5 teams to attack for fantasy production

Doug Pensinger / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Whether you're playing daily fantasy, or streaming players for your season-long league, the following teams will provide the cushiest matchups in fantasy hockey this season.

Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche were historically bad last season. It all starts with their blue line, and frankly, they did nothing to improve it in the offseason. Here's their projected starting six:

Nikita Zadorov Tyson Barrie
Mark Barberio Erik Johnson
Anton Lindholm David Warofsky

Barrie and Johnson are good D-men, but it's hard to imagine them being successful given the player they'll be partnered with.

With a healthy Semyon Varlamov, the Avs should be better then they were a year ago, but they'll still allow plenty of goals.

Vegas Golden Knights

The narrative around the Golden Knights is that they're not that bad for an expansion team. Well, expansion team or not, they're awful. In fact, they're probably worse than the Avalanche. Sure, they stocked up on defenseman, and have Marc-Andre Fleury in goal, but with no familiarity or chemistry among the players, this team will be a disaster from the get-go.

Moreover, Fleury showed significant signs of decline a year ago, posting a .909 save percentage and a 3.02 goals-against average for the Stanley Cup champs. Imagine what he'll be like behind an expansion team?

Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes were an absolute dumpster fire defensively last season. According to Natural Stat Trick, they ranked dead last in the following defensive categories (all at five-on-five):

  • Shot attempts against per 60 minutes
  • Shots on goal against per 60 minutes
  • Scoring chances against per 60 minutes
  • High-danger scoring chances against per 60 minutes

The Coyotes did make some improvements in the offseason, most notably acquiring defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jason Demers, and goalie Antti Raanta. But it's hard to imagine they will be able to make dramatic difference in their scoring chance and goal prevention.

With all the youth in Arizona, this will be a very mistake-prone team. Mistakes, of course, lead to goals for the opposition.

New York Islanders

The Islanders finished a point out of a playoff spot last season, but had they done a slightly better job at preventing goals, they would have been a lock for the postseason.

The Isles weren't quite as poor analytically as the Coyotes, but they were awfully close. They finished second-worst in the NHL - only ahead of Arizona - in shot attempts against per 60 minutes, scoring chances against per 60 minutes, and high-danger scoring chances against per 60 minutes.

Even though Doug Weight led the team to a 24-12-4 record after being promoted to head coach on January 17, the team still struggled to prevent goals. Here's a look at starting goaltender Thomas Greiss' splits with Jack Capuano as head coach and Weight as head coach:

Stat w/ Capuano w/ Weight
GP 21 30
REC 11-7-2 15-11-3
GAA 2.41 2.89
SV% .925 .904

As you can see, Greiss struggled with Weight behind the beach, but the team's goal-scoring prowess allowed them to win games. With a full season of Weight as coach, the Islanders could surpass the Coyotes as the league's defensive laughingstock.

Detroit Red Wings

Colorado easily has the worst defense corps in the NHL, but the Red Wings aren't too far behind. Here's a look at their projected starting six:

Danny DeKeyser Trevor Daley
Niklas Kronwall Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson Nick Jensen

Don't be fooled by the name value on the second pairing - Kronwall and Green are both well past their prime.

The Red Wings were aided by a career year from goaltender Jimmy Howard, but there's probably a better chance the NHL goes to the 2018 Olympics than Howard repeating his 2.10 goals-against average and .927 save percentage from a year ago.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

5 teams to attack for fantasy production
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