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NHL Playoffs: Round 2

Connor McDavid did what he could with what he had.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Playoff Update: Round 2:

This article is a mix of my thoughts on the playoffs so far and where I think we are seeing some talent building for the 2017-2018 season.  I'm late on this update but I wanted to drill into a few things I found interesting.

My thoughts:
1. If hockey was a March Madness bracket, I imagine less than 1% of picks included both Nashville Predators AND Ottawa Senators in the Conference Finals. This is part of why NHL playoffs are so exciting, it's not contingent on two super loaded teams making the finals, there are numerous "8 over 1" seed upsets and when these games get to game 7, it really is anyone's game.

2. Edmonton Oilers had a great run and as people have already mentioned, we will be seeing more of them.

3. Washington Capitals have a lot of questions to face. I'll leave it there.

4. Blues, see Washington on point 3.

The others:

  • It might be a long time before we once again are blessed with one night of back to back game 7's with three of the best players on the planet. 2 of the 3 lost but that is not an indictment of their skill as much as a testament to how good all three of them are.
  • Part of the Blues woes in the Playoffs surrounds their grit. They are insanely talented but always seem to lack the physical presence to succeed. Regular season -€” great (fantasy purposes) playoffs, not so much.
  • The Ducks outmuscled and out "sloppy goaled" the Oilers. That's the nature (and beauty)  of the playoffs.

The numbers:

  • 2 Sweeps, 2 Game 7's (last year no sweeps, 4 game 7's through first 2 rounds)
  • Round 2 only saw 2 shutouts (same as last year)
  • 5 games went into OT (last year had 9)

Fantasy Implications:
Stock up from playoffs:

Jake Guentzel -€” no surprise here, Crosby helped him elevate to a Andrew Shaw status.

Rickard Rakell -€” This is hammering in the great season he had. He will be an asset to have next year.

Devan Dubnyk allowed 10 goals across 5 games in the playoffs. He's a top 3 goalie next year.

Ryan Dzingel -€” he's not the flashiest player, he had 32 points this year, look for him to eclipse 45 next year.
Sam Bennett -€” I keep waiting and he looked good in round 1, I think next year he tops 40 points

San Jose Sharks -€” it was certainly a down year for one of the most offensively loaded teams in the NHL, an early exit helped them in my opinion.

Stock down from playoffs:
Jordan Eberle -€” Maybe it's the physical play but clearly this is showing the gaps in his game.

Sergei Bobrovsky -€” He had a bad playoffs and it's not as much that as it is, he was driven into the ground in terms of usage this year, I'm apprehensive going into next year circa usage, injuries and overall ability to duplicate his 2016-2017 numbers.

Jay Bouwmeester -€” I imagine he didn't have much stock left but I think I'm done with him as a fantasy asset of any kind.

James Van Riemsdyk -€” He is turning from the young point producer to the vet complimentary piece with the talented young core they have. In the playoffs I watched minutes get cut as the young group proved more reliable. I think he dips from points in low 60's to low 50's next year unless the somehow stack him with Auston Matthews.

Most of the Pittsburgh Penguins team. Stick with me on this one -€” back to back deep playoff runs, they HAVE to start getting gased next year. They will continue to win, they will continue to play well but don't be surprised if they let up the gas a little en route to resting for another potential playoff run. Sidney Crosby will still get 80+ points, Evgeni Malkin will still get 70+points but I will be more interested in the Conor Sheary's and Jake Guentzel's thant he Phil Kessel's, Patric Hornqvist, Krist Letang, Chris Kunitz etc..