By Sasha Yodashkin
There’s no shortage of action on Saturday’s 10-game NHL evening slate. Oilers players will be in high demand in their rematch with Colorado after scoring seven goals Thursday, but there’s value to be found throughout the rest of the league as well.
Cam Ward, CAR at NJ ($28): The Devils have fully embraced the tank, dropping 13 of their past 15 games. With Edmonton’s recent struggles in net, Ward offers you the best chance at adding the six fantasy points that come with a win despite being priced at just $28. New Jersey’s season average of 2.27 goals per game strengthens Ward’s case even more.
Goalie to Avoid
Cam Talbot, EDM vs. COL ($38): Talbot has been pulled in consecutive contests while allowing eight goals on 33 shots. He exited after two periods Thursday and watched from the bench as backup Laurent Brossoit presided over his team’s third-period comeback. It looks like his heavy workload is finally catching up to the league leader in minutes, so Talbot doesn’t look like a good investment at $38 regardless of opponent right now.
Leon Draisaitl, EDM vs. COL ($22): Draisaitl doesn’t just have a six-game point streak going. He has racked up multi-point efforts in six consecutive appearances, and shows no signs of slowing down here against the league’s worst defensive team. Even if his third-period demotion from Thursday night lands him on the second line for this contest rather than the first, Draisaitl proved more than capable of maintaining his elite form in that role by collecting a goal and an assist after the move in Colorado. If you don’t want to pay $35 for Connor McDavid, this $22 alternative offers nearly the same scoring upside at a fraction of the cost.
Center to Avoid
Jean-Gabriel Pageau ($17): Pageau is back in a third-line role with both Kyle Turris and Derick Brassard healthy, but remains priced at $17. He has produced just one assist without a goal in the past six games, and is unlikely to turn things around against Carey Price considering the Montreal netminder has allowed just 16 goals in his past 10 starts.
Jordan Eberle, EDM vs. COL ($15): It took just one period of playing on a line with McDavid for Eberle to light the lamp twice Thursday, so a full game alongside the star center could result in massive production against the same opponent. His eight goals and 15 assists in this season’s first 30 games as the first line right wing show what Eberle is capable of in that role, and facing an Avalanche team that has allowed 3.34 goals per game further adds to his value. Even if coach Todd McLellan moves him back to the second line, you still get a confident three-time 60-point scorer in a favorable matchup for just $15.
Rick Nash, NYR at LA ($19): Nash has started to round back into form over the past five games, firing four shots on goal in three consecutive contests before lighting the lamp in each of the last two. The eight-time 30-goal scorer is also seeing a minute more than his season ice time average of 16:30 during that stretch, putting him in position to stay hot against a struggling Kings team that has allowed at least two goals in 11 of its past 12 games. With an inevitable drop in production coming at playoff time, enjoy his regular-season scoring proficiency while you still can.
Wings to Avoid
Filip Forsberg, NSH vs. SJ ($23): Forsberg has come back down to earth after a late February scoring binge with just five points in 10 March appearances. That level of production isn’t worth $23, especially against a Sharks team that has held opponents to the second-fewest goals per game at 2.30.
Paul Byron, MTL vs. OTT ($17): With 37 points in 73 games and 15:03 of ice time per contest, Byron hasn’t exactly been a $17 player this season. Expect the diminutive winger to look even more overpriced than usual against Senators netminder Craig Anderson, who ranks ninth in GAA (2.29) and third in save percentage (.928).
Kevin Shattenkirk, WAS vs. ARI ($19): Shattenkirk has started to adjust to life in Washington, recording four of his six points over the past eight games on the power play. His 24 points with the extra man are fourth among defensemen, and this matchup against the league’s fifth-worst penalty kill presents a great opportunity to keep climbing the ranks. Shattenkirk’s minus-12 rating also is also unlikely to be a deterrent given the low likelihood of a Coyotes team with 63 points managing a road upset against a Capitals squad with President’s Trophy aspirations.
Jay Bouwmeester, STL vs. CGY ($14): Bouwmeester won’t blow you away with his offensive production, but there’s a reason he used to make $6.8 million per year in Calgary and now rakes in $5.4 million with the Blues. He has notched at least 7.0 fantasy points in eight consecutive contests, and his ability to contribute both shots and blocks along with a plus-9 rating over that stretch suggests that production is sustainable. At just $2 over the minimum, Bouwmeester carries almost no risk given his high floor.
Defensemen to Avoid
Brent Seabrook, CHI at FLA ($18): Seabrook relies on the power play for a larger portion of his offense than any other Blackhawk, with 14 of his 36 points coming with the extra man. That element of his game will likely be neutered by a top-ranked Florida penalty kill that has denied 85.9 percent of opportunities, leaving Seabrook too offensively inept to justify an $18 investment.
Alex Goligoski, ARI at WAS ($18): Goligoski’s two strong fantasy performances in the past five have drawn some eyes, but it’s telling that he has no other efforts above 5.0 fantasy points over his past 10 appearances. The veteran blueliner’s downside is too great to justify paying $18 for him in this awful matchup.
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