An intriguing three-game set will challenge your ability to read the matchups with some interesting variables at play. Here are some suggestions...
Anton Khudobin, BOS @ NYR ($33)
Khudobin has played the complementary role of backup this season to a T, compiling a 10-3-4 record, .924 save percentage, 2.36 GAA, and even adding a shutout for good measure. In addition, the career journeyman has won six contests and posted a .938 save percentage in away games. The Rangers’ bad season has been even worse recently, as they’ve lost six of their last seven while recording two goals or fewer in five of those losses.
Goalie to Avoid
Jonathan Quick, LA vs. EDM ($30)
Quick has allowed five goals in two consecutive games, leading to an extremely poor .818 save percentage across the contests. This alone might be reason not to roll with him Wednesday, but what’s perhaps equally as frightening for his fantasy prospects is the existence of Connor McDavid, who is on one of his patented offensive tears right now -- the phenom has posted eight points, six goals, and 20 shots on goal over his last three contests.
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Leon Draisaitl, EDM @ LA ($20)
Having McDavid on your roster would seem to predicate offensive success, but if you’d like a piece of that offense without blowing up your budget, take a look at his talented linemate. Draisaitl has been no scrub recently either, posting 12 points and a plus-10 rating in the last eight games. The dynamic duo at even strength and with the man advantage is a force to be reckoned with, and could take advantage of the struggling Quick.
Center to Avoid
Nazem Kadri, TOR vs. NSH ($18)
Kadri is riding a six-game point streak that has seen him post three goals, eight points, and 17 shots on goal. Numbers like these would generally be cause for recommendation, but Nashville has been arguably the best defensive team on the road this season, allowing a league-best 2.36 goals per away game. Pekka Rinne in particular has been stupendous on the road and recently in general, so a secondary scorer like Kadri could get swallowed up.
David Backes, BOS @ NYR ($19)
While Backes hasn’t put up gaudy scoring numbers recently, it bodes very well for him that he’s been getting extra involved in the offensive schemes and is willing to shoot the puck early and often -- the veteran winger has fired 20 shots on goal over the last five games, converting one of them for a score. Plus, the Rangers have been struggling to keep the puck out of the net lately, allowing 3.67 goals per game in January.
Dustin Brown, LA vs. EDM ($17)
While the Oilers have been excellent on offense, the challenge for them has lied in not allowing goals, particularly when they are down a man, as they still rank last in the NHL with a 71.6 penalty killing percentage. Enter Brown, who prominently runs with the Kings’ first power-play unit, and has put up five points, 26 shots on goal, and a plus-5 rating in his last six games.
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Wings to Avoid
Viktor Arvidsson, NSH @ TOR ($24)
Arvidsson has been putting up nice numbers lately, but he has not played nearly as well when the Predators play on the road, posting four fewer points despite playing in one more game than at home. The Maple Leafs have very much improved on defense since the start of the campaign and have held opposing offenses to one goal or fewer in three of their last five contests, so a down game could be coming for the Swede.
Mitch Marner, TOR vs. NSH ($18)
Marner’s nice little run of offensive success could be due for some rolling back in this matchup with a stout Nashville defensive front that is even better on the road. Even Marner’s prominence on the power play might not help him here, as the Predators kill off an impressive 85.3 percent of their penalties in away games. There are better options at a lower price, so don’t spend the money unnecessarily here.
Jake Muzzin, LA vs. EDM ($19)
Muzzin has been playing great hockey in the 10 games he’s played since the start of 2018, tallying 11 points, 22 shots on goal, a plus-4 rating, and even blocking 12 shots over that span. That last stat in particular may allow the 28-year-old to have a nice floor Wednesday, as the Oilers take 34.2 shots on goal per game, good for fourth in the league. Coming off a three-point performance Saturday, Muzzin will look to stay hot.
Mattias Ekholm, NSH @ TOR ($18)
While Ekholm isn’t spectacular in any one category, what makes him valuable in daily fantasy formats is his consistency across all categories -- the Swedish defenseman has four points, eight blocked shots, and a plus-6 rating over his last six games, while also taking three shots or more in half of them. This overall balance gives him a nice floor and could allow him to excel in at least one category against an inexperienced Toronto team.
Defensemen to Avoid
Ryan Ellis, NSH @ TOR ($21)
Ellis had a bright outlook upon debuting at the beginning of January after missing the first three months of the season with a knee injury, but his recent stats have been nothing to write home about, as he shows just an assist, 11 shots on goal, and four blocked shots in his last five games. The veteran blueliner only runs with the second power-play unit, so he doesn’t have enough upside at this price or in this matchup.
Darnell Nurse, EDM @ LA ($19)
It’s a little puzzling as to why Nurse is even listed at a price that ties him for the fifth-most expensive option Wednesday, as he’s done little offensively, or even defensively, to justify that. The 23-year-old shows just six goals and 12 assists in 51 games this season, with only five of his points coming in the last 15 games. There’s nothing to suggest that Nurse will be worth his mid-to-upper range asking price.