NHL Power Plays 1/6/17

With the NHL going through the time of year where teams have bye weeks, the schedule is typically going to be a bit more spread out. That means more Friday slates like tonight where there are six games, rather than three or four as there has been for most of the year.

*Note: All prices are for Fantasy Draft.

Center

Rickard Rakell (ANA) – $13,600

The scoring binge that Rakell has been on so far this year – 16 goals in 29 games – has started to give him some notoriety, but his prowess began last year. In fact, since the start of the 2015-16 season, Rakell has managed 2.03 points per 60 minutes at five-on-five, which is the same rate as Tyler Seguin, and higher than Artemi Panarin.

The lack of total production has been a function of a lack of ice time, but since the start of December, Rakell has been given over 17 minutes a game, which is an improvement. Ryan Getzlaf, the injured star center for Anaheim, did not practice on Thursday, either. If Getzlaf is out again, Rakell should managed more than 17 minutes. With one of the worst teams in Arizona in town, this is a great matchup for him.

Pavel Zacha (NJD) – $7,500

With center Travis Zajac going through an illness right now, the center depth has been shuffled a bit. Of late, rookie pivot Pavel Zacha has been skating on the top line alongside Taylor Hall, which is the best place to be for any forward on this roster.

It is a small sample to work with because we are just halfway through the season, but in over 75 five-on-five minutes skating alongside Hall this year, Zacha has managed nine shots on goal, or about 7.13 shots per 60 minutes. Playing away from Hall, Zacha is managing just 3.68 per 60 minutes. Hall is an elite offensive player, and that makes Zacha a solid value for his price tonight.

Winger

Taylor Hall (NJD) – $13,200

Toronto coming to town on Friday night for New Jersey is a pretty good matchup offensively for the Devils. Sure, Toronto is probably a playoff team, but they also play at a very high pace, which should mean plenty of offensive opportunities for Taylor Hall tonight.

On the season, Hall is averaging over three shots per game, and his 82-game pace is 25 goals and 70 points. He is also averaging over 20 minutes a game, something that is rare from a forward. With such a prominent role on a team that should be playing in a high-paced game, Hall seems like a natural choice for a top-end forward in cash games tonight.

Anders Lee (NYI) – $9,900

For several games now, Anders Lee has been on John Tavares’s left wing both at five-on-five and on the power play. Over the last three and a half seasons, when Lee has Tavares as his center, the winger manages 2.22 points per 60 minutes. Otherwise, Lee manages just 1.54. Having Tavares as a center is good for most any player, but this is a clear case of a center making a winger a much better player.

Going into Colorado is about as good a road matchup as there is in the league; per Corsica Hockey, the Avalanche control just 45.5 percent of adjusted shot attempts at five-on-five at home, while Arizona is neck-and-neck with them at 44.92. For those that don’t want to pay up for Tavares on the road, Lee is the target.

Connor Brown (TOR) – $8,900

For the year, Brown is averaging a little over 15 minutes a game. Over his last six games however, which coincides with his hot streak along with line mate Auston Matthews’s, the winger is averaging 19 minutes and 41 seconds per game. Those games have seen Brown manage 16 shots on goal with at least one shot in every contest. It seems as though coach Mike Babcock has a favourite line at the moment.

Matthews is the most expensive skater on the slate tonight. That means it can be a little prohibitive to use him both in cash games and in tournaments. Rather than using Matthews, a good way for exposure is this winger, who skates with the star rookie both at five-on-five and on the power play.

Defense

Justin Faulk (CAR) – $11,000

Faulk returned on Friday night from injury, but played just under 22 minutes. My one concern with using the blue liner tonight is whether or not they’re going to ease him back into the lineup. That concern, however, is something that may keep is ownership down, as well as the team playing back-to-back nights on the road.

Though Carolina’s opponent for Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks, don’t take many penalties, they are giving up the fifth-most high-danger shot attempts against while short handed. Carolina’s power play isn’t anything special, but Faulk skating on the top unit against such a weak penalty kill brings value tonight. He is definitely not a cash game option, but should carry very low ownership in GPPs.

Nikita Zadorov (COL) – $6,300

There is nothing special offensively with the 21-year-old defenseman at this point, as he’s managed just 24 points in 126 career games. Since the Christmas break, however, he’s averaging over 21 minutes a game, compared to just over 18 minutes a game prior to that. He’s being used much more often, which has helped him block at least one shot in each game since December 27th.

Zadorov is also running the top power-play unit for the Avalanche. Their opponent for Friday, the Islanders, give up the second-most shot attempts while short-handed, which should mean a couple shots for Zadorov tonight. He is a solid cheap option for those that want to save some cap space to pay up for the expensive options tonight.

Goalie

Arizona Coyotes – $13,900

Of all the team-goaltending options for tonight’s slate, the Arizona Coyotes are averaging the fourth-most Fantasy Draft points. They are also the second-cheapest on the slate. The reason for that is the sheer shot volume the Coyotes give up; Arizona gives up nearly 33.5 shots per 60 minutes. Such a shot volume means there is a chance of getting shelled and giving up a lot of goals, but on the nights where just one or two are given up, there is tremendous upside.

*Stats from Hockey Reference, Hockey Analysis, and Natural Stattrick