Fantasy Hockey: Streaming tips for Week 25, the championship round

By Jason Chen, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

It's the final week in fantasy hockey, and it's all coming to a head. If you've made the championship, congratulations. All that awaits you now is glory or tears. Hard decisions need to be made, and in the final week, it's only going to get harder.

Note that Week 25 of the fantasy season will stretch April 3-14. It was originally slated to end Thursday, April 13, but two games postponed earlier in the season will be played on the 14th, offering fantasy managers a final chance to clinch victory. There are no games on Good Friday, but all 32 teams will be in action the following Saturday.

Do you ditch the player who held your roster together, only to fade down the stretch? Do you grab that risky young player who's getting more ice time now that his team is out of playoff contention?

Here's all the latest to help you win your league.


Colorado Avalanche

This is an obvious no-brainer, especially with a week that kicks off with two games against the Sharks on Tuesday and Thursday. The Avs will be one of four teams that play a league-high seven games this week, thanks to a burst pipe at Bridgestone Arena earlier this season that will see them visit the Predators next Friday, the last day of the regular season. The key for the Avs is that they're healthy, relatively speaking, missing only Artturi Lehkonen and Josh Manson, though both could return for the postseason. Gabriel Landeskog will likely miss the entire regular season, with his status for the playoffs uncertain, but the Avs have been a buzzsaw even without their captain.

That means their depth forwards will continue to be good plays, including J.T. Compher, Evan Rodrigues (now playing on the top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen) and Denis Malgin, who has scored 13 points in 36 games with the Avs after scoring four points in 23 games with the Leafs. It's also unlikely the Avs will rest their players with the Central Division title still on the line.

Seattle Kraken

The Kraken also play seven games in Week 25 and have one of the easier schedules. After beating the Coyotes soundly, they will face them again Thursday and next Monday. Sandwiched between will be a visit to the Canucks on Tuesday and a home game against the Blackhawks on Saturday, with both of those teams well below the playoff cut-off. A pair of games against the Knights to finish the season present the only real challenge, but note the season series has been split so far.

There are no shortage of scorers on the Kraken, with 13 (!) players who have scored double-digit goals. Ten of 12 forwards scored a point against the Coyotes. The bright spot is Jared McCann, who is three goals shy of hitting 40, but he's joined by a plethora of other options, depending on what you need. Daniel Sprong, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Eeli Tolvanen can be counted on for goals, while Yanni Gourde and Jordan Eberle can be counted on for assists. While his production has tailed off, presumptive Calder winner Matty Beniers remains a solid all-around option.

Even with their mediocre performances all season, a favorable schedule ensures that Philipp Grubauer and Martin Jones will pick up a few more wins the rest of the way.


New York Islanders

For the Isles, it's simple math; they play a league-low four games in Week 25. Tack on the fact that one of the teams they face is the Lightning, and the options New York provides aren't very appetizing. Top playmaker Mathew Barzal remains sidelined due to an injury, and they've relied on Ilya Sorokin to win games because their scoring has been so sparse. Bo Horvat is still an excellent player, and a dip in production was expected, but overall, he has been fantastic for the Isles in a matchup role. Unfortunately, being good at both ends of the ice doesn't count for anything in fantasy.

St. Louis Blues

The Blues offer a bevy of under-the-radar options without Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich in the lineup. True, not having two of their best offensive players hurts, but Brandon Saad, Sammy Blais, Kasperi Kapanen and Jakub Vrana have all been very productive in the final weeks of the season. A few fantasy managers might have benefited from their strong play, but loyalty can be a double-edged sword, and the Blues' matchups are very tough for the rest of the season.

They face the Flyers on Tuesday, who are no slouch with Travis Konecny back in the lineup, then face the Rangers, Wild and the Stars twice. While the latter three teams have virtually locked up playoff spots, a tight race at the top of the Central ensures that the Wild and Stars are unlikely to rest any of their key players.

Streamers (rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues)

Bryan Rust, RW, Penguins

The Pens have very little depth, which means they're forced to rely a lot on their top two lines. While it has been a fairly disappointing season for Rust, note that he has played more than 20 minutes in six straight games as the Pens try to make the playoffs. The past two games, he has scored three goals and four points on seven shots.

Morgan Frost, C/LW, Flyers

Frost is on a five-game point streak, with four goals and two assists, and he played a season-high 23:26 in his most recent game against the Penguins. John Tortorella might be a demanding coach, but he's also very fair and rewards ice time to those who work for it. Frost is the team's top center right now and has been delivering.

Alex Iafallo, LW, Kings

Iafallo missed a bunch of time due to injuries this season, but he's catching fire at the right time. He's coming off a two-goal effort against the Canucks, his second consecutive multipoint game. His role on the Kings' top power-play unit gives him additional upside.

Thomas Novak, C, Predators

He has been a favorite of mine down the stretch, and despite a tough schedule, there's no denying Novak's effectiveness. He has a higher offensive ceiling than Cody Glass and has led the Preds in scoring over the past month or so.

Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Red Wings

Nedeljkovic is streaky, but he also looks very much in rhythm with three straight wins, including a 43-save effort against the Leafs. Start him at your own peril, but quality goaltending has been difficult to come by, and with the Habs and Sabres coming up, Nedeljkovic could be worth streaming.

Alex Lyon, G, Panthers

The illness keeping Sergei Bobrovsky out of action is not expected to be serious, but Lyon has already been confirmed to be the starter for Tuesday's game, giving him a chance to win his fourth straight game. The Panthers seem to have responded after Paul Maurice's temper tantrum behind the bench.

Devon Levi, G, Sabres

The Sabres have an unwieldy rotation with Levi, Eric Comrie (whom they expected could challenge for the starting job this season before injuries derailed his play) and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who has been their starter for stretches but has been inconsistent. That's not even counting Craig Anderson, who is nursing a minor injury. Levi is arguably their best prospect and made a splashy debut with an overtime win against the Rangers, ensuring that he'll get additional looks as he auditions for next season's starting job. Among the current Sabres goalies, Levi certainly possesses the most upside.