Last night’s lineup was a good one, highlighted by a huge night from a super-value play in Christian Djoos. In Djoos’ first NHL game, he tallied a goal and an assist to go along with two shots on goal. Ryan Getzlaf had himself a nice night while Mike Smith posted a 42-save victory at lower ownership. It wasn’t an excellent lineup, but one that was profitable depending on the contest you entered. Nonetheless, let’s go right into tonight’s seven-game NHL slate!
C – Steven Stamkos (TB) – $7,300 vs. PIT
The Penguins won a hard fought game last night in Washington, but will immediately travel to Tampa Bay for another tough matchup against a very good Lightning team. If Penguins’ backup Antti Niemi gets the start that’s fantastic as he gave up four goals in under 10 minutes in his only start this season, and if Matt Murray starts that’s okay too as back-to-back starts are traditionally unfriendly to goaltenders. Stamkos is off to a nice start this season with five assists and 12 shots through three games and is the anchor of a Lightning offense that has scored 4.33 goals per game so far this season.
C – Martin Hanzal (DAL) – $3,900 vs. NSH
Hanzal got himself on the scoresheet with a goal against the Red Wings in his most recent game and also recorded five shots on goal in that contest. Hanzal left with an injury in the prior game against the Blues, but in two the other two full games he has taken eight shots on goal while his ice time has hovered in the 15-minute mark. Included in that ice time is 2:18 of average power play time and while it’s on the second unit, it could be a potent unit next to Jason Spezza. Hanzal has averaged 0.51 points per game in his career so he should be in for another productive campaign on a powerful Stars’ offense.
W – Nikita Kucherov (TB) – $6,900 vs. PIT
An easy call here to roll with Kucherov as part of a Tampa Bay stack. The Russian superstar is off to a flying start with three goals and two assists to go along with 11 shots across three games so far. The Lightning are another team that sports a lethal power play as they have clicked on 21.4% of their opportunities so far, but also ranked 4th in the league with a 24.2% clip with the man advantage on home ice last season. Look for Kucherov to put plenty of pucks on net again tonight alongside his linemate Stamkos.
W – Vladislav Namestnikov (TB) – $5,300 vs. PIT
Due to his position on the team’s top line and top power play unit, Namestnikov is a high owned player these days but I am totally okay with using him as part of a Lightning stack. Of course, he is also off to a nice start with two goals, an assist and eight shots across the first three games of the season. After tallying just 28 points last season, the Russian forward is in for a much more productive season, especially if he can stick on a line with Stamkos and Kucherov.
W – Devin Shore (DAL) – $3,800 vs. NSH
An interesting play here, but there is plenty of value to unlock here with Shore. Shore has tallied two assists, four shots and three blocks through three games, but it appears he will skate on the team’s top power play unit tonight, a spot that carries with it plenty of upside. The Stars’ power play is clicking at a whopping 27.3% clip to rank 6th in the NHL so far this season and Shore has seen 2:34 of average power play ice per game on the season, a number that will increase now that he is on the team’s top group. Lock him in at this fantastic price if he remains on the top power play unit.
D – Victor Hedman (TB) – $5,900 vs. PIT
Despite firing 14 shots on goal and skating an average of 25:10 per game on the Lightning blueline, Hedman has recorded just one assist on a team that has scored 13 goals this season. That production is going to change in a hurry as I fully expect Hedman to be one of the league’s highest scoring blueliners this season. He is the lone defenseman on a loaded Lightning power play and ranked second in the entire NHL with 33 power play points last season. Look for his production to get jumpstarted tonight in a favorable matchup.
D – Jacob Trouba (WPG) – $4,800 vs. VAN
With Dustin Byfuglien set to miss his second straight contest with a lower-body injury tonight, Trouba once again slots in as the team’s number one defenseman. In the first game Byfuglien missed, Trouba skated a whopping 26:50 while taking three shots on goal and picking up an assist in a win over the Oilers. The American blueliner now has taken 11 shots and blocked ten on the season, giving him plenty of cross-category upside there. He will also likely play on the team’s top power play unit after skating an average of 4:06 on the power play so far this season.
G – Jimmy Howard (DET) – $7,400 vs. ARI
Like last night, I don’t see a clear-cut top option at goaltender and with the barrage of goals early in the NHL season I will use a goaltender that has been able to withstand said barrage in the early going. Jimmy Howard has officially retaken the starter’s role in Detroit and has put together two excellent starts this season while allowing just 3 goals on 77 shots for a .961 save percentage and a 1.44 GAA. The Coyotes have scored just 2.33 goals per game and will likely continue to struggle all season long with one of the shallowest group of forwards the NHL has to offer. I believe we are getting Howard at an excellent price here tonight.
UTIL – Mikkel Boedker (SJ) – $4,600 vs. BUF
Another value play with big upside thanks to big opportunity is Boedker. Not only does he skate with Logan Couture on the team’s second line, but he has also taken Patrick Marleau’s spot on the Sharks’ top power play unit. The Sharks’ power play has clicked at an even 20% mark this season and Boedker has seen 4:36 of average power play ice time per game this season. He buried a goal in his last game and is another player that is in for a jump in production after a disappointing campaign a year ago.