Hoo boy, Thursday is a robust day on the NHL slate. There are 13 games taking place, giving you a lot of options for your viewing pleasure, though you'd need a few TVs to watch all seven games starting at 7:00 PM ET. Whether or not you're watching you can play daily fantasy hockey, and so here are my recommendations on players to target and to avoid.
Pekka Rinne, NAS vs. ANA ($29): No, I don't know what happened to Rinne either. It's puzzling that he has an .896 save percentage. What I do know is the following: the Predators have actually only allowed 29.8 shots on net per contest, and Anaheim ranks 30th in goals per game offensively. Rinne may not even need to look like his old self to have a good night here.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Jaroslav Halak, BOS vs. PIT ($33): Tuukka Rask has unfortunately suffered a concussion, leaving Halak to shoulder the load until his teammate is ready to return. Halak is no slouch, as he has a 2.49 GAA and .919 save percentage. However, the Penguins have scored 3.43 goals per game. Oh, and they did a lot of that without Sidney Crosby, who they just got back in the lineup.
Brock Nelson, NYI vs. NYR ($19): Mathew Barzal is seen as the lone gem in the Islanders lineup by many, but Nelson actually leads the team in goals with 18 and in shots on net with 127. The Islanders will be hosting a Rangers team that has a 3.31 GAA and has allowed 34.8 shots on goal per contest. You should look beyond Barzal in this matchup, and Nelson is a fine option on that front.
CENTER TO AVOID
Jack Eichel, BUF at DAL ($33): Eichel has been carrying Buffalo's offense, even as teammates fall by the wayside. It feels like a risk to suggest avoiding a guy who has an eight-game point streak. On the other hand, the Stars have been lights out defensively, and they are running away with the best GAA in the league. Dallas has a 2.33 GAA, and nobody else has a GAA better than 2.52.
Jakub Vrana, WAS vs. NJD ($22): The Capitals are loaded with talent, but it's actually Vrana who is second on the team in both goals and shots on net. With 20 of the former and 134 of the latter he's behind only Alex Ovechkin on both fronts. Meanwhile, the Devils have a 3.46 GAA, which is only better than the lowly Red Wings.
Viktor Arvidsson, NAS vs. ANA ($17): Arvidsson has had some struggles since returning from injury, but he does have four goals in 11 games since getting healthy. He's had at least 29 goals in each of his last three seasons, so we know he can light the lamp. That could certainly happen Thursday, as the Ducks have a 3.57 GAA in away games.
WINGS TO AVOID
Andrei Svechnikov, CAR at CLM ($24): Svechnikov already has 18 goals in 46 games, so he's definitely going to top the 20 he scored as a rookie. However, he's about to run into the red-hot Elvis Merzlikins in net. Columbus' netminder has a 1.64 GAA and .950 save percentage since taking over for the injured Joonas Korpisalo. Also, while Svechnikov has 15 power-play points, only one of them has come in his last 15 games.
Chris Kreider, NYR at NYI ($18): Sure, the last time these two teams squared off the Rangers potted six goals against the Islanders. Even so, Barry Trotz's squad has a 2.57 GAA at home, so I still trust them. Kreider scored in that last game between these teams, but I don't expect that to happen again.
Miro Heiskanen, DAL vs. BUF ($19): Like Svechnikov, Heiskanen has been building on an impressive rookie season. In his sophomore campaign he's tallied 23 points in 46 games. The Finnish defenseman has also averaged 2:24 per game with the extra man, and the Sabres have the 28th-ranked penalty kill.
Mikhail Sergachev, TAM at MIN ($17): Sergachev has started 59.8 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, highest on the Lightning. That's helped him tally 23 points in 46 contests. As for the Wild, they've been really struggling defensively. Minnesota has a 3.37 GAA, third highest in the NHL.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Dougie Hamilton, CAR at CLM ($26): Hamilton has had an incredible campaign, but that has also caused his price to rise. That means he has to really produce to pay off, though. Oftentimes that happens, but the Blue Jackets have only allowed 27.5 shots on net per contest at home, and Merzlikins has been red hot.
Rasmus Dahlin, BUF at DAL ($15): Dahlin has 26 points in 39 games, though only two of those have been goals. Also, half of his points have come with the extra man. Given how good they are defensively, it's not surprising that the Stars have the third-ranked penalty kill.