After a down-to-the-wire match, the playoff seeds are settled, and it’s time to take an in-depth look at the matchups. Next up: Davin takes on Jace.
Jace (2nd seed) vs. Davin (3rd seed)
On the surface, this looks to be a pretty close matchup. Jace and Davin find themselves next to each other in the standings in 6 of the 11 categories, suggesting that they could go either way.
Jace holds the slight edge overall, especially in skating stats, where he came in 2nd overall in G, A, PPP, SHP, ATOI and SOG. Not too shabby. Davin holds the lead in the goaltending stats, but it’s far from a sure thing.
We can say for sure that Jace will win ATOI and Davin will win FOW, but outside of that, it’s a little harder to predict. I’d expect Jace to also take G, AA and PPP, while Davin takes GAA and SV%, leaving +/-, SHP, SOG and W up for grabs.
Key Players to Watch
34 G | 43 A | +7 | 26 PPP | 5 SHP | 216 FOW | 20:10 | 221 SOG | 20.92 PR16
If it wasn’t for that pesky Patrick Kane, reigning Art Ross Trophy winner Jamie Benn would be comfortably on his way to collecting a second consecutive title as the leading scorer in the league. He’s been an absolute fantasy beast this year, joining Bergeron as the only player to finish the regular season with a PR16 above 20. He’s got 12 games left to top last year’s total of 84 points, and I expect he’ll do it comfortably.
26 W | 2.17 GAA | .925 SV% | 13.27 PR16
It’s crazy that at the beginning of the season Mrazek was the clear back-up to Jimmy Howard in Detroit. Now, Mrazek is not only the clear starter, he’s played his way into Vezina contention. Jace’s goaltending this year has been worst in the league, but Mrazek didn’t join his roster until December; since then, Jace has been a whole lot better.
21 G | 39 A | 28 | 16 PPP | 3 SHP | 780 FOW | 20:52 | 150 SOG | 19.78 PR16
In surveying the NHLPA, Anze Kopitar has repeatedly been named the hardest player to go up against in the entire NHL. He’s big, he’s a complete 2-way player, he scores, he passes, and he’s an extremely effective playmaker. He’s unstoppable.
41 G | 21 A | +19 | 21 PPP | 0 SHP | 0 FOW | 20:26 | 335 SOG | 15.13 PR16
The first over all pick in our draft, Alex Ovechkin has lived up to the hype. In the NHL he’s first in goals and shots on goal (his 335 SOG is a whopping 47 more than the next closest!), 12th in points, and a very respectable +19 on the year. Ovi is running on all cylinders right now.
Ryan O’Reilly has been a sleeper fantasy powerhouse this year. He wins an insane amount of faceoffs, plays the most minutes of all forwards, gets goals, assists, power play points…he’s in on every play. About his only weakness is Plus/Minus. He’s still on IR, but is rumoured to be practicing in full contact, so his return could be imminent.
Jace also lost Justin Faulk and Evgeny Malkin to rumoured season ending injuries, so he elected to drop them to free up the roster spot. Additionally Gabriel Landeskog is suspended, but will return next week.
Davin is currently injury-free! Lucky guy.
Jace’s Road to Victory
For Jace, it’s all about leverage against Davin. With Drew Doughty and the rest of his d-core eating minutes, Jace can pretty comfortably pencil in ATOI as a win. That leaves 5 points of 9 that he needs to capture.
Jace can probably count on 1 of the three goaltending categories, which leaves 4 more to win. It may require picking up some specialized players for certain games to goose certain categories. At this point, risk/reward is crucial.
Lastly, getting O’Reilly back will be a huge benefit for Jace; not only because he’s taking up a roster spot, but O’Reilly has been one of his best players all year.
Davin’s Road to Victory
For Davin, it’s a similar calculating tactic to win, but I think his best chance is to go all in on certain categories. If Davin’s goalies get off to a hot start (he’s currently going with the Cam Talbot/Tuukka Rask combo), he can shut them down and go hard after 3-4 other categories. He’ll definitely win FOW, and is competitive in many others.
Davin should use all 14 acquisitions during this matchup, picking up and dropping players to suit a specific need for that game.
On the other hand, if the goalies stink right off the bat, he should do everything to capture them back. It’s his best chance to capture 3 points, and he should go after it at all costs.