We’re officially at the ¾ point of the NHL season, with the trade deadline looming just three days away. The NHL follows up last night’s entertaining nine game slate with a solid six game schedule this evening.
Semyon Varlamov – Colorado Avalanche – There may be “safer” cash game targets on the board tonight, but Varlamov’s combination of an extremely high ceiling and a reasonable asking price makes him a desirable option in net tonight. He’ll face a Dallas Stars team who that has dropped four straight games and whom he’s defeated in all three prior meetings this season. I’d rather take Quick or Rask in my cash games (although they’re both very expensive), but it’s not far-fetched to expect a 35+ save night from Varlamov against a Seguin-less Stars team. On a night with no clear obvious #1 option between the pipes, taking the risk on Varlamov could pay huge dividends.
Other Options: Tuukka Rask, Jonathan Quick, Ben Bishop
Anders Lee – New York Islanders – Lee has been terrific for the Islanders ever since the Kyle Okposo injury, and he is thriving alongside John Tavares on the team’s top scoring line. He lit the lamp against the Coyotes on Tuesday night and has now amassed seven goals and seven assists in 13 games this month. Since the Okposo injury, Lee has posted six goals and added six assists in 10 games at the Nassau Coliseum and seeing plenty of run on the team’s top power-play unit. His $5,000 asking price looks to be quite the bargain, so give him a look tonight.
Tyler Johnson – Tampa Bay Lightning – With the Toews and Hossa line likely being tasked with trying to slow down the Stamkos line, the Johnson/Palat/Kucherov line will need to step up offensively for the Lightning tonight. Johnson has tallied three goals and added a pair of assists over the last four games and has somewhat quietly racked up 23 goals and 36 assists in 60 games this season. His $6,300 asking price seems like a bargain considering the point-per-game production.
Other Options: John Tavares, Nicklas Backstrom, Patrice Bergeron, Jason Spezza, Nathan MacKinnon
Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals – At this point, fading Ovechkin is simply becoming dangerous in your cash games. The sniper has racked up 12 goals and added seven assists over the last 15 games and is absolutely running away from the pack with 304 shots on goal already this season. He’s expensive, but sometimes you just get what you pay for.
Reilly Smith – Boston Bruins – If you’re taking Ovechkin, you’re obviously going to need to find some value on the board; that’s where Reilly Smith comes in. As the third wheel on the Bergeron/Marchand line, Smith looks to be emerging as an offensive weapon. He had his four game point streak snapped in his last game, but he had picked up a pair of goals and three assists in the four games prior. He owns a goal and an assists in two previous meetings with the Devils and has been much more successful on the road this season, where he’s posted 7 goals and 14 assists in 29 road games.
Other Options: Jiri Hudler, Jamie Benn, Gabriel Landeskog, Nikita Kucherov, Corey Perry, Kris Versteeg
Travis Hamonic – New York Islanders – With his price-tag failing to rise with his recent production, Hamonic will be a tough fade for me tonight. He’s firmly grabbed hold of the point spot on the Islanders’ #1 power-play unit and has tallied one goal and eight assists over the last 11 games. Despite his solid play, his asking price has actually dropped since the beginning of that 11 game stretch. He’s locked into 20+ minutes of ice-time, and the Islanders are the biggest favorite on the board by Vegas standards.
T.J. Brodie – Calgary Flames – If you haven’t been picking on the New York Islanders penalty kill this year, than you’ve been missing out. While his teammate Mark Giordano may be a slightly better fantasy option tonight, he’s somewhat priced out of the market. However, at nearly $3,000 less than Giordano, Brodie won’t break the bank. Brodie lit the lamp against the Devils on Wednesday night and has thrived on the road this season, where he’s posted 6 goals and 18 assists in 29 road games. He’s routinely logging north of 25 minutes of ice-time and sees plenty of run on the point of the Flames #2 power-play unit
Other Options: John Klingberg, Tyson Barrie, Francois Beachemin, Matt Niskanen, Dougie Hamilton
Best of luck tonight!
JMBWngFn (@JBritt2 on Twitter)