NHL Power Plays – 3/10/17

It is a five-game slate in the NHL on Friday night, but features a lot of high-end options with eight skaters priced $15,000 or above.

Note: All pricing is for FantasyDraft.

Center

Ivan Barbashev (St. Louis) – $5,500

Keep an eye on updates throughout the day because this is a fluid situation, but in Thursday’s practice, Jaden Schwartz was absent, and Barbashev took his spot on the top line. Skating with Paul Stastny and Vladimir Tarasenko is a great spot for the rookie to flourish.

Arguably the top forward prospect the Blues have, the 21-year-old has not always been able to stay in the NHL lineup this season. All the same, he managed 37 points in 46 games in the American Hockey League this year, and looks to be in a prime position to succeed tonight. There are several top-tier options on the slate tonight, and the pittance to be paid for this center allows a lot of freedom with roster construction.

Jack Eichel (Buffalo) – $15,100

As currently constructed, the second line from Columbus is arguably their weakest defensive line, allowing 9.8 adjusted scoring chances per 60 minutes of five-on-five play. For reference, the New York Islanders are allowing the second-most scoring chances per 60 minutes in the league as a team, and their number is 9.5. With no prior history this season to go on, it is an educated guess that this line will match up against Eichel and his line mates. The second-year center is averaging over four shots per game, and should see some good in-game matchups. He makes a nice pivot to get away from the high ownership of the elite centers in the Pittsburgh-Edmonton game.

Winger

Oliver Bjorkstrand (Columbus) – $7,900

It is no secret that targeting against the Buffalo penalty kill should be a consideration nearly every game they play, and tonight is no exception. On the season, Buffalo is allowing the most shot attempts, second-most scoring chances, and most high-danger shot attempts per minute while short-handed. Bjorkstrand has been promoted to the top power-play unit for the Blue Jackets, replacing Sam Gagner. He is also the cheapest option on the entire unit, and skates on the top line with Alex Wennberg at even strength. For his price, Bjorkstrand is hard to fade in any format.

Carl Hagelin (Pittsburgh) – $7,900

Over the last two seasons, the line of Hagelin, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel have been dominant at even strength. In over 263 minutes together, they control nearly 57 percent of the shots, and generate over 65 per 60 minutes. Those are elite totals. Going into Edmonton, they should avoid the Connor McDavid line for the most part, and the depth lines for the Oilers give up more shots than the first line does. There will be significant ownership on the expensive options for the Penguins, which makes the Swedish winger the ideal exposure option for those looking to fade high ownership rates.

Reilly Smith (Florida) – $8,800

The Panthers have been struggling to score lately, managing two or fewer goals in six straight games. This has given way to line changes, and Smith being slotted on the top line with Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr.

Minnesota is in town for this game, playing their second game in as many nights. In nine games this year on the second night of a back-to-back, the Wild are averaging over 33 shots against, and have allowed at least 32 in eight of them. Darcy Kuemper is likely in goal for the Wild, and he’s a significant downgrade from Devan Dubnyk. Smith is not an option for cash games because he is not a player who shoots frequently, but in tournaments, he should be targeted along with his line mates.

Defense

Oscar Klefbom (Edmonton) – $10,900

As the season has progressed, the Penguins penalty kill has been steadily declining. In fact, over their previous 25 games, the Penguins have been giving up more shot attempts per minute while short-handed than teams like Dallas and Winnipeg. That is very good news for the top Edmonton power play, specifically Oscar Klefbom. The 23-year-old is tied for the second-most shots generated while on the man advantage, and is the lone defenseman on that unit.

Michael Matheson (Florida) – $6,500

The consistency that Matheson can provide at this price is important for fantasy owners. Through shots and blocked shots alone, Matheson has put up at least six FantasyDraft points in 14 of 15 games since the All-Star break. On the season, he is averaging about 3.7 shots-plus-blocked-shots per game, which is a very good number at such a low cost. For those DFSers looking for reliable salary relief in cash games, this is the target.

Team Goaltending

Florida Panthers – $14,300

The assumption here is that James Reimer will be starting for the Panthers.

This yea, Reimer’s save percentage at five-on-five is .935. That number puts him in the same range as goalies like Matt Murray and Sergei Bobrovsky. The one problem has been his save percentage on the penalty kill, but by measures like shots and scoring chances generated, the Wild are a mid-tier team on the power play. With Minnesota on a back-to-back starting their backup goalie, it lowers their win probability as well. Given how cheap the Panthers team goaltending is, they are a great target for those looking to save some cap space.