The NHL Cheat Sheet is your quick-hit daily look into odds, fantasy studs, value picks, and more to help you navigate your DFS Hockey lineups.
– Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – 5.5
– Dallas Stars vs. Winnipeg Jets – 5.5
– Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Edmonton Oilers – 5.5
Cory Schneider ($8,200): With so many top-notch goalies on the slate for tonight it was hard to narrow it down to just one I liked over the rest. I’m still not certain but I like Schneider a lot tonight against the Rangers, especially with Rick Nash not slated to play for New York thanks to a bad bone bruise. Schneider surrendered two goals to the Penguins in a losing effort last week heading into the All-Star break, which snapped his personal four-game winning streak for the Devils. He’s only allowed eight goals against over his last five games and should be brimming with confidence coming off his first career All-Star selection this past weekend. Through the All-star point of the season Schneider was tied for sixth in wins (22), tied for third in goals against (2.03) and tied for sixth in SV% (.929), easily on pace for the best full-season of his career to date.
Top Line of the Night
Joe Pavelski ($7,900) – Joe Thornton ($5,200) – Tomas Hertl ($4,800)
This line has been one of the more productive in the NHL since they were put together and Pavelski is the driving force that keeps them going. With 49 points in 50 games this season, the 31-year-old American is on-pace to potentially break the 80-point plateau for the first time in his career. He sits fifth in the league in the scoring race coming out of the All-Star break. Thornton entered the All-Star break as one of the hottest scorers in the league with a 10-game point streak and putting up 14 points in that span. His shot output was low, only 10 in 10 games, but he managed to net two goals while adding 12 helpers. A few of those helpers went to Hertl who has six goals and 11 points in his last 10 games. The young Czech forward is beginning to see an uptick in production playing with the two veteran playmakers and has a three-game point streak and points in seven of his last 10 games overall. This is a dynamic scoring line that shows no signs of slowing down tonight and they come in at an affordable $17,100 for the trio.
Top Upside at Defense
P.K. Subban ($6,400): Subban dressing as Jaromir Jagr in the shootout of the All-Star game was a highlight of the weekend and he followed that up by adding a goal in the game itself. Before the break Subban was on fire with nine points in his last eight games, including back-to-back multi-point outings in his last two games against the Blue Jackets. His 33 assists on the season put him sixth in the league in that category and he’s fourth overall among defensemen with 37 points on the year. He has a good matchup tonight with Philadelphia tonight, a team he has 12 points against in 20 career matchups.
Mattias Ekholm ($3,800): I wrote about Ekholm last week and in two games before the break he had an assist in both while adding a SOG and a BS. He has stepped up big-time for the Predators since the Seth Jones trade and now is riding a five-game point streak. He has a goal and five assists in his last five games with eight SOG and five blocks to boot. Eventually the rest of the Nashville blueline will start to produce again but for the moment right the momentum with Ekholm and take advantage of a top-four blueliner at a great value price.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Patrice Bergeron ($7,300): Like at the goalie position, there are so many high-end players available tonight to choose as your superstar to build around that you cannot go wrong with whoever you end up picking. My pick tonight is Bergeron. Despite getting shutout in his last game against the Ducks before the break, Bergeron was riding a five-game point streak before that with four goals and two assists. He had a multi-goal game to kick off that streak and that came against tonight’s opponent, the Maple Leafs. He was putting the pressure on goalies before the break with 25 SOG in his last six games. He has been a thorn in the side of the Leafs his entire career with 51 points in 55 games against Toronto. His recent play coupled with his success against Toronto makes him a great play tonight to build around and he comes in over $1,000 less than some of the other top, superstar players available tonight.
Nikolaj Ehlers ($4,200): Early in the season Ehlers was a breakout rookie who some thought could come out of nowhere to challenge for the rookie scoring title. That doesn’t look likely now but he has come on strong lately, especially playing with Jets star winger Blake Wheeler on their first line. Ehlers went into the break on a high-note with a hat-trick against the Coyotes on four shots on goal, one PPG, and one blocked shot. He has nine points in his last 10 games and is currently riding a four-game point streak. He’s seeing an increase in minutes on his streak right now and as long as he’s playing in the Jets top-six he will have great DFS value as long as his salary stays in the low $4,000s.
Andre Burakovsky ($3,800): Before the break Burakovsky was enjoying a nice breakout playing beside compatriot Evgeny Kuznetsov on the Capitals second line. He had points in five of his last six games and four of those games were multi-point outings. He went into the break riding a three-game point streak with three goals, two assists and four SOG. With Alex Ovechkin out tonight (see below), Burakovsky seems likely to jump up to the top-line LW role next to Nick Backstrom and TJ Oshie. Regardless if he plays there or his normal role next to Kuznetsov, Burakovsky is a great value for your lineups this evening.
Connor McDavid ($5,600) After missing 37 games with a broken collarbone the most-hyped hockey prospect since Sidney Crosby makes his return tonight for the Oilers. This year’s number one pick will presumably assume his position as center in the Oilers top-six rotation and should inherit Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov as his linemates. Some might avoid McDavid because of the potential rust in his game but he did have 12 points in 13 games before being injured.
Alex Ovechkin ($8,700) Ovechkin isn’t hurt but he is side-lined for tonight’s matchup with the Panthers. As punishment for not attending the All-Star game to take a few days to let his body heal up Ovechkin will have to serve a one-game suspension, a price he and the Caps will happily pay to give the star winger some extra rest with just under half the season still to play. Look elsewhere tonight on this deep evening of impact wingers.
Jonathan Toews ($6,100) Due to an illness that popped up, Toews was forced to miss the All-Star game and like Ovechkin will serve a one-game suspension that will take place tonight. Toews is having a fantastic season for the Blackhawks but the team should manage one night without their Captain against the Avs on the road. He will be back for the Hawks next game.