NHL Puck Picks

The long hockey season is finally winding down and for a variety of reasons the grind is having an impact on DFS down the home stretch. Some players are resting to prepare for the playoffs while others are getting opportunities they weren’t earlier in the season and some players are playing on fumes or through injuries. The Boston Bruins were a high-octane offense that scored a lot of goals and allowed a lot of them too, but they have been one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL over the last 11 games. You need to consider all of these factors when narrowing your decision.

The lower priced players have been the best values recently and that won’t change today. Steven Stamkos has six goals in six games while Anze Kopitar is coming on strong both in goals and assists, but outside of that the big-ticket players aren’t earning their big salary prices. Alex Ovechkin is still shooting, but he isn’t really scoring. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have six combined goals in the month of March. Stars like John Tavares and Sidney Crosby have been relevant but hardly blowing the doors off the DFS world. Don’t assume a big salary means a big night, not at this time of year any way.

Lets look at some of the bargain players that are worth their coinage.

BARGAINS

As far as match ups go, I like the Flyers/Coyotes game and the Ottawa Senators/Anaheim Ducks battle as well.

Lets get in to the Bargains and go from there.

Radko Gudas: Capitals, Defense $9,000

Opponent: Arizona Coyotes. Stats: 5 Goals – 3 Assists – 30 Shots on Goal = 11 Games Played

That kind of scoring and that many shots on goal from a defenseman makes Gudas a viable option all by itself. Add 20 blocked shots, five goals and three assists in 11 games at $9,000 and you have a must-start defenseman. The fact that the Coyotes are a great matchup is just piling on at this point.

Martin Hanzal: Coyotes, Center $8,100

Opponent: Philadelphia Flyers. Stats: 3 Goals – 1 Assist – 15 SOG = 4 GP

Hanzal is one of my more exciting bargain plays today. A point per game and almost four shots per game average in his recent hot streak has me on board. The Flyers are a tough match up, but the numbers and the salary are too good to ignore.

Michael Raffl: Flyers, Wing $7,500

Opponent: Arizona Coyotes. Stats: 4 Goals – 5 Assists -23 SOG = 11 GP (14:29 Ice Time)

He has been the best Flyers scorer in March in spite of a lack of full time ice time. The high production and low salary to go along with a prime match up against the Coyotes has Raffl as my best bargain of the day.

 Ryan White: Flyers, Wing $5,700

Opponent: Arizona Coyotes. Stats: 4 goals – 0 Assists – 18 SOG = 11 GP (12:33 Ice Time)

The ice time is low and White is hardly a consistent, reliable producer, but the production is respectable and the match up is one of the best of the day. White doesn’t warrant a start if you don’t need the low salary savings, but if you do he is one of the better cost-cutting options of the day.

Alex Tanguay: Coyotes, Wing $7,400

Opponent: Philadelphia Flyers. Stats: 4 Goals – 4 Assists – 15 SOG = 11 GP (15:02 Ice Time)

Tanguay is another bargain with the noteworthy limitations; lower than ideal ice time and shots on goal.

 Chris Terry: Hurricanes, Wing $5,700

Opponent: New York Islanders. Stats: 3 Goals – 0 Assists – 8 SOG = 3 GP (14:07 Ice Time)

His production has been respectable recently while the ice time is a little lower than I like to see, but the salary is the attraction here. If you need to save a few dollars to afford more important plays Terry is a place to hedge your bets.

Zach Smith: Senators, Center $8,500

Opponent: Anaheim Ducks. Stats: 5 Goals – 4 Assists – 27 SOG = 12 GP

Smith has had a season that has justified a start regardless of the cost many nights, but the fact that he is so affordable makes it an easy call most nights. He is a safer play than the bargain basement alternatives if you can afford the few extra thousand in salary, but he isn’t a must-start play tonight.

Jamie McGinn: Ducks, Wing $8,200

Opponent: Ottawa Senators. Stats: 4 Goals – 9 SOG – 4 GP

McGinn has a goal-friendly match up against the Senators and he has averaged a goal per game in his last three, so you have yourself a bit of a streak to lean on here. The price isn’t bottom of the barrel cheap, he hasn’t assisted on goals and McGinn isn’t a reliable producer, but he is viable today. As you can tell I am wishy-washy on him, but his salary falls in to that sweet spot.

