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Weekly Wrap: Fantasy Hockey Playoffs in Review

Hey folks, welcome back.

This week is more like a bi-weekly wrap. I skipped last week to dive deeper into the finals and have more to discuss. We’re five games in, and there are some great storylines to cover.

We also saw a couple of trades go down on Wednesday. I’ll be providing a separate piece to break those down in more detail. Trades often have a ripple effect, and these certainly do.

But back to the Stanley Cup Finals. We’ve played five games, and about midway through game three, the tide began to turn.

The Florida Panthers smothered the Edmonton Oilers in games one and two. The Oilers found their legs in the second half of game three and began to turn the tide. Games four and five have been the Connor McDavid show.

Fantasy hockey teams that loaded up on Panthers looked like they had a shot at overcoming those McDavid teams. The hope now is that the fantasy teams that drafted McDavid don’t have another Oiler of significance. Otherwise, McDavid is propelling numerous teams to a fantasy playoff hockey championship.

Let’s dive in.

Fantasy Hockey Playoffs in Review

Connor McDavid, C, Edmonton Oilers

He started with only one assist in the first eight periods of the finals. Well, in the last eight periods, McDavid has ten points, including back-to-back four-point performances.

How quickly things can turn. McDavid went from being criticized for not producing to becoming a strong contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy, whether the Oilers win the series or not.

McDavid now sits with 42 points, the fourth most all-time in a single playoff.

Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Florida Panthers

It should be no surprise that Bobrovsky’s performances are the polar opposite of McDavid’s. After game two, Bobrovsky had given up only one goal. The Conn Smythe talk swirled around his net like the stymied Oilers.

Well, Bobrovsky has now given up 15 goals in the last three games. The Panthers will need Bobrovsky to play like he did in games one and two if they are to avoid becoming only the second NHL team to blow a 3-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Stuart Skinner, G, Edmonton Oilers

Skinner has been excellent since the third period of game three. He wasn’t terrible in games one and two; he just wasn’t good enough.

Skinner needs to remain above average for game six if the Oilers are to push this to game seven. The Panthers aren’t making it easy on him. They produce a lot of pressure and traffic.

Skinner has taken big steps to solidify his spot as the Oilers’ goalie moving forward. He’s good, but he’s not great. If your fantasy hockey league is shallow in goalie stats or a points league, Skinner is a great own. If your league uses Goals Against Average and Save Percentage, Skinner loses a lot of value. Don’t expect him to slide into the Vezina conversation any time soon.

Brandon Montour, D, Florida Panthers

It’s been a quiet final for Montour, with only two assists in the five games. Surprisingly, his 11 points in 22 playoff games are very similar to his 2022-23 playoff production, where he had 13 points in 21 playoff games.

His comments earlier in the week that “things are going to change” increased speculation he may not be wearing a Panthers uniform next season.

Is Montour really a 74-point defenseman, or is he closer to the 33 points in 66 games he produced this year? The truth likely lies somewhere in between, as he recovered from shoulder surgery last summer.

If Montour does hit unrestricted free agency, he could become the highest-paid free-agent defenseman of the summer. The recent re-signing of Filip Hronek, D, Vancouver Canucks, at eight years averaging 7.25 million (AAV), and Jacob Slavin, D, Carolina Hurricanes, at eight years, 6.5 million AAV, should indicate Montour’s floor.

Bidding wars take place in free agency, inflating contracts. Expect Montour to receive at least Hronek’s AAV, if not as high as 8.5 million AAV.

Sam Reinhart, C/LW, Florida Panthers

The Panthers’ other big-name free agent. There couldn’t be a worse time for Reinhart to hit a regression wall than the Cup Finals. We all knew it was coming. His 24 shooting percentage (SH%) wasn’t sustainable. Through five games, Reinhart sits with one goal on ten shots.

This is when the Panthers need that SH% to be inflated. The good news is that ten shots is a small sample size. A two-goal game fixes everything.

Reinhart has been money all season, scoring one-timers between the hash marks, about ten feet from the net. He didn’t receive a single clean look in game five. He’ll need to find ways to get open in game six.

At this point, it seems likely the Panthers will only keep one of Reinhart or Montour. Coming off a 57-goal, 94-point season, expect Reinhart to get paid. The only team that can keep his AAV under nine million is the Panthers. Seven years, 9.25 million – 9.75 million AAV, is what we should expect if he hits the open market.

Leon Draisaitl, C, Edmonton Oilers

Draisaitl has only two assists in the five Cup Final games, and those came in the game four 8-1 blowout. It seemed at times in game five, Draisaitl let up and didn’t go for loose pucks. It’s unlike him to be passive in these situations, especially in the final round of the playoffs. It’s also unlike Draisaitl to have just two points five games into a series.

We won’t know until the playoffs end, but it certainly looks like Draisaitl is banged up and playing through an injury.

Warren Foegele, LW, Edmonton Oilers

He might only have six points in 20 playoff games, but three of those have come in the Finals. With a point in each of the last three games, Foegele is the only depth player providing anything resembling consistent production.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter whether the points come in bunches or are spread out. It’s the total at the end of the playoffs that matters. For some, the sprinkling of points from Foegele or Corey Perry will be enough to pull out a championship.

Evan Rodrigues, C/LW/RW, Florida Panthers

Rodrigues illustrates the difference in depth between the two clubs. In the five games, he has four goals and two assists, for six points. That type of production will bolster a late charge at a fantasy playoff hockey title.

Anton Lundell, C, Florida Panthers

Lundell has also contributed four assists in the finals. He is now up to 16 points in 22 games. Another example of Florida’s balanced attack.

He’s a restricted free agent, sitting on 216 career games played. Lundell has moved up a line in the playoffs, averaging an extra minute of ice time per game compared to the regular season.

He has 2024-25 breakout written all over him.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading.

Follow me on X: @doylelb4

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