Nine games on this second-to-last night of NHL action until we hit the All-Star break will give DFS players a stacked draft pool with some great superstar and value players. Patrick Kane, Joe Pavelski, Patrice Bergeron, PK Subban and more are all on the docket tonight, so let’s take a look at some of top and bargain buys for tonight’s game:
Corey Crawford ($8,400): Crawford is my top goalie of the evening on today’s cheat sheet and he has been outstanding on the season and continued that this past weekend shutting out the Blues for his league-leading seventh shutout this year. He is beginning to make his case for the Vezina and has been absolutely fantastic lately allowing two goals or less in nine of his last 10 starts with two shutouts over that time span. He’s won eight of those contests. Crawford is up to 28 wins on the season, just two shy of Braden Holtby in that category. On top of that he is eighth in GAA at 2.08 and third in SV% with a .932 mark. The Hawks face the Hurricanes, losers of three of their last five, tonight making Crawford almost a must start for those willing to spend big in net.
Roberto Luongo ($8,100) – Bobby Lou snapped his three-game losing streak by shutting out the Blackhawks and then beating the Lightning on back-to-back nights last week. He hit a wall when the Panthers 12-game winning streak was snapped and he allowed nine goals against in three starts, but his performance last week against Chicago and Tampa allowing only two goals on 67 shots reinforces his play this season and makes him a great start tonight when the Panthers welcome the lowly Maple Leafs. Luongo has owned the Leafs in his career with an 18-7-0 record and a 2.26 GAA and a .926 SV% and is 13-6-1 at home this season.
John Gibson ($7,000) – Gibson has solidified the Anaheim net since he was re-called earlier this season and, despite allowing 15 goals against in his last six games, he is currently leading the league in GAA at 1.91. He has won back-to-back games beating Minnesota and Detroit. The Ducks face the Bruins tonight in Boston and the B’s are on the second night of a back-to-back after facing the Flyers in Philadelphia last night. Even with his inconsistent play as of late I like Gibson tonight, especially when you factor in the travel for the Bruins to finish their back-to-back heading into the All-Star break.
Others to Consider: Connor Hellebuyck ($7,300), Pekka Rinne ($7,400), Craig Anderson ($7,900), Cory Schneider ($8,200)
P.K. Subban ($6,400): I wrote about Subban yesterday before the Canadiens matched up with the Blue Jackets and even though the Habs came out on the losing end, Subban had a great night. Subban saw well over 23 minutes of ice time last night in Columbus and assisted on Brendan Gallagher’s first period tally before adding a marker of his own on a slapshot that slipped past Joonas Korpisalo from center ice. Subban had a six-game point streak snapped over the weekend against Toronto but bounced back quickly and put up a fantastic two-point, three SOG game. The Canadiens face off against the Jackets again tonight in Montreal and Subban is one of the top blueliners of the night.
Kris Letang ($6,100) – Letang has been a force for the Penguins from the blueline and continues to be one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL. In 10 games since December 29, Letang has 16 points with six of his 10 games being multi-point efforts. He has points in four of his last five games and three of those games he had two points (1G, 5A). The Penguins are able to turn up the offense quickly and Letang is a prime option from the blueline tonight.
Brian Campbell ($3,400) – Campbell has seen his offensive production drop off the last few years since coming to the Panthers but he is a very good all-around defensemen and he can put the points up and get hot at any moment. He only has 17 points on the season and is a far-cry from the 50+ point player he formerly was. Still he has 68 SOG and 38 blocked shots this season and he has points in three straight games for the Panthers. He had an assist against the Oilers last Monday and then followed that up with a goal and three shots in back-to-back games against Chicago and Tampa Bay. There are not many solid value defensemen tonight and with his recent offensive outburst Campbell is a good value pick tonight.
