The NHL has eight games on the schedule Thursday with some of the best players in the League back in action. The New York Rangers are the only team wrapping up a ‘two games in two nights’ situation, as goaltender Henrik Lundqvist ($8,500) is likely set to face Jonathan Quick ($8,300) in Los Angeles after backup Antti Raanta ($7,800) earned the 2-1 win for New York in Anaheim last night. Also, two of the hottest teams of the past month square off, when the New York Islanders visit the Nashville Predators. The player pool is deep with justifiably expensive options but plenty of great mid-priced and value picks are out there too.
Marc-Andre Fleury – PIT vs. CAR – $8,400 – The Flower has been powerful recently, riding a three-game winning streak with a 2.00 goals-against average. Owners can go with a more affordable goaltender Thursday, but the high price is justified for Fleury with the favorable matchup at home against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Pittsburgh Penguins top goalie is 2-0-1 with a shutout and 1.33 GAA in three games against Carolina this season and will try to extend his win streak to three tonight. While the Hurricanes still have a chance at the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, they have lost their past two games in overtime with just a 1.5 goals-for average over that span.
“Greiss is 10-2-2 in his past fourteen decisions and the Islanders have lost just one game in regulation over eight March games”
Thomas Greiss – NYI vs. NSH – $7,900 – Given the other pricey choices at the forward and defender positions tonight, saving a few hundred bucks on a goaltender could make a world of difference. Greiss is 10-2-2 in his past fourteen decisions and the Islanders have lost just one game in regulation over eight March games. But the Islanders take on the hottest team in the League recently, as the Predators are 10-1-5 in their past 16 games. No argument against owners choosing Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne ($8,100) can be made, but history is on the Islanders’ side tonight as they have a four-game winning streak against the Preds.
Others to Consider: Jonathan Quick ($8,300), Petr Mrazek ($7,900), Martin Jones ($7,500), Keith Kinkaid ($7,400)
Drew Doughty – LAK vs. NYR – $6,300 – In what would be somewhat of a contrarian pick due to a three-game scoreless streak, Doughty can be a difference-maker against the Rangers. It’s tough for any team to be perfect on a three-game trip through California, so it’s likely that the Rangers come out slow against the more rested Kings tonight. Taking Doughty is a safe option, as the Kings top defender looks to extend his home point streak to four with two goals, one assist, seven blocked shots, and seven shots on goal (SOG) in the previous three games at Staples Center. Doughty also had two assists, one blocked shot and four SOG in a 5-4 win at the Rangers on Feb. 12.
Johnny Boychuk – NYI vs. NSH – $5,400 – For Islanders fans that like to have a couple of their favorite players on their fantasy rosters, Boychuk is a great value selection to support Greiss in goal. Although the veteran defender has been kept scoreless in three consecutive games, he has six points (two goals, four assists), 15 blocks, and 15 SOG in seven career games against Nashville. With the Islanders trying to lock down home ice in the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs, owners can get a lot of return with the fair-priced Boychuk as their top defender.
Others to Consider: Kris Letang ($7,100), Shea Weber ($6,300), Seth Jones ($5,200), Anton Stralman ($4,800), Nick Leddy ($4,600)
Steven Stamkos, C – TB vs. DAL – $7,200 – The Lightning are in the thick of the Atlantic Division race, and Stamkos can go off at any time. While there’s always a great chance to get a huge night from Stamkos, he brings an especially tremendous value tonight at in Dallas. Stamkos has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) and 30 SOG in eight career games against the Stars. With five other centers priced above Stamkos, owners can use the leftover cash to splurge elsewhere.
“Line stacking top-line players comes with its share of risk but the chance at the huge payoff is sometimes too tempting to pass up…”
Nikita Kucherov, RW – TB vs. DAL – $6,500 – Line stacking top-line players gives us the chance at the huge payoff, and it is sometimes too tempting to pass up. Linking Kucherov up with Stamkos could help bring home the cash for your team, as the budding Russian superstar has three points (two goals, one assist) and 12 SOG in five games against the Stars. Kucherov has been hot on the road recently with four points (one goal, three assists) in his past five games away from Amalie Arena.
Others to Consider: John Tavares ($7,800), Pavel Datsyuk ($6,200), Tyler Toffoli ($5,500), Max Domi ($4,900)