Last night’s four game schedule wasn’t terrible, but things pick up in a big way tonight as we have ten games to choose from. We get a wide range of game types tonight; the night is headlined by some very important games as far as the Western Conference playoff race is concerned, yet we also are “treated” to a battle between the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference. Here are my top options for tonight’s slate;
Niklas Svedberg – Boston Bruins – Rask was between the pipes for Boston’s win in Pittsburgh last night, so we’ll likely see Svedberg tonight at home against the New Jersey Devils. He’s still a bit unproven, but Boston is a big favorite by Vegas standards and the Devils are far from an intimidating offensive team. It’s Svedberg’s asking price of $6,500 that is his biggest selling feature, but he does enter tonight’s game sporting a respectable 2.46 GAA and .918 SV%. Obviously be sure to check that he does indeed get the nod in net, but if he does I’d be ready to pounce.
Others: Cam Ward, Semyon Varlamov, Robert Luongo, Jonathan Quick
Eric Staal – Carolina Hurricanes – It’s not every night when you can feel completely comfortable rostering a Carolina Hurricane or two, but with Buffalo headed to Raleigh, you certainly can tonight. The Sabres have lost five straight games, have lost 15 of their 19 road games this season, and have allowed a league worst 4.16 goals against per game on the road. Eric Staal is definitely not off to the type of start he was hoping for or is used to, but he’s showing signs of life lately. Over the last six games he’s tallied four goals and added two assists and appears to be adjusting just fine to life on the wing alongside his brother Jordan. Staal leads the Hurricanes in power-play points (11) and should be able to feast on this highly penalized Buffalo team who has killed off just 75% of their penalties this season.
Mike Ribeiro – Nashville Predators – No matter what kind of numbers Ribeiro seems to put up this season, he continues to remain an incredible bargain. While he won’t rack up the points in shots on goal, his playmaking abilities are undeniable and a big reason for the Calder Trophy caliber season from his line mate Filip Forsberg. Over the last 17 games, Ribeiro has scored four goals and added 14 assists and yet still has just a $4,500 asking price. Dallas has struggled defensively on the road this season (allowing 3.47 goals/game) and haven’t won a game in the Music City in two years.
Others: Claude Giroux, T.J. Oshie, Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom, Henrik Sedin
Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals – Let me start with the only two knocks (from a fantasy perspective) on Ovechkin tonight; 1) He played last night, and 2) He’s the most expensive player on the board. Now let me continue by telling you why he’s still worthy of your consideration tonight; 1) He’s now scored goals in four straight games while also adding three assists during that stretch, 2) He notched three goals and two assists against the Flyers in their four meetings last season, and 3) He’s one of the league’s most dangerous offensive weapons on the power-play and will have the luxury of squaring off against Philly’s 29th ranked penalty kill.
Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues – While many users may (for good reason) target the Steen/Backes/Oshie line do their sizzling play of late, all three players have seen their prices skyrocket over the past week. On the flip side, while the “STL” line has been somewhat dormant over the last week, they’re now priced at their lowest point in months. Tarasenko is still the most dangerous scorer on this team and has size and toughness to battle in the corners against the San Jose Sharks team. Tarasenko has posted 11 goals, 10 assists and is a +16 in just 18 games at the Scottrade Center and leads St. Louis in shots on goal. At almost $3,000 less than Alexander Steen, I’ll gladly pair him with either Jaden Schwartz or Jori Lehtera and spend the savings elsewhere.
Others: Radim Vrbata, Andrew Ladd, Jakub Voracek, Daniel Sedin, Jeff Skinner, Brad Marchand, Patrick Kane
Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins – Chara scored his first goal since returning from his knee injury last night and, after logging nearly 25 minutes of ice-time last, looks to finally be fully recovered. He may be on the down-side of his career, but this is still a guy who has been an elite fantasy defenseman for the better half of the decade and who still possesses a 108.8 MPH slapper. Claude Julien will have no hesitations in deploying him down in front of the net on the Bruins power-play where the New Jersey Devils, and their 24th ranked Penalty Kill, will simply have no answer for his size/strength. He’s priced at just $4,400, so enjoy the temporary discount.
Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks – With Parise likely out once again, the outlook for the Blackhawks improves significantly tonight. While Ryan Suter tempers my expectations for some of the Hawk’s talented forwards, I’m expecting Duncan Keith to have a nice game tonight on the blue-line. Keith has his four game scoring streak snapped in the Hawks shutout against the Avalanche on Tuesday, but had picked up seven assists in the four games prior. He’s averaging 26 minutes of ice-time per game this season and is a weapon on the point of the team’s #1 power-play unit.
Others: Shea Weber, Justin Faulk, Torey Krug, Aaron Ekblad, Mike Green, Kevin Shattenkirk, Erik Karlsson
Best of luck tonight!
JMBWngFn (@JBritt2 on Twitter)