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 Tampa Bay Lightning are -160 favorites to beat the Bruins
Largest Totals: There are a few 5.5 totals on the slate tonight: Sharks v Stars and Jets v Blue Jackets have biggest likelihood of going over the total according to odds makers
Stud Goalies (to avoid playing skaters against)
Jake Allen ($7200): Allen has been magnificent of late allowing just one goal in his past two games and looks primed here for a nice run as the number 1 goalie for the Blues. Allen was a very highly touted junior goalie who was drafted in the second round by the Blues a few years ago and has developed well at all levels since then. It won’t shock me if he continues his great run tonight as he’s also playing in front of a one of the best defensive groups of forwards/defensemen in the league. I’d avoid targeting the Wild tonight as this game has a low score written all over it.
Dud Goalies (to possibly target skaters against)
Phillip Grubauer ($6900): Grubauer will be making his second start for the Capitals tonight as starter Brandon Holtby will be getting the night off. Grubauer’s a young goalie who is in his first season as a backup in the NHL, and struggled in his first start despite picking up the win. He has a tough matchup tonight versus Florida who has the skill up front to expose Grubauer if he shows the same tendencies he did in his first game. I like tonight to target Florida skaters and feel like they may be a good under-owned source of points tonight in tournaments. Avoid using Grubauer as a goalie until he shows he’s a capable NHL met minder.
Connor McDavid ($5600) – Benoit Pouliot ($3900) – Nail Yakupov ($4300)
This line has been great all season for the Oilers. The trio has 10 points in their last three games and have been getting good matchups as the Oilers first line of Nugent-Hopkins and Hall have in general been matching up with other teams top lines. Tonight, at home, versus their provincial rivals, the Oilers have a chance to really bury the Calgary Flames who have started the season poorly and are already in danger of seeing their chances for the playoffs disappear. I except the Oilers to help add to the Flames woes tonight and won’t be shocked if this line duplicates their performance from the last time these two teams met. I love the value and potential here, target the players on his line tonight.
Top Upside and Top Value at Defense
Kris Letang ($5600): Letang has been unusually quiet the past few games but with the recent uptick in scoring from the Penguins forwards comes future opportunity for Letang. Having started the season with only 4 points in 10 games I think there’s likely a positive correction coming for Letang soon as the Penguin D-man has been closer to a point a game when healthy in his career with Pittsburgh. I love the matchup tonight as the Leafs allowed Letang and the Penguins skilled players to roam free in their last meeting and with the Penguins sticks heating up a 4-5 goal night is possible for them as a team. If paying up I’d seriously consider Letang as an option tonight.
Oscar Klefbom ($3600): The Oilers have a few injuries on their backend right now and with PP specialist Justin Schultz out that means young D-Man Oscar Klefbom has seen more ice on special teams as a result. Klefbom is pretty skilled with the puck for his size and has a big shot which the Oilers will hopefully start featuring more. The Oilers have a great matchup tonight versus the Flames who are in the bottom half of the league in penalty killing and have been giving up a ton of goals across the board. There’s serious potential here tonight with Klefbom and at the very least you can expect the big bodied defenseman to pick up a few blocked shots. He’s great value and would work well in tournaments to pair with Oiler forwards.
Also check out…
Ryan Murray ($3100): Even on a bad team getting a nice offensive defensemen who plays a lot of minutes and quarterback’s the power play is a great deal at only $3100. That is exactly what you’re getting with Murray who is currently Columbus’ main offensive threat on D and is priced far too affordably on DraftKings.
Best Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Sidney Crosby ($7800): It feels good to be able to put Sidney Crosby back in this column and feel confident about it. Crosby and the Pens switched up their lines last week after an ineffective start and the results were immediate. Crosby’s numbers are down across the board (especially his possession numbers) but as I discussed recently, there’s likely a positive correction coming for him in the future. We may have witnessed the beginning of said correction last game where he recorded two assists and helped his line mates to two goals. Against the Maple Leafs I’m willing to bet Crosby keeps the good times rolling tonight and like him as a cornerstone player for your lineups.
Best Value Plays to Fill out your lineup with
Jori Lehtera ($4100): With Vladimir Tarasenko out of the lineup tonight for the Blues Lehtera will be asked to carry a little more of the offensive responsibilities. Skating on the first line with Alex Steen, Lehtera will still have quality line mates to work with and, for a Blues team who isn’t that deep down the middle at the moment, I’d expect a lot of minutes for the Finn. At $4100 you’re getting a top line centre on a quality team who will be asked to pull extra duties due to injuries. Lehtera’s in a great spot for fantasy tonight.
Also check out: Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov from my top line selection
Vladimir Tarasenko: is out for tonight’s game
Alex Barkov: is out with a broken hand and this opens up more minutes for Nick Bjugstad
Justin Schultz: is out for 2-4 weeks for the Oilers
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!