By Daniel Dobish
The National Hockey League has 11 games on tap, and there will be plenty of huge fantasy performances. Vegas is expecting several lopsided games with at least four teams considered heavy favorites. As such, plenty of offense is sure to follow. Take advantage of the teams fighting for their playoff lives, and take advantage of good teams playing against bad opponents. Also avoid being too much of a contrarian, banking on ice-cold stars to break out of slumps, unless the matchup is ultra favorable.
Let’s get started.
Sergei Bobrovsky, CLM vs. BUF ($37): The Sabres are heavy underdogs in a back-to-back situation. They were sharp in topping the Panthers on Monday in Western New York, but now they head to Ohio’s capital city. They haven’t had great luck in recent seasons in the second end of a back-to-back situation, going 23-64 on zero days’ rest. Bobrovsky looks to take advantage for a Jackets team which has won 27 of their past 36 at home. The Jackets netminder is the highest-priced goalie on the board, but you won’t be disappointed.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Curtis McElhinney, TOR vs. FLA ($33): McElhinney is expected to face an angry Panthers team who took it on the chin against the Sabres on Monday. Now, they head up the QEW to face the Buds on the corner of Bay and Lakeshore Blvd. West. The Leafs backup will be in the crease with regular starter Frederik Andersen (upper body) sidelined. McElhinney allowed four goals on 24 shots in his appearance March 14 in Florida in a 7-2 loss, and his outlook isn’t terribly promising for Tuesday with the way the Leafs have been playing lately.
Leon Draisaitl, EDM vs. LOS ($23): Draisaitl has been white hot lately, scoring goals in each of his past three games while posting at least one point in seven consecutive outings. The center has four goals with 14 points and a plus-4 rating during the seven-game run, posting at least 10.0 Yahoo! fantasy points in each of the outings. That includes two assists (one on the power play) with a plus-1 rating and 11 fantasy points in the most recent meeting against the Kings on March 20.
CENTER TO AVOID
Joe Pavelski, SAN vs. NYR ($26): Pavelski, like most of the other Sharks, has been in an offensive tailspin. He has managed just one assist with a minus-3 rating with an average of 2.0 fantasy points per game over the past six outings. It’s unlikely that facing Henrik Lundqvist and the road warrior Rangers will be the elixir to cure San Jose’s scoring ills. Even if Pavelski gets onto the scoresheet, he will have a hard time meeting salary expectations.
Viktor Arvidsson, NAS at BOS ($22): Arvidsson has been on fire lately, and his fantasy points per dollar spent make him a tremendous value. The Swedish left winger has potted at least one goal in six of his past eight games, and he has 17 goals with 26 points over his past 25 games dating back to Feb. 2. Even with the extended hot streak and plenty of special teams points he remains a tremendous value. The Bruins rank last in the NHL in high-danger save percentage (.829), so the good times should continue to roll.
Jeff Skinner, CAR vs. DET ($23): Skinner has almost single-handedly kept the slim playoff hopes of the Hurricanes alive with an amazing goal-scoring streak which would receive a ton of attention if he played in Chicago, New York or Toronto. The left winger has lit the lamp at least once in six straight contests, totaling eight goals with nine points and a plus-7 rating. That includes a goal in Monday’s loss against the Red Wings in the front end of a back-to-back situation.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jamie Benn, DAL at MON ($27): Benn carries a three-game point streak into play, but facing Carey Price is never good for anyone’s fantasy ledger. Price has allowed a total of 13 goals over his past eight starts at Bell Centre. The goaltender has received tremendous defensive help from a blue line crew that includes Jamie’s brother Jordan Benn. And for what it’s worth, Benn (the Star, not the Hab) has been blanked in each of his past three outings against Canadian teams.
Nino Niederreiter, MIN vs. WAS ($18): Niederreiter has been an instrumental part of the Wild’s successful 95-point campaign, posting 20 goals with 49 points, good for fourth on the team in both categories. However, he has tailed off dramatically, failing to light the lamp in 15 consecutive games dating back to Feb. 27. He has just three assists during the span, too. Don’t pay a high salary for good results from a month ago.
Roman Josi, NAS at BOS ($26): The rearguard hasn’t flicked the lamp switch since his two-goal outing Feb. 25 against Washington, a span of 14 games without a marker. However, there is still plenty of like about Josi, as he has eight assists with a plus-10 rating over his past nine outings while logging 17 blocked shots. Plus-minus rating is worth two points, and blocked shots are good for one apiece. Josi will still have value even if his goal drought continues.
Oscar Klefbom, EDM vs. LOS ($20): Klefbom is due to break back onto the scoresheet, as he enters on a four-game point drought. However, even when he isn’t producing at the offensive end he has a penchant for keeping DFS players’ heads above water. Klefbom is averaging 2.9 blocked shots per game over the past 10 outings, and he logs plenty of time on the power play. In fact, each of his past four points have come on the man advantage.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Brent Burns, SAN vs. NYR ($36): Burns is going through a dry spell, with no goals, two assists and a minus-8 rating over his past nine games. He hasn’t been coming close to reaching his daily fantasy points per game average lately, and it’s hard to believe he and his teammates will snap out of their funk against the visiting Blueshirts.
Zach Werenski, CLM vs. BUF ($23): The rookie has disappeared over the past four outings, posting just one assist with a minus-2 rating, six total shots on goal and four blocked shots. That’s good for a total of just 10.0 fantasy points, or nearly five fantasy points below his season average per game. The former Michigan Wolverines standout has been a breath of fresh air in Buckeyes country, and a vital part of the success of the Blue Jackets, but he might be getting a bit fatigued toward the end of a grueling regular season and he just isn’t performing up to his high salary lately.
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