NHL Power Plays 10/17/16

Short slates can be a bit of a pain for everyone. The goal of this article is to highlight and summarize the potential plays so we can focus our salary cap resources on a specific set of players. Normally it takes a few weeks before enough hard data and trends surface, however, the meantime there are a few tendencies that can be spotted already.

Monday features just four games with the first ones starting at 7:00 pm ET. The last game of the night starts at 8:00 pm ET (no late games). Let’s take a quick look back at last night’s games so we can begin compiling our player knowledge for this season.

What Went Wrong?

Unfortunately, the life of variance leads to some crazy things. The first thing was Cam Talbot and the Edmonton Oilers who had a night of nightmares. A bunch of dumb penalties and six goals later there was much grimacing. Thankfully, there were several other netminders who performed well including Jaroslav Halak,  Jakob Markstrom and Robin Lehner. Talbot also gave up this goal which will be talked about for some time. Edmonton had crawled back into a tie, but then fell apart allowing four unanswered goals.

What Went Right?

Switching up to a Buffalo stack was not a half bad idea. Plugging in a few of the picks from yesterday certainly did not hurt either. By the way, Ryan O’Reilly has nine points in his last four games versus Edmonton. It was something mentioned later on social media but for some reason it slipped past the editing part of my brain. The goal on Twitter is to always answer questions and add in a few last minute picks. At least, there was that. Onward to the goalie spotlight…

San Jose Sharks @ New York Rangers

Antti Raanta vs. San Jose Sharks

The Sharks are still a bit better on the road than they are at home and those 28 road wins from last year were not a mirage. There are numbers that do not lie though. Last year Raanta almost had an identical save percentage to Lundqvist, even though it  did not feel like it. This is part of the Rangers plan to rest their All-Star goalie which will give their backup a chance to get more game action. On the flipside though it is a tough matchup for Raanta against a San Jose team that has been very unkind to the Rangers over the last couple seasons.

Martin Jones vs. New York Rangers

We found out quite a bit about Mr. Jones last season. Jones held his ground and was able to guide San Jose to within two games of winning the Stanley Cup and in the final round, he was arguably their best player. This was a goalie who won 22 times on the road and had a .925 save percentage away from home. Oddly enough, one of his losses on the road was to this very same Rangers team. Through the first two games, New York has had a little better possession of the puck and they actually held the St. Louis Blues without a shot over the final 21:15 on Saturday in a game they still lost. On a very positive note, New York has fired 35+ shots in both contests at the opposing goalie. If the first line that includes Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad continue to set the tone then Jones will be in for a long night.

Colorado Avalanche @ Pittsburgh Penguins

Colorado plays four times this week.

Calvin Pickard vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Alas the deck is stacked for Pickard as Colorado played some wacky hockey on Saturday. Yes, it is Dallas but Pittsburgh can kill you with as much speed and they play a little defense too. Pickard should expect to see quite a few high danger chances. That third period almost took five years off Semyon Varlamov’s goaltending career. Regardless of Sidney Crosby’s status, Colorado and Pickard will not have it easy tonight or on this road swing for that matter. Pickard is risky, but he can be considered as a differentiation play on sites where his price is depressed.

Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Colorado Avalanche

While Matt Murray has been out, Marc-Andre Fleury has played like Marc-Andre Fleury can. He has given up two goals in each game but faced 45 shots against Washington and 36 shots against Anaheim. The shots and chances are a little worrisome but so far, so good. Colorado is going to play a high tempo game and Fleury will be challenged. There will be many segments of this game that are helter skelter. Fleury will likely be used in quite a few cash games and even scattered GPP’s tonight as the presumption is again he sees the shots.

Ottawa Senators @ Detroit Red Wings

Andrew Hammond vs. Detroit Red Wings

Detroit has been brutal defensively. However, they did just play two of the best teams in the East in Tampa and Florida. They were outscored 10-5 and literally dominated at 5 on 5 play. That being said, Ottawa has not been much better. The Senators gave up four goals to Auston Matthews and needed a shootout to beat Montreal. Hammond can make some timely saves along the way. Detroit can be dangerous on offense at times. With Guy Boucher’s system expected to take considerable time, team defensive lapses are going to be more prevalent than usual. Hammond should expect a heavy workload tonight against a team desperate for their first win. Keep an eye out in case goalie situation changes again before lock.

