It was a pretty poor night for my FanDuel NHL picks last night as neither the Boston nor Tampa Bay stacks paid off as both teams combined for just three goals on the night. It makes no sense to dwell on one of the poorest nights of the season so let’s move onto tonight’s tiny two-game slate.
C – Connor McDavid (EDM) – $9,300 vs. NJ
McDavid and the Oilers continue to struggle both in winning games and scoring goals, but this simply isn’t going to last. While Edmonton ranks dead last by a full percent with a 5.8% shooting percentage, they rank first in the league with 37.6 shots per game. There is huge regression to be had with the Oilers, so let’s roll with a somewhat contrarian Oilers’ stack here. McDavid has handled himself well despite his team’s offensive struggles with five goals, 13 points and 42 shots on goal across his 11 games on the season.
C – Rickard Rakell (ANH) – $6,700 vs. NSH
With both Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler out with injuries, Rakell is logging big time minutes and is easily Anaheim’s top centerman at the moment. He has skated over 20 minutes in six of his last eight contests and enters play tonight with five goals on 34 shots across 12 games on the season. I don’t expect a whole lot of scoring from the injury-depleted Ducks tonight, but I do believe whatever scoring they do get, Rakell will be in on.
W – Drake Caggiula (EDM) – $3,400 vs. NJ
Here is where the Oilers’ stack gets contrarian. While Caggiula will likely skate on the third line tonight, he has been promoted to the team’s top power play unit which means he plays alongside McDavid with the man advantage. Despite not having tallied a single point in six games this season, Caggiula is coming off his best game where he skated over 18 minutes and recorded five shots on goal in Wednesday’s loss to the Penguins. He is cheap and has plenty of upside tonight alongside McDavid on the power play.
W – Mark Letestu (EDM) – $3,700 vs. NJ
Very similar reasoning here with Letestu. He actually skates on the fourth line at even strength for the Oilers, but like Caggiula, Letestu will see first unit power play minutes with McDavid. He has two goals in 11 games this season on 22 shots, but Letestu was lethal on the power play with 11 power play tallies last season. He is always in head coach Todd Mclellan’s good books due to his variety of skills to help the team and is a staple atop Edmonton’s power play depth chart.
W – Filip Forsberg (NSH) – $8,400 vs. ANH
Not a big surprise here as Forsberg is probably the top goal scorer on this slate tonight. He has recorded eight goals in 12 games on the season, five of which have come on the Predators’ power play. He has taken 32 shots in those 12 games and continually pushes the 20-minute ice time mark every night out. The Ducks are without their top defenseman in Cam Fowler and goaltender John Gibson has yielded ten goals over his last three contests.
W – Scott Hartnell (NSH) – $3,400 vs. ANH
Hartnell burst out of the gates with three goals on nine shots in his first three games since returning to the Predators, but he has been held scoreless in nine games since. Still, Hartnell is seeing second line minutes and first unit power play minutes for the Predators, the latter of which will come next to the aforementioned Forsberg. Playing with a player who has already recorded five power play tallies gives Hartnell plenty of value at a near-minimum price tonight.
D – Oscar Klefbom (EDM) – $5,400 vs. NJ
As mentioned in an articles earlier this week, Klefbom provides an extremely solid floor thanks to his contributions in the shots/blocks categories. He enters play tonight with 37 shots on goal and 31 blocks in just 11 games this season. Also, keep in mind Klefbom scored 12 goals last season, had 19 power play points and cracked the 200-shot barrier with 201 shots on goal. He is well on his way to another 200-shot season and he will start seeing the points rack up imminently.
D – P.K. Subban (NSH) – $5,900 vs. ANH
If the Oilers and Predators can have big nights on special teams tonight this lineup is going to do very well. Subban and Roman Josi both play on the Predators’ top power play group as Subban completes our three-man first unit power play Predators stack. He has just one goal in 12 games this season, but also has eight helpers, six of which have come on the power play. He’s not afraid to shoot the puck either with 29 shots on the season as he continues to log monster minutes on the Preds’ blueline.
G – Pekka Rinne (NSH) – $8,500 vs. ANH
I was tempted to go with Cam Talbot in this spot but I thought it was better to go with a four-man Oilers’ stack and use Rinne against the depleted Ducks tonight. Besides, Rinne is enjoying an excellent season as evidenced by his .931 save percentage has allowed one goal or less in four if his nine starts on the season. Anaheim’s injury-riddled offense looked poor in their 3-1 loss to a bad Toronto defense on Wednesday and will face a much stiffer test against one of the league’s best defense/goaltender combinations tonight.