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There are six games on tonight’s NHL schedule, including some very interesting matchups. Let’s take a look at the slate.
Vancouver @ Carolina – 7:00pm EST
San Jose @ Philadelphia – 7:00pm EST
Colorado @ Columbus – 7:00pm EST
Calgary @ Nashville – 8:00pm EST
Los Angeles @ Winnipeg – 8:00pm EST
Toronto @ Dallas – 8:30pm EST
NHL DASHBOARD: New to FTA+ this year is the NHL dashboard. Since this is in its infancy, please keep in mind it may take a little while to get the algorithms sorted, but it should definitely be an important resource throughout the season. For questions about the dashboard or today’s fantasy plays, make sure to tag me (@JWagner) in the FTA+ NHL Discord chat.
INJURY NEWS: Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk will miss 5-6 weeks after sustaining a lower-body injury against Colorado (Jordan Weal will draw into the lineup on the third line; Jakub Voracek moves up to the top line with Travis Konecny shifting down to skate on the second). Joe Thornton remains out of the lineup for the Sharks.
YESTERDAY’S RESULTS: It was a huge day for DFS as Boston’s top line went wild in a 6-3 win against Ottawa. The three Bruins combined for 128.7 fantasy points, and most of the value options in yesterday’s post came through as well. That includes Valtteri Filppula, Zack Smith, Chris Tierney and Thomas Chabot, among others. Tuukka Rask was never going to get a shutout, which is why there were Senators recommended along with him, but he was the safe play and came through with a win. Despite the low point total of 22.4, it’s key to get those 12 points from a goalie win. As for other recommended players, Jack Eichel also had a strong game with 30-plus fantasy points, and Jonathan Marchessault, Anders Lee and Josh Bailey all found the scoresheet. Evander Kane and the San Jose Sharks were shut out, though he at least managed four shots for 6.4 fantasy points.
Here are some plays to consider for today’s slate:
Auston Matthews and John Tavares have been heavy chalk through three games this season, though Matthews has been the more consistent of the two. Even though Tavares is coming off a hat-trick performance, Matthews has five goals and eight points in three games, scoring at least a goal in all three. He has earned 48, 28.5 and 34.1 fantasy points in his last three games, respectively; he skates on the Maple Leafs’ first line and first power-play unit. That being said, the Maple Leafs have a tough matchup on the road against a Stars team that has given up a total of one goal through two games this season.
Tyler Seguin will be on the other side of that matchup as he and the Stars host the Maple Leafs tonight. Seguin is coming off a massive performance in which he scored two goals and two assists and added eight shots and a block for 55.4 fantasy points. He was ineffective in his first game of the year, though, which is why his ownership dropped for his breakout game. Seguin skates on Dallas’ first line and first power-play unit and generally provides a safe floor with a high shot volume.
There are other solid options on tonight’s slate, many of which are listed below. Sean Monahan has been strong through two games but has only faced the Vancouver Canucks, so it’s unclear how well he’ll perform on the road against a much more difficult opponent like the Predators. Pierre-Luc DuBois centers Columbus’ first line and skates on the team’s first power-play unit, offering exposure to Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson as well as getting time on PP1. Sebastian Aho has points in three straight games and has earned at least 16 fantasy points per game, giving him a solid floor. Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal could be steal plays on tonight’s slate given the Carolina prices and their favorable matchups. Nathan MacKinnon is always a top play for me, but he’s not the safest cash play tonight.
Also consider: Nathan MacKinnon ($8,600), John Tavares ($8,400), Sean Monahan ($7,200), Sebastian Aho ($6,400), Pierre-Luc DuBois ($6,200), Jordan Staal ($5,700)
Value Play: Elias Pettersson ($5,200)
The rookie sensation has three goals and five points as well as six shots and two blocks through two games, good for 42.6 and 23.2 fantasy points in his last two games, respectively. He skates on Vancouver’s second line and first power-play unit and has been this effective without much ice time.
