Finding volume plays and schedule advantages is essential in head-to-head and roto leagues. With that in mind, here are the schedule details for the week of December 23-29, along with specific targets who could tip the scales in close fantasy matchups.
Arizona Coyotes (@NSH, @VGK, DAL)
Boston Bruins (WSH, @BUF, BUF)
Buffalo Sabres (@OTT, BOS, @BOS)
Calgary Flames (@MIN, @EDM, VAN)
Carolina Hurricanes (@TOR, @NYR, WSH)
Chicago Blackhawks (NJD, NYI, @CBJ)
Colorado Avalanche (@VGK, MIN, @DAL)
Columbus Blue Jackets (@NYI, @WSH, CHI)
Florida Panthers (@TBL, DET, MTL)
Los Angeles Kings (STL, @SJS, @VAN)
Minnesota Wild (CGY, @COL, NYI)
Montreal Canadiens (@WPG, @TBL, @FLA)
Nashville Predators (ARI, PIT, @PIT)
New Jersey Devils (@CHI, TOR, @OTT)
New York Islanders (CBJ, @CHI, @MIN)
New York Rangers (@PHI, CAR, @TOR)
Philadelphia Flyers (NYR, @SJS, @ANA)
St. Louis Blues (@LAK, @WPG, WPG)
Tampa Bay Lightning (FLA, MTL, DET)
Toronto Maple Leafs (CAR, @NJD, NYR)
Vancouver Canucks (EDM, LAK, @CGY)
Vegas Golden Knights (COL, @ANA, ARI)
Washington Capitals (@BOS, CBJ, @CAR)
Winnipeg Jets (MTL, STL, @STL)
Anaheim Ducks (VGK, PHI)
Dallas Stars (COL, @ARI)
Detroit Red Wings (@FLA, @TBL)
Edmonton Oilers (@VAN, CGY)
Ottawa Senators (BUF, NJD)
Pittsburgh Penguins (@NSH, NSH)
San Jose Sharks (LAK, PHI)
With zero clubs playing four games during the holiday week, wise managers will focus their attention on 3-game players with favorable slates.
-This will be a terrible week to consider backup goalies, as most teams have their games spread out and will be able to use their No. 1 tender for every contest.
-The Blackhawks have a pair of favorable matchups (NJD, CBJ) with a tough one mixed in against NYI.
-The Lightning have arguably the most favorable schedule that includes three clubs (DET, FLA, MTL) who are in the bottom-10 teams in goals-against average. They are also at home all week, where they have been stellar this season.
-Players on the Wild are poor options, as all three of their matchups (CGY, COL, NYI) are difficult ones.
-The Predators are another team to avoid, as they take on the Penguins twice and Arizona once. Pittsburgh and Arizona both excel at keeping pucks out of their net.
-The Flames could continue their solid play of late. Calgary opens the week with a favorable matchup against the Wild before taking on two teams (EDM, VAN) who have not played their best hockey in recent days.
Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning (LW, 24 percent rostered)
Get ready for a steady dose of Tampa Bay forwards, as the Lightning have the perfect combination of a friendly schedule and plentiful secondary scoring. Palat has been a solid all-around fantasy contributor this year, with 18 points, 78 shots, 76 hits, 29 blocks, and a +8 rating.
Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning (C, 11 percent)
Even with league-wide depth at the centre position, Cirelli deserves a lineup spot next week. The youngster ranks sixth on the Lightning with 22 points, while also contributing his share of hits (40) and blocks (21). And he can make a big impact in leagues that value face-offs won. Cirelli’s 18:39 TOI is just 11 seconds off the team lead among forwards.
Alex Killorn, Tampa Bay Lightning (LW/RW, 41%)
Killorn rounds out a trio of Tampa Bay forward options. The winger has collected 10 of his 27 points on the power play, while also posting a +/- rating of +4.
Connor Murphy, Chicago Blackhawks (D, 3%)
Murphy is an excellent option for managers who could use a gritty defenseman. Across the past 30 days, the rearguard has collected 30 hits and 39 blocked shots, while also contributing six points.
Joel Armia, Montreal Canadiens (RW, 38%)
Armia has been a productive power forward this season, tallying 21 points (12 goals), 108 shots and 89 hits across 33 games. In fact, he has been a top-100 asset in most formats. He also sits at +6 on a Canadiens squad that has had some ups and downs but has mostly met or exceeded expectations.
Phillip Danault, Montreal Canadiens (C, 24%)
Danault is the second Montreal forward to consider next week. The centerman has already amassed 26 points and a healthy hits total of 67. But his biggest contribution comes in leagues that count face-offs won, as Danault ranks seventh in the NHL in that category.
Matt Roy, Los Angeles Kings (D, 2%)
Available in virtually every league, Roy has taken advantage of a recent uptick in ice time to produce nine points, 29 shots on goal, 26 hits and 19 blocked shots in the past 30 days. The Kings have a reasonable schedule next week, making him a great option for those who need a defenseman in deep leagues.