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Mid-Round Players for Your 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Draft With Playoffs In Mind

2022-23 fantasy hockey

The 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey season is just around the corner.  Many sports outlets have posted their top 250 lists, such as ESPN and  A myriad of professionals are relaying their message on how to properly draft to win your league based on these projections, and it can become daunting.  Quite honestly, you could auto-draft your first four rounds and be no worse or better than any other team in your league (not counting the lucky soul who took .5 seconds to select Connor McDavid).  It is after these rounds that fantasy seasons are won and lost; the so-called “finding the sleeper picks.”

It is very important to draft well and use the waiver wire to make your playoffs, but it should be just as important to already be relevant when they start.  Your playoffs will encompass the last month or two of the season, a time where the studs could see diminished ice time in order to prepare for a deep run, or play less meaningful games as their team’s playoff seeding becomes set.  To prepare for this potential, you should consider drafting some players in the mid-rounds that historically produce well in these months of the season.  Analytics is a great tool, but there are things that just cannot be quantified, and a player’s ability to turn it on at the end of the year is one of them.  Here are three such candidates to keep your eye on in your 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey draft.

These players are based on the assumption that your league is a standard scoring system.  If you happen to be in a league that has customized the scoring options, they will still hold value for you but there may be other intangibles to be aware of.

Optimizing Mid-Round Selections For Playoff Success In Your 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Draft

Brayden Point

Be mindful of where Point is when it is your turn to select in the early middle rounds.  There is a mixed belief of where he falls in projections, with ESPN having him ranked at 134 while has him at 75.  A lot of that is based on his ranking from last year, but keep in mind he only played 66 games and still produced 58 points.  It is what he does in the last two months of the season that is intriguing.  Of his 51 goals over the last two seasons, 23 of them have come in March or April, or close to half.  For those leagues that also play with the bonus points for power-play production, Point is a must.  He has scored 16 goals on the power play the last two seasons, and 10 of them were in March and April.

Here is your other factor to keep in mind: you want players that play games.  Three or four (if you’re lucky) per week is very important during your fantasy playoff.  More games mean less rest, so how does Point handle that kind of workload?  Very well, as it turns out.  Over the last two seasons, Point has played 69 games on one day’s rest and has 50 points (25g 25a).

In fact, when looking at his historical numbers, Point performs much better on one day than with any other amount.  In March and April, the Tampa Bay Lightning will play 13 games on one day’s rest.  Not only are you going to get the number of games you are looking for from your player, but with Point, you also get someone who performs well in this time with the right amount of rest.  In a standard 12-person league, a sixth-round pickup (maybe a fifth) is something to consider.

Ryan O’Reilly

This is the definition of a “turns it on at the end” player.  ESPN has O’Reilly ranked at 146, while has him ranked at 122.  Pretty standard mid-pack player.  If he is on the board in the tenth round, it’s a mistake and you should make your fellow fantasy teams pay for it.  Over the last two campaigns, O’Reilly has scored 45 goals.  Over half of those, 25 of them, have been in March and April.  In fact, his highest point-producing months in both seasons were April (yes he did miss the first part of the 2020-21 season, but his March and April were off the chart, helping make that season the best point per game production of his career at .96).

Much like Tampa, the St. Louis Blues will play a good number of games on one day’s rest.  Much like Brayden Point, O’Reilly thrives in this situation.  Over the last two seasons, he has played in 76 games on one day rest, producing 68 points (26g 42a).  That is very near .9 a game for a player whose career average is .7 per game.  The Blues will play 14 games on one day rest the last two months, again assuring you the games per week from a player that elevates his game to higher levels when the season is winding down.

One little caveat for those of you who get points for faceoff wins, O’Reilly averaged about 60% on the dot during March and April last season, quite the bump for a career 55.8% player. 

Oliver Bjorkstrand

There is no consensus on Bjorkstrand.  ESPN has him ranked 104, while has him at 190.  He will also be suiting up for a new squad this season after a July trade sent him from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Seattle Kraken.  Bjorkstrand had a coming-out party last season, setting or matching career highs in goals, assists, points, power-play goals, and power-play points.  It would not be a surprise to see him at least match this production, which makes him a great mid-round(s) pick-up, but you should benefit from increased March and April production as well.  In 57 games over the last two seasons, Bjorkstrand has scored 43 points (20g 23a) in March or April, which is a decent bump over his career points per game numbers.  His goal production is even better, scoring 20 of his 46 goals over the last two seasons in March and April.

Bjorkstrand is also the darling of the three players on this list when it comes to the one-day rest.  For starters, Seattle will play 15 games on this rest, so you’re getting a great volume of games played.  Second, over the last two years, Bjorkstrand has played 136 regular season games, scoring 46 goals.  In 75 one-day rest games, he has scored 31.  In 61 other types of rest games, he has scored 15.  He is not just marginally better on a day’s rest; he is much better.  There is a concern that these 15 games may be meaningless for Seattle as they may not be competing for a playoff spot.

Fortunate for you though, in the month of April alone Seattle will play the Arizona Coyotes three times, the Vegas Golden Knights twice, and the Chicago Blackhawks, two teams not expected to be a playoff team, and one in Vegas who is questionable considering their newfound goalie predicament.  It may be a stretch to draft him around the 100 mark but letting him slip much further could be a big mistake.

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