The player pool is limited in NHL contests Wednesday with only three games on the schedule. Owners are faced with the challenge of building their rosters with likely lesser-owned players in hopes that a few surprise performances will give them a leg up on the competition. Patrick Kane ($8,800), the NHL leader in points, is in action when his Chicago Blackhawks visit the New York Rangers, but New York should prove a tough opponent with a 5-0-1 record and 1.83 goals-against average in its past six games. While the Rangers are expecting top defenseman and team captain Ryan McDonagh ($5,100) to return after missing four games with a concussion, defensemen Dan Boyle (flu-like symptoms) and Marc Staal (wife expecting to give birth Wednesday) are questionable. Here are some players to target on the light game night.
Henrik Lundqvist ($8,400) – Considering the percentage of ownership on a three-game night isn’t necessary as owners must select a goaltender who has a good chance at earning a victory. Lundqvist will try to extend his winning streak to six Wednesday assuming coach Alain Vigneault taps him as the starter against the Blackhawks. The veteran goalie has done very well against Chicago in his career with a 6-1-2 record, 1.98 GAA and .935 save percentage in nine games and is among the NHL best at home this season with an 18-3-2 record in 23 games.
Devan Dubnyk ($7,300) – The Minnesota Wild goalie offers coin-flip odds with a 19-19-5 record in 44 games this season. Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher fired coach Mike Yeo on Saturday and appointed John Torchetti as coach due to an eight-game losing streak but Dubnyk responded well to the change with a 5-2 win at the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. If Torchetti returns to his starter at the Calgary Flames, then owners have a good shot at seeing increased fantasy points at a value price. Dubnyk is 9-5-3 with a 2.23 GAA and .922 save percentage in 18 career games against the Flames.
Others to Consider: Semyon Varlamov ($7,900)
Tyson Barrie ($5,500) – The Colorado Avalanche team leader among defensemen in points (36), goals (8) and assists (28); Barrie also leads the entire team with 17 power-play points (three goals, 14 assists) in 55 games this season. Owners should select the blue chip blue liner with full confidence Wednesday at home against a Montreal Canadiens team that is wrapping up their three-game road trip in Denver after giving up six goals each at the Buffalo Sabres and at the Arizona Coyotes. Barrie has three points (one goal, two assists), 14 blocked shots and four SOG in four career games against Montreal.
Nick Holden ($3,800) – If owners are banking on Montreal continuing its tailspin on the road, then Barrie’s partner at regular strength and on the power-play is a smart selection as a low-priced wild card. Although Holden is in the midst of a five-game pointless streak, owners would only be risking a small portion of their respective budgets to take the chance on a lesser-owned player who has a favorable matchup. It’s important to make at least two abstract picks with only three games on the schedule and so Holden could be a difference maker if he’s able to find his way onto the score sheet against the Canadiens.
Others to Consider: Ryan Suter ($6,300), Marco Scandella ($4,000)
J.T. Miller ($4,600) – The Rangers’ second-line forward has moved up the list of offensive team leaders thanks to nine goals in the past 13 games and the price is right against the Blackhawks for owners to select Miller as a potential high-reward pick. While Miller hasn’t registered a point in three straight games, he did have two assists in the Rangers’ opening-night win at the Blackhawks on Oct. 7.
Sven Andrighetto ($3,000) – For those owners thinking that the Canadiens will snap out of their funk Wednesday, Andrighetto could provide a spark at a nearly rock-bottom price. The rookie winger has recently seen time on the Habs’ second line with veterans Max Pacioretty and Lars Eller and all seven (six goals, one assist) of his points this season have come in eight road games. Taking players priced so low always comes with a fair share of risk but considering that all of Andrighetto’s offense has occurred away from Bell Centre this season, it’s worth taking the flyer on the young Swiss player.
Others to Consider: Artem Anisimov ($4,800), Chris Kreider ($4,400), Sam Bennett ($4,200)