NHL Puck Picks 2/20/16

This is the first Saturday with the new scoring settings for FantasyDraft and today’s article will reflect those changes and their impact.

Offensive players, specifically the higher-priced stars, have become more valuable because goals and assist points have been raised. But, shots on goal is where the largest impact will be felt because they have doubled from one point to two. On the flip side, Team G’s have lost the most value because saves were cut in half from one point per save to .5 points and whether a team has a chance to win or lose matters because Wins are now worth five points.

A win is the point equivalent of 10 saves so as long as you aren’t starting a goalie that is going to leave the net empty for the taking, a mediocre goalie in a winning situation has become an appealing play. Spending your salary on high-salary stars and saving salary on mid-tier goalies with winning opportunities is a prudent strategy.

Lets start with the match ups.

The games with teams that allow a lot of goals that face an opponent that can score enough to take advantage of the beneficial match up are the Dallas Stars and the Boston Bruins (they face each other), to some degree the Colorado Avalanche (@ Edmonton Oilers), and the Philadelphia Flyers (@ Toronto Maple Leafs).

Dallas Stars vs. Boston Bruins

Over the last two weeks these teams rank fifth and sixth in goals allowed while the Bruins rank ninth in goals scored over that same period (seven games). The Stars, as a team, aren’t scoring like the Bruins, but Tyler Seguin ($18,000) has six goals, six assists and 36 shots on goal on the high-end side while Patrick Eaves ($7,900) and John Klingberg ($13,000) both have four goals, four assists and 20 and 23 shots respectively in February.

Eaves is a bargain in a prime match up, making him close to a must-start while Klingberg is a nice mix of production from a defenseman and affordable salary when you compare him to Erik Karlsson ($16,400). Jamie Benn ($17,600) wouldn’t be a terrible stack, but he hasn’t been playing well enough to anxiously want to swallow a steep salary so. Another bargain that I like for the Stars has been Ales Hemsky ($7,500). He isn’t playing well enough to start based purely on performance, but everyone needs bargains to afford the more luxury items (Tyler Seguin) and Hemsky is one of those guys along with defenseman Patrik Nemeth ($5,100).

Mini-Stack to Attack

Tyler Seguin ($18,000) and John Klingberg ($13,000)

Affordable Mini-Stack

Tyler Seguin ($18,000) and Ales Hemsky ($7,500)

Bargain Basement Mini-Stack

Ales Hemsky ($7,500) and Patrik Nemeth ($5,100)

I am not in favor of using multiple-stacks from the same game and I also don’t like three and four player stacks because it lowers your ceiling too much, especially in tournaments. I recommend either you choose one of the Stars stacks above or stack some Boston Bruins, but not both.

The Boston Bruins score more than the Stars, at least recently, and the Stars allow more goals making the Bruins a stackable unit as well. Here are the names to consider.

Brad Marchand Wing ($13,900) 8 goals/3 assists/29 SOG

Loui Eriksson Wing ($11,100) 5 goals/1 assist/ 19 SOG

David Krejci Center ($12,500) 2 goals/7 assists/21 SOG

Patrice Bergeron Center ($15,000) 3 goals/1 assist/27 SOG

Marchand has been one of the best players in hockey since before the All-Star break (8 goals, 3 assists, 29 shots on goal in nine games) and he is cheaper than Seguin. Loui Eriksson is in the middle of a scoring binge (4 goals in previous five games) and Patrice Bergeron is as reliable a producer as you will find in hockey (and you pay for that consistency). David Krejci is more of an assists man but he puts points on the Fantasy board and has high shots on goal totals. His salary makes him more of an option than a must-start.

Marchand is the must-start guy at a reasonable salary considering how hot he has been recently. I don’t believe in betting against a streak, but that’s the best argument against him tonight. Bergeron is expensive, but in head-to-head formats especially, his consistency provides solid value. Eriksson is the hot hand at the more reasonable price and Krejci is the risk. Krejci isn’t overly expensive but he isn’t a bargain, especially since he doesn’t score as often as you may like.

Mini-Stack to Attack

Brad Marchand ($13,900) and Patrice Bergeron ($15,000)

Best Bang for your Buck Stack

Brad Marchand ($13,900) and Loui Eriksson ($11,100)

Philadelphia Flyers @ Toronto Maple Leafs

There are a large group of options from the Flyers and the Maple Leafs are almost an empty net to shoot at. If you are trying to find a player worth starting at a specific price point you need to be shopping at the Flyers.

