NHL Power Plays 3/31/17
FanVice Player Capsule March 31
It is a healthy seven-game slate in the NHL on Friday night, providing us daily fantasy players with a larger player pool than normal. There are a lot of high-end players mixed in those games as well, so finding good, cheaper options will be important.
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Tanner Kero (Chicago) – $7,800
With Artem Anisimov still out of the lineup, it appears as though Kero has found a home on Patrick Kane’s line, between the talented right winger and Artemi Panarin. He has been on that for just two games, but in that time, he’s averaging about a minute and a half more ice time per game than he had been on the season. He is not much of a volume shooter, so using him in cash games isn’t ideal here, but in a home matchup against a Columbus team playing their second game in as many nights, he’s fine for tournaments.
Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington) – $12,000
The Caps are in Arizona tonight, and with the Coyotes at, or near, the bottom of virtually every defensive metric, be it five-on-five or the penalty kill, it’s clearly a great matchup. That should drive a lot of ownership to Washington’s top line, which has had some big games over the last couple of weeks. Skating on the second line, Kuznetsov should have much lower ownership than guys like Nicklas Backstrom or Alex Ovechkin. He will also avoid the Oliver Ekman-Larsson matchup, and that very leaves soft competition for the Russian center.
Pavel Buchnevich (NY Rangers) – $7,500
Though the Penguins are starting to get some of their healthy players back, they are still missing a considerable portion of their lineup, namely Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin. In the two-plus weeks without Malkin and Letang, Pittsburgh is allowing more adjusted shot attempts per minute than teams like Buffalo and Vancouver. Buchnevich has been inserted into the lineup, and on the second line with Mika Zibanejad and Rick Nash. Even if this line is used against the Crosby line, his price makes him an easy target against a team that is limping along at the moment.
Micheal Ferland (Calgary) – $7,400
Being in a home matchup against a team playing back-to-back nights on the road is a good situation for any squad. San Jose will again be without Logan Couture, which leaves their team a bit thin down the middle after Joe Thornton. That is good news for the line of Ferland, Johnny Gaudreau, and Sean Monahan as they should see plenty of depth matchups in this game because it’s typically the Mikael Backlund line taking the tougher assignments. For those wanting a piece of that line but not paying a top price, Ferland is the option.
Tanner Pearson (Los Angeles) – $10,300
The exact line combinations for the Kings may not be known until late in the afternoon, as their last game featured 12 power plays so there was a lot of mix-and-matching at five-on-five. All the same, the majority of Pearson’s ice time over the last few games has come playing with either Jeff Carter or Anze Kopitar, so it’s clear he’s going to be in the top-six forward mix. He is also second among their regular forwards this season in shots per minute, facing a team in Vancouver allowing the fourth-most shot attempts per minute this month.
Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis) – $12,000
Since the trade of Kevin Shattenkirk at the end of February, Pietrangelo is earning about 1:40 more ice time per game. That exchange has led to an increase in shots per game (2.1 to 2.67), nearly two blocked shots per game (1.87), and opportunity on the top power-play unit. Going into Colorado – a team that is in the mix for worst of the century – is obviously a great matchup. He will carry a fair amount of ownership, so be wary of that in tournaments. Given the positive change in situation, which is reflected in his production, he is hard to fade in cash games.
Brady Skjei (NY Rangers) – $8,700
Keep an eye on updates throughout the day, as Ryan McDonagh missed Thursday’s practice, and is apparently dealing with a minor injury, but still a possibility to play. Should McDonagh be out for the Rangers tonight, that would be a huge bump for Skjei’s fantasy value, as he would likely take over on the top power-play unit.
If McDonagh is in the lineup, one alternative in the same price range is Jake Muzzin of Los Angeles. On the season, he is averaging 3.8 shots-plus-blocked-shots per game, which is a solid floor at his cost. He is also on the top power-play unit for the Kings, facing a Vancouver team which ranks in the bottom-five of the league in shots and scoring chances allowed while short-handed.
Los Angeles Kings ($15,800)
Regardless of which goalie starts for Los Angeles, this is a great matchup facing the Canucks tonight. This month, Vancouver ranks last in both shot attempts per minute, and adjusted shot attempt differential per minute. Conversely, the Kings are second in both those categories. It seems unlikely the Canucks generate more than two goals tonight, which puts the Kings goaltending in line for a good night at a reasonable price on Fantasy Draft.