NHL Thoughts – 10/13/16
Welcome back for night two of the NHL season. Last night’s 4 games produced some wild action and lots of goals so let’s hope tonight’s 9 game slate is no different. With 9 games on tap there are a ton of options for our DFS lineups so I will try to narrow those spots down for you.
Spots to Look for Offense
Boston Bruins at Columbus Blue Jackets
Vegas Line: Columbus -123 (O/U 5.5)
Both teams were in the bottom third last year in even strength shot attempts allowed (CA60) and goals allowed per game and the outlook is not any better for this season. Add to that the fact that the Bruins are missing their top player and one of the best 2-way forwards in the game in Patrice Bergeron and we should witness some wide open hockey. For the Bruins this will open up an opportunity for David Backes to step into the center role between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on the top line and #1 PP unit. Backes should see a ton of ice time filling in for Bergeron. He is reasonably priced on all sites but is listed as a C on DraftKings and a W on FanDuel and FantasyDraft. I really like that line as a lower owned option in tournaments since most people will be on the Blue Jackets with Bergeron out of the lineup. You can also add defenseman Torey Krug to that stack who joins them on the PP vs the Blue Jackets 19th ranked PK unit from last year.
On the Blue Jackets side I really like winger Boone Jenner as my top option. He can be stacked with linemates Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson as they play together on the top line and top PP unit. The Bruins had a middle of the road penalty kill last season and that should take a hit with Bergeron out. One of the best value plays on the entire slate is skilled rookie defenseman Zach Werenksi who will man the point on the #1 PP unit and is cheap across the board. The downside to stacking this line in tournaments is that they should be fairly popular and may end up going head to head with the Backes line at even strength. In order to capitalize on the Blue Jackets offense and avoid high ownership I don’t mind having some shares of their second or third line. Saad-Foligno or Hartnell-Wennberg can be played together as they are on the same even strength line and second PP unit. Either combo can be paired with D Ryan Murray who is also on PP2.
Montreal Canadiens at Buffalo Sabres
Vegas Line: -126 (O/U 5.5)
The Habs are starting backup goalie Al Montoya in this one as they are without the top goalie in the world, Carey Price, who is out with the flu. The Sabres are also missing some key pieces in #2 overall pick Jack Eichel and newly acquired Kyle Okposo. As a result I think both top lines in this game make for great plays. The Habs top line of Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher is one of the best puck possession lines in the league and is always a threat to create offense. I like stacking the trio as they are also on the top PP unit and the offense is usually spread out evenly between them. I do think they will be fairly popular given the matchup against Buffalo’s weak defensive game so I will have more of them in cash than in tournaments.
Buffalo’s injury situation puts a lot of the work load on the top line of Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane and Sam Reinhart. I think they make for great tournament options since the public will likely be heavier on Montreal combined with the downgrade in opposing goalie. Unfortunately Kane doesn’t join the other two on the power-play so I don’t mind a mini stack of O’Reilly, Reinhart and talented offensive defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen who joins them on the top PP unit.
New York Islanders at New York Rangers
Vegas Line: Rangers -133 (O/U 5.5)
The Rangers have made some nice offensive additions in the offseason and their forward lines look very deep. With the Islanders losing two-way center Frans Nielsen to free agency I think this is a great spot to target their weaker depth lines. I would expect the Derek Stepan line to be matched up with the John Tavares line so my favorite option in this one would be the Rangers second line of Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and rookie Pavel Buchnevich (only available on DK and Fantasy Draft). You can stack all three with workhorse D Ryan McDonagh who joins them on the top PP unit. One thing to note is that opposing goaltender Jaroslav Halak played exceptionally well against the Rangers last season going 3-0-0 with a 1.95 GAA and .937 SV%. Given the offseason moves I still like the stack but it’s just something to be aware of.
Quick Hits: other stacks to consider
WPG1: Mark Schiefele-Blake Wheeler-Nikolai Ehlers
DAL1: Tyler Seguin-Jamie Benn-Patrick Eaves
FLA2: Vincent Trochek-Jussi Jokinen-Reilly Smith
TB2: Tyler Johnson-Nikita Kucherov-Alex Killorn
Top Goaltending Options
Ben Bishop – Tampa Bay Lightning
Ben Bishop is my clear cut top goaltending option on the night and it’s not particularly close. The Lightning are -170 favorites in this one (largest on the slate). Last season Bishop went 35-21-4 with a 2.06 GAA and .926 SV% and he was at his best on home ice. He has dominated the Red Wings over the past couple seasons including two playoff series. He is expensive but he is the top option in cash and can also be used in tournaments.
Connor Hellebuyck – Winnipeg Jets
Hellebuyck is one of the cheapest goalies on the night and gets to face a Carolina Hurricanes team that last season was in the top half of the league in shots on goal per game yet finished 4th last in goals scored. Hellebuyck went 13-11-1 last season as a rookie with a 2.34 GAA and .918 SV%. He is an incredible value tonight and makes for a great cash play. He will likely be popular in tournaments but I don’t mind that with the savings we get.
Other Goalie Spots: Roberto Luongo (FLA), Corey Schneider (NJD)