So you got asked to join the office NHL fantasy hockey playoff pool and you want to make an impression and not come in dead last picking guys with the last names like Gretzky or Messier.
No matter what type of an NHL playoff pool you are in, having some basic playoff pool strategies will help you make picks and maybe even give you a shot at bragging rights!
To get you started, knowing who the favorites to win the Stanley Cup are will go a long way in helping you make picks.
NHL Hockey Playoff Pool Tips
1) Know The Rules Of Your Hockey Pool
Is it a player pool like a fantasy pool? Is it picking teams to win or be in the Stanley Cup Finals? The most popular NHL Hockey Playoff Leagues are fantasy type leagues where you either are given a sheet with brackets and you simply pick one name from each bracket, or it’s a list that you pick say 8 forwards, 4 defensemen and 1 goalie and accumulate the most points for the playoffs. Generally points are simply given for goals and assists and goalies get points for wins and shutouts. Some will be more complicated in their scoring system but the above scoring system is pretty standard.
If it’s a pool where you pick a team to win, you usually have to also pick how many games they will win it in. For example you may take the Toronto Maple Leafs to win the cup in 6 games which means if they win a 7 game series 4 wins to 2 - you will win. If you are in a pool like that one, here’s a tip: Hockey teams are pretty close in talent so a 4 game sweep is pretty rare. Pick a 6 or 7 game winner as there hasn’t been a 4-0 sweep since 1998.
2) Double Check Who Made The Playoffs
In some years the NHL Playoff teams aren’t determined until a few days before you get your sheets to fill out. In most cases the players are just there so you simply pick but in some it’s an open ended sheet that lets you write in the names. Double check that any player you pick is on a team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But honestly if we have to remind you to check who made the playoffs in the playoff pool you are participating in, you should not be playing!
3) Predict Your Final Two Teams and Draft Accordingly
This is where you need to dig out your crystal ball and figure out the 2 teams that will be the Stanley Cup finalists. Some people will try to pick the top 4 teams to spread out the players available. Our playoff pool strategy has always been to choose 4 teams, because picking the two finalists perfectly is tough.
Most people in your pool will just pick the top NHL scorers not even caring about whether they get knocked out of the playoffs in the 1st round or not. That strategy won’t get them too many points so look for good players on the best 4 teams that you think will make the finals and stack those lineups.
4) Check The Vegas Betting Odds
Knowing who the odds makers think will make the finals will go a long way to helping you pick the top teams. The Oddsmakers are usually spot on with their odds so it is a good indication on which teams will dominate and which series may be close.
You can find the current NHL Playoff Odds from our top sites below and see which teams are favored to be in the Stanley Cups Finals. From that, you can draft a playoff pool team based on that info.
5) Play The Hot Teams
A Top NHL fantasy hockey playoff pool strategy is to pick players on teams that are playing well at the end of the NHL regular season heading into the playoffs. Usually the hot streak continues so find stats for player's last 10 games of the regular season and look at some of those guys to fill your lineup.
6) Check Injury Status of Players
Every game and every point counts in the NHL playoffs and players won’t take games off when they are hurt which will affect their performance. If a guys is hobbled, maybe stay away as they won’t produce as well and may also need to take some games off to heal. Double check who is playing and who is not. Occasionally, players will miss the end of the regular season with an injury but will be back for the playoffs. Be wary of picking these guys who may have missed the last 10 games or so because although they may be healthy, they will be rusty and not in game shape and you will lose valuable points waiting for them to get back up to speed.
6) Check Historical Stats For Consistent Performers
The Stanley Cup playoffs are filled with stories of guys that are mediocre during the NHL regular season and then step up in the playoffs and lead the team in points. Look for how some guys have been in past years and see if they are a sneaky sleeper pick. Think of the Pittsburgh Penguins who have won a couple cups in the past few years, guys like Kunitz and Kessell tend to come alive during playoff time.
General Things To Know For Hockey Playoff Pools
The NHL Playoffs are a sprint and usually the best players overall in the league are the best fantasy picks. Check out the scoring leaders for the stats but be cautious, how many games they play is a huge factor for NHL hockey playoff pools. You really need to pick the teams that will last into June, then focus on their top scorers.
In the NHL playoffs watching an 8th seed knock off a # 1 seed is pretty common. Don’t be afraid to load up on players on teams that are lower seeds if you believe that they will go far in the playoffs.