There are a couple more NHL divisional playoff games this afternoon, but let’s also not forget that there is still some NHL action on tap as well!
We have a five-game main slate on tap this Sunday evening, so let’s see if we can cap our week with some profits!
C – Bo Horvat (VAN) – $5,900 vs. FLA
The Canucks play host to the visiting Florida Panthers tonight, meaning they get a home date against one of the weakest defenses in the NHL. Entering this one tonight, the Panthers check in at 28th with 3.51 goals against per game this season while that number creeps up to 3.79 on the road, good for 27th. Without Elias Pettersson in the lineup again tonight, I’ll roll out a three-man Canucks stack beginning here with Horvat who will center the top line as well as the Canucks’ top power play unit tonight. The 23-year-old is enjoying an excellent campaign, scoring 17 goals and tallying 19 helpers for 36 points across 46 games. Horvat is also set to blow by his previous career-high in shots on goal as he’s already notched 130 shots in just 46 games. For perspective, Horvat is averaging 2.83 shots per game after averaging just 1.93 shots per game over his previous four NHL seasons. There should be plenty of opportunities for Horvat to get back on the scoresheet tonight.
C – Derek Stepan (ARI) – $4,400 vs. CGY
The Arizona Coyotes and Calgary Flames will go to-to-toe tonight at the Saddledome in Calgary. In a move that is GPP-oriented, I will avoid the high-scoring home offense of the Flames and use a couple of Coyotes against one of the league’s worst home offenses despite their low-scoring offense themselves. Calgary has allowed 3.36 goals per game at home this season, good for 29th league wide, so I believe the Yotes offense can get something going tonight at lower ownership than the Flames’. Enter Stepan who will center the team’s top line tonight as well as their second power play unit. A playmaker by trade, Stepan isn’t have a great season this year with just eight goals and 10 assists in 44 games, but has also fired a solid 116 shots on goal in that span. I do expect some better puck luck from the 28-year-old veteran moving forward considering his 6.9% shooting percentage is well under his 9.8% career mark. I think better fortune in this area could start tonight in a sneaky-good matchup.
W – Nikolay Goldobin (VAN) – $3,300 vs. FLA
Of course Brock Boeser is the higher upside play alongside Horbat in all situations for the Canucks, but Goldobin is a cost-saving asset that I think brings plenty of value to the table in this matchup. Although it seems he’s been around for a while, the 43 games he has played so far this season is already a career-high for the 23-year-old, and he’s delivered a solid 23 points in that time to go along with 70 shots on goal. It’s important that Goldobin is going to see time on that top power play unit with Pettersson sidelined as he’s tallied a solid seven points on the power play this season, making good on the opportunities he does get. I also think he is due for some better puck luck as well as he is shooting at just 7.1% this season, well under his 12.1% career mark. This is a fantastic opportunity for some value to come through with Goldobin tonight, making him my top value asset of the slate.
W – Cam Atkinson (CLS) – $7,400 vs. NYR
The reason I needed Goldobin as a cost-saving asset is because I am rostering a rather high-priced Blue Jackets stack as they have a fabulous home matchup with the visiting New York Rangers tonight. Atkinson brings one of, if not the highest floor on the slate into this one as a result of the Rangers ranking 30th with 4.05 goals against per game on the road this season while their 71.6% rate on the penalty kill away from home is the worst mark in the entire league. Atkinson is having a big season for the jackets after a disappointing campaign last year, tallying 25 goals and adding 19 helpers for 44 points across 43 games this season. His floor is increased significantly by the 169 shots on goal he’s produced on the season, easily putting him on pace for his sixth consecutive 200-shot season. The Blue Jackets are the league’s 10th-ranked home offense, so expect some production from their big boys in this one.
W – Artemi Panarin (CLS) – $6,600 vs. NYR
Skating alongside Atkinson in all offensive situations for the Blue Jackets is Panarin who is once again producing in a big way for his club. The 27-year-old enters tonight’s contest with 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points in 42 games this season. He doesn’t shooting the puck quite as much as his linemate, but he still has a solid 114 shots in those 42 games this season. Head coach John Tortorella is not afraid to lean heavily on his top players as evidenced by the fact that Panarin is averaging more than 20 minutes per game this season, a huge number for a winger. The Russian star enters this one sporting a hot hand with three goals over his last two games and also has seven goals and 14 points over his last 10 contests. The opportunities should be aplenty for these guys tonight.
D – Alexander Edler (VAN) – $5,600 vs. FLA
His name might not come to mind when we think of some of the high-floor defenseman in the NHL, but Edler is certainly in that group. He has been a cross-category contributor for the Canucks this season, posting four goals, 15 helpers, 67 shots on goal and a whopping 90 blocked shots across 31 games this season. Clearly, Edler is playing in all situations for head coach Travis Green as he is the lone defenseman on the Canucks’ top power play unit where he will form a three-man stack with Horvat and Goldobin on top of their even strength time spent together. The Panthers have been the league’s 27th-ranked defense against defensemen this season, so Edler clearly has some upside in this one. I don’t mind paying up for the high-floor that the 32-year-old veteran brings to the table in a favorable home matchup tonight.
D – Zach Werenski (CLS) – $4,900 vs. NYR
Again, it would have been nice to get the higher floor of Seth Jones to pair with Atkinson and Panarin, however Werenski is the cheaper option and he is also the lone defenseman on the Blue Jackets’ top power play unit alongside that dynamic duo, so I think we can squeeze some more value out of Werenski in this one than we could have with Jones. After all, it’s been a fine season for the 21-year-old Werenski as he’s tallied nine goals and 25 points in 44 games to go along with 90 shots on goal and 49 blocks to boot. With one more goal, he will tally double-digit goals in all three of his NHL seasons to this point, a fantastic accomplishment for such a young defenseman. As mentioned, the Rangers own the worst road penalty kill in hockey, so I’m looking for Werenski to use that spot on the top power play unit to his advantage and have a big night against the visitors.
G – Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) – $8,300 vs. ANH
Hellebuyck is already the confirmed starter for tonight’s super-favorable home matchup against a Ducks team that is struggling mightily at the moment. Losers of a whopping 10 straight games, the Ducks will have their hands full on the road against the Jets, something that is evidenced by Winnipeg’s -190 odds to win this one tonight. Hellebuyck has taken a step back from the breakout season he enjoyed last year, however the Ducks come in ranked dead last in the NHL with just 2.52 goals per game, so the upside here is incredible. Unbelievably, the Ducks scored more than two goals in a game for just the second time of their 10-game losing streak on Friday against the Penguins, so it’s not like their offense has held strong in their recent slide. There’s a reason Hellebuyck is the most expensive goaltender on this slate and I have no problem paying the price tonight.
UTIL – Christian Fischer (ARI) – $3,000 vs. CGY
I think there is some value to be had tonight in Fischer as he lines up with Stepan at both even strength and on the Coyotes’ second power play unit as they get set to take on the Flames tonight. As evidenced by the price, the floor isn’t high with Fischer at all as he has just 12 points in 44 games, but the good news is that 10 of those 12 points have been goals, putting him just shy of a 20-goal pace over a full 82-game season. Fischer showed some nice upside as a 20-year-old rookie last season when he scored 15 goals and 33 points in 79 games, and it looks like he could set a new career-high in goals in his sophomore campaign this time around. He should see some fairly low ownership for this one tonight, so let’s see if Fischer can be a difference-maker in this lineup with some production against a weak Flames home offense.