Coming off a great weekend at the John Scott love-fest All-Star game, the NHL returns tonight to hit the ground running for the last two months of the season. They kick things off in a big way with a massive 12-game slate on the docket tonight. There are superstars and value plays and plenty of great options in-between so let’s take a look at some of the top and bargain buys for tonight’s game:
Cory Schneider ($8,200): Even though there are so many top-notch goalies on the slate for tonight it was hard to narrow it down to just one I liked over the rest, and I picked Schneider as my top goalie of the night on the Cheat Sheet. I really like Schneider a lot tonight against the Rangers, especially with Rick Nash not slated to play for New York thanks to a bad bone bruise. Schneider surrendered two goals to the Penguins in a losing effort last week heading into the All-Star break, which snapped his personal four-game winning streak for the Devils. He’s only allowed eight goals against over his last five games and should be brimming with confidence coming off his first career All-Star selection this past weekend. Through the All-star point of the season Schneider was tied for sixth in wins (22), tied for third in goals against (2.03) and tied for sixth in SV% (.929), easily on pace for the best full-season of his career to date.
Pekka Rinne ($7,500) – It’s been awhile since I’ve written about Rinne but his recent return to form before the break puts him back on the fantasy radar tonight. Rinne was riding a three-game win streak before the All-Star game holding the Oilers, Jets and Canucks to one goal against in each game. He gets a challenge tonight opening up with the Blues, but St. Louis limped into the break losing two straight games and scoring only three goals in their last three games. The game is in Nashville and Rinne has been much better on home ice this season with a 2.14 GAA and .917 SV% at Bridgestone Arena.
Joonas Korpisalo ($6,600) – For those who are looking for a buy-low option in net tonight to spend big elsewhere, Korpisalo is an intriguing look. The Blue Jackets young goalie pulled off a big task last week heading into the All-Star break by beating the Canadiens on back-to-back nights, allowing two goals against in each game. He has been very strong in his last six starts filling in for the injured Sergei Bobrovsky and Curtis McElhinney, allowing two goals or less in each of his last six starts. He gets a great matchup coming out of the break with the struggling Oilers and at $6,600 is one of the least-expensive starters on the night.
Others to Consider: Corey Crawford ($8,400), Braden Holtby ($8,500), Marc-Andre Fleury ($8,200), Henrik Lundqvist ($8,000), Tuukka Rask ($7,900), Jean-Francois Berube ($6,000), Darcy Kuemper ($7,400), Martin Jones ($7,200), James Reimer ($6,800)
P.K. Subban ($6,400): Subban dressing as Jaromir Jagr in the shootout of the All-Star game was a highlight of the weekend and he followed that up by adding a goal in the game itself. Before the break Subban was on fire with nine points in his last eight games, including back-to-back multi-point outings in his last two games against the Blue Jackets. His 33 assists on the season put him sixth in the league in that category and he’s fourth overall among defensemen with 37 points on the year. He has a good matchup tonight with Philadelphia tonight, a team he has 12 points against in 20 career matchups.
Jake Muzzin ($5,000) – Muzzin gets overshadowed sometimes by his defensive-mate Drew Doughty but Muzzin is every bit the offensive threat. He has been great lately with points in eight of his last 10 games and is now up to 27 points on the season. He has a goal and seven assists over that span while adding 29 SOG and 12 blocked shots to top it off. He entered the All-Star break on a two-game point streak and he has seen an even split with production at home and away this season. The Kings face the Coyotes on Tuesday night who sit 26th in the league in scoring defense and have lost five of their last seven games.
Nick Leddy ($4,300) – Leddy is beginning to turn his season around offensively and is now up to 18 points in 47 games. He was kept off the scoresheet in the Isles last game before the break against the Red Wings, but before that he had a three-game point streak with two goals and an assist while adding nine SOG in his last four contests. With Johnny Boychuk still slated to be out for the Isles, their offense will continue to run through Leddy and to an extent Travis Hamonic. Tonight is also Nick Leddy bobblehead night in Brooklyn, and he’s facing the team who that drafted him the Minnesota Wild, so it’s reasonable to expect a jump in his step.
Mattias Ekholm ($3,800): I wrote about Ekholm last week and in two games before the break he had an assist in both while adding a SOG and a BS. He has stepped up big-time for the Predators since the Seth Jones trade and now is riding a five-game point streak. He has a goal and five assists in his last five games with eight SOG and five blocks to boot. Eventually the rest of the Nashville blueline will start to produce again but for the moment right the momentum with Ekholm and take advantage of a top-four blueliner at a great value price.
