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 Blackhawks are -290 favorites to beat the Leafs

Largest Totals: The Stars v Predators and the Canadians v Coyotes have the greatest expectation of going over 5.5 goals according to odds-makers.

Stud Goalies

Jacob Markstrom ($6900): Markstrom has posted a save percentage of .914 or better in all six of his last six starts and is in a nice spot tonight against the Minnesota Wild, who have been in freefall mode of late. He looked great in his first start back and while he isn’t a huge name, he comes at a price which will allow you to get you a ton of savings to use at other positions. The Canucks are only a five hundred team themselves so a win is not a guarantee if you’re using one of their goalies, but they have allowed 2 or less goals against in four of their last six games and I’d expect a close, low scoring game. I really like Markstrom tonight in net and think at the very least he’s an interesting tournament choice against a weak opponent. Target him if you’re looking to save at goalie and pay up elsewhere.

Dud Goalies

Devan Dubnyk ($7200) or Darcy Kuemper ($7100): As mentioned above the Wild have been atrocious lately and a big reason why has been shaky goaltending. The Wild have allowed four or more goals in an incredible six straight games and both of their goalies have struggled to post save percentages of anywhere near .900 in the last week or so. Minnesota recently went through a coaching change too and does have a decent matchup against the Canucks tonight who are only a .500 team themselves and rank third last in the league in goals scored as a team. That being said, I wouldn’t hesitate to target Canucks skaters tonight as they may be an overlooked source of value against a Wild squad who’ll likely need more than a new coach to sort out some of their issues. Target whoever starts in net for Minnesota and avoid using them in your lineup until further notice.

Hottest Lines

Thomas Plekanec ($5000) – Brendan Gallagher ($5900) – Alex Galchenyuk ($4500)

This line has been lighting things up over their past couple of games and now gets the added benefit of facing the weaker Arizona Coyotes tonight. Over their past two games this trio has combined for 8 points between them and have seen the most ice-time of any three-man unit at even strength or with the man advantage over Montreal’s last three games. The great part about this line is that because they play a lot and both wingers are aggressive they have been getting a lot of SOG and have a nice floor for fantasy (Gallagher has averaged 4 SOG over his last five games). Against a Coyotes squad who really struggles killing penalties (4th worst in the league) I’d make this group a main target tonight and wouldn’t hesitate to roster two or even all three, they might be the best value on the slate.

Defensive Thoughts

John Klingberg ($6300): There’s a lot of top flight options on defense tonight so picking which one to go with will be crucial. I’m including Klingberg here for a couple reasons. One is that the Stars offense has been hot lately, scoring four or more goals in five of their last six games. The other is that the Stars have a great power-play which should be able to take advantage of the matchup tonight against the surprisingly ineffective Predators penalty-kill, which ranks as the 7th worst in the league. With Klingberg playing well (4 pts in last three games) and also playing such a vital role as the point man for the Stars power-play I think he’s a great way to get some exposure to their offense and could be in for a huge night. Definitely consider him if paying up on D.

Brian Campbell ($3700): Campbell remains the most attractive option for me at the lower salary levels. He’s getting over 20 mins of ice per night which means more chances to rack up a few SOG and Blocked Shots for fantasy. Even though Campbell shares time on the power-play with a couple other Panther D-men he has seen more ice time with the man advantage than any other Florida defenseman over the last three games. At $3700, if you’re looking for a cheaper play with a decent floor who you know will see some ice time in offensive situations than Campbell is who you should be targeting tonight.

Superstar to Build Lineups Around

Patrick Kane ($8700): I normally don’t love paying up for players as expensive as Kane, but tonight might be an exception. The Toronto Maple Leafs have started clearing house for next season and recently just traded away their best defenseman and captain. The Hawks meanwhile are coming off a hard fought OT loss and should be pretty motivated to rebound against the much weaker Leafs. With Kane’s linemate Artemi Panarin back and healthy, I think this matchup screams big game for Kane and could see him and Panarin taking advantage of the now very young and inexperienced defense of the Leafs. On a short slate I’d definitely consider making room for Kane tonight if you can, he’ll have every shot at being the top performer of the night in this matchup.

Value Plays

Mike Ribeiro ($3700): Ribeiro was moved up to play alongside James Neal and Ryan Johansen and ever since he’s been producing pretty nicely for fantasy purposes. Ribeiro is more of a one-dimensional player for fantasy in that most of his points come off assists, but seeing as he’s now manning the first line and first power-play unit—with two great scorers—the assists are coming a lot more frequently (five in last four games). The Nashville-Stars game should be high scoring and I like Ribeiro as a cheap way to get exposure to the Preds top line.

Patrick Eaves ($3900): Eaves has been moved up to the top line to play with superstars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin and he’s taken full advantage recently with four goals and seven total points in his last four games. With the Stars offense really coming on lately Eaves makes for a near no-brainer play at wing since he’s seeing a ton of time with the two aforementioned behemoths at both even strength and on the power-play. It should be noted that Tyler Seguin may miss this game with an injury but even if he does I’d expect Eaves to play with Benn on the top line. He’s a great value play regardless as the Preds defense has been suspect all season.

Also check out: The Canadians Alex Galchenyuk as mentioned in the hottest lines section


This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries

  • Alex Barkov is questionable for the Panthers
  • Carey Price is out for the season for the Canadians
  • Evgeni Malkin is out tonight for the Penguins
  • Tyler Seguin is questionable for the Stars

As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!