The NHL Cheat Sheet is your nightly look at some key matchups, fantasy studs, value plays, and important fantasy news and notes for the upcoming slate.
Totals and Favorites
Biggest Favorite: The Kings are -290 favorites to beat the Sabres
Largest Totals: The Senators v the Flames has the highest probability of going over 5.5 goals
Henrik Lundqvist ($8700): There’s not much not to like about Lundqvist right now as he’s won eight of his last ten games and been in great form for the past month or so. With the Rangers down one of their best players (Rick Nash) Lundqvist and has now faced over 30 shots in each of his last three games, and for fantasy this is not necessarily a bad thing as he’s also recorded 8 fantasy points or more in three of his last four games as well. The Blue Jackets have been scoring in bunches their past few games and might seem like a decent team to select skaters from but tonight their upside gets cut down dramatically if Lundqvist is indeed in net (he wasn’t confirmed yet but is likely). I’d avoid Columbus today and seriously consider paying up for one of the most reliable performers in hockey in Lundqvist, another win is definitely in sight here.
Joni Ortio ($6700): On top of just being a bad team defensively the Flames have one of the weakest goaltending groups in he NHL, made weaker recently by an injury to Karri Ramo. Fin Joni Ortio has been seeing more work lately as the Flames are currently trying to trade Jonas Hiller (and may do so today). Ortio has, quite frankly, not looked like an NHL caliber goalie this year and through seven appearances has no wins and sports a save percentage of .885. I like targeting the Flames with opposing skaters most nights but really like them as a target here and think Philadelphia’s skaters have some of the best upside of the night. Target Ortio with your skaters today.
Steven Stamkos ($7200) – Ryan Callahan ($5000) – Alex Killorn ($4300)
Since getting put together a few games this line has taken off, due mainly to the hot streak of Tampa’s star Steven Stamkos. And while Stamkos has been the straw that stirs the drink for this line it’s certainly been helpful that winger Ryan Callahan has looked to regain some form lately with four goals and eight points in his last four games. This line had some big moments last season when paired together and with Alex Killorn having his best season ever (and with five points in his last three games) it’s looking like the Lightning might finally start living up to their potential offensively in this end of season stretch. The Lightning face the Leafs tonight who are already looking forward to 2017 and giving up a bunch of goals as they finish off their season. Using one, two or all three players from this top line makes sense to me and I wouldn’t hesitate to target any of this trio in a great matchup.
Top Upside at Defense
Shayne Gostisbehere ($5800): There’s a lot of big names available on D today but when you consider price, potential and matchup, I think “Ghost” makes for one of the best overall targets. Gostisbehere is now playing a major role for Philadelphia (not just a power-play specialist) and his ice time is up to well over 20 mins a night. This is important because even though he continues to be an offensive force most nights he’s also been racking up more blocked shots and has nine total now through his last four games. Given the matchup against the worst penalty killing unit in the NHL I think the fact Gostisbehere is under 6k makes him great value at the top of the salary range and a great target on D tonight.
Trevor Daley ($3900): Daley has been quartering back the second unit power-play for the Penguins since coming over in a trade and has been doing a pretty solid job of things thus far. While he hasn’t scored a ton of goals he’s now playing around 20 mins a night and has recorded 2 or more shots on goal in each of his last five games. With Pittsburgh playing the defensively challenged Coyotes today I think targeting him at his sub 4k play makes sense and he’s certainly someone in the lower price range I’d take a look at today if I needed to save some salary. There’s good upside here given the matchup.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Steven Stamkos ($7200): It’s taken most of the year but we’re finally getting to see the Steven Stamkos we’ve come to know and love in fantasy these past few years. Stamkos now has six goals and nine points over his last six games and has a very tasty matchup today against the Maple Leafs. While the game is on the road the fact that Stamkos is actually form the Toronto area makes this a bit of a home game for him and I won’t be shocked if he puts on a bit of a show tonight. At $7200 Stamkos is quite a bit less than many top players and would be my choice as a centrepiece for any fantasy roster you’re making tonight. I think he’s got a great chance of pushing that goal streak to seven games.
Chris Kreider ($4600): Kreider has benefitted from the absence of Rick Nash in that he’s now playing on the Rangers top unit and seeing lots of power-play time too. While the trade for Eric Staal complicates things a bit I still expect Kreider (who has two goals in his last two games) to see lots of time in the top 6 in this game as Staal gets acclimatized to his new team. The Rangers have a great matchup against the Blue Jackets and I think targeting this well-priced winger is a great idea if you need some salary relief today.
David Jones ($2500): The Flames also made a trade this week, letting go of their first line winger, Jiri Hudler. While this isn’t great news for the offensive production of their first line it does mean a player like David Jones—who will now play alongside Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau—becomes more valuable. Jones is a role player but he does have some offensive capabilities and has scored over 20 goals in a season twice in his career. At min price, he’s a great punt play and will see lots of time alongside two great players and on the power-play for Calgary giving him more upside than many more expensive players.
Also check out: The Stars Antoine Roussel ($2800) and the Canadiens Alex Galchenyuk ($4700)
This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries
- Rick Nash is out for the Rangers
- Patrick Eaves and Ales Hemsky are both questionable for the Stars
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions!