The NHL All-Star break is complete, teams are preparing for the stretch run of the regular season and it all kicks off with a solid six-game Monday slate!
Let’s get right into and start the unofficial second half on the right note!
C – Auston Matthews (TOR) – $8,600 vs. NSH
This lineup is going to be able to be used in both cash and GPP contests tonight, but I love the floor we have in this group which certainly makes it a viable cash lineup to be sure. The high floor starts here with Matthews who finds himself right in the thick of the NHL’s goal-scoring race with 34 goals in 49 games on the season, but a big part of that floor is the 195 shots on goal he’s already recorded this season, good for fifth in the league while his 34 tallies has him sitting in a tie for second place alongside Alex Ovechkin. Now, one thing you might notice about Matthews is that his splits favor the home side as he’s scored 27 goals and tallied 39 points in 25 home games compared to seven goals and 18 points in 24 road games. That said, this is a matchup I find too hard to pass up on the floor. The Maple Leafs enter this one ranked first in the NHL with 3.71 goals per game on the road where their power play sits fourth with a 27.1% mark. The Predators rank 26th with 3.17 goals against per game at home this season and have a middle-of-the-pack home penalty kill. So while the goals have come largely at home, and despite a minor wrist injury that kept him out of the All-Star game, I still want to grab the high floor and huge ceiling with the young center tonight.
C – Tyler Seguin (DAL) – $7,400 vs. TB
Few star players in the NHL have been as snake-bitten this season as Seguin, however here’s another guy that fires a ton of pucks on goal to give us a solid foundation and despite a tough home matchup I like the potential tonight. Seguin enters this one with 11 goals and 36 points in 48 games on the season, but also has 173 shots on goal to his credit, good for seventh in the NHL at this time. Do the math and you’ll see that Seguin is shooting at a tiny 6.4% clip this season, miles below his 10.8% career mark and still well below his career-low of 8.4% that was posted way back in his rookie season with the Bruins in 2010-11. Furthermore, Seguin hit the All-Star break riding a nine-game goalless drought and did not score on 31 shots during that time. Needless to say, the guy is due and there should be a ton of positive goal-scoring regression for his guy from here on out. He takes on a tough Lightning squad and goaltender Andre Vasilevskiy who entered the break white-hot, however I’m not going overboard with my Stars exposure tonight as Seguin is my lone Star but I found away to get another high shot volume player into this lineup and the positive goal-scoring regression on his horizon will have me keeping a close eye on Seguin moving forward.
W – Mitch Marner (TOR) – $7,800 vs. NSH
Another All-Star game participant, Marner and Matthews will team up tonight in Nashville where they will skate on the top line and top power play unit together. The duo found almost instant chemistry when first paired together in a Maple Leafs 8-6 win over the Hurricanes several weeks back and they have remained one of the NHL’s most dangerous duos ever since. Marner entered the break with 13 goals and 47 points in 38 games this season to go along with 103 shots on goal in that time. One of the biggest changes we have seen with Keefe over Babcock in Toronto revolves around the usage of his top players. For instance, Marner was often skating fewer than 19 minutes per game under Babcock, but has skated fewer than 20 minutes in just three of his 20 games under Keefe to this point and is seeing upwards of 25 minutes per game, if necessary, these days. That’s the same case with Matthews, meaning we are getting much more ice time with Maple Leafs stacks these days than we were earlier in the season, something to keep in mind. Marner has 10 goals and 18 points in 15 road games this season, so the splits are much more palatable with the talented young winger than with Matthews, but Matthews’ should narrow as the season moves along.
W – Anthony Duclair (OTT) – $4,200 vs. NJ
Now to me, there is some serious value upside here with Duclair who follows a theme in this lineup as yet another All-Star participant as he was one of two representatives of the Senators thanks to a breakout season. The 24-year-old speedster has tallied 21 goals and 33 points in 47 games on the season to go along with a real healthy 133 shots on goal. For comparison, Duclair has already broken his career-high in goals that stood at 20 from the 2015-16 season, but keep in mind he also scored 19 goals between the Sens and Blue Jackets last season including eight goals and 14 points in 21 games with Ottawa. He’s certainly found his home in Canada’s capital and has a lovely matchup on tap tonight. Not only are the Sens a much better offense at home, but the Devils enter this one ranked 27th with 3.68 goals against per game on the road this season and 20th with a 78.4% mark on the penalty kill on the road as well. Duclair is skating on the Senators’ top line and top power play unit and is skating 16:30 a night on the season, not a huge number but a career-high by a mile. Finally, he has 13 goals and 22 points in 23 home games compared to eight goals and 11 points in 24 road games, so we have the splits on our side in a mouth-watering value matchup at home.
