I mentioned in yesterday’s article that Monday was a real quiet night in the NHL. Well, Tuesday’s action certainly made up for that.
Our lineup wasn’t good enough to get into the money, but there were some serious offensive explosions in the league including a 9-6 final between the Flames and Blue Jackets, which crushed our lineup considering I rostered Sergei Bobrovsky, who of course yielded eight goals.
Our three-man Senators stack actually worked out nicely despite Ottawa scoring only two goals. Both of those goals came from our lineup as Dylan Demelo and Mark Stone got on the scoreboard, however Colin White was held pointless in the 5-2 loss.
Our second three-man stack came from the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Point/Kucherov fade ended up working out as those two were actually held pointless despite the Lightning scoring five times. The bad news is our three-man stack still only combined for one assist, which is grossly disappointing.
The Maple Leafs mini-stack we used produced a pair of assists, one each from John Tavares and Mitch Marner.
All told, eight teams scored at least five goals on last night’s slate, and we just weren’t in on nearly enough of that action.
Let’s look to turn things around this week on this three-man Wednesday slate!
C – Connor McDavid (EDM) – $8,100 vs. STL
After missing his first game since his rookie season ended prematurely back in 2015-16, Connor McDavid should make his return to the lineup tonight as his absence on Monday was simply illness-related. If McDavid indeed dresses for this one, his matchup is a great one against a struggling St. Louis Blues defense that will be without top blueliner Alex Pietrangelo as he was placed on IR earlier in the week. The Blues enter tonight’s contest ranked 30th with 3.57 goals against per game on home ice this season and have allowed an average of five goals against per game over their last four. Of course, we are dealing with an extremely high floor with the two-time reigning Art Ross Trophy winner McDavid as he enters play tonight with 14 goals and 35 points in 26 games on the season to go along with 93 shots on goal. Interestingly, McDavid has been much more productive on the road with a whopping 22 points in 14 road contests compared to 13 points in 12 home games. I’m not thinking twice about rostering arguably the world’s best player tonight in this matchup.
C – Adam Henrique (ANH) – $4,200 vs. CHI
The Ducks are surging right now and as a result, a lot of their players are expensive in this favorable home date with the Blackhawks, but Henrique falls to us at a quality price that could be valuable in this lineup. The former Devil is the team’s second line center, but Henrique also skates on the Ducks’ top power play unit alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell. He’s having a solid season to this point with six goals and 16 points across 29 games, although Henrique isn’t a high-floor player given his 34 shots on goal in those 29 contests. Nonetheless, he is riding a five-game point streak into this one with one point in each of those five games and actually has eight points over his last nine games after a rather slow month of October to begin his season. The Blackhawks enter this one tonight sporting the league’s 28th-ranked road defense with 4.13 goals against per game away from the United Center, so I am gladly taking Henrique at a more than reasonable price tag tonight.
W – Leon Draisaitl (EDM) – $6,900 vs. STL
Of course, with McDavid comes Draisaitl who will flank the stud pivot at both even strength and on the Oilers’ top power play unit. It’s been another productive season for the 23-year-old as Draisaitl sits with 13 goals and 30 points in 27 games this season to go along with an even 70 shots on goal. Draisaitl is riding a four-game point streak into this one tonight and has logged a ton of ice time lately, skating at least 24:24 in each of his last five games, a massive number for a winger. There are few duos in the NHL with more upside than the McDavid/Draisaitl duo and one can only hope this one goes into overtime where these two guys are just about as lethal as it gets. For now, we will take the high floor from both of these players in the first two legs of this three-man stack.
W – Nick Ritchie (ANH) – $4,000 vs. CHI
Another reasonably priced Duck tonight is Ritchie who skates with Henrique on the Ducks’ second line while Ritchie also gives us exposure to the Ducks’ second power play unit where he will form a mini-stack with one of our two defensemen tonight. Ritchie missed some time earlier in the season due to a contract dispute, but he’s in the middle of a bounce back campaign after scoring 10 goals and just 27 points last season. Ritchie has tallied four goals and nine points in 14 games this season and like Henrique, Ritchie has tallied eight points over his last nine games. The big-bodied winger is just 22 years old at this point and is on his way to developing into the type of power forward that every team likes to have on their roster. For tonight, he gets a nice home matchup against a Blackhawks team that ranks in the bottom five in most defensive categories this season.
