Fantasy hockey playoffs dispensary

Every week we pick up the minor asset exemption to help your team, whether you prefer the dynasty or the redraft format, and we’ll also give some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some previous go-to fantasy assets that may be overvalued – in the short or long term – for one reason or another.

This week, we focus on players to help you through the first round of your head-to-head playoff bracket. There is no round two if you do not get through the first match-up.


Extensions

Alex Killorn, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (listed in 54.8% of ESPN.com leagues): To be honest, I’m more enchanted by Tampa’s current schedule than this specific player, but sometimes the bigger picture deserves such attention. There are plenty of scores to enjoy when Lightning hosts the Maple Leafs on Monday and then visits the Capitals on Wednesday before returning home to play the Bruins and Sabers, respectively, on Friday and Sunday. The team’s No. 2 front line, including Killorn and Anthony Cirelli, should contribute their fair share. As discussed last week [link: schedule hack]Tampa is active on days when most of the league is not, which provides additional benefits when difficult decisions have to be made.

Robert Thomas, C, St. Louis Blues (19.4%): This is definitely the week to roll out your favorite fantasy items in St. Louis. Louis. The Blues host all four of their matches, scheduled between Monday and Saturday, against a parade of mostly non-playoff teams (exception: Minnesota Wild). If you are looking for a Blues asset, then I can suggest the club’s second line center, which runs between Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich. Thomas runs on a five-point streak with three goals and six assists over that period. Impressive stuff.

Rickard Rakell, C / RW, Pittsburgh Penguins (17.0%): You can almost watch the chemistry on the ice between Rakell and Evgeni Malkin flourish in real time. Fresh into their new relationship, the two already have a combined 12 points in their last four games. Watch for the total to grow this week as the penguins play Avalanche, Rangers, Capitals and Predators. Three of these lively tilts take place on Pittsburgh’s home ice. Rakell presents herself as a game-changing fantasy gem under radar now more than ever.

Ilya Mikheyev, LW / RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (6.2%): The Maple Leafs’ fast winger demonstrates an ability to put the puck in the net, no matter where he plays into the lineup. Five goals in nine games, including a card game, certainly suggests it. Betcha Mikheyev is lined up with at least a few more this week when Toronto meets Lightning, Panthers, Stars and Canadiens. He is worth considering in deeper conventional leagues.

Erik Haula, C / LW, Boston Bruins (5.3%): By doing his best to make amends for a much-missed (and forever underrated) David Krejci, the Bruins’ current second-line center is holding its own these days. Haula skates alongside David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall and has four goals and six assists in the last six competitions. Not at all a bad move (a). Unlike his linebackers, the traveled 31-year-old is widely available in ESPN.com leagues. The Bruins are visiting the Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Lightning and Capitals this busy week. Lots of opportunities to get more points.

Game

0:53

Erik Haula scores his second goal of the night to put the Bruins ahead late

Defenders

Noah Hanifin, Calgary Flames (14.8%): The Flames’ top-pair defender is on a fine little tear too late, contributing one goal and five assists, including an assistant with the extra skater, through five competitions. Hanifin also leads Calgary’s blue line with 153 shots a year. The Flames are touring the West Coast this week, making stops in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose and Seattle. Aside from the early tilt with the Kings, it’s a pretty comfortable road trip. I would be surprised if Hanifin does not end up with another handful of points by next week.

Erik Brannstrom, Ottawa Senators (14.3%): With Thomas Chabot suspended for the rest of the season, Brannstrom gets the opportunity to anchor the senators’ best powerplay. The 22-year-old defender has had three assists with the extra skater since Chabot was forced out of action in mid-March. If special team scores count as a prize in your deeper fantasy league, you might consider adding the 15th overall draft pick (2017). Ottawa face the Canadiens, Predators, Rangers and Jets this week.

Goalkeepers

Ville Husso, St. Louis Blues (55.3%): The Blues’ better net memorabilia expects to play three of the team’s four home competitions this week, including Monday’s meeting with the Coyotes. Wednesday’s match against Kraken, followed by a performance against either Islanders or Wild – leaving one struggling Jordan Binnington to fight his way through the other – concludes what presents itself as a potentially successful week for Husso. I wish St. Louis’ current No. 1 was available in one of my own fantasy leagues. Unfortunately, he is not.

Also see: Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars (59.2%)

Lowered expectations

Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago Blackhawks (58.8%): He has hit another dry period. After a livelier March, the Blackhawks captain is now three games inside a new pointless row. And Chicago is only playing twice this week. Contact another place to get real fantasy help in advance.

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