Mattias Ekholm ($3,800): Ekholm has seen an increase in offensive responsibility since the Seth Jones trade and has taken that role to heart. In eight games since the Jones trade Ekholm has points in four of them, including in three straight for Nashville. He had an assist last week against Chicago, followed by an assist against Winnipeg and then capped the week with a two-goal game against the Oilers on Saturday night, with one of those markers coming on the PP. On top of the offensive outburst he has eight SOG and four blocked shots in the three games. Nashville continues their Western Canada swing by facing the Canucks tonight in a favorable offensive matchup for the Preds.
Others to Consider: Brent Burns ($8,300), Erik Karlsson ($7,400), Shea Weber ($6,300), Justin Faulk ($6,300), Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($6,100), Marc-Edouard Vlasic ($4,900), Aaron Ekblad ($5,000), Andrei Markov ($4,400), Trevor Daley ($3,800), Ryan Murray ($3,600)
Patrick Kane ($8,900): I had tried to find another superstar to build around, and there are some contenders, but Kane is the play tonight especially with the matchup against Carolina. Kane has points in seven of his last 10 games and has extended his lead in the scoring race to 15 points over Jamie Benn and now sits at 73 points in 52 games. He has 10 points in his last six games and with three multi-point games he’s upped his league-leading total in that category to 20. He continues to lead the league in both goals with 30 and assists with 43. He has never put up stellar numbers vs Carolina but this season Kane cannot be counted against in any game. If you’re willing to pay up to put him in your lineup, there is no one better tonight.
Brendan Gallagher ($6,200) – Gallagher continues to prove how important to the success of the Canadiens offense he is and how much of a drop-off there was when he was hurt. He had been held off the scoresheet his last two games but he came still was putting the puck on the net with eight shots. He had a strong game last night snapping that scoreless streak with a PPG, and assist and four shots on goal. In 10 games since returning from his injury at the Winter Classic Gallagher has managed seven points (3G, 4A) and faces the Blue Jackets again tonight at home to finish their two-night, home-and-home series.
Ryan Johansen ($5,900) – Johansen is certainly rejuvenated since his trade the Nashville and has put up nine points in his first eight games in a Preds uniform. He’s put 25 SOG with the Predators so far, has settled in very well as their number one center and found a great chemistry very quickly with linemate James Neal. He has a goal and an assist on the Predators current Western Canada swing and they face the Canucks tonight, who in his career Ry Jo has seven points in 11 games against.
Jack Eichel ($5,400) – Eichel has been as good as advertised this season despite a tough year playing on an under-achieving Buffalo team. He has been very strong lately with points in three of his last four games and two of those outings have been multi-point games. He had a goal and assist last Monday against Arizona, followed by an assist vs Colorado and finished with two assists last night against the Rangers last night. The Sabres travel to face the Senators tonight in Ottawa and he found paydirt against them this season in his lone game vs the Sens with a goal on three SOG in his first career game on Oct. 8.
Joonas Donskoi ($3,300): Donskoi, another Sharks forward, has come on very strong lately playing on the Sharks third line with Logan Couture. Couture is not a bottom-six forward, but coming off his injury the Sharks are giving him time to shake the rust off and he has made Donskoi fantasy relevant since they got together. He has points in five straight games for San Jose with a goal, five assists, a multi-point game and eight SOG. He has two PPP in the five games so he is seeing chances in all situations for the Sharks and is putting up the production at the moment to warrant consideration for your rosters.
Others to Consider: Joe Pavelski ($7,900), Evgeni Malkin ($7,800), Sidney Crosby ($7,300), Nathan MacKinnon ($6,800), Jonathan Toews ($6,300), Aleksander Barkov ($5,900), Carl Soderberg ($4,900), Ryan Spooner ($4,700), Alex Wennberg ($3,800), Blake Wheeler ($6,800), Phil Kessel ($6,700), Filip Forsberg ($6,000), Mike Hoffman ($5,800), Brandon Saad ($5,800), Tomas Hertl ($4,700), Cam Atkinson ($4,500), Jannik Hansen ($4,100), David Pastrnak ($4,000)
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