W – Marcus Sorensen (SJ) – $2,900 vs. CAR
We have used Sorensen once this season in these lineups, and he produced a goal for us, so I will go back to him tonight and try to extract more value out of the forward in a home matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes. Given the fact Carolina doesn’t allow many shots and Sorensen has just 38 shots in 28 games, we shouldn’t confuse him for a high-floor player, and the price reflects that. The Sharks have juggled their lines a little bit, and Sorensen has landed on the team’s second line alongside Joe Thornton and Timo Meier for this matchup tonight. Another aspect to his upside that I like tonight is the fact that he has actually scored three goals and eight points in 13 home games compared to just one goal and two points in 15 road games. In other words, he’s been a 0.62 points-per-game player at home this season, so perhaps we can sneak some more value out of the 28-year-old tonight.
D – Oscar Klefbom (EDM) – $6,300 vs. STL
Klefbom completes our three-man Oilers stack tonight against the Blues while he brings one of the highest floors among blueliners into this one tonight. Klefbom has bounced back from a rough go a season ago with 14 points in 27 games after recording just 21 points in 66 games last season. Just two of his 14 points are goals, but Klefbom has taken 85 shots on goal while his current 2.4% shooting percentage is almost half of his 4.0% career mark, so I think we can expect some more of his shots to find the back of the net moving forward. For good measure, Klefbom has also blocked 48 shots this season, almost two per game. He forms an even strength and top power play unit stack with the McDavid/Draisaitl duo tongiht, and this group should be able to give our lineup a solid foundation against a bad and injured Blues defense tonight.
D – Hampus Lindholm (ANH) – $5,700 vs. CHI
Lindholm is actually quite pricey, especially when we compare him to Brandon Montour who sits at just $4,300 and is part of the Ducks’ top power play unit. That said, I think we get Lindholm at smaller ownership as a result in a very favorable matchup against the visiting Blackhawks. After all, Lindholm has three goals and 13 points in 23 games this season, a 46-point pace over a full 82-game season, which is a real good number for a defenseman. He is the most utilized Ducks blueliner at 25:37 of ice time per game, and Lindholm forms that aforementioned mini-stack on the second power play unit with Ritchie where Lindholm has five points this season. He’s averaging slightly over two shots and two blocks per game, and on top of the offense, I think we have a real quality piece in this lineup with Lindholm tonight.
G – Cam Talbot (EDM) – $7,800 vs. STL
This one is a bit of a risk considering Talbot was pulverized for an .855 Sv% in five November outings, but after yielding the crease to Mikko Koskinen for the last four games, I am looking for Talbot to bounce back in his first start of December tonight against the Blues. After all, St. Louis’ offense has cooled off dramatically since a hot start as they are averaging just 2.20 goals per game over their last 10 games and have scored one goal or less in five of those 10 games, including a 6-1 loss to the Coyotes in their last outing on Saturday. Talbot has been better on the road this year as he sports a 2.91 GAA and .900 Sv% in eight road starts compared to a 3.76 GAA and .876 Sv% across seven home starts. Given the Blues’ defensive struggles at home, I think the Oilers will give Talbot enough goals tonight to notch a win despite the Oilers listed as -105 underdogs at Bovada. I will roll the dice with the 31-year-old tonight.
UTIL – Joe Thornton (SJ) – $3,700 vs. CAR
Despite playing on bad knees and being one of the oldest players in the league at the age of 39, Thornton has still been fairly productive this season as he completes a mini-stack with his winger Sorensen in this one tonight. He’s played in 19 games, and Thornton has managed a respectable four goals and nine points with 32 shots on goal. Like Sorensen, Thornton’s home/road splits favor the home side as he has tallied three goals and six points in 11 home games compared to just one goal and three points in eight road contests. The Sharks are averaging 3.46 goals per game on home ice this season and are 8-3-2 at the SAP Center this season, so I will take this duo tonight where they and their team do the most damage in a solid matchup against the Hurricanes tonight.