Last night’s FanDuel lineup was a decent one before the Flyers lit up Martin Jones which essentially ended the evening for us. We got goals from both of our centermen and a marker from Conor Sheary at a low price, however it wasn’t good enough to get into the cash on opening night. Let’s see if we can get a better evening from tonight’s lineup!
C – Evgeni Malkin (PIT) – $8,100 vs. CHI
It may seem odd to target Chicago on an eight-game slate, however with the way their defense is set up I believe they are a vulnerable team. Chicago will roster four bubble NHL defensemen outside of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, and Malkin will be a lot for this group to handle. Despite playing in only 62 games a season ago, Malkin ranked 15th in NHL scoring with 72 points, or 1.16 points per game which ranked fourth in the league. Chicago also had the league’s 24th-ranked penalty kill at just 77.7% last season and Pittsburgh ranked 4th with a 23.1% power play clip. Malkin should do some damage tonight.
C – Ryan Getzlaf (ANH) – $7,600 vs. ARI
Getzlaf is probable to play in tonight’s game, and if he does, he has a fantastic matchup against the visiting Coyotes. Arizona was one of the worst defensive teams in the league last season and should rank near the bottom again this time around. Getzlaf will center the top line next to Corey Perry and Nick Ritchie after recording 73 points in 74 games last season. Perry should have a bounce back season, so let’s ride the Ducks as they take on a Coyotes team that ranked 28th in goals against per game and 27th in penalty killing last season.
W – Corey Perry (ANH) – $6,000 vs. ARI
We are getting Perry at a soft price here on opening night for the Ducks. While he scored just 19 goals last season, Perry scored at least 33 goals in every non-lockout season since the 10’/11’ campaign. In fact, Perry recorded the same amount of shots (215) last season than he did in the previous year where he scored 34 goals, the only difference is his shooting percentage fell to a career-low 8.8% last season. Looking for a big bounce back from the former Hart Trophy winner beginning tonight against the Coyotes.
W – Phil Kessel (PIT) – $7,500 vs. CHI
Kessel is in this lineup for a lot of the same reasons Malkin is. The Blackhawks look extremely shaky on the back end and have been a vulnerable team on the penalty kill. Kessel had yet another productive campaign last season when he scored 23 goals and recorded 70 points, but importantly 30 of those points came on the power play, a number that led the team. Kessel was held off the scoresheet in last night’s season opener, but recorded four shots on goal, well on his way towards the 229 he posted last season.
W – Nick Ritchie (ANH) – $3,600 vs. ARI
After a solid rookie campaign that saw him score 14 goals on 149 shots, Ritchie could take a nice step forward in his sophomore campaign. Playing on the top line and top power play unit alongside Getzlaf and Perry could give Ritchie’s solid numbers from last season a big boost this season. Given the Coyotes’ poor back end and poor penalty kill Ritchie brings plenty of value to the table at a sub-4K price tonight.
W – Bryan Rust (PIT) – $3,800 vs. CHI
Another player who quietly had a nice season last year was Rust who scored 15 goals on 110 shots. While he doesn’t create much offense himself, Rust is able to finish what his linemates Malkin and Kessel give him. He saw short of 14 minutes per game last season, but Rust could see an uptick of ice time this season on a shallower forward group up front for Pittsburgh and on top of second line minutes with Malkin he should see some second unit power play time as well.
*Another option: Pavel Buchnevich (NYR) – $3,300 vs. COL
D – Cam Fowler (ANH) – $5,100 vs. ARI
Fowler scored a career-high 11 goals last season while his 39 points fell one short of the 40 he tallied in his rookie season back in the ‘10/’11 season. His 24:51 average ice time per game was easily the highest of his career as he cemented himself as the team’s number one defenseman. More than a third of his points came with the man advantage last season while his 186 shots on goal blew past his previous career high of 123. He is the quarterback of the team’s top power play group so this four-man stack could be extremely successful with a big night from the Ducks’ big guns.
D – Kevin Shattenkirk (STL) – $5,600 vs. COL
The Rangers are a nice look tonight as they play host to the Colorado Avalanche. Shattenkirk returns home to his native New York and could be in for a nice season atop the Rangers defensive chart alongside Ryan McDonagh. He will certainly take over the first unit power play spot as the lone defenseman of the group. Shattenkirk posted 13 goals last season (eight on the power play) to go along with 43 assists, 161 shots and 95 blocks. He is set for another productive season in Ranger blue, beginning tonight against an Avalanche team that ranked dead last with 3.37 goals against per game last season.
G – Lobin Lehner (BUF) – $7,300 vs. MTL
There are some elite goalies on tonight’s slate, but I will fade the chalk and go all the way down to Robin Lehner. Lehner had a decent season last year, posting a .920 save percentage, a figure that was actually higher than the likes of Corey Crawford at .918. The Sabres will take on a Canadiens team tonight that I expect to struggle offensively this season. Montreal has very little scoring depth up front and scored just 2.46 goals per game on the road last season. He isn’t the safest bet on the board, but he has nice upside in front of what should be an improved Sabres team this season.