On a two game slate, locking in defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who leads the reasonably heavily-favored Blues in assists, makes all the sense in the world against a Panthers team that allows 2.74 goals per game. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NHL contests.
Note: Ricky is a novice when it comes to hockey and is only covering the subject because it is the NBA All-Star Break. This article is designed to highlight some of his favorite plays but he is in no way, shape or form a hockey expert. Please enjoy his comedic relief while enjoying some of FantasyDraft’s hockey offerings during this tumultuous lull in professional basketball.
St. Louis Blues Goalies – Whitey Ford may be singing the blues but fantasy owners who roster St. Louis’ goalies will not be. On a two game slate, playing the absolute chalk at all positions is not ideal but the Blues goalies seem necessary. Additionally, they may not even prove to be the most popular goalie team on the slate because the Ducks are favored against a 20-37 Coyotes team. Meanwhile, the Blues are 0.5 point favorites against a Panthers team that averages the 22nd most goals per game (2.53) or second fewest on the slate (behind the Coyotes). While most lean towards the obvious Ducks goalies, the Blues rate as a logical alternative. Masseyratings lists the Ducks as 59-percent favorites compared to 57-percent for the Blues so the difference is nominal. While the rest of the article will pretty much be eating the chalk, pivoting to the second most enticing goalie team makes sense. In hockey, a lucky bounce can result in a goal so there is a high degree of variance. Keeping that in mind, the goalie position is amongst the most volatile in the sport (especially below the elites). If trying to differentiate and go for first in tournaments, the Blues goalies are the play as they still carry plenty of upside.
Ryan Kesler, Ducks – If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and leads the ducks in goals then it is probably Ryan Kesler. Also, this is a fantastic meme:
As noted in the last tidbit, the Ducks are the heaviest favorite on the slate and most importantly they are facing a Coyotes team that ranks 27th in goals allowed per game this season. If looking for someone to produce points in this matchup, there is no reason to look past the Ducks’ leaders in points this season: Kesler. Heading into this contest, Kesler has failed to score points in back-to-back games for the seventh time this season. In six of the previous occasions, Kesler went on to score at least one point in the following game. In fact, he took at least three shots on all but two occasions in the game following back-to-back duds. Essentially, he is due and the matchup favors him as well. If looking for a prime team to stack, look no further than the Ducks.
Rickard Rakell, Ducks – If Kesler is not the one scoring the goals then Rickard Rakell surely will be considering he leads the team in goals this season with 22 of them. Heading into this game, Rakell has taken at least four shots on goal in consecutive games. His picture on rotoworld makes him look like “Sunshine” from Remember the Titans’ doppleganger and he ends up leading the charge on the final play of their victory. This could be a completely ridiculous parallel but Rakell could lead the charge in this game against the biggest underdog of the slate (or maybe it is a genius comparison). Re
gardless, this is a talented offensive player versus a team that allows a healthy amount of goals so why would he not be in play?
Vladimir Tarasenko, Blues – I assume his name is pronounced “tara-sank-oh” and that is fitting because he is about to sink the Panthers tonight (see what I did there?). Not only does he lead the Blues in points but he leads them in goals scored as well. This is a more even match than Ducks/Coyotes so I am assuming Tarasenko is a lock for his normal amount of minutes. Like basketball, top hockey lines play less in blowouts and this game does not carry much (if any) blowout risk. Therefore, Tarasenko, who is averaging 18:19 minutes per game (second most of his career), should have plenty of time to do damage. Prior to this season, Tarasenko had scored 73 and 74 points in the last two seasons respectively so this extreme productivity is nothing new for the five year veteran. Lock and load one of the better players in the league even against a team that only rates in the middle of the pack in terms of goals allowed per game (15th).
Kevin Shattenkirk, Blues – Rostering defensemen who produce is a big advantage on the field because there are not exactly a plethora of players at the position who average more than 13 fantasy points per game. Not only is Shattenkirk a productive fantasy producer but he also leads the team in assists. So far this month, Shattenkirk has registered eight assists in nine games on the heels of a three assist performance on Feb. 16. Furthermore, this is arguably the best name in the NHL as his last name basically writes the jokes for itself. Even so, I have to leave you with this to remind you not to fade the Blues’ stud: