NHL Power Plays 1/20/17
Friday night is a somewhat short six-game slate, but it features a lot of star-power. There are still good bargain options however, which will be the focus of most of this article.
Note: Pricing used is for Fantasy Draft.
Sam Reinhart (BUF) – $9,800
After some lineup experimenting, Buffalo’s coaching staff has gone back to the combination of Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart on the second line. This is a good thing for Reinhart, and the Sabres, as the team generates 59.5 shot attempts per 60 minutes when the two are on the ice together, a number that drops off considerably when they play apart. Reinhart is also seeing more ice time of late, having played at least 18 minutes in five of his last six games, and at least 17 minutes in every game since the Christmas break.
Frank Vatrano (BOS) – $9,300
Even though he’s coming off a two-goal game, the big news for Vatrano is that he was slotted on the top line for Boston in their most recent game, playing on Patrice Bergeron’s right wing. The duo of Bergeron and Brad Marchand have been prolific in recent seasons, both ranking among the top three forwards over the last two and a half seasons in shot attempts generated relative to their team, per Corsica Hockey. Vatrano, meanwhile, leads the Bruins in shots per minute over the last two seasons, and by a wide margin. A winger who likes to shoot playing with two forwards who are among the league leaders in generating offense – that’s a great fantasy combination.
Gustav Nyquist (DET) – $9,600
It was a brutal first half of the season for Nyquist, who shot just 4.5 percent on 88 shots, a steep drop from 14.1 percent he shot over the three previous seasons. His luck is starting to turn a bit, though, as he’s managed three goals in his last four games. More importantly for Friday’s game, however, is he is on the top power-play unit for the Red Wings, and they face a team that gives up the most shot attempts and scoring chances while short-handed.
Phillip Danault (MON) – $9,200
Despite being listed as a winger, Danault is back to a spot where he had been frequently until Alex Galchenyuk returned from injury; centering the top line. That means skating between Max Pacioretty and Alex Radulov.
Ultimately, the Habs would probably like to have Galchenyuk on the top line, but there’s no denying how good Danault and Pacioretty have been together this year, as the Habs generate about 13 percent more shot attempts when they’re together than when Danault skates with anyone else, and about 9.5 percent when Pacioretty skates with anyone else. For those that want to avoid paying up for Pacioretty tonight, this is the exposure alternative.
Patric Hornqvist (PIT) – $12,600
The aspect of Hornqvist’s game that is crucial for fantasy value is his shot volume; he is one of only five forwards in the league to average at least three and a half shots per game this season. The problem is typically his shooting percentage, and the 2016-17 campaign is no exception. The upside for Friday night is going into Carolina, Hornqvist gets to shoot on Cam Ward. Ward is well below league-average in five-on-five save percentage at .917, slightly better than his three-year average of .916. In other words, Hornqvist gets to shoot on one of the worst goalies in the league. With the price of the upper-tier options from the Penguins being two of the four most-expensive options on this slate, there are ways to get exposure to the best offense in the league without paying an exorbitant price. This Swede is one such way.
Aaron Ekblad (FLA) – $8,700
Considering the floor he can provide – roughly four shots-plus-blocked-shots per game – Ekblad is one of the better bargains on FantasyDraft. Ekblad is third in shots per minute among NHL defensemen, trailing only Dougie Hamilton and Brent Burns, which is always nice to see in a fantasy option. Though Florida’s opponent, Vancouver, is a team that slows the game down, which results in the team being near the middle of the league in shots against, the determining factor here is Ekblad’s cost. For the floor that he can provide at the price for this game, he’s hard to ignore in cash contests.
Justin Faulk (CAR) – $10,900
The Pittsburgh Penguins are a phenomenal hockey team, but they are a team that plays at a very high pace. That high pace means they give up nearly as many shots per 60 minutes (31.74) as the Colorado Avalanche (32.06). They have the talent to out-score the other team, which is fine, a win is a win. But it can also lead to a lot of goals against, as they give up more per game than the Islanders. That makes this home game a good matchup for Faulk, who is averaging over three shots per game himself.
Florida Panthers ($14,200)
Roberto Luongo will start for Florida.
Like Ekblad, this is a lot about the cost, but also the situation. Florida’s team goaltending is the second-cheapest on this slate, yet they are facing a team that ranks in the bottom-third in the league in goals per game. On a night that features names like Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jack Eichel, there will need to be money saved somewhere. Grabbing cheap goaltending facing an offensively-inept team is a good way to save a couple of thousand on this slate.