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…
Highest Vegas Totals and Biggest Favorite
Biggest Favorite: The Predators are -165 favorites over the Blue Jackets
Largest Totals: The Blackhawks v the Flames has the highest expected goal total from tonight’s slate
Carey Price ($8000): Carey Price finally returns to action tonight for Montreal. Price was 7-2-0 with a 2.01 GAA and .936 save percentage before going down with injury. Normally I’d advocate waiting a few games for a goalie to get back up to speed before playing him but this isn’t a normal goalie we’re talking about. The reigning Vezina winner started the season exactly how he left off last season and his skills will be needed greatly by the Canadians who are now losers of 3 of their last 4 games without him. I’d advocate avoiding the Isles skaters in this game and probably even consider using Price as my goalie. A strong debut is likely here.
Anders Nilsson ($6100): The Oilers are now losers of three in a row and have allowed 4 goals in each of those losses. While backup Anders Nilsson has been the better goalie for Edmonton this season that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been part of the problem. Nilsson is still sporting a save percentage of under .900 and a GAA of 3.31. Nilsson had a strong season last season in the KHL and has looked like starter material at times but the Oilers have struggled defensively and are still amoung the league’s worst in shots allowed and goals against. Consider the Devils skaters and avoid playing the EDM goalie tonight.
Artem Anisimov ($4300) – Patrick Kane ($8600) – Artemi Panarin ($5700)
This line has been tearing it up almost the entire season and is now up to 13 points combined in their last 3 games. The Blackhawks second line has been taking advantage of softer matchups all year as their top unit has been taking the tough assignments and allowing this trio to run rampant against weaker competition. While Kane and Panarin used to be the only two who saw consistent PP time this unit has been so good together that Anisimov is now getting regular shifts with his linemates on the PP too. This makes Anisimov great value and he’s been producing well in his expanded role. I wouldn’t create a roster without a little exposure to these three tonight, they take on the Flames who have brutal defensively.
Top Upside at Defense
Shea Weber ($5900): I think tonight’s a good one to go after the Predators top D-man if you’re paying up on defense. The Preds take on the Blue Jackets tonight who have struggled all season with stopping other teams Power Plays. Weber is front and centre on the Preds first unit PP and has been a most consistent source of SOGs every night as a result. The great thing about Weber is that he’s not only near the league leaders in goals scored by a D-man every year but since he plays so much he’s often near the leaders in blocked shots too. In this matchup I think a big game is possible and really like paying up for him tonight on this slate.
David Schlemko ($2800): Schlemko has started to see more playing time for the Devils recently and part of that expansion in playing time has meant seeing time on the PP. Schlemko is by no means an offensive dynamo but tonight the Devils have a great matchup versus the Oilers and Schlemko is super cheap. Since his expanded role he’s recorded 2 points in 3 games and has been getting more SOG as well. I consider him somewhat risky but a possible good investment since he saves you so much roster space.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Taylor Hall ($6800): The Oilers have definitely incurred a lot of injuries on the year so far but Hall has not been one of them and has been on a tear for most of the season. Now at 21 points through 19 games Hall has been one of the best fantasy players all season averaging nearly 5 f/pts per game and nearly 5 SOG in that span as well. While the Oilers as a team are floundering Hall’s been pretty much unstoppable on the Oilers first line playing with whoever the Oilers pair him with. Tonight he faces the Devils who have been extremely solid this year but will be starting their backup net minder. I like Hall for a big game here.
Leon Draisaitl ($3700): Draisaitl has been an absolute force and absolute fantasy godsend since being called up a few weeks into the season. The second year player greatly improved his skating over the offseason and that’s allowed him to capitalize on his time spent with the Oilers top scoring unit. Leon now has 7 points in his last 4 games and 14 points in just 9 games on the season. Playing with Taylor Hall tonight against a backup net minder there’s zero reason to start fading the Oilers budding star. He’s insanely cheap and nearly a must play.
Lee Stempniak ($3700): The Devils top 6 forwards have all played great this season and the most affordable of them all for fantasy right now is Lee Stempniak. Stempniak has been a fixture on the Devils first line and first unit PP all season and is now up to 15 points through 18 games. He’s been more of a playmaker this year with just 4 goals but at only $3700 in a great matchup he’s one of my favorite value plays of the night. Definitely a good way to get exposure to the Devils skaters who have a great matchup.
Also check out: … Artem Anisimov as mentioned in my hottest line section
Andrej Sekera: is out tonight for the Oilers
Alex Barkov: is still out with a hand injury
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!