Also consider: Antti Suomela ($3,500)
Top Plays: Jamie Benn ($8,300), Blake Wheeler ($7,400), Alexander Radulov ($6,400), Kyle Connor ($5,500), Craig Smith ($5,200)
Jamie Benn has back-to-back multi-point games with a combined two goals and five points through two contests this season. He skates on Dallas’ first line and first power-play unit and has earned 43.1 and 20.8 fantasy points in his last two games, respectively. Alexander Radulov is the third member of Dallas’ top line, skating with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. The three also play on the team’s first power-play unit as well. Radulov is generally the safest of the three in terms of salary and floor. He has goals in both games this season and is coming off a game in which he scored a goal and two assists and added two shots for 31.7 fantasy points.
Blake Wheeler continues to be a solid play. Though his lack of production the other night in Dallas was disappointing, he was still very much involved in the offense as he generated six shots on goal. Wheeler and the Jets return to home ice tonight, where they had much more success last season. Wheeler skates on the team’s first line and first power-play unit and has one goal, one assist, eight shots and two blocks in two games. Skating on the top line with Wheeler is Kyle Connor, who is a more affordable option if you want exposure to Winnipeg’s top line. Connor has goals in both games this season, recording two goals, one assist and eight shots so far this season. He also skates on the Jets’ first power-play unit. UPDATE: Kyle Connor appears to be slated to play on Winnipeg’s second power-play unit tonight.
Craig Smith is generally one of the more reliable fantasy performers because of his tendency to get rubber at the net. He has taken 10 shots in two games while adding a goal and an assist as well as one block, good for an average of 18.8 fantasy points per game. He skates on Nashville’s second line and first power-play unit and draws a favorable matchup on home ice against the visiting Calgary Flames.
Also consider: Artemi Panarin ($8,000), Filip Forsberg ($7,800), Patrik Laine ($7,600), Cam Atkinson ($7,100), Jakub Voracek ($6,900), Evander Kane ($6,800), Mikko Rantanen ($6,800), Viktor Arvidsson ($6,700), Matthew Tkachuk ($6,100), Justin Williams ($5,100)
Value Plays: Micheal Ferland ($4,600), Warren Foegele ($3,700), Nikolay Goldobin ($3,600), Brendan Leipsic ($3,500), Austin Czarnik ($3,400)
Micheal Ferland continues to be a solid play given his price tag. He skates on Carolina’s first line and first power-play unit, offering cheap exposure to Sebastian Aho, who is one of the more underrated players in the game. Warren Foegele is also on the Carolina Hurricanes, though he skates on the team’s second line with Jordan Staal and Justin Williams. However, Foegele is coming off a breakout performance in which he scored two goals and an assist and earned 35.2 fantasy points. His other two games this season were not very impressive from a fantasy perspective, so he may carry a little more risk, but Carolina has a strong matchup at home, and Foegele’s price tag is mighty appealing.
Nikolay Goldobin skates on the Canucks’ second line with Elias Pettersson as well as on the team’s second power-play unit. Goldobin has points in both games this season, scoring a total of one goal and two assists while adding four shots in that span, good for 11.2 and 23.2 fantasy points in his last two games, respectively. Brendan Leipsic has been moved to Vancouver’s top line to skate with Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. Any time you can get a first-line player for just $3,500 is something worth keeping an eye on, and he also skates on the Canucks’ second power-play unit.
Lastly, Austin Czarnik has been bumped to Calgary’s second line to play with Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund. He had an excellent preseason and has points in the first two games of the season. Specifically, he has picked up a goal and an assist as well as three shots and one block in his last two games, good for 16.8 and 9.6 fantasy points, respectively. He started the season on the fourth line but will now get top-six minutes; he will also skate on the team’s second power-play unit.
