Gus Katsaros

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Team Schedules: 2017

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Scheduling is becoming more complicated with the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights, and tweaks to the NHL bye week. If you’re a full-season poolie, you have to do the standard scheduling analysis for fantasy drafts, figure out the late-season impact to players and games played in the final three or four weeks. Seven of the final nine weeks have more than 100 games and some of those teams have a difficult stretch.


Teams with road trips over the final three weeks, Florida in the East and three West Coast clubs, Los Angeles, Vancouver and San Jose have four game road trips.


Florida has a four game road trip in the second last week and seven of their final 12 regular season games on the road - and a four-game homestand in the final week. Only the new Vegas Golden Knights have a homestand of four games in the final few weeks.




Daily fantasy is a new and exciting niche that can incorporate scheduling, concentrating specifically on one part of the schedules; as teams complete their bye weeks.


In the first year the implementation of the bye schedule in 2016-17, teams finished with a 10-16-4 record, squandering the time off and returning rested.


The Ottawa Senators actually have the longest break of days between games, an eight-day span ending mid-January, which actually turns out to be the second long layoff for the team this season.

While most clubs end up playing their bye week by mid-January, some teams have multiple layoffs during the season. For instance, Minnesota has a six-day layoff between games in the second week of the season. Winnipeg and New Jersey have six and seven day layoffs at the end of October and the Ottawa Senators have a six-day layoff in mid-November preceding their longest. And the Calgary Flames must have bribed Santa Claus in order to get a six-day layover at Christmas.

An expanded image of the entire team’s breakdown of layoffs between six and eight games is below.





The 'California Corridor' is the scheduling game within a game played between Anaheim and Los Angeles, where they take turns beating up an opponent before sending them down the way to battle their second opponent on consecutive nights, sometimes as a rested team. It's always interesting to see the number of teams that go through Los Angeles first and then Anaheim second, giving the Ducks a distinct advantage of playing a tired team after having been softened by the Kings the night before. Combinations seem to be tilted the Kings’ way.

The table below is a summary of the number of games team listed in the first column, faces a team in game one of back-to-back situations, with the team across the top playing in Game 2.




Seven teams play the Kings in game one that end up playing Anaheim on the second night of back to backs. The Ducks play 10 teams, before sending them up the way to Los Angeles for the second game. These are the most instances in terms of raw numbers in the NHL. However, in addition to this California example, Alberta, and Florida have historically faced this type of scheduling.

Other areas displaying the schedule quirk include Minnesota and Winnipeg and Toronto and Montréal, where Minnesota and Toronto face similar scheduling disadvantages.

These are divisional rivals that could carry some distinct playoff implications in six games, the equivalent of 12 points, which could be the difference in earning a playoff berth.

Schedules can have a big impact. Don’t be caught off guard, do some homework, and it will pay off.

Gus Katsaros is the Pro Scouting Coordinator with McKeen’s Hockey, publishers of industry leading scouting and fantasy guide, the McKeen’s Annual Hockey Pool Yearbook. He also contributes to popular blog ... he can be followed on Twitter @KatsHockey
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