Wayne Simmonds Wing ($14,000) 7 goals/2 assists/30 SOG

Brayden Schenn Center ($9,800) 5 goals/3 assists/25 SOG

Claude Giroux Center ($14,600) 2 goals/8 assists/31 SOG

Shayne Gostisbehere Defense ($12,000) 3 goals/8 assists/26 SOG

Jakub Voracek Wing ($13,500) 1 goal/8 assists/27 SOG

Nick Cousins Center ($5,200) 3 goals/2 assists/11 SOG

Simmonds and Schenn are scoring the goals and Cousins is the bargain while the rest are contributing well enough to be a consideration if the salary fits into your remaining budget.

Best Bang for your Buck Stack

Wayne Simmonds ($14,000) and Brayden Schenn ($9,800)

Bargain Basement Mini-Stack

Brayden Schenn ($9,800) and Nick Cousins ($5,200)

Colorado Avalanche @ Edmonton Oilers

This is a difficult match up because the Oilers have been awful on defense, making this a good match up to have shares of the Avalanche scorers. The Oilers have allowed an average of four goals per game over their previous seven, second worst behind the Maple Leafs, but the Avalanche aren’t a high scoring unit.

What makes this match up more difficult is that it is bad strategy to start too many players from the same game and if you stack Avalanche because of the match up then you shouldn’t start Oilers, but they have players putting the biscuit in the basket.

Here are the players worth considering:

Edmonton Oilers

Andrej Sekera D: ($8,800) 1 goal/4 assists/16 Shots on goal

Jordan Eberle Wing: ($12,100) 7 goals/5 assists/33 SOG

Connor McDavid C: ($14,500) 5 goals/9 assists/23 SOG

Benoit Pouliot Wing: ($10,300) 3 goals/9 assists/17 SOG

Sekera is the bargain if you are trying to squeeze something else you love into your budget, Eberle and McDavid are the sharp shooters on a hot-streak while Pouliot is the affordable option. I am leaning towards Pouliot because he has been good and the price fits the best. I have been burned by Eberle, who had three of his seven goals in one night. McDavid is the star, but you are paying a high salary for him. All of these players are viable and a variety of stacks work, but there are better stacks out there.

Colorado Avalanche

Jarome Iginla Wing: ($9,200) 4 goals/5 assists/ 23 SOG

Blake Comeau Wing: ($8,100) 3 goals/3 assists/23 SOG

Erik Johnson D: ($11,700) 2 goals/3 assists/10 SOG

Iginla and Comeau are viable producers whose value is enhanced because of their salaries and the match up. You could do a bargain stack of Iginla and Comeau and have shares in a very friendly match up like the Oilers. The Avalanche have struggled to score recently so stacking the Av’s is a risky play, but that’s why it is so affordable.

Some individual players I like today are:

 Bargain Buys

Zach Smith Center: ($6,400) 4 goals/3 assists/22 SOG and Cody Ceci Defense: ($8,000) 3 goals/2 assists/18 SOG

 Affordable Options

Pavel Datsyuk C: ($12,800) 6 goals/5 assists/38 SOG and Andre Burakovsky W: ($9,900) 5 goals/3 assists/25 SOG

Full Price Plays

Alex Ovechkin W: ($18,700) 9 goals/52 SOG

Erik Karlsson D: ($16,400) 13 assists/33 SOG

Team G

Washington Capitals $17,600 vs. New Jersey Devils

Braden Holtby isn’t playing great hockey, but he is playing well enough to get a Win. He faces a New Jersey Devils team that has 16 goals in their previous nine games, but fifth worst during that period in shots on goal. Holtby probably won’t rack up a large number of saves, but a Win and a low goals-allowed bonus are looking good with the most expensive Team G of the night.

Edmonton Oilers $14,200 vs. Colorado Avalanche

I am conflicted here because I like the affordable stack potential of Colorado, but the Av’s are fourth worst in goals scored in their last eight games as a team. Combine the Avalanche’s struggles to score with such a low price tag and the Oilers become a risk/reward play. The Oilers have lost six of their last seven while the Av’s have won three of four, so that makes it an even more murky consideration.

Philadelphia Flyers $15,200 @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto struggles to score goals while they also allow a lot of them. The Flyers goalie have a good shot at a Win and possibly a nice bonus for low goals allowed for a reasonable salary.

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell has been playing Fantasy sports for over twenty years. He contributed to RotoWire.com in their early days before contributing as a writer and doing Fantasy sports Podcasts for Seamheads.com. Three seasons ago he brought his writing and his Fantasy sports Podcast to RotoExperts.com and the Fantasy Sports Television network and this past season he wrote a weekly Fantasy sports column for BaseballAmerica.com. He also writes about Minor League prospects for RotoExperts. Chris has no more access to the site than the typical user. Follow him at Twitter @CJMiitch73.

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