Highest Vegas Totals
– Canadians v. Leafs: 5.5
– Blackhawks v Rangers: 5.5
– Canucks v Flames: 5.5
Stud Goalies (to avoid playing skaters against)
Carey Price ($8100): Price is coming off of a season where he won the Hart (MVP of league) and Vezina trophy (best goalie). Meanwhile the Leafs, who Price is facing, are in complete rebuild mode after trading away their best offensive player this offseason. I wouldn’t recommend playing the Leafs much this season regardless of matchup but I’d stay completely away given the matchup against Price. Look elsewhere for value on this short slate and try to fit Price in a lineup or two if you can. Montreal is a huge favorite over Toronto and likely to pick up the win points for Price.
Top Line of the Night
Andrew Shaw ($3700) – Jonathan Toews ($6200) – Marion Hossa ($5700) – Blackhawks
With the season just starting it’s obviously impossible to label any line “hotter” than another right now, so for our first slate why not go with the top-line of defending Stanley Cup champions. With the Hawks having to cut bait on some of their high priced talent expect them to lean even more on veterans Toews and Hossa. Meanwhile the versatile Andrew Shaw will start the year on the top line making them a pretty affordable trio for fantasy. This line should get tons of play to start the year in a lot of different situations. Chicago has unproven Artem Anisimov centring their second line and while I like Anisimov for fantasy too, I do expect this line to do most of the heavy lifting at the start.
Top Upside and Value at Defense
Andrei Markov ($4500): Markov forms part of the Canadians dynamic first pairing duo with PK Subban. Markov may not be the flashy player that Subban is but he’s sees a ton of ice time, is a great power play QB and consistent producer. You can save over $1000 in salary by going with Markov over Subban and in a soft matchup I like taking the savings and building your D around Markov on this slate.
Alex Martinez ($3200): Martinez is a nice lower priced option to target for your defense. He’s a power play specialist of sorts who saw averaged nearly 2 mins a night last year in power play time per game. Martinez and the Kings have a good matchup and so it’s quite possible he could pick up an assist and possibly even score on the PP. Great upside at a cheap price.
Best Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Anze Kopitar ($5600): Kopitar is part of a rebuilt first line in LA with Milan Lucic and Marion Gaborik. After a massive downswing last year where they ended up missing the playoffs I expect the LA Kings to come out hot at the start of the year. Part of any Kings success will mean Kopitar and his new line mates doing work. Kopitar led the Kings in Power-play points and ice-time last season and you can expect him once again to see plenty of ice and plenty of time on the power play. Kopitar is only $5600 and has a nice matchup against San Jose who has a new coach and a young unproven number 1 goalie. He makes for an excellent cornerstone for any lineup.
Best Value Plays to Fill out your lineup with
Artem Anisimov ($3600): Anisimov got traded from the Blue Jackets to the Hawks over the summer and will immediately get slotted in as their second line centre. This means he’ll be seeing plenty of time alongside the talented Patrick Kane. The Hawks have no choice but to give Anisimov some power-play looks early in the year as they traded Brandon Saad to get Anisimov and also let go of veteran Patrick Sharp. At $3600 he offers great upside at a low price.
Alexander Semin ($3900): The Canadians signed Semin this offeseason to provide some spark for their second line. Semin might be a one-dimensional player but he’s extremely talented and a former 40 goal scorer. He’ll get to play with equally talented Alex Galchenyuk and I expect the two to see some soft minutes against teams second and third lines. He’s also be playing the Leafs who project to have trouble keeping the puck out of their own net this year. Fire up Semin as a high upside value play.
Max Pacioretty: Max is healthy but coming off of a broken tibia and has been slowly eased into preseason. He should be OK to start this game but might have his ice time slightly cut in the first week or two.
Zac Kassian: Kassian was involved in a minor car accident over the weekend. His status is unknown as of writing. Be sure to check the injury reports if you’re planning on using him.