How dissecting the NHL schedule can win you your fantasy league

Aaron Doster / USA Today Sports

There's so much more to fantasy hockey than just picking players. Knowing the ins and outs of the NHL schedule can give you a massive advantage over other players in your league. Here are two ways you can benefit.

Weird game days

Hockey fans know the vast majority of games are played on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. This can often lead to a logjam for your fantasy team on those nights, forcing you to decide which active players to leave on your bench. However, on less popular game days (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays), you may find yourself with a nearly empty lineup.

To exploit the NHL schedule and maximize the number of man games your fantasy team has, target players from clubs that play plenty of games on these less crowded days.

Team Monday Wednesday Friday Sunday Total
Anaheim 9 12 15 12 48
Calgary 9 12 10 8 39
Detroit 6 9 12 11 38
NY Rangers 7 10 11 9 37
Toronto 13 15 5 3 36
Vegas 6 5 14 11 36
Washington 10 6 12 8 36
Chicago 6 10 8 11 35
NY Islanders 10 6 11 8 35
Winnipeg 7 4 13 11 35
Buffalo 9 7 13 5 34
Colorado 8 7 10 9 34
Columbus 9 5 15 4 33
Pittsburgh 4 9 11 9 33
Dallas 7 5 12 8 32
San Jose 8 6 8 10 32
Vancouver 6 7 9 10 32
Ottawa 7 9 11 3 30
St. Louis 5 9 10 6 30
Boston 8 10 3 8 29
Carolina 5 2 13 9 29
New Jersey 5 5 11 8 29
Edmonton 6 7 5 10 28
Minnesota 7 5 10 6 28
Florida 9 3 10 5 27
Los Angeles 10 5 6 5 26
Philadelphia 6 8 4 8 26
Montreal 7 8 5 5 25
Nashville 5 5 7 5 22
Tampa Bay 8 4 5 5 22
Arizona 8 5 3 5 21

Just because the Anaheim Ducks are the only team in the NHL that plays more than half its games on these days doesn't mean you should bump Ryan Getzlaf to the top of your draft board. However, it would definitely behoove you to try to grab a handful of players from teams near the top of this list.

Playoff schedules

Those who are confident enough in their fantasy hockey knowledge can take a peek at their fantasy hockey playoff schedule. In the majority of leagues, it's set up like this:

  • Round 1: March 5-11
  • Round 2: March 12-18
  • Round 3: March 19-25

Here's the number of games each NHL team plays during each of those periods.

Team Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Arizona 4 3 4 11
Boston 4 3 4 11
Dallas 4 4 3 11
Edmonton 3 4 4 11
Montreal 3 4 4 11
Vancouver 4 3 4 11
Anaheim 3 4 3 10
Buffalo 4 2 4 10
Calgary 4 3 3 10
Chicago 4 3 3 10
Colorado 3 4 3 10
Columbus 3 3 4 10
Detroit 3 4 3 10
Florida 3 3 4 10
Los Angeles 2 4 4 10
Nashville 3 3 4 10
Philadelphia 3 4 3 10
Pittsburgh 4 2 4 10
Ottawa 3 4 3 10
Vegas 3 4 3 10
Washington 3 4 3 10
Winnipeg 3 4 3 10
Carolina 2 4 3 9
Minnesota 3 3 3 9
New Jersey 3 3 3 9
NY Islanders 3 3 3 9
NY Rangers 3 3 3 9
San Jose 2 4 3 9
St. Louis 2 4 3 9
Tampa Bay 3 3 3 9
Toronto 2 3 3 8

Remember to go to your league settings to view your playoff schedule. If you're in a small league and the playoffs only consist of Rounds 2 and 3, selecting Kings, Oilers, and Canadiens players gives you a huge advantage.

The fact the Toronto Maple Leafs only have eight games during the fantasy hockey playoffs doesn't mean you should completely avoid drafting Auston Matthews, but picking multiple players with 11 games over that period to balance it out would be a good idea.

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

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How dissecting the NHL schedule can win you your fantasy league
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