There are limited choices on a three-game Wednesday night in the NHL which means owners have to take chances on a few potentially lesser-owned players. The Montreal Canadiens are the only team playing their second game in as many nights but are not facing a particularly strong opponent in the Buffalo Sabres. With each player in the pool carrying a price below $8,000; owners should do well building their respective lineups with mostly mid-priced options coupled with some value picks and rounding it out with just one expensive selection. Here are some players to consider:
Petr Mrazek ($7,700) – The Red Wings goaltender was excellent in January with a 7-1-1 record, 1.32 goals-against average and .953 save percentage in nine starts. While choosing Mrazek is a toss-up at the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Czech goalie is still the best option on a light game night. Mrazek is 1-2-0 with a shutout, 2.64 GAA and .891 save percentage in three starts against Detroit this season but is 12-4-0 with two shutouts, a 1.88 GAA and .940 save percentage through 17 road games. A mid-season contender for the Vezina Trophy; Mrazek will try for an eighth straight road victory Wednesday.
Eddie Lack ($6,700) – Owners will have to wait until Hurricanes coach Bill Peters names his starting goalie for the road game against the Calgary Flames, but Lack or Cam Ward ($6,700) are both viable value picks. Lack received six of seven starts prior to the NHL All-Star break and is 3-1-0 with two shutouts, a 1.50 GAA and .954 save percentage in his past four starts. The Flames are 27th in the League with a 3.00 GAA, which makes Lack an even stronger value play.
Others to Consider: Ben Bishop ($7,500), Robin Lehner ($6,800)
Justin Faulk ($6,200) – The Hurricanes’ leader with 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) and 154 shots on goal through 51 games is always a smart choice and especially against a weaker team like the Flames. Faulk has been decent in his career against Calgary with three points (one goal, two assists), seven blocked shots and seven SOG in six games. Although the American defenseman has just one assist in his past seven games, owners should roll the dice in hopes he has a breakout game against a favorable opponent.
Danny DeKeyser ($3,700) – The Red Wings defenseman has moved his way up the depth chart due to recently improved play, including a three-game point streak prior to the All-Star break. DeKeyser is a low-risk, high-reward choice against the Lightning based on three points (two goals, one assist), three blocked shots and five SOG over his current hot streak as well as an assist in a 2-1 win against Tampa Bay on Nov. 3.
Others to Consider: P.K. Subban ($6,300), Rasmus Ristolainen ($5,700), Ron Hainsey ($3,200)
Max Pacioretty ($7,100) – The Canadiens’ leader with 19 goals and 201 SOG through 51 games is in the midst of a five-game scoreless streak which is actually a good thing. Pacioretty ended a previous five-game scoring drought earlier this season with a six-game scoring streak, so Wednesday is perfect timing to get the left wing in your lineup. If more assurance is needed to help make your decision; Pacioretty had a goal, assist, one blocked shot and three SOG in a 7-2 win at the Sabres on Oct. 23.
Jeff Skinner ($4,600) – The Hurricanes’ forward leads the team with 18 goals through 51 games and will try for a three-game point streak at the Flames. Skinner had three points (one goal, two assists) and 10 SOG through the two games before the All-Star break and has five points (two goals, three assists) and 29 SOG in seven career games against Calgary. Given the need for a deep group of value picks Wednesday, Skinner should be inserted into lineups without hesitation.
Others to Consider: Ryan O’Reilly ($5,900), Gustav Nyquist ($4,700), Alex Killorn ($3,900)