With the All-Star break just two days away, the NHL delivers an exciting eight game schedule tonight. There are some large favorites by Vegas standards that should garner some of your fantasy attention, but large field GPP’s are rarely won simply by taking “the chalk”. Tonight, someone will walk away with a VIP trip to Las Vegas to compete for the $100,000 first place prize in the Fantasy Hockey World Championship. Here are some of my favorite picks for tonight’s slate.
Antti Raanta – Chicago Blackhawks – Raanta will be between the pipes for the Blackhawks tonight when they host the Arizona Coyotes, and as a -320 ML favorite, is my top goaltending option of the day. In limited action, he’s been terrific for the Hawks and is now undefeated at the United Center where he owns a 6-0-0 record with a 1.34 GAA and .957 SV% in six starts. The Coyotes have dropped five straight games and are only averaging 2.43 goals per game on the road this season. Getting the three points that come along with the win is extremely important, so give Raanta a look.
Others: Henrik Lundqvist, Braden Holtby, Ben Bishop
David Krejci – Boston Bruins – With Patrice Bergeron likely being tasked with shutting down the Benn/Seguin line, Boston will need Krejci and company to provide most of the offense tonight in Dallas. Dallas is allowing 3.29 goals per game this season while also allowing 31 shots against per game, so Krejci should have plenty of opportunities. He missed nearly a month earlier this season due to a groin injury, but he finally looks to be back to 100% and the results are proving it; over his last ten games he’s scored a pair of goals and picked up eight assists. Krejci centers Boston’s #2 power-play unit when he should find plenty of scoring opportunities against Dallas’24th ranked penalty kill.
Tyler Johnson – Tampa Bay Lightning – Johnson is having an incredible season, and is now leading this Tampa Bay team in points (Yes, he has more points than Steven Stamkos). With 17 goals, 31 assists and a +26 through 45 games, we should really start hearing his name thrown around in MVP discussions. With numbers like those, he must be expensive, right? Nope, he’s just $5,400. Johnson has picked up four goals and four assists in seven games this month and sees plenty of run on the point of Tampa’s #1 power-play and Vancouver’s tired legs could put the Bolts on the man-advantage frequently.
Others: Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Claude Giroux, Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom, Tomas Plekanec, Brad Richards
Value: Derick Brassard, Stephen Weiss, Valteri Filppula, Brayden Schenn, Alex Galchenyuk, Andrew Shaw, Colton Sceviour
Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals – Ovechkin may be my favorite player on the board tonight. He’ll take on an Edmonton Oilers team that is allowing 3.45 goals per game this season on the road and have won just three of their 22 road games. Ovechkin has already racked up eight goals in just nine games this month and is one of the game’s premier goal scorers. He has this Washington power-play clicking at a 24.1% clip and will get to face Edmonton’s subpar 79.8% penalty kill. He’s scored in back-to-back games and it would be surprising to see him held off the scoresheet tonight.
David Perron – Pittsburgh Penguins – His price is slowly on the rise, but it’s still not nearly as high as it needs to be now that he’s skating on a line with Sidney Crosby in Pittsburg. He’s now lit the lamp in three straight games and has racked up five goals and two assists in six games since being acquired by the Penguins earlier this month. Tonight he’ll take on a Philly team who was just lit up for seven goals against the Islanders on Sunday and who own the league’s worst penalty kill.
Others: Patrick Kane, Rick Nash, Nikata Kucherov, Max Pacioretty, Jacub Voracek, Chris Kunitz, Marian Hossa
Value: Mats Zuccarello, Andre Burakovsky, Justin Abdelkader, Teemu Pilkkinen, David Pastmak, Brian Bickell
Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks – At just $4,200, this is nearly an auto-play for me tonight in my cash games. Not only does Keith consistently but up some of the better offensive numbers among defensemen in the NHL, but he’s also met with a terrific matchup tonight. I’m not concerned about his current six game pointless drought, as he’s still logging well over 25 minutes of ice-time per game and still leads this Blackhawks team in average power-play ice-time per game (3:47/game). With Arizona owning the league’s #27th ranked penalty kill, he’s a bargain.
Niklas Kronwall – Detroit Red Wings – Kronwall’s never been afraid to jump into the action offensively, and his aggressive play has rewarded him with three assists over the last two games. He’s a workhorse for Mike Babcock on the blue-line and is a mortal lock for 20+ minutes of action. Detroit will welcome the Minnesota Wild to “The Joe” tonight, where Kronwall has thrived. In 25 home games, he’s picked up for goals, added 15 assists and is a +9 (versus just one goal, six assists and a -8 on the road). He’s a staple on the point of Detroit’s #1 power-play unit and is very reasonably priced tonight.
Others: Kris Letang, John Carlson, P.K. Subban, Torey Krug, Andrei Markov, Mike Green, Brent Seabrook, Victor Hedman
Value: Dan Boyle, Matt Niskanen, Danny DeKeyser, Paul Martin, Anton Stralman
Best of luck tonight!
JMBWngFn (@JBritt2 on Twitter)