Welcome to this week’s Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy BOMB featuring the hottest night in hockey!
Each week, DFR breaks down the Saturday NHL matchups with top picks, sleepers, and everything you need to draft the perfect lineup.
If you’re new to the NHL, or if you’re going through some NBA withdrawal, this is a great place to get some insight into daily fantasy hockey, as resident NHL guru @pete_elias takes a look at all the games on tap and helps you build your team. Try out the daily NHL freeroll on DraftKings or jump into a FanThrowdown tournament today!
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Florida Panthers
Tampa Bay can’t do much right these days after starting out as one of the better teams in the league. The Atlantic Division did a number on them recently, and the snow-out of their game in Boston might have been a blessing in disguise. Florida has had a couple of tough OT losses lately, even as they’ve managed to put up a bunch of goals. Someone is potentially getting a slump-busting W here.
Puck Play #1 – St. Louis and Stamkos always stand out, but Vincent Lecavalier has dipped into the fountain of youth and looks like the player he was a few years ago. He’s also going to come cheaper than those other two teammates of his. Teddy Purcell is also continuing to be a nice play at a lesser price than his fellow Bolts.
Puck Play #2 – For the Panthers, I’m looking at winger Tomas Fleischmann and young center Drew Shore. Anyone on this team is going to come with a small fee these days, and they’re consistently getting the most shots at the net right now. Assists and goals only come when someone takes a shot.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Montreal Canadiens
Overall, the Canadiens are playing pretty well since the season started; they’re just looking at a poor division standing because the other teams there have played even better. The Flyers look slightly better than they did early on, but in that beast of a division it’s not enough, and they’ve still disappointed more often than not.
Puck Play #1 – Winger Jakub Voracek is a nice play here, especially for assist help, picking up 7 points in his last 6 games. Defensive teammate Kimmo Timonen is someone to look at too, picking up 6 points in his last 6 and getting the ever valuable power play time too.
Puck Play #2 – P.K. Subban is going to be a little more expensive than some, but he’s worth it, proving so in his short time already this season. I’m also fond of teammate Andrei Markov, another defenseman. 10 points on the year is nice, but yet again, his increased ice time on the power play really catches my eye.
New Jersey Devils @ New York Islanders
Those poor fish sticks on the Island. The top picks they’ve gathered over the years have equaled some nice offensive production, but it’s not enough, especially with a total lack of tough defensive play and goaltending. The Devils, on the other hand, don’t make headlines for anything, yet again there they sit atop the standings. The Islanders should try hiring away from Jersey’s front office first instead of looking for immediate on-ice help.
Puck Play #1 – Even though it’s a bit of a “rivalry” game that can be tough, these two teams are playing so differently I’m not worried about it. I’m loading up on Devils. Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias are veterans you should continue to play, but I love David Clarkson and Andy Greene to continue their scorching ways. I can even see blueliner Marek Zidlicky sneaking in with an assist in this one.
Puck Play #2 – Because it’s not as busy as normal this Saturday, I’m still going to try and pick at least one guy from each team. As I said before, the Isles can still score. John Tavares’ price tag has come down a bit, and for an all-world talent it might be worth a shot. Also love looking the way of Lubomir Visnovsky as another defensive choice. He’s all about playing offensive hockey, he’s contributing, and he’s earning more and more ice time. Look at him here and going forward.
Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Ottawa is hurting. Their top offensive playmaker in Jason Spezza has missed most of the season, and wunderkind Erik Karlsson got his Achilles sliced in one of the nastier sports injuries one can endure. Toronto has really played well in the last couple of weeks, and I see that continuing here.
Puck Play #1 – OK, so I lied when I said I would choose at least one player from each team. I just don’t see anyone stepping up for the Senators at this point, at least not someone on whom I’m comfortable enough using a starting spot.
Puck Play #2 – All-Star Phill Kessel is starting to get a rhythm going and could see the assists turn into goals in this one. James van Riemsdyk is all about streaks, and he’s in the middle of a hotter one right now. I think it continues for at least one more game here. An arguably better value option than those two though is Nazem Kadri who is quietly, and cheaply for you, putting together a nice season so far.
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Phoenix Coyotes
While Columbus can claim they just beat a good Sharks squad, San Jose has been floundering of late, and Columbus didn’t do anything before that. The Coyotes on the other hand are really finding their legs and looking more and more like the playoff team they have been recently.
Puck Play #1 – Brandon Dubinsky, who was once very highly touted in the Rangers organization, looks as though he’s finally getting comfortable in Columbus. He’s a cheap play with former top-prospect talent, and he’s putting it together lately.
Puck Play #2 – I finally get to talk about a goalie! Mike Smith is turning back into his All-Star self and is one of my goalie plays of the day, with a 4-1 record and a 1.90 GAA in the last month before his loss on Thursday. Start with confidence.
Anaheim Ducks @ Nashville Predators
The Ducks all of a sudden look like true Cup contenders, with solid play coming in all areas of the game. The Predators’ only hope has been stellar play from goalie Pekka Rinne, but he’s good enough that they’re staying afloat – for now.
Puck Play #1 – From one ageless wonder to an even more ageless wonder, Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne are playing way younger than their respective birth certificates. Don’t see it changing here. Also watch the goalie situation – if Viktor Fasth gets the start, play with high confidence. Be careful though, Jonas Hiller could be making his return from injury and start this one instead.
Puck Play #2 – No one has stepped up for Nashville, including and especially Shea Weber. He won’t be invisible all season, but I’m still staying away from him until I see something. Pekka Rinne is still great enough to start if your roster shakes up that way, no matter who he plays against. Just like in the playoffs, a fantastic/hot goalie wins 9 times out of 10.
Colorado Avalanche @ Edmonton Oilers
Both teams have defined inconsistency this season, but the youngsters in Edmonton have shown more to me to say they have the edge in this one, especially with Colorado only winning once on the road this year.
Puck Play #1 - Alright, here’s another team that just hasn’t shown me enough, especially going into this match up, for me to risk trying to plug someone into my lineup. Staying away from the Avs here.
Puck Play #2 – Goalie Devan Dubnyk has looked solid if not spectacular this year, with most blemishes on his numbers coming from failures in front of him by teammates. I think he stands up well here, especially as a cheaper option than the other netminders mentioned earlier. The Oilers’ offense has been pretty spread out with no huge breakouts of late, so trying to pick someone here to do well is a real game of chance. Ales Hemsky will score, because I said so and he listens to me.