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.
Highest Vegas Totals
– Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs – 5.5
– Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers – 5.5
– Florida Panthers vs. Calgary Flames – 5
James Reimer ($6,500): In his first start in over a month last week Reimer held the Kings in check allowing only two goals on 41 shots but could not be bailed out by his teammates and took the loss. Still, Reimer returned from injury and showed the same level of play he was displaying all season before early December and should definitely be your goalie tonight against the lowly Blue Jackets who are coming off a loss to the Islanders last night in Brooklyn. His record doesn’t reflect it but Reimer is one of the best goalies in the league at the moment and, among qualifying goaltenders, sits first in the league with a .937 SV% and third with a 1.97 GAA. He has consistently performed this season against all level of opponents despite not having great offensive support but based on his play last week and the matchup he’s my top goalie of the evening.
Top Line of the Night
Aleksander Barkov ($5,800) – Jaromir Jagr ($5,800) – Jonathan Huberdeau ($5,600)
The Panthers impressive and incredible 12-game win streak might have come to an end on Monday but this line certainly did their part to contribute to that not happening. At the moment every member of this line is riding at least a four game point streak going into tonight’s tilt with Calgary. Barkov has points in five straight (1G, 4A) and with 28 points sits only four points back of the team lead despite missing 10 games to injury this season. Jagr is also riding a five-game point streak with four goals and two assists in those games. He is leading the Panthers is both goals with 15 and points with 32. Huberdeau has a four-game streak going and sits one point behind Jagr with 31 on the season while leading the team by a hefty margin with 24 assists. This line has been incredibly dynamic and dangerously productive with a combined total of 33 points in their last 10 games that helped propel the Panthers win streak and their ascent to the top of the Atlantic Division. Don’t expect a slowdown in production, especially tonight against a weak scoring defense in Calgary.
Top Upside at Defense
Erik Karlsson ($7,500): He might sit almost 20 points behind Patrick Kane in the scoring race, but there are some people who are starting to make the case for the Senators defenseman to win not only the Norris Trophy for best defenseman but the Hart Trophy for MVP. There is still a long way to go before that but that’s how productive Karlsson has been this season. His 45 points sit fourth in the league and he has added 88 blocked shots and 116 SOG. He has nine points, 22 blocks and 35 shots on goal in his last 10 games and for the season is tied for seventh in the NHL with 16 power-play points. Before being held off the scoresheet against the Capitals over the weekend he had points in eight of nine games. He has been kept off the scoresheet in two games or more just three times this season, and is averaging just over a point-per-game with 45 in 43 contests. Roll him tonight, despite his higher salary, with a limited player pool and lack of top-tier talent at forward.
David Savard ($3,900): Savard tallied his first goal of the season on Tuesday night against the Islanders in his 38th game, after having 11 last season, but he has now put up points in two straight games for the struggling Blue Jackets and has three points in his last five games overall since returning from his mid-December injury. Despite having a tough matchup against James Reimer tonight, Savard is a good value play as probably the most consistent defenseman on the Columbus blueline. Seth Jones has yet to really settle in there and Jack Johnson and Ryan Murray can’t be counted on. Savard’s 16 points lead Columbus defensemen this season and his all-around game has been solid as well with 67 SOG and 69 blocks this year.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Johnny Gaudreau ($6,900): Johnny Hockey was one of the hottest scorers in the league in late December before a scoring slump hit right around New Year’s and he went four games without a point. But he is beginning to turn things around again and now has points in back-to-back games with a goal against the Coyotes and two assists against the Sharks. The 22-year-old winger leads the Flames in all major scoring categories with 18 goals, 24 assists and 42 points. He also leads the team in SOG, PPP and is second to defenseman TJ Brodie in +/-. At $6,900 he’s the third-most expensive skater available tonight, and third overall in FPPG of all skaters tonight, and with his production as of late the case can be made to plug him into your lineup. The Flames have a tough matchup against a motivated Panthers team who are coming off their first loss in 13 games, but Gaudreau has been a beast at home this season with 32 of his 42 points being scored there in only 22 home games on the season.
Jimmy Hayes ($3,600): Hayes tallied the lone goal for the Bruins on Monday night against the Rangers and now has six points in his last six games. He has added five goals and an assist in that span and the five markers have come on only 11 SOG. He has been bumped up to the Bruins top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand for the moment and with such a prime placement, next to a great playmaker in Bergeron, Hayes could be in line for a great deal of production if he takes advantage of playing with Boston’s leading scorer. At $3,600 with a favorable matchup against the Flyers tonight, Hayes is absolutely worth taking a look as a solid value pick.
Sean Couturier ($3,900): In the other lockeroom in Philly tonight comes another solid value player in Couturier. Currently centering the Flyers second line with Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl, Couturier has been productive since this trio was formed. He has points in eight of his last 10 games, that has produced 12 of his 20 points this season, and is riding a three-game point streak with three goals and two multi-point games in that span. Couturier has been producing no matter the opponent and has been firing the puck with great regularity with 28 shots in those 10 games, almost half of his season total of 69. No flier needed on the Flyer, he should be in your lineup tonight especially with that price tag.
James van Riemsdyk ($6,100) A huge blow to the offense of the Maple Leafs JVR, Toronto’s leading scorer, will miss 6-8 weeks with a left foot injury. He was on a scoring tear in December and had nine points in his last 10 games before being hurt. There are other options for Toronto, Leo Komarov, but this is a huge blow to the team even thought they were likely to go nowhere this season. Look elsewhere for scoring on the wing for Toronto against Columbus tonight.
Shayne Gostisbehere ($4,700) The Flyers stellar rookie defenseman continues to be sidelined with a knee injury stemming from the knee-to-knee contact he made with Mikko Koivu last week against the Wild. The league was buzzing about this kid while he was playing with 16 points in 23 games and was energizing the Flyers offensive game from the blueline. He has been a huge loss for Philly but with the return of Mark Streit his loss has been slightly off-set. He will be back soon but look elsewhere again tonight to fill-out your lineups on defense.
Make sure to check out my NHL Line Stacks and Pete Jensen’s NHL Targets posts today before finalizing your lineups. As always for any DFS Hockey questions or comments this season, find me on Twitter at: @JHarding_Hockey