Saturday nights are where it’s at.
It’s the best night of the week for NHL action, and of course with that comes attractive slate with many opportunities throughout.
There are nine-games on this Saturday night slate, so let’s get right into the picks and see if we can punctuate our Saturday nights with some DFS profits.
C – Aleksander Barkov (FLA) – $6,900 vs. DET
In my opinion, it’s the Florida Panthers who get the top matchup on the slate as they host the Detroit Red Wings, otherwise known as the league’s worst defense with 4.57 goals against per game. Barkov has started right where he left of last year after falling just shy of one points per game with 78 points in 79 games. He’s notched four points on the season, all over the last four games, while he’s fired 18 shots for the season. Barkov launched 256 pucks on goal last season, he could certainly surpass that total as he continues to improve at the age of just 23. The hulking vcenter is Florida’s top center at both 5v5 and as part of the top power play unit. He’s certainly going to see some ownership tonight, but I’m still comfortable playing him in any format on this nine-game slate.
C – Nazem Kadri (TOR) – $4,200 vs. STL
I really think we can extract some value out of the low-owned Leafs who are at home tonight against the Blues. One of league’s better defensive clubs last season, the Blues are struggling out of the gate this year as their 3.83 goals against per game so far checks in at 27th league-wide. The Maple Leafs were shut out on Thursday against the Pens, but this is still an offense that ranks second with 4.13 goals per game on the young season. The Maple Leafs are also lethal on the man advantage, and this is where Kadri comes in as a cost-efficient player tonight. Kadri skates on the Maple Leafs’ top power play unit, a group that ranks first in all of hockey with a whopping 45% clip so far. Kadri is without a goal on the year, but he’s notched four assists on the season, three of which came on the power play. This is a guy who scored 32 goals in each of the last two seasons, and is looking to find his way on a diminished role on a stacked Maple Leafs offense. Combine that with his spot on the top unit against a poor defensive team, and Kadri could provide excellent value at low cost and low ownership tonight.
W – Evgenii Dadonov (FLA) – $6,400 vs. DET
Dadonov is a lock to me if you are rostering Barkov as he skates with the talented center at both even strength and on the Panthers’ top power play unit. He’s off to a fine start this season on the heels of a 65-point season last year as he’s notched three goals and three assists across five games on the year. Seeing as Barkov shoots the puck a ton, Dadonov didn’t get over the 200-shot mark last year with 188, but we can expect some shots tonight against a Red Wings club that has averaged 33 shots against per game on the campaign. This duo is certainly going to see some ownership at home with an extremely favorable matchup, but their ceilings are too big to ignore as the top duo (in my mind) on tonight’s slate.
W – Connor Brown (TOR) – $3,300 vs. STL
Brown is going to see minuscule ownership tonight and we are going to need some value players in good matchups and I believe we have that in the former 20-goal man. First, he skates with Kadri on the Maple Leafs’ third line, so he has an offensively capable centerman at his disposal. Second, Brown skates on the Maple Leafs’ second power play unit. Although there is a big discrepancy between the two power play units, it’s certainly nice to have exposure to this unit as well. He’s notched a goal and two helpers on the season, one of which came on that second power play unit. Lastly, Brown also kills penalties as one of Toronto’s most important players in that area. Some rare short-handed bonus points could be in the works here, but I am liking Brown’s upside at this price regardless.
W – Timo Meier (SJ) – $5,300 vs. NYI
The way this lineup shook out, you could roster either Meier or Tomas Hertl here as they have similar characteristics in this matchup, but I am rolling with Meier as I believe is the superior goal-scorer. After notching 21 goals as a 21-year-old last season, Meier has bagged three goals and notched five points in seven games this young season. He likes to shoot the puck as he recorded 210 shots last season despite seeing mostly third-line minutes. Meier will skate to the right of Logan Couture and Hertl on the Sharks’ second line while also seeing second unit power play ice which is why he and Hertl have such a similar matchup tonight. I think Meier will approach the 30-goal mark this season so I’m liking him more. This will be the Islanders’ third game in four nights on their trip through California and the Sharks are coming off a five-goal outburst on Thursday at home, so let’s look for them to keep rolling tonight.
D – Keith Yandle (FLA) – $5,900 vs. DET
Yandle is one of the pricier d-men on this slate, but I have to go with the veteran alongside Dadonov and Barkov this evening. The Panthers’ power play hasn’t been super successful again this season, but Yandle is also going to skate with the Panthers’ top duo for the majority of the night at even strength as well. He’s notched five points, all assists, in five games this season while he’s taken three shots per game as well. He enjoyed a resurgent year last year when he notched 56 points, the second-high point total of his career. He has a four-game point streak going heading into this one and is logging a ton of ice time on that Panthers blueline. I am loving the ceiling from this three-man Panthers stack tonight.
D – Jake Gardiner (TOR) – $3,600 vs. STL
Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly both finished with 52 points last season. Rielly is among the league leaders in points this season and will therefore attract a lot of ownership tonight, but Gardiner has five points in eight games and will still go overlooked tonight. Gardiner logged a season-high 23:50 of ice time in the Leafs’ loss on Thursday against Pittsburgh, but he also skates on the Maple Leafs’ second power play unit where he will form a mini-stack with the aforementioned Connor Brown. I believe we are getting Gardiner at a fantastic price considering the matchup against the struggling Blues and also the fact five points in eight games is excellent for a defensemen. He doesn’t shoot the puck a ton, but he’s certainly sporting some significant offensive capabilities and I’m liking his upside at low ownership as a result.
G – John Gibson (ANH) – $7,500 vs. VGK
Speaking of bang for our buck, how about Gibson at this price with how he has played this year? He’s been arguably the best goaltender in the league this season as he owns a sparkling 1.89 GAA and a .948 Sv% across six starts on the season, four of which resulted in wins. Anaheim is losing the possession game badly, however that’s been a good thing for Gibson owners so far as he has made a lot of saves in the process. The Ducks aren’t exactly facing a lethal offense at the moment as Vegas is tied for 28th with just two goals per game while their power play is dead last in the league at just 5.3%. The Ducks’ offense hasn’t been dynamite either, but I’m looking for Gibson to win a low-scoring affair despite the Ducks sitting at +155 underdogs right now. With how he’s played and against a scuffling offense, I think Gibson’s price is too good to ignore.
UTIL – Logan Couture (SJ) – $6,600 vs. NYI
Completing our lineup and our Sharks mini-stack is Couture who enters this one against the Islanders tonight boasting a hot hand. Couture notched a hat trick on Thursday and now has four points over his last two games. Joe Pavelski might be the de facto top center on this team, but Couture is my pick as the top guy as he’s loggin just shy of 20 minutes of ice time per game. Couture scored a career-high 34 goals last season and it appears he’s going to give another career-high a go this time around. The Islanders are an improved defensive club from last season. However they’re completing a long, four-game road trip tonight with tonight being their third game in the last four nights. With the Sharks sitting at home waiting for them, I think San Jose is primed for another productive night with Couture and Meier in the middle of the action.