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 Calgary Flames are -150 favorites to beat the Vancouver Canucks
Largest Totals: The Sabres and Blue Jackets have the greatest expectation of going over 5.5 goals according to odds makers.
Cory Schneider ($8200): Sometimes the obvious play is the best one and with Schneider being the most obvious “best” goalie on the slate tonight, the best play is also likely to avoid rostering too many Islander skaters against him. Schneider got shelled for 5 goals in his last start, but before that had gone 8 games in a row with allowing 2 goals or less. Even with his last poor outing behind him, Schneider’s save percentage remains just under .930, and sports a great win-loss record, which sits at 25-18-6, as the Devils have been a surprisingly solid team this year and made Schneider a reliable fantasy play many a night. Tonight, with a short slate on tap, I’d probably avoid taking on Schneider with your skaters and think there’s simply better matchups to exploit.
Ben Scrivens ($6900) or Mike Condon ($7000): Regardless of who plays in net tonight for the Canadians I think they make for a great target in fantasy for your skaters. After a torrid start to the year the Canadians have been in freefall mode for the last couple of months and as a team are starting to suffer from internal strife. Neither of their backup goaltenders have shown any consistency this year and both current goalies have save percentages of exactly .900, well below average in this day’s NHL. Montreal has allowed 15 goals in their last three games and with both goalies coming off poor performances there’s a strong chance another big game gets posted on them tonight. I’d make targeting Flyers skaters tonight one of my top priorities.
Claude Giroux ($6800) – Wayne Simmonds ($6600) – Jakub Voracek ($6300)
After a slow start these three players have really picked up their pace and been scoring at an incredibly solid rate ever since being paired together. Simmonds is on pace for 30 goals and a possible career year as a goal scorer, and while Voracek is still underwhelming with his stats overall, he’s still been much more productive lately than he was the first 15 games or so of the season. This line is coming off a great couple of games where they put up 7 points between them and gets one of the sweetest matchups on the slate tonight as they’ll face off with the suddenly very inept Montreal Canadians. I’d want at least some exposure to Philadelphia skaters tonight and targeting this line is a good way to start. Given that all three play on the power-play together and can all see upwards of 20 mins of ice a night they make for a great play as a stack or on their own.
Top Upside at Defense
Shayne Gostisbehere ($5600): Gostisbeher has been one of the biggest surprises and risers in fantasy hockey this year. The young D-man went from AHL call-up to the arguably the top option on defense for the Flyers in the span of about 20 games. Averaging well over 20 mins of ice per night now Gostisbehere is on a near point per game clip and comes into this game tied for fifth in power-play points amoung defensemen despite having played 20 games less than most players. Tonight the Flyers get the Canadians who are giving up a ton of goals lately. On a short slate with fewer options than normal up top, paying up for the Gostibehere seems like a logical move to me, he’d be my target form the upper tiers on D.
John-Michael Liles ($3500): With Justin Faulk injured there’s been more minutes and more opportunities going around for the Carolina defensemen. Liles has been one of the main beneficiaries from Faulk’s absence, soaking up well over 20 mins a night on a regular basis since his injury, while also taking time on the power-play. Carolina doesn’t have the most consistent offense but with Liles so cheap and getting a chance to play in more situations than normal he makes for a great target. He’s produced three or more fantasy points in three of his last five outings and I won’t be shocked if he improves on that trend tonight.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Johnny Gaudreau ($7000): There’s not a ton of big names on the slate tonight and the ones that are playing have sub-par matchups. Therefore, I think looking to consolidate your roster with a good young player, like Gaudreau—who’s been playing well recently—makes sense. Gaudreau has been fantastic lately, scoring four points in his last two games and his ice-time has also been creeping up to the point where he’s been getting well over 20 mins a night—a huge number for a forward. I love the matchup for Gaudreau here as the Canucks look like they may have given up on their season, and have now given up 15 goals in their last three games—all losses. On a night with not too many “sure things” Gaudreau looks like an incredibly elite option at not too big a price. He’d be my main higher priced pick to construct rosters around today.
Joseph Blandisi ($3800): Blandisi is currently the beneficiary of an injury to the Devils top line winger, Mike Cammalleri. Since Cammalleri went down Blandisi has been alongside Adam Henrique on the top line and the top power-play unit, giving him a lot of upside for fantasy. The Devils aren’t exactly an offensive powerhouse but Blandisi’s price and current role makes him an excellent value play tonight. Definitely a player I’d consider if I needed someone cheap to make room for a bigger name.
Jiri Hudler ($4300): The Flames winger is skating on the top line and power-play unit with Gaudreau and Monahan giving him a ton of ice time with two very skilled players in a lot of offensive situations. I’ve already mentioned the fact the Canucks look to be in free-fall mode and given Hudler’s price I think he makes for a great way to get some exposure to the Flames offense in what looks like a great matchup for fantasy. There’s good upside with cheap price with Hudler tonight.
Also check out: The Canadians Alex Galchenyuk ($4700), who has been tearing it up recently on the Habs first line.
This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries
- Justin Faulk is questionable for the Hurricanes
- Mike Cammalleri is out for the Devils
- Carey Price is out for the season for the Canadians
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions!