Friday’s here and we have a small four-game slate to tide us over before the weekend hits. The slate is packed with some mismatches but some personnel moves will make the slate interesting. The Leafs traded for Kyle Clifford ($2,500) and G Jack Campbell ($8,200) on Wednesday, but it’s not certain who will start in net yet for the Maple Leafs when they host the Ducks tonight, as Frederik Anderson ($8,400) remains day-to-day. The Stars travel to Minnesota tonight while the Sabres will be on the road against the Rangers, too, in a pair of division clashes.
TOP OPTIONS TO CONSIDER
Set your lineups here: NHL $40K Twine [$10K to 1st]
Top Line Stacks
CLB vs. DETPierre-Luc Dubois ($6,600) – Oliver Bjorkstrand ($7,000) – Gustav Nyquist ($4,200)
The Blue Jackets take on the Red Wings tonight in what is likely the biggest mismatch on the slate. Detroit is coming in off a rare win last night against the Sabres, but it was its first win in nine games. Columbus, meanwhile, has been red hot of late winning eight of its last nine games and will face off against the worst penalty-kill in the league. The duo of Bjorkstand and Dubois have been surprisingly effective for the Blue Jackets of late, posting 11 points between them over their last four games. The two skate alongside each other at even strength and are joined on the power-play by the likes of Nyquist, who makes for a good third wheel for stacking purposes, given his ability on the power-play. Nine of Nyquist’s 35 points this year have come with the man advantage and he’s also been playing well of late, with three points in his last four games. This Columbus trio should have plenty of opportunities to pot some goals given that they are catching the weakest team in the league coming off an overtime game from the night before.
Superstar to TargetJack Eichel ($8,300), BUF at NYR – Eichel hasn’t been as explosive of late as he was at the beginning of the season, but his consistency has still been impressive. The Sabres first-line center comes into tonight’s game having posted 10.0 or more DKFP in eight of his last 10 games. While his shots on goal totals have dwindled since the beginning of the season, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Eichel with a touch more aggression in tonight’s game, given that he’s playing a state rival and his team is coming off an embarrassing loss to the worst team in the hockey in Detroit. The Rangers have been a good matchup for stud forwards this year as they yield the second-most SOG per game and make for a great breakout candidate for Eichel and Buffalo’s top forwards.
Value on OffensePavel Buchnevich ($4,400), NYR vs. BUF – Buchnevich is coming off a monster game in which he posted three points and six SOG against the Maple Leafs. The Rangers will face another weak defensive team tonight in the Sabres, who feature the third-worst penalty-kill in the league. Buchnevich is getting plenty of run of late in both the top-six and on the first-unit power-play and has collected two power-play goals over his last five games. This is a great spot to see some continuation from Buchnevich, who has played 17 minutes or more in four of his last five games.
Jimmy Vesey ($3,100), BUF at NYR – Vesey has been playing on the Sabres top-line of late, and while the production hasn’t been great it’s still a solid opportunity that we should be looking at for fantasy purposes. The former Ranger will be taking on his old team tonight, as well, and they make for a good matchup given their propensity for allowing a ton of shots and the fact they feature the ninth-worst penalty-kill in the league. Vesey’s played over 17 minutes a game in his last two starts and is also seeing consistent power-play time, which makes him a great value target tonight—and also a solid correlation play if you’re planning on rostering Jack Eichel, too.
Stud GoaliesElvis Merzlikins ($8,300), CLS vs. DET – While he started the year as a backup, Merzlikins has been one of the best goalies in the league over the past month and a half and enters this game with the Red Wings having won nine of his last 10 starts, while posting an insane average of 24.8 DKFP per game in that same span. With the Jackets set as -350 favorites, the only worry here is whether Merzlikins sees enough SOG from a terrible Detroit offense to post another ceiling type performance. If you’re OK with the fact he may not see enough rubber to make him a slate-breaking play, paying up for the safety of a goalie in such good form and in an obvious mismatch is fine.
Ryan Miller ($7,000), ANH at TOR – The Ducks enter this game with the Maple Leafs as big underdogs but it’s worth noting that Toronto has not played well through its first three games in February, and have allowed five goals in their last two games. With Anaheim on a back-to-back, Ryan Miller is set to get the start and he enters this game having stopped 71 of the last 73 shots on goal he’s faced over his last two starts. It’s a risky play but could easily pay off in GPPs, as the Leafs struggle to find some consistency in net and on defense.
Value on DefenseRasmus Sandin ($3,200), TOR vs. ANH – Sandin has been a nice bright spot for the Leafs lately, as the Swede has made the most of his opportunities when given a shot to play with the big club. He’s now posted seven points through 14 starts and has been deployed in a solid special teams role of late that has seen him collect two of his seven points on the power-play. Even though he remains a bit of a boom-or-bust play given that he’s seeing under 20 minutes a game most nights, the matchup with the Ducks is a solid one, as Anaheim has the 10th-worst penalty-kill in the league and is coming into Toronto tonight off a game last night in Ottawa. Sandin’s price here and increasing role makes him a solid target on a slate that doesn’t offer a ton of flexibility on defense.
Power-Play DefensemenZach Werenski ($5,900), CLB vs. DET – As mentioned above, the Blue Jackets’ offense is in a great spot tonight, and while there are some cheap options on Columbus at forward to consider, paying up for their top power-play defenseman here seems like a near must. Werenski has averaged just under three minutes of power-play time per game this year but lately has been taking most of the shift when the Jackets are on the power-play, bypassing Seth Jones ($6,100) in that regard as the teams top PP1 option on defense. With Detroit, such a mess on the penalty-kill, pairing Werenski with one or more Blue Jackets’ forwards here feels like one of the best upside spots on a slate that could produce some big fantasy totals.
John Klingberg ($4,600), DAL vs. MIN – Klingberg has shown a bit more productivity of late’ and comes into this game with three points in his last four games’ and off a night where he scored a goal and hit the DK SOG bonus. Once one of the most productive power-play defensemen in the league, Klingberg has been overshadowed at times by the young defensemen on Dallas, but the Swede has been making a bit of a comeback lately and has reasserted himself as the lead QB for the Stars on the PP1. Minnesota features the second-worst penalty-kill in the league and makes for a ripe opponent for Klingberg and other Dallas top-six forwards here. Taking the discount with Klingberg, who looks relatively cheap in this clear upside matchup, feels like a good strategy on defense tonight.
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