed in three games prior to Olympic break (3.33 GAA)

        > Semyon Varlamov was pulled in the quarterfinal elimination game against Finland after allowing three goals on just 15 shots (0.800 SV%)

    - @ Calgary

        > 5th worst defensive team

        > 10th worst penalty kill

        > Reto Berra strung together three solid games plus another one at the Olympics, can he pick back up where he left off?


The Kings are the 29th best offense (also read as: 2nd worst) in the league while also being ranked 29th in powerplay efficiency.  If the Olympics have shown us anything, it’s that L.A. has some offensive talent (although most of us already knew that).  Just look at Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter and how they are doing in Sochi.  Anze Kopitar had three points for a vastly outgunned Slovenia squad.  Hell, even Dustin Brown has three points in four games (he has 16 through 58 NHL games this season).  So here’s what I’m looking for: the Kings that went over to Sochi to come back with elevated confidence and their first few games back should see them actually score more than 2.25 goals/game.


New York Islanders = Consider


Games: 4 (3H/1A)

Favorable Matchups:

    - vs. Toronto

        > 6th worst defensive team

        > 3rd worst penalty kill

        > Allow the most shots against per game

    - vs. Florida

        > 4th worst defensive team

        > Worst penalty kill

        > 29 goals allowed in the seven games leading up to the Olympic break (4.14 GAA)


This may be a risky play putting the Isles here after the news on Wednesday afternoon that John Tavares sustained a knee injury in the Latvia game and is already ruled out for the remainder for the Olympics season, but they have Michael Grabner, so no need to worry!  The Islanders resume their regular season with some juicy matchups during a three-game home stand (Toronto and Florida) and then head to Winnipeg.  The Islanders were really struggling to score before the break, so it probably came at a good time (but the scoring won’t last long now that Tavares is done for the year).


Chicago Blackhawks = Beware


Games: 3 (2H/1A)

Unfavorable Matchups:

    - @ NY Rangers

        > 10th best defensive team

        > 13 goals allowed in seven games prior to Olympics (1.86 GAA)

        > In Henrik Lundqvist’s past 13 games, he has only had two games where his save percentage was below .920

    - vs. Pittsburgh

        > 7th best defensive team

        > 2nd best penalty kill

        > 6th fewest shots allowed per game


The Blackhawks are one of eight teams to only play three games during the period of February 21st through March 5th.  There is only one team with a tougher schedule during this period than the Hawks (and you’ll see them next).  Not only did Chicago send ten players to the Olympics, but upon returning they’ll immediately jump back into NHL action against Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers, followed by an outdoor game against Pittsburgh in the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series and finally a visit from Colorado.  They’re going to have a large chunk of their roster come back from the intense and scrutinized Sochi Games and then their second game back will be another huge spectacle in an outdoor game against the Penguins.  It just seems like a letdown is in the cards.


Anaheim Ducks = Avoid


Games: 3 (3H/0A)

Unfavorable Matchups:

    - vs. St. Louis

        > 3rd best defensive team

        > 4th best penalty kill

        > 2nd fewest shots allowed per game

    - vs. Montreal

        > 6th best defensive team

        > 3rd best penalty kill

        > Eight goals allowed in seven games prior to Olympics (1.14 GAA)


The Ducks return from the Olympic break with a five-game home stand; however their opponents are not the most generous when it comes to allowing goals.  St. Louis is one of the best defensive teams in the league.  Carolina has been riding Anton Khudobin and he’s been delivering for them (2.14 GAA and .927 SV%), so I don’t see why they would mess with that.  Then they get to face another top notch defensive club with this guy named Carey Price in net.  Price could be a hero (in Canada) or goat by the time of that game, but there is no denying that his 2.33 GAA, .925 SV% and four shutouts are pretty damn sexy.



Possible Pickups

Here’s a list of some players, owned in less than 30% of Yahoo leagues, to target for the upcoming Monday to Sunday schedule.


Carolina: Jiri Tlusty (16%) – Riding shotgun with Eric Staal and Alex Semin in all situations.  This line was absolute dynamite last year and are looking to rekindle a little magic.  Don’t forget about Staal’s second-half surge that will pull any linemates of his along for the ride.


NY Islanders: Michael Grabner (7%) – This is just kind of a shot in the dark.  He showed some sign of improvement (not many) before the break, then scored five goals and six points in four Olympic games.  There should be more ice time to go around with no Tavares and who knows what the line combos will be.


Florida: Scottie Upshall (3%) – Had four points in five games leading up to the break.  Skates with Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad at evens and on the powerplay.


Vancouver: Chris Higgins (12%) – No one stays as the third guy with the Sedins long anymore, so best bet is to take the guy who plays with Ryan Kesler the most.


Montreal: David Desharnais (11%) – Five points in three games prior to the break.  As long as Max Pacioretty is healthy and scoring, Desharnais will rack up the points.



Light Day Targets

Want to know what teams to target based on their schedule landing on light days for the upcoming Monday to Sunday schedule?


Week: Monday, February 24th through Sunday, March 2nd


Monday: 0 teams

Tuesday: 2 teams

Wednesday: 8 teams

Thursday: 24 teams

Friday: 8 teams

Saturday: 20 teams

Sunday: 16 teams


No games on Monday (2/24), one game on Tuesday (2/25), just eight games on Wednesday (2/26) and then the schedule looks to return to normal.


One team plays four games during this week (hint: they sometimes rock you like a hurricane).


So what teams have a good schedule for the light days?










Buffalo Sabres








Carolina Hurricanes








Vancouver Canucks








St. Louis Blues








Colorado Avalanche










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