The 2021 fantasy hockey season is mostly over for those in regular-season leagues. There are quite a few rotisserie leagues still going and some H2H leagues also. However, a vast majority are in the books.
Between now and the playoff box pools season, there is a little bit of time to take in and digest what has happened. 2021’s compressed schedule has been something else. The sobering part of the season is thinking about this has basically felt like a 3 1/2 to four-month blur.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be looking at what has impacted fantasy hockey 2021 the most in an adverse way. Everyone loves to praise the good but few talk about the bad and ugly sides. That is where we come in.
This will be an extensive series that comes in quite a few parts. Fantasy hockey turkeys get no rest from here on out.
First up, let’s get into the one scary aspect for fantasy hockey managers.
Jon Cooper Practicing Load Management
It is an undesirable fear especially in the final weeks of a regular season. Let’s be honest. In some cases, there is a blurred line where some players are legitimately hurt. Take players that are battling chronic injuries.
The rationale behind this is simple. Coaches want to protect their players against injury. This was put into action just last weekend when Andrei Vasilevskiy was rested. One would have figured the starting Tampa Bay goaltender might have played once against the Detroit Red Wings.
However, that was not the case.
#TBLightning reassign G Spencer Martin from the taxi squad back to #SyrCrunch after he was called up to be the third goaltender this past weekend as #GoBolts gave Andrei Vasilevskiy the full weekend off while the team was in Detroit
— Lightning Insider (@Erik_Erlendsson) May 3, 2021
Again, the Vezina Trophy winning goaltender was given the weekend off which thwarted some fantasy hockey general managers. Yes, there is little anyone can do. However, that does not lessen the sting of losing in the playoffs that way. Jon Cooper was doing the best for his team and to rest his 26-year old goaltender. Vasilevskiy played in 39 games out of 52. That is 3/4 of their games.
With the compressed schedule, Tampa Bay still has four more games left in the regular season. They have two home games against Dallas then two road contests versus their rival Florida Panthers. With four tough games in six nights, It makes sense. Now the question is does Vasilevskiy rest another game between now and next Monday? That answer becomes increasingly yes. Remember this plan that was casually mentioned
— Lightning Insider (@Erik_Erlendsson) May 1, 2021
To be fair, Tampa Bay garnered three out of a possible four points this weekend. Would they have gotten all four? That’s a great question. Simply, no one knows.
This will be far from the last case over the next couple of weeks. Fantasy hockey general mangers need to anticipate this and act accordingly.
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Load Management: The St. Louis Blues
One of the teams that could be in a position to rest soon may just be the St. Louis Blues if they keep winning. Jordan Binnington has played a lot of games for St. Louis. He has appeared in 37 of 50 games which is a 74% workload on the year. That is a large amount for a young goaltender. His load in 2020 was 72%. Binnington and St. Louis expect to rest not only the goaltender but maybe some forwards and defenseman.
Consider that Colton Parayko and Vince Dunn have both been recently banged up. That will necessitate some eventual moves and posturing of rosters. The team that looked like they might not make the playoffs. At the very least, expect the unexpected.
It will be fun to see which other teams try this methodology. The road to fantasy hockey glory is close at hand.