NHL Puck Picks

The season is winding down but we have plenty of NHL contests to play in tonight. I am still uninspired by the lack of big time production from the leagues stars. Every night I look at Crosby and Ovechkin and Seguin (OUT) and I want to click on their arrow and enter them into my lineup and I just can’t bring myself to do it. The only high salary I have felt good about spending my hard earned cash on is Brent Burns. Jamie Benn is showing some signs and Patrick Kane had himself a night a few days ago, but a lot of nights I find myself with excess salary and nowhere to put it.

Lets get into the bargains and the big-ticket plays of the day and try to forget that the studs are disappointing us and the NHL season is almost over.

Bargains and Value Plays

There aren’t a lot of bargain plays on the slate that justify a start purely based on performance, but there are a lot that have performed well enough and cheap enough to justify starting. If you are entering multiple contests or using multiple entries in the same contest it is good strategy to spread around your risk by choosing a multiple of these players in different lineups.

Victor Rask: Hurricanes, Center $8,600

Opponent: Columbus Blue Jackets

Stats: 4 Goals – 13 Shots on Goal = 4 Games Played

Rask has been outperforming his salary for a while and with the majority of the big-ticket plays underperforming he is a good value for the rest of the season. He is the best combination of production and price on today’s slate. He is a must start.

Travis Zajac: Devils, Center $7,400

Opponent: Tampa Bay Lightning

Stats: 2 Goals – 1 Assist – 7 SOG = 3 GP

A point per game average at $7,400 is a bargain that immediately puts Zajac on the radar. The Lightning have only allowed 22 goals in their previous nine games, third best in the NHL over that period, but Zajac is viable regardless because of the low salary .

Patrick Maroon: Devils, Wing $7,500

Opponent: Tampa Bay Lightning

Stats: 2 Goals – 5 SOG = 2 Games

Like Zajac, some production at an extremely cheap salary makes Maroon interesting. Neither are must-start plays, but they are both viable because they allow you to afford more expensive options.

Craig Smith: Nashville, Wing $9,600

Opponent: San Jose Sharks

Stats: 2 Goals – 10 SOG = 4 GP

Smith has been a consistent go-to play while his salary has remained reasonable enough that I keep coming back to him. 10 shots on goal in his last four games is a number of chances that should lead to a goal or two in the coming games. He is on the more expensive side of the “bargains” list, but he is one of the more reliable producers amongst them as well. Along with Rask, Smith is my strongest bargain play of the day.

Phillip Danault: Canadiens, Center $5,700

Opponent: Florida Panthers

Stats: 2 Goals – 6 SOG = 3 GP

The Panthers allow a lot of shots on goal and rank 12th worst in goals allowed in the previous 10 games. Danault is receiving limited ice time, but in a good match up at that price he is an option if your budget demands it.

T.J. Brodie: Flames, Defense $9,700

Opponent: Edmonton Oilers

Stats: 2 Goals – 8 SOG = 4 GP

It’s difficult to find productive bargains on defense, but if you are looking to pinch pennies Brodie is worth a look. Two shots per game with a couple goals in his last four makes him worth a risk if your strategy dictates a discount at the blue line.

Justin Braun: Sharks, Defense $7,200

Opponent: Nashville Predators

Stats: 2 Goals – 3 SOG = 4 GP

Braun is another blue liner with limited offensive ability, but he has done some work recently. His value is enhanced because he blocked 30 shots in 16 March games. The ceiling isn’t very high, but as an above average blocker of shots his floor makes that salary look very attractive.

 

Additional Bargain Options:

Marcus Johansson: Capitals, Center $7,900 and Johan Larsson: Sabres, Wing $6,000

 

The AFFORDABLES

Logan Couture: Sharks, Center $12,500

Opponent: Nashville Predators

Stats: 4 Goals – 11 SOG = 4 GP

The Sharks are on a bit of a run and Couture has been one of their best scorers. He has been up and down this season so take advantage of the up he is on right now.

Jonathan Huberdeau: Panthers, Wing $11,700

Opponent: Montreal Canadiens

Stats: 4 Goals – 1 Assist – 15 SOG = 3 GP

I love the shots on goal and it isn’t a surprise he has some goals for his trouble. The Canadiens are a “goal-friendly” match up and the salary is reasonable.

Boone Jenner: Blue Jackets, Center $11,100

Opponent: Carolina Hurricanes

Stats: 2 Goals – 1 Assist – 5 SOG = 3 GP

Jenner isn’t a “big-ticket” scorer and the salary reflects that, but he is a sneaky-good play a lot of nights.

Henrik Zetterberg: Red Wings, Center $11,000

Opponent: Toronto Maple Leafs

Stats: 3 Assists – 18 SOG = 4 GP

I love the 4.5 shots on goal per game average and I like the match up against the Maple Leafs who has allowed a lot of shots on goal and almost three goals per game in their last 11. That amount of work has to eventually lead to goals and tonight is going to be the night.

Brent Burns: Sharks, Defense $17,700

Opponent: Nashville Predators

Stats: 1 Goal – 6 Assists – 23 SOG = 4 GP

The preposterous amount of shots on goal alone makes Burns a viable starter. Add in the assists and the fact that he is a goal scorer from the blue line and you have yourself a solid start regardless of recent performance or price. To own him you have got to pay the salary, but if you can find a way to afford him I recommend you ride the high floor and dream on the potentially high ceiling as well.

 

TEAM G

Arizona Coyotes $14,200 vs. Washington Capitals

If you want a risk/reward play the Coyotes are the Team G for you tonight. In their last 10 games the Washington Capitals have averaged 30 shots on goal per game, have scored only 2.4 goals per game while allowing 2.3 and the Coyotes has only allowed 19 goals in their last nine games as well. They have a chance to accumulate a lot of saves, possibly have a low or reasonable goals allowed total and a win is within reach. It’s a risky play, but there is a lot of reward at a bargain salary.

Carolina Hurricanes $13,800 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

According to their salary the Hurricanes are the worst Team G play of the night, but I disagree. In their previous nine games their opponent, the Columbus Blue Jackets, have averaged 32 shots on goal while averaging fewer than two goals per game. High shot totals and low goals-scored numbers is how you have a big night in daily fantasy hockey and the Canes are a bargain at $13,800. As an added bonus the Hurricanes are favored to win at home.

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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