Also consider: Boone Jenner ($4,400), Josh Anderson ($4,300), Alex Iafallo ($3,700), Kasperi Kapanen ($3,700), Austin Wagner ($3,200), Mikhail Vorobyev ($3,000)
Top Plays: P.K. Subban ($6,200), Morgan Rielly ($5,600)
P.K. Subban skates on Nashville’s top power-play unit and has been productive thus far this season. He has a goal and two assists as well as six shots and four blocks through two games.
Morgan Rielly has been extremely productive and a popular option in cash contests. He skates on Toronto’s top power-play unit with John Tavares and Auston Matthews, and he has points in all three of Toronto’s games this season. Specifically, he has a total of two goals and six points through three games, adding 11 shots and six blocks in the process, good for 41.3, 31.7 and 11.7 fantasy points in his last three games, respectively.
Also consider: John Klingberg ($6,400), Shayne Gostisbehere ($6,400), Mark Giordano ($5,500), Alex Edler ($5,200), Erik Johnson ($5,000)
Value Play: Mattias Ekholm ($4,800)
There aren’t as many strong value plays on the back end tonight as usual, but there are a few. Mattias Ekholm is one such defenseman. While it’s often challenging to pick the right Predators defenseman to roll in your cash lineup since all are capable of producing, Ekholm has points in back-to-back games and is averaging 18 fantasy points per game thanks to one goal, two assists, three shots and two blocks. The problem with Ekholm is he does not see time on the power play, though he has been productive thus far this season. Ryan Ellis ($5,200) plays on Nashville’s second power-play unit and has assists in both games this season, but his point totals have been much lower than Ekholm’s (8, 12.8 compared to 16.8, 19.2).
Also consider: Marc-Edouard Vlasic ($4,400), Connor Carrick ($3,600)
There are a bunch of interesting plays on tonight’s slate. Pekka Rinne ($8,600) seems like he could be a popular choice given he’ll be on home ice and will face a team that is giving up plenty of goals. However, Rinne has only gotten one start this season, and that came against a weak Rangers team. He was terrible in the postseason, so it’s tough to know exactly where he stands. Even so, Nashville is a heavy favorite on the slate. There’s also Ben Bishop ($9,200), who has only given up one goal in two games this season. However, it will be a tall task to shut down John Tavares, Auston Matthews and company, even if Dallas could get the win considering how poorly Toronto’s Frederik Andersen has played. From there, there’s also Connor Hellebuyck ($8,600), who was magnificent on home ice last season. He and the Jets will have a tough matchup against Los Angeles, but the Kings are without Jonathan Quick and on the road, and Winnipeg is looking back to bounce back from an ugly 5-1 loss in Dallas. For a value option, Curtis McElhinney ($7,600) could be a very strong play tonight. He was solid in his only game of the season, stopping 31 of 32 shots in Columbus for 32.8 fantasy points. However, that was a revenge game for McElhinney, and Columbus hasn’t been too great so far. Carolina still has the firepower to help McElhinney get a win, and there are plenty of Hurricanes skaters worth targeting tonight, so a stack might be an option worth considering. For a risky GPP contrarian play, you could consider Philipp Grubauer ($7,400), who will make his Avalanche debut in Columbus this evening. Grubauer performed terribly against the Blue Jackets in the first round of last year’s playoffs before getting pulled and replaced by Washington’s typical starter, Braden Holtby. He could be eager for revenge. However, Columbus hasn’t played too well yet and could be ready for a bounce-back performance of their own, so that would only be a an option worth considering as a risky GPP contrarian play since he won’t have much ownership and could have a bad night. I can also see Aaron Dell ($7,600) being an interesting GPP contrarian option that will have very low ownership. Philadelphia’s Brian Elliott has looked great, but Dell is often better than starter Martin Jones, and he could be ready to take advantage of his chance to gain some traction in San Jose. Plus, Philadelphia looked terrible the other night against Colorado, cannot get its power play going and will be without James van Riemsdyk for 5-6 weeks. Either way, it’s a tough game to call.
Join me in the FTA+ NHL discord chat to further discuss tonight’s slate and lineups.
Photo credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsFantasy Hockey