Hampus Lindholm: Ducks, Defense $9,400

Opponent: Ottawa Senators. Stats: 1 Goal – 7 Assists – 18 SOG = 12 GP

One and a half shots per game concerns me a little, but in a game against one of the worst defenses in hockey I like what I see in the assists category for a defenseman at a bargain salary. Points aren’t easy to come by from the blue line, making Lindholm one of the more interesting combinations of price and production.

 

AFFORDABLES

 

With the high-priced stars underwhelming us I like filling my daily roster with the mid-range affordables and tonight is another one of those times.

 Anze Kopitar: Kings, Center $13,900

Opponent: Edmonton Oilers. Stats: 7 Goals – 8 Assists – 27 SOG = 12 GP

For the more expensive plays I like to lean on shots on goal so that the floor is safe and I can dream on upside. Unfortunately, Kopitar’s only weakness is that he isn’t a high volume shooter. He scores and he assists on goals and is in the middle of pretty much everything that the Kings do on offense however. He is the West Coasts Patrice Bergeron and when the higher priced players aren’t producing big time numbers I like to go with the consistency of a guy like Kopitar. He is a strong play today in a middle of the road match up.

Derek Stepan: Rangers, Center $11,300

Opponent: Montreal Canadiens. Stats: 3 Goals – 8 Assists – 36 SOG = 11 GP

The Canadiens have allowed 40 goals in 12 games and Stepan is the Ranger to like today. The salary is affordable and the shots on goal have been extremely good. His combination of goals and assists and the match up could result in a high production day for Stepan.

Derick Brassard: Rangers, Center $11,700

Opponent: Montreal Canadiens. Stats: 4 Goals – 4 Assists – 20 SOG = 10 GP

Brassard and Stepan are comparable plays, but Brassard doesn’t have the shot volume that Stepan has had recently. Both are affordable in a game that could be the highest scoring match up of the day. They are a viable mini-stack if you are so inclined – which I just might be.

Connor McDavid: Oilers, Center $15,000

Opponent: New York Rangers. Stats: 4 Goals – 10 Assists – 39 SOG = 13 GP

That’s a high salary for a player that doesn’t score an elite amount of goals, but the rest of his game profiles well. He racks up assists and has averaged three shots on goal per game in his last 13 games. His floor is high and if he can find a way to put the biscuit in the basket then he has a shot to be your best play of the day.

Ondrej Palat: Lightning, Wing $10,300

Opponent: Florida Panthers. Stats: 7 Goals – 3 Assists – 18 SOG = 10 GP

I like what I am seeing from the Lightning and Palat has been their best scorer. The Panthers have averaged three goals allowed per game over their previous 12 making a Palat/Stamkos stack an intriguing play tonight. I am riding Palat until he cools down.

Steven Stamkos: Lightning, Center $15,400

Opponent: Florida Panthers. Stats: 6 Goals – 3 Assists – 25 SOG = 10 GP

Stamkos has really been playing well and 25 shots on goal in his previous 10 games builds my confidence even more. This game has a chance to be high scoring and it’s hard to see Stamkos left off the board if that’s the case.

James Neal: Predators, Wing $12,600

Opponent: Columbus Blue Jackets. Stats: 8 Goals – 4 Assists – 38 SOG = 11 GP

Neal has been one of the quieter, great DFS plays over the last three or four weeks. 38 shots in 11 games is Alex Ovechkinesque, to go along with a point per game.

TEAM G

 Toronto Maple Leafs $14,300 vs. Boston Bruins

If you are feeling a little frisky the Maple Leafs may be your mistress tonight. The Bruins are fifth most in shots on goal and third worst in goals scored (24 goals in their previous 12 games) – we like that combination. The risk is that Toronto has allowed just over two and a half goals per game in their previous 12 and they are pretty sizable underdogs for the win. The Bruins have lost five straight, making the chance at a win a little more reasonable than the bookmakers seem to feel.

New York Islanders $16,200 vs. Carolina Hurricanes

In their previous 13 games the Islanders have allowed the third most shots on goal while the Hurricanes are second least in goals scored. The game is a coin toss for the win and the salary is reasonable without being prohibitive. This is a solid play and shouldn’t interfere with your other budgetary priorities tonight.

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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