W – Brady Tkachuk (OTT) – $5,400 vs. NJ
You got it, yet another All-Star in this lineup tonight as Tkachuk filled in for Auston Matthews to represent the Atlantic Division in his hometown of St. Louis. Brady has enjoyed a quality season in his second year in the league as he’s tallied 15 goals and 27 points in 48 games on the season, but we get another high floor with this pick as he h as fired 170 shots on goal this season to rank eighth in that category league wide. As a result, we not only have three of the top eight shots on goal leaders in this lineup but also the top three shot leaders on this slate which I believe is a nice way to build a floor in cash games to be sure. Of course, the matchup here is quite appetizing against this weak New Jersey Devils team. Unlike Duclair, Tkachuk’s splits are fairly even and he has shot the puck more on the road this season but he also snapped out of a drought with a goal and an assist in his last game before the All-Star break, so perhaps he can build on that effort alongside Duclair to provide us a pair of value contributors at these prices versus their favorable matchup tonight.
W – Carl Hagelin (WSH) – $3,300 vs. MON
It’s not often that you will see me roster a pair of one-off forwards in the same lineup as I believe stacking gives you the best chances at success, however I wanted to get Seguin into the lineup and all I needed to do was find a value play to ensure that it made sense. I think I have found that value play here with Hagelin. The diminutive forward has a nice matchup in Montreal tongiht as the Capitals enter this one ranked second with 3.64 goals per game on the road this season against the Canadiens who rank 28th with 3.19 goals against per game at home this season. However, Hagelin’s value upside should get a big boost in this one tonight. Because he skipped the All-Star festivities, the white-hot Alex Ovechkin will be forced to sit this one out due to the automatic one-game suspension for doing so. As a result, Hagelin should either be promoted to the top line to fill in for Ovechkin alongside Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson or on the second line alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie which could actually give him more upside. While I haven’t seen such a move confirmed, FanDuel seems to think he’s on the second line tonight and I will look for that to be the case and I’ll look for Hagelin to capitalize on his promotion up the depth chart tonight.
D – Tyson Barrie (TOR) – $5,300 vs. NSH
Completing our three-man Maple Leafs stack is Barrie who will skate alongside Matthews and Marner on the team’s top power play unit and will get some 5v5 time with them in this one tonight as well. Under Mike Babcock, Barrie was certainly struggling as he failed to score a goal while he was the head coach, but he’s been unleashed under Sheldon Keefe and has produced more like his old self since that time. In 26 games under Keefe, Barrie has four goals and 16 assists for 20 points in that time while he’s remained a high shot volume player with 127 shots in 49 games this season. Barrie’s goal-scoring is down as he’s scored just four times this season with at least 12 goals in five of his last six seasons, but he’s also carrying a 3.2% shooting percentage that is not only well below his 6.6% mark for his career but would also represent a career-low for the offensive-minded defenseman. Barrie posted a trio of helpers over the Maple Leafs’ final two games prior to the break, but also has a goal and 11 assists for 12 points over his last 12 games. Against a weak Predators defense and as part of a high-octane Maple Leafs offense, I’ll take Barrie to complete what could be an explosive stack tonight.
D – Thomas Chabot (OTT) – $5,700 vs. NJ
Completing another three-man power play and 5v5 stack tonight is Chabot who will skate with Duclair and Tkachuk on that Sens man advantage tonight as part of what should be some big-time minutes. In fact, Chabot is the NHL’s ice time leader this season as his 26:27 of average ice time per game is tops in the NHL, although his production isn’t up to pace of what he did last season. Chabot put his name on the map as a future star in this league – if he wasn’t already – with 14 goals and 55 points in 70 games last season and he also logged a big 24:17 of average ice time as a 21-year-old defenseman. This season, he has four goals and 27 points in 48 games, extremely healthy numbers for a 22-year-old defenseman to be sure despite a slower pace than a season ago. However, I’m not even taking that into consideration tonight simply due to the matchup at hand. I mentioned the favorable matchup above and we don’t need to go into much detail there, but the fact we’re getting a highly skilled blueliner who could play in almost half of this game tonight makes Chabot a lock in this lineup, especially as part of any Senators stack in cash games.
G – Marcus Hogberg (OTT) – $7,300 vs. NJ
There’s two goalies that I have on my radar for this slate tonight and both are cost-efficient netminders that could both fit into this lineup. One is Hogberg and the other is the Sharks’ Aaron Dell, both of who are at home and face weak road offenses. That said, the Senators have proven to be a much better home defense than the Sharks and therefore I would consider Hogberg a better option. He might not fit the bill as a cash goaltender, however he’s been really good of late and has a real nice matchup on tap. In terms of the matchup, he’ll take on a Devils road offense that enters this one ranked 25th with 2.36 goals per game on the season while the Senators have been decent defensively at home in allowing 2.88 goals per game, good for 16th in the league. He’s only appeared in 11 NHL games this season – nine starts – and will bring a solid 2.91 GAA and .907 Sv% into action. However, he’s been better at home with a 2.89 GAA and a .913 Sv% but also fantastic of late in posting a 2.24 GAA and .926 Sv% across four starts and five appearances in the month of January. He’s allowed two goals or fewer in four of five outings in that time, so I’ll look for Hogberg to provide us some value in this home matchup tonight.