The NHL schedule normalizes in Week 4, with Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday serving as the busier nights. For fantasy leagues with weekly acquisition limits, it’s important to maximize the amount of games you’re getting out of each transaction. This week, that means targeting players that play Monday (four games), Wednesday (two games), Friday, (four games), and to a lesser extent, Sunday (seven games). With that in mind, let’s look at the teams with the most streamer-friendly schedules this week.
Edmonton Oilers (4 games – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)
The Oilers draw what we like to call the perfect schedule this week. They play on each of the four slowest nights of the week, giving their players tremendous streaming value. The timing couldn’t be any better either, with the Oilers juggling their lines ahead of Monday’s game. After spending the majority of the season on the Oilers’ second and third lines, Alex Chiasson will skate alongside Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid on the top line tonight. That is obviously an incredibly valuable spot in fantasy hockey, and Chiasson has played well there before. Edmonton averaged 28 scoring chances per 60 with Chiasson, McDavid, and Draisaitl on the ice last season. Just like Zack Kassian was earlier in the season, Chiasson is worth rostering so long as he’s on that top line. He is currently owned in just 1% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
Speaking of Kassian, he’s the only other Oiler worth mentioning here. The other four members of Edmonton’s current top-six are all owned in at least 80% of leagues. Kassian (31% owned) is not as widely available as Chiasson, nor does he offer as much upside this week, but the Oilers’ perfect schedule still makes him a legitimate streaming target. He’ll skate with James Neal and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the team’s second line tonight. It might not be McDavid and Draisaitl, but it could be much worse. Kassian has also seen some time on Edmonton’s second power-play unit, so he could potentially help your fantasy team there, too.
Detroit Red Wings (4 games – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)
Like Edmonton, Detroit draws the perfect schedule this week. Unfortunately, the top-heavy nature of the Red Wings roster doesn’t exactly lend itself to streaming. Their top line is elite, but their depth scoring is non-existent. Assuming Tyler Bertuzzi (53% owned) is unavailable in your league, there’s really just one player I can recommend in good conscience. Despite having nothing to play with, Andreas Athanasiou still offers some half-decent upside this week. He has no goals and five assists in 13 games so far this season. Not only are his line-mates incredibly underwhelming, Athanasiou has had to suffer through a 5.7 on-ice SH%. The puck is bound to start bouncing his way sooner or later. The perfect schedule combined with his usage makes Athanasiou worth owning this week.
Boston Bruins (4 games – Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Sunday)
The Tuesday game is a write-off, but any Boston Bruin you pick up can add three games to your lineup this week. Obviously, you’re not getting a piece of their outrageous first line from the free agent pool, but the second line is definitely in play. Despite scoring just two goals in 13 games, Jake DeBrusk would be my first recommendation. His 6.7 SH% is bound for some positive regression, and his usage remains ideal. He’s averaging 16 minutes a night while skating on the team’s top power-play unit. Boston has the number-one ranked power-play in the league, so it’s pretty remarkable DeBrusk has just a single power-play point on the year. He’s far from the focal point of Boston’s power-play scheme, but he is more involved than his point total suggests. There are brighter days ahead for DeBrusk, and his usage alone makes him worth owning this week. He’s currently owned in 30% of Yahoo! leagues.
Should DeBrusk be unavailable, David Krejci is your next best bet. He doesn’t get the premier power-play minutes that DeBrusk does, but he’s still an effective player at 5v5. His ice-time should increase as he continues to get up to speed after missing five games with an upper-body injury. Krejci is currently available in 80% of Yahoo! leagues.
New York Rangers (4 games – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday)
There is one obvious Ranger to target this week, and his name is Ryan Strome. With Mika Zibanejad sidelined, Strome is taking on a ton of ice time. He’s played at least 20 minutes in each of the last three games. Strome is currently skating on the Rangers’ first line and power-play unit alongside the great Artemi Panarin. He is a must-own this week and is a particularly-strong spot-start tonight against the Senators. His ownership currently sits at 33%.
More widely available is the team’s 2017 first-round pick, Filip Chytil. Chytil was recently recalled after spending the first few weeks of the season tearing up the AHL. He scored a goal in each of his first two games with the Rangers this season, piling up seven shots while playing just over 17 minutes a night. He’s currently centering Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich on the team’s second line while also seeing some power-play time with the second unit. Chytil is available in 97% of Yahoo! leagues.