After a four-game slate a night ago the NHL action comes roaring back with a nine-game slate tonight. This is the largest midweek slate we have seen in weeks thanks to the uneven holiday schedules and the bye weeks beginning in the New Year. Let’s dive in and see what picks will earn us some cash tonight!
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C – Rickard Rakell (ANH) – $6,700
Rakell and the Ducks invade Colorado tonight to take on the NHL’s worst team. In fact, Colorado is dead-last in both goals for (2.03) and goals against (3.31) per game. Obviously we are focusing on the latter here, and it’s interesting to know that Colorado’s goals against number actually spikes to 3.42 per game on home ice. Their home penalty kill is 23rd at 77.8% to boot. All of the above should aid Rakell in snapping his five-game pointless drought this evening.
C – Brayden Schenn (PHI) – $6,000
Schenn has a new linemate in the form of Wayne Simmonds thanks to some line juggling from head coach Dave Hakstol. It will certainly benefit Schenn to have such a goal scoring threat on his wing as Simmonds has found twine 17 times in 43 games this season. Schenn is a mainstay on the Flyers’ top power play unit and loves to shoot the puck with 98 shots on goal this season. He averages over 17 minutes of ice per game and should be able to build on his 28 points through 40 games tonight.
W – Wayne Simmonds (PHI) – $6,500
It wasn’t hard to see this one coming. As mentioned Simmonds is a huge goal scoring threat, even if he doesn’t get the notoriety that other goal scorers enjoy. In fact, Simmonds’ 106 goals since the beginning of the ’13/’14 campaign sit just behind Corey Perry, Patrick Kane, and Steven Stamkos. I am certainly glad Simmonds isn’t considered a superstar and can be had at a much cheaper price than the names listed. He also has 116 shots on goal this season as he should mesh with Schenn for some production against a poor Canucks road team this evening.
W – Taylor Hall (NJ) – $6,500
Beware of the player facing his old team. Taylor Hall makes his much anticipated return to Edmonton tonight to take on his former club. Obviously players are playing with extra motivation against teams that deemed them expendable so I will try and profit off of that tonight. Hall’s Devils score just 1.95 goals per game on the road, but Hall has 25 points in 32 games while throwing 105 pucks on goal in that span. It should be interesting to watch this one tonight as the former first overall pick is sure to get a warm welcome from the Edmonton faithful.
W – Milan Lucic (EDM) – $5,000
Despite being moved off of the Connor McDavid line I am on Lucic tonight against the visiting Devils. I wanted some Oilers exposure tonight as the Devils surrender an even 3 goals against per game on the road this season. Lucic still flanks McDavid on the Oilers power play and just got back on the scoresheet Tuesday after going four games without a point. He has 99 shots on goal to boot so let’s go with the big man tonight to get on a nice little roll.
D – Sami Vatanen (ANH) – $4,600
Vatanen and Cam Fowler are the go-to defensemen for the Ducks in all situation, and the simple reason why you see him here over his partner is cost. Vatanen and Fowler both man the Ducks’ first power play unit which could come in handy against the Avalanche and that 77.8% home penalty kill they own. He is also a monster in the shot-blocking department with 81 in 40 games while also chipping in 17 points on 55 shots on goal. Some Ducks exposure is a must tonight so make sure you have Vatanen or Fowler in your lineup.
D – Danny Dekeyser (DET) – $3,300
Today’s value play on the back end, Dekeyser looks to have been promoted onto the Wings’ top power play unit for tonight’s road game against the Stars. Before that excites you too much, note that Detroit’s road power play is an almost comical 3.3% on the road. However, their home power play is 17.3% and you have to think that evens out at some point along the line. Regardless, Dekeyser is also a shot-blocking machine with 85 of them in 40 games while also taking 40 shots on goal. He averages over 22 minutes per game on the Red Wings’ blueline and takes on a Stars team who can certainly be vulnerable defensively at times.
G – Devan Dubnyk (MIN) – $7,600
Now this one is odd. Getting the best goaltender in the league at the 11th highest price on the board is not something you will see every night. However, let’s take advantage. Dubnyk leads all NHL goalies in goals against average (1.80), save percentage (.939), shutouts (5), and is second in wins with 21, behind only Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ) at 26. Minnesota surrenders just 1.76 goals per game on home ice and while they take on a good Canadiens team tonight, I expect a low scoring game and a Minnesota victory. You will not see Dubnyk at this price very often, take full advantage.
UTIL – Jiri Hudler (DAL) – $3,800
Tonight’s value play up front, Hudler is in a good position to succeed against his old team. He has gotten off to a slow start this season, mostly due to injury, but is set to skate on the team’s top line with Jason Spezza and Tyler Seguin. That is certainly a comfy gig for the veteran as he looks to build off of his two-point effort on Monday against the Kings. He has never been a high-shot on goal player and he isn’t again this year, but you have to like his positioning on the Stars’ depth chart and he could provide big value in what may be a high-scoring affair tonight.