Last night’s lineup was just simply poor. Carey Price was shelled by the Sharks in goal while the Stars just didn’t pound on the Coyotes quite like I expected them to. It was a tough night all around, but one that we can forget about as we move onto tonight’s three-game slate!
C – Jeff Carter (LA) – $5,900 vs. MON
The Kings are off to a nice start, but it hasn’t been the Jeff Carter line doing the damage like it was all of last season. Carter has just three assists in five games, but the silver lining lies in his 13 shots on goal. Carter shoots the puck plenty, throwing 250 pucks on goal last season and has even hit the 300-mark three times in his career, albeit many years ago in Philadelphia. Nonetheless, the Kings are on home ice tonight against a Canadiens team playing on back-to-backs nights, which means Carey Price will give way to backup Al Montoya for this matchup. Carter looks like a nice play tonight.
C – Paul Stastny (STL) – $5,100 vs. CHI
Another team off to a nice start is the St. Louis Blues who will play an important Central Division contest tonight against the rival Blackhawks in St. Louis. Stastny has the comfy job of centering superstar Vladimir Tarasenko at both even strength and on the power play, a spot that has led to two goals, four assists and 13 shots through six games. The Blackhawks have been good too, but they also rank 25th with 295 shot attempts against at 5 on 5 and have yielded 36.5 shots against per game, tied for the most in the league. Keep in mind this is the thinnest defensive group the Blackhawks have iced in years, and I expect the Blues to take advantage of that tonight.
W – Tyler Toffoli (LA) – $5,500 vs. MON
Here is a guy that, like his linemate Carter, has thrown plenty of pucks on net this season. Toffoli has recorded 19 shots through only five games this season and has three points over his last two games. Unfortunately the duo doesn’t play together on the power play, but Toffoli has already managed a power play goal this season on the second grouping. The Kings have averaged 3.20 goals per game early in the season and have a great opportunity to keep the offense going tonight on home ice.
W – Vladimir Tarasenko (STL) – $7,600 vs. CHI
Of course Tarasenko makes his way into this lineup tonight. Unsurprisingly, the Russian sniper has come out of the gates hot with four goals, two assists and 15 shots on goal through six games. I actually expect Tarasenko to pick up the shots on goal as he ranked 6th with 286 shots on goal last season. He also buried 39 goals last year and tallied 31 points with the man advantage. Tarasenko and the Blues should be in for plenty of shots tonight and will certainly test Corey Crawford in the process.
W – Sammy Blais (STL) – $2,800 vs. CHI
Blais has just one NHL game under his belt this season, but he skated over 17 minutes on the team’s second line with Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz. Blais will see a similar role tonight after scoring three goals and adding an assist in just two AHL games this season. Blais should also see some second unit power play minutes and could provide big time value at a near-minimum price tonight.
D – Drew Doughty (LA) – $6,100 vs. MON
Doughty has indeed gotten in on the scoring fun for the Kings in the early going as he has five points over his last three games. However, with Doughty we get excellent cross-category contributions as he has also taken 15 shots on goal and blocked 10 across five games this season. He is also the quarterback of the team’s top power play unit, a group that actually ranked 5th with a 23.4% clip with the man advantage on home ice last year and has upped that figure to an even 25% on home ice so far this season.
D – Colton Parayko (STL) – $4,400 vs. CHI
While Parayko doesn’t get the same credit that Alex Pietrangelo gets on the St. Louis blueline, this guy is one heck of a player and a fantasy asset. Last season, Parayko ranked 11th among all NHL defenseman with 188 shots on goal. The problem was he only scored four goals. There were 38 defenseman with at least 145 shots on goal last season, and Parayko’s four goals were the least among them all. This tells me he is due for some better puck luck this season and due for a shooting percentage above the 2.1% mark from last season. He has ten shots over his last three games and should get plenty more against a Blackhawks team that yields a lot of them.
G – Jonathan Quick (LA) – $8,300 vs. MON
The last few lineups I have paid down at goaltender, but I will pay up tonight and grab who I believe is the safest option at the position tonight. Quick is off to a sparkling start with a .943 save percentage through four games and already has a shutout to his credit as well. Year after year the Kings are a stout defensive team as they ranked 6th with just 2.45 goals against per game last season and their 95% penalty kill this season ranks first. As expected, the Canadiens are struggling to score goals with just 1.50 per game this season, good for dead last in the league. Lock in quick at the goalie position tonight.
UTIL – Connor Brown (TOR) – $4,100 vs. DET
Brown recently was moved up from the Maple Leafs’ fourth line to a line with Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk, the Leafs’ second or third line depending on the person you ask. He made an immediate impact on this line with the game-winning goal in last night’s 2-0 win over Washington and should remain on that line for tonight’s contest. Best of all, Brown plays on the Leafs’ top power play unit with Auston Matthews and William Nylander, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Brown back on the scoresheet tonight against the Wings.