I mentioned last Thursday that the 13-game slate that night would be the busiest you will see all year. Well, perhaps I should have glanced at tonight’s slate first as we have an even larger, 14-game slate on our hands. 28 of 30 NHL teams are in action this evening which makes for a very intriguing night of NHL DFS action. With plenty of choice on the draft board let’s see what kind of lineup can earn us some profits to kick off the unofficial second half of the season.
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C – Sidney Crosby (PIT) – $8,300
The most expensive skater on the draft board, Crosby always makes for a mouth-watering play on home ice. Not only do the Penguins score 3.54 goals per game to lead the NHL, they also score an even four goals per game on home ice. Crosby is the obvious leader of this team and offense as his 28 goals paces all NHLers. His 55 points is second only to Connor McDavid, however Crosby has played in nine less games, so expect this guy to be leading the league in scoring soon. The Penguins also have a power play that clicks at 27.3% on home ice, so needless to say Crosby is once again an attractive play this evening.
C – Jason Spezza (DAL) – $4,900
Spezza and his Stars teammates are enduring a tough season when you look at the standings, however the veteran pivot makes for an intriguing play tonight against the visiting Maple Leafs. Toronto has actually been dynamite on the road lately, having earned points in 11 straight road games before losing 2-1 to the Flyers in their last game prior to the All-Star break. However, Spezza has scored 57 points in 60 career games against the Maple Leafs and will skate next to Tyler Seguin at both even strength and on the power play. Truth be told, this was the last spot I filled in on my roster and I was happy to be able to grab a center of Spezza’s caliber despite a tough Maple Leafs team visiting Dallas this evening.
W – Corey Perry (ANH) – $6,500
I have been on the Perry bandwagon all season despite his struggles to score goals and I will remain there for at least one more night. Perry has scored at least 33 goals in each of the last five full NHL seasons and the fact that he has just nine through 51 games this season is mind boggling. Career norms are a huge factor in predicting breakouts and the fact that Perry’s current shooting percentage of 6.3% is miles under his career 13.2% is a massive indication he is going to bust out on a scoring spree, and soon. What better opportunity than a home date against the NHL’s worst team as the Avalanche and their 3.37 goals against per game (last) visit the Ducks this evening.
W – Rickard Rakell (ANH) – $6,300
Perhaps Rickard Rakell is stealing too many of Perry’s goals. Rakell enters tonight’s game with an even 20 goals on the season. That is even more impressive given the fact he has played in just 40 games thanks to an offseason appendectomy that cost him the first few weeks of the season. Rakell is a breakout fantasy stud that is certainly worthy of his spot on the top line next to Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. I am certainly banking on a Ducks stack tonight with the top line doing a lot of damage. They also skate together on the team’s top power play unit, a group that clicks at 22.5% on home ice, the 6th best home power play in the league.
W – Conor Sheary (PIT) – $6,100
Speaking of home power plays, the Penguins own the league’s second best unit at 27.3%, and Sheary will be a part of that group tonight as Evgeni Malkin will miss tonight’s matchup against the Predators. Sheary has been on fire lately, having scored two goals in three of his last six games. He is shooting the puck a ton right now and his confidence as an NHL player has never been so high. I wonder if playing next to Sidney Crosby in all situations has something to do with that.
D -Sami Vatanen (ANH) – $4,100
It was a tough decision to go with Vatanen here over his partner Cam Fowler, however cost factored in. It’s not like Vatanen is any slouch either has he plays over 22 minutes per game while playing on the first pairing and the first power play unit as well. He has 17 points, 65 shots and 93 blocked shots through 47 games this season. As mentioned, I am big fan of a Ducks stack tonight and either Vatanen or Fowler needs to be a part of that.
D – Stephen Johns (DAL) – $3,000
Tonight’s value play on the back end, Johns has some quality peripheral stats and is a solid play at this price. He does have eight points in 36 games this season, however he also has 52 shots and 71 blocked shots as well. He doesn’t see a whole lot of power play time, however defensemen in this price range do not provide those kind of secondary stats like Johns does.
G – James Reimer (FLA) – $7,100
I went with some more value in goal tonight to ensure a strong lineup up front, however a closer look reveals Reimer has a solid matchup tonight at home against the Senators. He is coming off of a 31-save effort in a 2-1 victory over the Lightning prior to the break and has a .925 save percentage in eight home starts this season. He also has a .924 career save percentage against the Senators in 19 games played. He makes for an attractive value play in the crease this evening.
UTIL – Artturi Lehkonen (MTL) – $3,700
Lehkonen has benefited from some injuries to the Canadiens’ forward group as he continues to see second line ice time as well as second unit power play minutes. He has an impressive 11 goals on the season while throwing 83 pucks on net in 41 games. Montreal scores 3.44 goals per game at home and have scored the third most home goals in the NHL. The lowly Sabres visit the Bell Centre tonight, a group that yields 3.04 goals per game on the road.