NHL Power Plays 11/25/16

Black Friday is a split slate in the NHL, with five games on the early docket, and five games late. These options are for the five-game late slate. Please pay attention to lineups and injuries before locking in your lineup and leaving.

This Friday night slate features a lot of obvious options: Edmonton is on the road facing one of the worst teams in the NHL by almost any measure, while Dallas is at home to another lottery pick team. Readers don’t need someone to tell them that Connor McDavid or Tyler Seguin are good options tonight. That is a waste of time. This column, then, will cover some less obvious selections.

Note: All prices and positions are for FanDuel.

Center

Leon Draisaitl (EDM) – $5,500

In quiet fashion so far this year, Draisaitl has out-paced his breakout 2015-16 season on a points per game mark, 0.76 to 0.71. A lot of this is due to power play production, with five goals on the man advantage this season.

The issue with Draisaitl is that he doesn’t shoot a lot, taking under two shots a game on the season. That means he’s more of a tournament option than a cash game option. However a lot of the ownership from this game will go to McDavid’s line, and rightly so, but Arizona is allowing the seventh-most shot attempts on the penalty kill. They don’t take many penalties, but don’t effectively kill the ones they do take. Draisaitl is on the top power-play unit, which is where his appeal comes from tonight.

Patrice Bergeron (BOS) – $6,700

Boston played last night, but on a small slate, and in a good matchup, it’ll be hard to fade them. I would focus on the top line, and specifically Patrice Bergeron.

Bergeron is shooting 4.7 percent on the year, which is absurdly low. His previous three years saw an average total of 11.2 percent, which means he’s going to be in for a substantial rebound. The key here is that according to Corsica Hockey, his average shot distance at five-on-five is under 28 feet. In his two recent 30-goal seasons, that average was over 30 feet. With his four shots per game, he’s ready to go on a scoring binge.

Calgary is one of the most penalized teams in the NHL, and Bergeron should avoid the checking line of Mikael Backlund a fair amount tonight. For those wanting to spend down a bit at center tonight, Bergeron is the target.

Winger

Matthew Tkachuk (CGY) – $3,700

With all the expensive options in play tonight, it’ll be necessary to save somewhere. One of the wing punt options tonight is Tkachuk.

Johnny Gaudreau’s injury opened up a spot in Calgary’s top-six forward mix for Tkachuk. The rookie is averaging just over 14 minutes of ice time per game on the season, but since the injury to Gaudreau, he’s averaging nearly 17:30 per game. That boost in ice time is part of the reason for targeting him tonight, as guys that cheap with that much ice time are few and far between.

Calgary’s second line, where this budding star is featured, shouldn’t see much of the Patrice Bergeron line tonight, which is good news matchup-wise. Also, he’s on the second power play forward group, and Boston is next to Calgary in time spent while short-handed as well. I suspect there won’t be much ownership on him tonight, and using this punt option helps open the top options for tournaments.

Patrick Eaves (DAL) – $5,700

UPDATED WITH Eaves being moved back the top line for Dallas would normally mean he can be avoided now. For those wanting to avoid the high prices of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, this is the player to look for.

The Dallas top line will have a lot of ownership tonight given the home matchup against Vancouver, but typically, Eaves is a little lower than his line mates. He should still skate on the top power play forward group for the Stars as well, which is an added bonus, although for all their issues, Vancouver is allowing the fewest shot attempts against while shorthanded.

Though they will be popular, it is hard to get away from the top Stars options tonight given a matchup against a Vancouver team that ranks in the bottom-10 in adjusted shot differential. According to Puckalytics, the Stars generate over 67 shot attempts per 60 minutes of five-on-five play when Eaves, Seguin, and Benn are on the ice, which is an increase of about 7.5 percent than when Benn or Seguin are away from Eaves. He should carry a fairly high ownership, but given his slotting, price, and matchup, it’s hard to avoid Eaves tonight.

Vancouver is a team that is almost always avoidable. With that caveat out of the way, Sutter is playing with Sedin twins both at five-on-five and on the power play. If there were a player to use from the Canucks, it’s him.

There are three factors here. First, Sutter is seeing a lot of ice time – he has played at least 20 minutes in each of the last three games. Second, partly because of the ice time, the 27-year-old is averaging a career-high 2.6 shots per game. Third, Dallas has a bottom-10 penalty kill by shot attempts allowed, and a bottom-10 team defence by shot attempts allowed as well.

Kind of like Draisaitl, Sutter makes a good one-off play to help differentiate a bit in tournaments. I would not use him in cash games, but this will be a low-owned option getting loads of ice time in a price situation and matchup.

Defense

Anthony DeAngelo (ARI) – $3,600

Since his recall from the minor leagues, DeAngelo is averaging nearly three shots-plus-blocked-shots per game, and has five points in seven contests. It’s a good start to his career.

The first round pick from 2014 is also in a good situation offensively, playing on the power play with Oliver Ekman-Larsson. If the Oilers have a glaring weakness, it’s their penalty kill, which allows the fifth-most shot attempts per minute.

Tonight seems like a good night to spend down on the blue line in order to access high-priced forwards. DeAngelo is the perfect target for that strategy.

Ryan Sproul (DET) – $3,600

Another young defenseman that has impressed early is Ryan Sproul, as he’s managed five points in nine games so far. To boot, he’s managing over two shots on goal per game, which helps his cause for cash game purposes.

This should be a low-scoring game, at least according to the total goals expected from Vegas odds, so it’s fair to avoid skaters from both the Devils and Red Wings tonight. The main reason to use Sproul is he won’t carry any ownership, and is facing a team that has a middling penalty kill by shot attempts against.

Goalie

Chad Johnson (CGY) – $7,700

The idea for using Johnson tonight is to find a goalie that won’t be widely owned. For DFS players that want to play it safe in net, Cam Talbot or Ben Bishop would be the better targets. For those that want to save in net, and get a goalie that should not carry much ownership, Johnson is the option, as he should be starting against a Boston team that played on the road on Thanksgiving night.

Calgary isn’t necessarily a bad team – they had bad goaltending from Brian Elliott that made this team look bad. In fact, their adjusted shot differential percentages are slightly ahead of teams like Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and Nashville. The Flames’ penalty kill is an issue, which is a big reason why Johnson carries a lot of risk tonight. For DFSers that are aware of that risk, and want to go for the low-owned option that is about $1,500 cheaper than the top options tonight, Johnson is the guy.