We kick off a packed week of NHL action tonight with a seven-game slate and some top superstars and teams on the ice. The Lightning, Bruins, Kings and a potential Stanley Cup preview between the Capitals and Ducks are what DFS players can look forward to for this evening. Let’s take a look at some of the top and bargain buys for today’s docket of games:
Andrei Vasilevskiy ($8,000) – Despite Ben Bishop riding a six-game winning streak, Vas seems likely to get the nod tonight against the Flyers when the Lightning travel to Philly. Vas has been fantastic his last two outings for Tampa Bay and has greatly helped the team on their current nine-game winning streak, winning each of his last three starts. He has allowed one goal against in each of his last two starts, wins against the Coyotes and Maple Leafs, and would have a very solid matchup this evening against the Flyers. He is one of the more expensive options available tonight, with more big-name options available for a little more money, but Vasilevskiy is an intriguing start tonight as a top-line goalie.
Martin Jones ($7,600) – Jones continues to have a very solid first starting season for the Sharks and is 4-1-1 in his last six starts, and like Bishop has seven wins in his last 10 games overall. Jones has won three consecutive starts and has allowed five goals on his last 77 shots faced (.935 SV%). The Sharks will face the Flames tonight on the road, and this season in away games Jones has posted stronger stats, sitting 15 games above .500 and better GAA and SV%.
Jonathan Quick ($8,400) – Quick is the third-most expensive goalie in DK rankings tonight and if you would like to pay up for one of the top-flight goalies, he is the one you should be considering. Quick is tied with Jones for third in the league in wins with 32, he sits fifth in the league in GAA and is just outside the top-10 in save percentage. The reason I pick him tonight is his season against the Canaucks, his opponent tonight. This would be his fourth start against Vancouver on the year and in his previous three starts he has been fantastic posting a 2-1-0 record and allowing only three goals against in those outings. He’s the goalie to pay up for tonight in a great matchup.
Others to Consider: Braden Holtby ($8,700), Roberto Luongo ($8,300), Frederik Andersen ($7,800)/John Gibson ($7,600), Garret Sparks ($6,600)
Brent Burns ($8,300) – If it weren’t for Erik Karlsson, Burns would be making an ideal case for the Norris trophy. Burns is third on the Sharks in points with 57, sitting second on the team in both goals and assists. He is one of four Sharks players with more than 20 PPP, leading the team with 22, and sits second in the league to Ovechkin with 278 SOG. Burns has points in six of his last eight games and is riding a three-game point streak, with two multi-point outings, at the moment that has produced three goals, three assists and 18 SOG. The Sharks face the Flames tonight and on the season Burns has feasted on Calgary’s weak defense to the tune of five points and 19 SOG in four games.
Rasmus Ristolainen ($5,900) – Ristolainen continues to be one of the best, up-and-coming defensemen in the NHL. He has had an impressive season this year despite the short-comings of the Sabres team. He has 37 points in 66 games, good for third on the team behind Ryan O’Reilly and Jack Eichel. He has points in back-to-back games for Buffalo with a goal against the Flames and an assists against the Wild while posting seven SOG. The Sabres have a favorable matchup with the Maple Leafs tonight in what could quickly become a high-scoring affair.
Sami Vatanen ($5,200) – Vatanen has been one of the most productive defensemen in the league over the last three weeks, putting up 11 points in his last 10 games. He has been lethal on the PP in that time span with eight of his 11 points coming on the man-advantage, running the point on the Ducks potent top power-play unit. He has only been held off the scoresheet in two of his last 10 games and has three multi-point games over those games. The Ducks, who have won 11 straight games at the moment, have a tough game tonight against the Capitals in a potential preview of what this year’s Stanley Cup matchup could be.
Dan Hamhuis ($3,000) – Perhaps not getting traded at the deadline lit something under Hamhuis who has three points and seven SOG in three games since the deadline, after having only six assists on the season before the start of March. The three points and six of the SOG have come in his last two games against the Sharks. He may not be a prime option tonight, especially going against the Kings, but he could be worth the flier for those looking to put a low-level salary in on defense tonight.