Others to Consider: Brent Burns ($8,300), John Klingberg ($6,000), Erik Karlsson ($7,500), Roman Josi ($6,900), Dustin Byfuglien ($6,500), John Carlson ($6,300), Kris Letang ($6,200), Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($6,100), Tyson Barrie ($5,600), Shayne Gostisbehere ($5,200), Sami Vatanen ($5,000), Aaron Ekblad ($5,000), Travis Hamonic ($4,000), Trevor Daley ($3,800)
Patrick Kane ($8,800) – Kane had a goal and a fake fight with John Scott at the All-Star game and comes out of the break with a highly favorable matchup against the Avalanche. Kane is far-and-away the best player in the league this season and continues to run away with the scoring race, now holding a 15 point lead over Jamie Benn. There isn’t much more to say about Kane this season, he has just been that good. He faces Colorado tonight and in his last two games against the Avs this season he has three goals and two assists.
Patrice Bergeron ($7,300): Despite getting shutout in his last game against the Ducks before the break, Bergeron was riding a five-game point streak before that with four goals and two assists. He had a multi-goal game to kick off that streak and that came against tonight’s opponent, the Maple Leafs. He was putting the pressure on goalies before the break with 25 SOG in his last six games. He has been a thorn in the side of the Leafs his entire career with 51 points in 55 games against Toronto. His recent play coupled with his success against Toronto makes him a great play tonight to build around and he comes in over $1,000 less than some of the other top, superstar players available tonight.
Connor McDavid ($5,600) – The kid is back. After missing the last 37 games due to a broken collarbone, the Oilers first pick from last June’s NHL Entry Draft makes his return to the lineup. It’s not yet clear where he will slot in, before he was hurt he was skating on the team’s second line. Should be return to that place in the rotation he would be centering a very intriguing line stack of Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov or Benoit Pouliot. Yakupov was beginning to show the talent that saw him drafted number one a few year ago playing with McDavid earlier this season and that level of production could return. Before the injury McDavid had 12 points in 13 games.
John Tavares ($7,700) – JT seems to be turning his season around for the Islanders and the team needs their superstar now more than ever with their current position in the playoff standings. Tavares is having a sub-par season compared to his recent production of season’s past, but heading into the break he had points in four of his last five games with a goal, four assists and one multi-point game. He added 20 SOG over those five games as well and seems primed to start hitting the back of the net more often soon and that should start tonight against the Wild, a team he has had a moderate amount of success against with four points in seven career matchups.
Nikolaj Ehlers ($4,200): Early in the season Ehlers was a breakout rookie who some thought could come out of nowhere to challenge for the rookie scoring title. That doesn’t look likely now but he has come on strong lately, especially playing with Jets star winger Blake Wheeler on their first line. Ehlers went into the break on a high-note with a hat-trick against the Coyotes on four shots on goal, one PPG, and one blocked shot. He has nine points in his last 10 games and is currently riding a four-game point streak. He’s seeing an increase in minutes on his streak right now and as long as he’s playing in the Jets top-six he will have great DFS value as long as his salary stays in the low $4,000s.
Andre Burakovsky ($3,800): Before the break Burakovsky was enjoying a nice breakout playing beside compatriot Evgeny Kuznetsov on the Capitals second line. He had points in five of his last six games and four of those games were multi-point outings. He went into the break riding a three-game point streak with three goals, two assists and four SOG. With Alex Ovechkin out tonight (see below), Burakovsky seems likely to jump up to the top-line LW role next to Nick Backstrom and TJ Oshie. Regardless if he plays there or his normal role next to Kuznetsov, Burakovsky is a great value for your lineups this evening.
Others to Consider: Jamie Benn ($8,600), Vladimir Tarasenko ($7,700), Tyler Seguin ($8,500), Evgeni Malkin ($7,600), Nathan MacKinnon ($6,900), Joe Pavelski ($7,900), Evgeny Kuznetsov ($6,500), Tomas Hertl ($4,800), Brock Nelson ($4,900), Anze Kopitar ($6,200), Claude Giroux ($6,800), Ryan Johansen ($5,900), Derick Brassard ($5,700), Boone Jenner ($4,900), Vincent Lecavalier ($3,600), Jakob Silfverberg, ($4,400), Jordan Eberle ($4,700), Taylor Hall ($7,000), Patric Hornqvist ($6,600), Brendan Gallagher ($6,100), Brandon Saad ($5,800), Teuvo Teravainen ($3,800)
Make sure to check out my Cheat Sheet and NHL Line Stacks posts today and as always for any DFS Hockey questions or comments this season, find me on Twitter at: @JHarding_Hockey