The second half of the season is upon us and the NHL kicks things off with a solid 11 game schedule tonight. It’s been nearly a week since we’ve had daily fantasy hockey, so without wasting any more time, here are my top plays tonight.
Jonas Hiller – Calgary Flames – Hiller will get the nod in net tonight for the Flames, and with just a $6,900 asking price and a matchup against the Buffalo Sabres, he’s one of the better options on the board. Hiller has been nothing more than decent this year, but this pick is more about his opponent than a reflection on his recent play. The Sabres enter tonight’s game having dropped 11 straight games and have won just four of their 22 road games this season. They’ve only managed to score 1.77 goals per game on the road this season and, as expected, Hiller is an enormous favorite by Vegas standards. He should be locked into your cash game rosters.
Others: Ben Bishop, Petr Mrazek, Michael Hutchinson, Carey Price, Jaroslav Halak
Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers – Giroux hit the break owning a four game point streak and is one of my favorite options of this slate as he’ll welcome an Arizona team who has dropped six straight games to the Wells Fargo Center tonight. Giroux has flourished on home ice this season, scoring seven goals and adding 21 assists in just 22 home games. He logs big minutes as the center of Philly’s #1 power-play unit where he’s already recorded nine goals and 15 assists on the power-play this season which bodes well for him against Arizona 27th ranked penalty kill.
Henrik Zetterberg – Detroit Red Wings – To say Zetterberg entered the break on a high note would be an understatement. The Wings Captain exploded for four goals and four assists over the last three games of the first half and now sits with 14 goals and 30 assists on the season. He’s picked up a pair of assists in two meetings against the Panthers thus far this season and, when healthy, is one of the premier centers in the league.
Others: John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Fisher, Sean Monahan, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Johansen
Value: Brayden Schenn, Brock Nelson, Mike Ribeiro, Henrik Sedin, Colton Sceviour, Josh Jooris, Stephen Weiss, Valtteri Filppula
Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals – He’s the most expensive player on the board, but I still don’t like the idea of fading him tonight. He’s exploded for 11 goals and 4 assists in his last 11 games and has already lit the lamp twice against Columbus this season. Now, with Sergei Bobrovsky lost to an injury, Columbus will be forced to turn to the rather unproved Curtis McElhinney between the pipes. Ovechkin is the main reason the Capitals own the league’s 3rd best power-play and he should thrive tonight against the Blue Jacket’s 79.5% penalty kill.
Max Pacioretty – Montreal Canadians – When the Canadians are at the Bell Center, it’s wise to give Max Pacioretty a look. He owns some of the NHL’s most drastic home vs road splits this season, scoring 12 goals and adding 15 assists in 22 home games, while managing “just” 9 goals and 2 assists in 23 road games. Tonight, the Canadians will welcome a Dallas Stars team has allowed 3.56 goals against per game over their last nine games. Max has come alive down the stretch, tallying 9 goals and 9 assists in his last 16 games.
Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames – Since both of those previous wingers carry lofty price-tags, here’s one of the better value plays on the board tonight. The Buffalo Sabres have allowed 4.18 goals per game on the road this season and “Johnny Hockey” has put together a splendid rookie campaign thus far this season. Gaudreau set to play alongside Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler on the Flames top scoring line as well as their #1 power-play unit. With Buffalo owning the league’s worst penalty kill (among other things), this certainly bodes well. He was held pointless in each of his first five career games, but since that time he’s produced nearly a point per game which makes his $4,500 asking price an absolute bargain.
Others: Jakub Voracek, Zach Parise, Corey Perry, James Neal, Gustav Nyquist, Ryan Callahan
Value: Jiri Hudler, Josh Bailey, Patrick Maroon, Troy Brouwer, Daniel Sedin
Mark Streit – Philadelphia Flyers – Streit took a three game scoring streak with him into the break and has now picked up three goals and seven assists in just 11 games during the month of January. He routinely logs north of 20 minutes of ice-time per game and sees a healthy dose of playing time on the point on the Flyer’s very dangerous #1 power-play unit. I touched on the Coyote’s recent struggles and poor penalty kill earlier, making Streit’s $4,700 price-tag look quite reasonable.
Seth Jones – Nashville Predators – His teammates on the blue-line draw most of the attention (and are much more expensive) but Jones looks to be emerging offensively. He may only have 3 goals and 11 assists on the season, but he’s tallied two goals and four assists in just nine games this month. The 20 year old has logged well over 20 minutes of ice-time in each of his last six games and his improved play has earned him a spot on the point of the Predator’s #1 power-play unit.
Others: Mark Giordano, P.K. Subban, Shea Weber, Keith Yandle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Mike Green, Ryan Suter, Victor Hedman, T.J. Brodie
Value: Nick Leddy, Anton Stralman, Danny DeKeyser, Matt Niskanen, Dan Boyle, Sergei Gonchar, Jonas Brodin