The NHL Cheat sheet is your nighty look at some key matchups, fantasy studs, value plays, and important fantasy news and notes for the upcoming slate…
Highest Vegas Totals and Biggest Favorite
Biggest Favorite: the Washington Capitals are -210 favorites over the Flames
Largest Totals: The Ducks v the Islanders has the greatest chance of going over 5.5 goals according to oddsmakers.
Braden Holtby ($7900)
Not confirmed yet as starting, check the news before game time
If Holtby does start tonight he’s definitely a goalie I would both consider playing in my rosters and also one I would avoid rostering skaters against. Holtby’s been one of the most consistent goalies all year: in his last four games he hasn’t allowed more than 2 goals against and has only recorded a save percentage under .900 in two games this season. On a short slate Holtby is easily one of the safest options tonight and someone who will have a great chance at getting you that 3 point win bonus (the Caps are huge favorites over the Flames tonight). Target him for your lineups and avoid playing Calgary skaters.
Sergei Bobrovsky ($6800): Bobrovsky’s been a huge part of why the Blue Jackets have been so bad this year. He currently sports a 4-9 record and 3.65 GAA. Bobrovsky actually strung together a couple wins last week but allowed 4 goals in his last start to snap any momentum he had built. The Jackets have been awful defensively to start the year and are one of the worst at killing penalties. The Penguins PP is loaded with talent and Bobrovsky isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders right now. He’s a great goalie to target your skaters against tonight.
Evgeni Malkin ($7200) – Phil Kessel ($7300) – David Perron ($4300)
It’s probably a stretch to say that this line has been on fire, but they have showed some offensively consistency in the past couple games. With the Penguins first line being juggled almost nightly I really like the fact this trio has been together for a while now and is building some chemistry. Malkin and Kessel are definitely the most likely pair to use if looking for upside but using Perron could easily provide you with a cheap couple points if this line goes off, and all three will see time on the PP. Versus the Blue Jackets I love the chances of a big night from what has arguably been the Penguins most consistent line in their last couple of games.
Top Value at Defense
Johnny Boychuk ($5400): After a bit of a slow start Boychuk looks to be rounding into form of late. Boychuk has 3 points in his last four games and is also averaging nearly 4 SOG and 2 Block Shots in that same span. Boychuk isn’t just a PP specialist he’s one of the top defensemen for the Isles meaning he’ll not only be out on the PP a lot but also see a ton of ice at even strength too. I love the way Boychuk’s been playing and the fact his game translates so well for fantasy purposes, as he can score in pretty much every category on a single night. He’s $1500 cheaper than the most expensive D-man tonight but carries the same upside and is a great target on a short slate.
Kevin Connauton ($2700): Connauton has been seeing steady time on the PP for the Blue Jackets of late and with Ryan Murray out tonight for Columbus his ice time should jump even more. Connauton’s essentially a PP specialist as the best thing about his game is his shot, and he did record 9 goals last year with Columbus. I love targeting cheap defensemen when they are getting a lot of time on the PP and Connauton fits that bill and then some tonight. At his price even a few SOG will help your team as his price offers you all kinds of flexibility. He’s my favorite value of the night regardless of position.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Alex Ovechkin ($9600): there’s little doubt that Ovechkin’s salary is a bit of a downer but on a four game slate tonight I am fully recommending you find some room for the great 8. Ovechkin and the Capitals get the Calgary Flames who are near the bottom of the league in most defensive categories (including shots allowed and penalty killing). Meanwhile Ovechkin himself has been on a chase to catch Sergei Fedorov for most goals scored by a Russian born player, a record which has a lot more meaning to him than most people think. Ovi recorded an insane 15 shots on net trying to break this record a couple nights… versus the Flames he might hit that mark in the first period tonight. Roster him where possible.
Value Plays of the Day
Justin Abdelkader ($4600): Abdelkader was the hero of the DFS hockey in the first 10 days of the season, but since that time has done little for people in terms of production. Abdelkader has shown some signs of breakout though recently with a couple assists last week. What makes Abdelkader such a good play tonight though is that Paval Datsyuk will be returning for the Red Wings and will be skating on a line with Abdelkader and Henrik Zetterberg. Playing with these two insanely skilled players, the powerful Abdelkader could go nuts and should see his offensive opportunities and production rise exponentially. I’d definitely consider him tonight as he’s a cheap way to get a piece of Detroit’s first line.
Beau Bennett ($2700): Bennett returned from injury for the Penguins a few nights ago and got bumped up to the first line recently, which means he’ll be playing with Sidney Crosby tonight. Bennett isn’t a superstar by any stretch but he’s a hard worker and has the trust of the Penguins superstar. Bennett’s produced nicely in this role before for the Penguins and will also see some time on the second unit PP. He could easily pay off tonight with a few shots but his new role means he has a lot more upside than that. He’s insanely cheap and a good way to save salary.
Ryan Murray: is out tonight for the Blue Jackets
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!