Petr Mrazek vs. Ottawa Senators

Mrazek may have a case that the Detroit defense is one of the worst in the league. A play can look fine and then suddenly go south in a millisecond. Detroit has allowed ten goals in the first two games and part of it still comes down to coaching and utilization of players. When there is a bigger sample, there will be charts on this. Ottawa can roll nine forwards deep easily and that is not something the Red Wings are prepared to deal with. Mrazek will again have to do some serious acrobatics if Detroit expects to get a win. Expect the unexpected here!

Boston Bruins @ Winnipeg Jets

Tuukka Rask vs Winnipeg Jets

Rask had a bit of a rough start against Columbus, but he steadied himself and ultimately won, allowing only one goal over the final 40 minutes. Winnipeg is another team from the Central Division that can play some fun hockey. Boston can too but the Jets add a physical element with Dustin Byfuglien which most teams cannot always match. The problem Rask may encounter is shot variance with the Jets able to go half a period without registering much of anything on offense and then rattle  have eight shots in four minutes. They feed off their crowd as evidenced by the comeback win over Carolina. Their top six can be considerably off the wall scary.

Connor Hellebuyck vs Boston Bruins

Maybe it was not quite Ondrej Pavelec after all. Granted, two games is an extremely small sample size but Winnipeg did allow four goals in both contests this season. Boston is going to have opportunities. That first Bruins line can create in a hurry. Hellebuyck must be better in containment and positioning. Whether the Jets want to admit it or not, they miss Jacob Trouba. The evidence is on the ice as Dustin Byfuglien and their defensive corps cannot stabilize when needed. This is a goalie still priced just low enough to try in GPP’s but expect to give up a few goals unless something spectacular happens.

Quick Plays (DraftKings pricing is used)

Centers

Mika Zibanejad – $5400- NYR vs SJS

So a Zibanejad-Kreider mini stack could still have some sway as both are priced at about DFS average. In the early season, playing something until it is stopped is prudent. This duo dominated St. Louis on Saturday night much like they did the Islanders last Wednesday. Getting value while one can is paramount so dollars can be allocated to in other positions.

Darren Helm — $3000- DET vs OTT

It is not easy to go with a value play but Detroit’s third line has been its best line. At his low price, Helm can enable one to gain exposure to Thomas Vanek and/or Gustav Nyquist in a cheap stack. This group will likely be up against Ottawa’s bottom pairing defense which is porous to say the least. It is the old adage that Detroit has to bounce back with a little home push…right?

Wingers

Blake Wheeler — $7000- WPG vs BOS

Wheeler loves playing against Boston and sticking it to the Bruins. The Winnipeg winger has taken the captaincy and run with it. That line with Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine is something to watch. Boston and Winnipeg could literally play a track meet tonight. We have seen this before.

David Pastrnak — $5700- BOS vs WPG

Yes, there are other options but as a favor, please here me out. Pastrnak has breakout potential written all over him. He is fast, has great playmaking skills, and most importantly hits the net with his shot. The first two games were not a fluke. By the way, if you think Pastrnak is a little chalky, look at Ryan Spooner as a cheap alternative.

Defensemen

Chris Wideman — $2700- OTT vs DET

Every so often punt plays are needed and Wideman is at least a serviceable one on sites with scoring formats using blocked shots and eschewing +/-  with the understanding that Detroit will give up a few goals and Wideman could very well be involved with an assist. At the worst his floor is about 2-3 DraftKings points at this juncture, but his discounted price tag allows for better stacking in your GPP lineups.

Kris Letang — $6900- PIT vs COL

Let the fun times roll! Letang is going up against a Colorado team that is starting their backup goalie and with a defensive system that is already in flux. The Avs gave up eight high danger scoring chances to Dallas, allowing the Starts to net five goals and Pittsburgh is a far superior team. A contrarian play would be Tyson Barrie since again +/- does not matter. Letang has been solid through two games,  but a breakout performance could occur in this prime matchup.

Goalies

Petr Mrazek — $7700- DET vs OTT

The trip Florida road trip was a nightmare for Mrazek and the Redwings who were outscored 10 to 5 by the Panthers and the Lightening with Mrazek allowing eight goals.  Until he settles down, he is just a high risk tournament play.  Detroit is on their home ice tonight for their season debut in Joe Louis Arena where they have won five of their last six home openers.

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There will be lots more on Twitter as always. Do not be afraid to ask the tough or the easy questions. You can follow me @ChrisWasselDFS and good luck tonight!