There’s plenty to unpack from Wednesday’s four-game slate in the NHL. Toronto will look to beat Buffalo and snap a two-game losing skid and a week-long string of inept defensive play. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, visits the Capitals in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final. Anaheim hosts the surging Jets, and the Sens visit Vancouver to round out the schedule.
Top Line Stacks
Jets at DucksPatrik Laine ($5,800) – Mark Scheifele ($6,800) – Blake Wheeler ($7,100)
While the Ducks have been better in March with a 6-4-0 record while allowing 2.8 goals per 60, they’re still surrendering oodles of high-danger scoring chances (13.5 per 60 minutes). Additionally, Winnipeg’s top line also all skate with the No. 1 power-play unit and combined for 16 goals, 25 assists and 83 shots through the past 12 games. The solid production has the trio up to an elite 7.46 goals per 60 for the campaign, too.
Maple Leafs at SabresAndreas Johnsson ($4,800) – Auston Matthews ($7,600) – William Nylander ($4,400)
The numbers check out for Toronto’s second line over 113:33 of shared ice time at 5-on-5. The trio has clicked for 4.23 goals, 15.85 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes and drove possession with a 55.6 Corsi For percentage. So, with the Sabres allowing the most even-strength goals per 60 (3.53) since the beginning of February, and Johnsson and Nylander mitigating Matthews’ higher salary, this line could be chalky.
Superstar to Build AroundNikita Kucherov, TB at WAS ($7,500) – This is a manageable salary for the Art Ross favorite, as Kucherov has averaged two points per game for well over a month with 13 goals, 23 assists and 68 shots through his past 18 outings. Additionally, while Washington has cleaned up defensively of late (2.33 goals against per game in March), the Caps have still surrendered the third most high-danger chances per 60 minutes (12.92) for the season.
Value on OffenseEvgeny Kuznetsov, WAS vs. TB ($5,400) – The Russian forward’s salary is down after recording just two goals, four assists and a single multi-point performance through nine games this month. Obviously, the matchup probably isn’t ideal with Tampa Bay 19-3-2 since the All-Star break. Still, there’s contrarian appeal here, and Kuznetsov is locked into top offensive minutes.
J.T. Miller, TB at WAS ($3,900) – Dating back to last season, Miller has clicked with linemate Steven Stamkos ($7,200) for 5.53 goals per 60 minutes over 650:55 of shared ice time. There should also be some softer 5-on-5 matchups with Washington likely focused on shutting down Kucherov ($7,500). Additionally, Miller has failed to score over the past nine games, so statistical correction is ahead of the three-time, 20-goal scorer.
Max Veronneau, OTT at VAN ($3,000) – It’s rare to find a forward skating atop the depth chart in all situations in this price range, and while Veronneau’s professional track record is short, he recorded 30 goals and 62 assists over his final 67 collegiate games in the ECAC. Vancouver has been a middle-of-the-road opponent through its past 10 games with 2.72 goals and 11.74 high-danger scoring chances allowed per 60.
Stud GoaliesConnor Hellebuyck, WPG at ANA ($8,000) – Anaheim has turned this around of late, but with Winnipeg 21 points ahead of the Ducks in the standings and able to grab a three-point lead in the Central Division with a win, the Jets should be motivated. Hellebuyck has also won consecutive games with a .940 save percentage, and Anaheim has still scored just 2.27 goals and generated only 10.07 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes for the campaign.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB at WAS ($7,800) – Considering Vasilevskiy enters this contest with an active 14-1 record, .935 save percentage and 1.98 GAA, he has to be considered at this salary. Three starting goalies will be more expensive than the Vezina frontrunner.
Value on DefenseRasmus Dahlin, BUF vs. TOR ($4,200) – After allowing three more goals to Nashville on Tuesday, the Maple Leafs have now surrendered 26 through their past five games and take the ice on the second leg of a back-to-back road set. The rookie snapped an eight-game point drought last time out, and he continues to skate with the No. 1 power-play unit. Dahlin also offers a respectable fantasy floor with 28 shots and nine blocks while logging 22:46 of ice time per contest through his past 10 outings.
Christian Wolanin, OTT at VAN ($3,700) – With a goal and three helpers through his latest seven games, Wolanin’s up to 35 points — 10 goals — through 56 games between the NHL and AHL. Add that he’s projected to quarterback the No. 1 power-play unit, and the 24-year-old defenseman is positioned and priced to reward.
Power-Play DefensemenVictor Hedman, TB at WAS ($6,100) – With a scoresheet appearance in eight of the past 10 games totaling three tallies, seven helpers, 32 shots and 12 blocks, Hedman is in top form. Similarly to teammates Kucherov ($7,500) and Vasilevskiy ($7,800), the defensemen’s salary doesn’t break the bank, either.
Jacob Trouba, WPG at ANA ($5,500) – In the midst of a career year and skating atop the depth chart in all situations for the Jets, Trouba’s cross-category contributions are valuable. He’s collected two tallies, three helpers, four power-play points, 12 shots and 20 blocks through his past seven games, and as noted, the Ducks should prove to be a favorable opponent for Winnipeg.
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