Others to Consider: Dougie Hamilton ($5,100), Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($6,300), Drew Doughty ($6,200), Shayne Gostisbehere ($5,900), Matt Niskanen ($5,300), Marc-Edouard Vlasic ($5,100), Zach Bogosian ($4,100), Radko Gudas ($3,900), Ben Hutton ($3,900), Brandon Manning ($2,600)
Joe Thornton ($5,700) – Thornton is still making the case as one of the best playmakers in the league and, save for a handful of players, is one of the top scorers in the NHL over the last few weeks. He finished second in the NHL in scoring for the month of February behind Ryan Getzlaf with 19 points, to Getz’s 20, and has 14 points over his last 10 games. He’s riding a four-game point streak (1G, 5A) and overall has points in eight of his last 10 games. The Sharks are on the road tonight against the Flames and Thornton has been fantastic away from home this year with 37 of his team-leading 62 points in 35 road games.
Nathan MacKinnon ($6,600) – MacKinnon has settled in nicely with new winger Mikkel Boedker and is beginning to produce again after an up-and-down second half of the season so far. In three games with Boedker on his wing MacKinnon has two assists while putting up 10 SOG. And after a five-game pointless run, Mack now has points in four of his last five games overall, dating back to before the trade deadline. Playing with Landeskog and Boedker has seemed to work well so far, allowing the Avs top line to play a more up-tempo game, which suits MacKinnon. He faces the Coyotes tonight and in two games this season against Arizona Mack has two assists.
Ondrej Palat ($4,700) – Palat, and his linemates Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov, have not had the season many were expecting after the trio all had 60+ points last year. Palat has missed time this season due to injury which has limited him to only 45 games but he has only managed 23 points to date on the year. Still he is a solid player and has started to up his production lately with the Lightning currently on a nine-game winning streak. Over his last two games Palat has three goals, one against the Senators and two against the Hurricanes. With the Lightning currently one of the best teams in the league, and playing with great linemates who are beginning to find their offense, Palat is a very good mid-level option tonight for DFS players who are looking to not spend big on the wing.
Anthony Duclair ($4,000) – Duclair has had an up-and-down rookie season but overall it has been a positive for the young winger. He has shown flashes of being a top-flight scoring option down the line along with Max Domi. Duclair is up to 36 points on the season, good for fifth among all rookie scorers, and has points in two straight games after a long, six-game scoreless streak to finish the month of February. Duclair should hit the 20/20 mark this season, currently having 17 goals and 19 assists. He is playing on a line right now with Antoine Vermette and the newly acquired Alex Tanguay, and the trio looked very solid on Saturday night against the Panthers. The Coyotes have a favorable offensive tilt tonight with the defensively weak Avalanche.
William Nylander ($3,500) – The young Leafs forward has looked solid so far in his first four games in the NHL. He is getting ample opportunity to see what the future holds for Toronto, centering the Leafs second line at the moment and seeing time on their second PP unit too. He netted his first career goal against the Senators over the weekend and has not been afraid to shoot the puck so far with 11 SOG in his first four outings. With the Leafs out of the playoff picture and with a game tonight against the Sabres and Chad Johnson’s 2.69 GAA over his last 10 games, expect Nylander to get plenty of chances to show what he can do going forward and provides a solid value option for tonight and going forward.
Others to Consider: Joe Pavelski ($7,500), Patrice Bergeron ($7,300), Nicklas Backstrom ($6,500), Corey Perry ($6,600), Alex Ovechkin ($9,100), Wayne Simmonds ($7,000), Brad Marchand ($6,900), Johnny Gaudreau ($6,800), Anze Kopitar ($6,400), Jack Eichel ($5,900), Brayden Schenn ($5,400), Tomas Hertl ($5,400), Mikkel Boedker ($4,800), Milan Lucic ($4,700), Jakob Silfverberg ($4,600), Jiri Hudler ($4,200), Blake Comeau ($4,000), Antoine Vermette ($3,900), Sven Baertschi ($3,400), Nikita Soshnikov ($3,000), Brendan Leipsic ($2,900)
Make sure to check out the 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