It’s a typically busy Tuesday in the NHL tonight, as sixteen teams lace up their skates and hit the ice. Not only are there several battles between potential Cup contenders, but we also have a few games that look to be quite lopsided by Vegas standards. With many expensive offensive options on the board, finding productive value options will likely be the difference between a profitable night and a losing one. Here are my top cash game options for tonight’s eight-game slate.
Jimmy Howard – Detroit Red Wings – $7,600 – Both the matchup against the Coyotes and the $7,600 price-tag make Jimmy Howard my top option in net tonight. While his numbers lately don’t look too appealing, they’re greatly influenced by an abysmal seven goals against performance against Philadelphia last week. Howard was absolutely terrific in Detroit’s victory over St. Louis on Sunday afternoon and now sports an impressive 14-6-6 record with a 2.18 GAA and .918 SV% in his 27 starts at the Joe Louis Arena. Arizona limps into tonight’s game having dropped eight straight games and have scored just seven goals during that stretch. They own the NHL’s worst goal differential since the All-Star break may have overtaken the Buffalo Sabres as the bottom feeder of the NHL at this point.
Other Options: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Pekka Rinne, Carey Price, Cam Talbot
Henrik Zetterberg – Detroit Red Wings – $6,500 – Zetterberg’s three game pointless streak has kept his asking price down, and he’s still my favorite option at center tonight. Hank has been spectacular all season at the Joe Louis Arena; tallying 10 goals and adding 28 assists in just 34 home games. Despite his recent cold streak, he’s still managed to pick up a goal and nine assists in 10 games this month and he’ll be locked into big minutes on the Wing’s power-play against the Coyotes 26th ranked penalty kill. With Datsyuk likely out of the lineup once again, Zetterberg should see all the minutes he can handle in this plus matchup.
Jori Lehtera – St. Louis Blues, $3,300 – With Coach Hitchcock likely doing all he can to match the Crosby line with the Oshie/Backes/Steen line for defensive purposes, he’s going to be counting on the S.T.L. line to pick up the slack offensively. This line has simply been dynamic at times in the past and Lehtera’s $3,300 price-tag looks like a bargain here. He’s picked up two goals and four assists over his last nine games and dished out an assist against Pittsburgh in their only previous meeting this season. He’s logging a healthy dose of playing time on the Blue’s very dangerous #1 power-play unit and won’t need much production to pay off this modest basement price-tag.
Other Options: Steven Stamkos, Ryan Getzlaf, Mark Dano, Valtteri Filppula, Riley Sheahan, Sidney Crosby, Derek Stepan
Radim Vrbata – Vancouver Canucks – $7,100 – After an uneventful end to the month of February, Vrbata has picked up the slack offensively lately; posting 5 goals and 6 assists in 11 games during the month of March. The Winnipeg Jets have struggled on the penalty kill lately, posting a 77.5% kill rate in the second half of the season and Vrbata has the luxury of playing alongside the Sedin twins on Vancouver’s #1 power-play unit. He picked up an assist against the Jets earlier this season and should benefit from some tired Winnipeg legs as they were in action last night in Edmonton.
Jonathan Drouin – Tampa Bay Lightning – $3,200 – While his rookie campaign has been a bit disappointing, there is no denying Drouin’s offensive talents. While his numbers this season won’t blow you away, he was recently shifted to the wing of the Lightning’s top forward line (alongside Steven Stamkos) and he’s been playing on the wing of their #1 power-play unit as well. He’ll take on a Panthers team that sports an ugly 80.4% penalty kill and he tallied an assist against them in his only previous meeting. His price-tag still reflects his role as a third-liner and he’s one of the better value plays on the board tonight.
Other Options: Zach Parise, Ondrej Palat, Tomas Tatar, Corey Perry, Justin Abdelkader, Daniel Sedin
Sami Vatanen – Anaheim Ducks – $4,300 – After missing over a month with a leg injury, Vatanen returned to the Anaheim lineup on Friday and has quickly rediscovered his scoring touch by picking up assists in both games since returning. Despite all of the missed time, Vatanen still leads this Anaheim team in power-play points (17) which should bode quite well for him against the Columbus team that has allowed the most power-play goals in the NHL since the All-Star break. Vatanen tallied a goal and an assist against the Blue Jackets when these two teams squared off earlier this season and he was carrying a price-tag north of 5K prior to the injury. Enjoy the discount while it lasts.
Marek Zidlicky – Detroit Red Wings – $4,200 – The change of scenery to Detroit has been just what the doctor ordered for both Zidlicky and the Red Wings. Detroit needed his right handed shot for their NHL’s best power-play and Zidlicky has not disappointed, racking up three goals and five assists in 10 games with his new team. Zidlicky is seeing all the run he can handle on the wings power-play and is routinely being setup to unleash his wicked one-timers from the left slot. I mentioned earlier the direction this Arizona team is headed in and I’d be surprised to see Zidlicky held off the scoreboard tonight. Locking these two rock solid, yet reasonably priced, defenders into your cash game lineups tonight frees up plenty of salary to spend elsewhere.
Other Options: Kris Letang, Keith Yandle, Victor Hedman, Alex Edler, Niklas Kronwall, Anton Stralman
Best of luck tonight!
JMBWngFn (@JBritt2 on Twitter)