Last night was a nice rebound night! Brad Marchand, Ryan Getzlaf and Morgan Rielly led the way in terms of skaters, but the real MVP was goaltender Mike Smith. Smith carried a shutout late into the second period, and despite giving up three goals in regulation, made 42 saves en route to a Flames 4-3 OT win. Keep an eye on Smith moving forward as he is set up nicely for a big season in front of an improved Flames team. Let’s make it back-to-back solid night on tonight’s seven-game slate!
C – Steven Stamkos (TB) – $8,200 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 – Devin Shore (DAL) – $3,400 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 center 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.
W – Nikita Kucherov (TB) – $8,300 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) – $4,800 vs. PIT
Due to his price and 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 – Jamie Benn (DAL) – $7,700 vs. NSH
While they don’t skate together at even strength, Benn and Shore could be a powerful combination on the Stars’ potent power play. Benn hasn’t been able to find the back of the net through three contests this season, but he has still fired 11 shots on goal after cracking the 200-shot barrier last season. As long as he is healthy, it’s only a matter of time before Benn finds twine and perhaps a meeting with the Preds who have surrendered 4.33 goals per game this season could help kickstart his production.
W – Mikkel Boedker (SJ) – $3,600 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.
D – Victor Hedman (TB) – $6,300 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) – $4,600 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) – $7,900 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.