Every Tuesday and Thursday I will be providing my recommended player picks for your daily fantasy hockey lineups. The goal is to help you to the top of the leaderboards in FanDuel and DraftKings tournament play.
After a quiet two-game slate last night, the National Hockey League schedule explodes tonight with 15 games of action on deck, before we head into a four day layoff thanks to the All-Star break. The Vegas Golden Knights, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues are tonight’s biggest favorites, and we have three teams (Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames), playing on consecutive nights.
NOTE: Make sure to check the RotoGrinders Starting Goalies Page prior to game time, to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting.
Casey DeSmith, Pittsburgh Penguins – I am looking for three things from my GPP goalie tonight on this massive 15-game slate – a win, the potential for 35 or more saves, and an inexpensive price tag, and Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith could provide us with all of them this evening. DeSmith has looked very good so far, posting a 1.86 GAA and a .935 SV%, while seeing over 35 shots in each of his last two games, and he has big game upside once again tonight at the PPG Paints Arena. Considering his low price tag and big potential, the Penguins rookie goalie rises to the top of my tournament wish list.
Detroit Red Wings Second Line - After hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, the Chicago Blackhawks head to the Little Caesars Arena to take on a rested Detroit Red Wings squad. The Blackhawks have struggled with their defensive game all season long (19th overall in SCA/60, 28th in HDCA/60 and 25th in SCA/60), and that opens up the door for the Red Wings’ underrated second line. This talented trio has looked great together thus far, and I think Chicago will have a difficult time with their speed, which should lead to plenty of scoring chances. Detroit’s second line is inexpensive to stack and they have multi-goal potential tonight on home ice, and I doubt we see much traction on them in large field tournaments.
Columbus Blue Jackets Top Line - The Columbus Blue Jackets’ number one line is another inexpensive line stack that we should be considering tonight in tournament play, especially if you are looking for low ownership. The Arizona Coyotes are the worst team in the National Hockey League (12-28-9 overall and 6-14-3 on home ice), and they remain one of the weakest defensive teams in the game, sitting 27th overall in CA/60, 26th in HDCA/60 and 21st in SCA/60. The Desert Dogs’ play does not get any better when shorthanded either (20th ranked penalty kill), putting the Blue Jackets’ top line in a prime spot tonight. This trio has multi-goal potential this evening in this very favorable matchup, and I think they fly well under the radar in tournament play.
Calgary Flames Top Line - With the Calgary Flames’ top line being expensive to roster and with them playing on the tail end of a back-to-back, it is possible that they are not all that popular tonight in GPPs. The Edmonton Oilers have had a frustrating season thus far, and despite that, it seems rare that we attack the Oilers. In the month of January, Edmonton has surrendered the eighth-most goals against per game in the National Hockey League, while toting the league’s 26th ranked penalty kill. Making matters worse, the Oilers own the game’s worst penalty kill on home ice, killing penalties at a pathetic 54.2% clip. The Flames may have played last night in Calgary, but it is short trip to Edmonton, and I still think their top line dominates when on the ice tonight at the Rogers Place.
Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks – The Anaheim Ducks are playing great hockey these days, going 6-3-1 in their last 10, while averaging 3.11 goals per game in January (good for ninth overall in the National Hockey League), and I expect them to score at least three more goals again tonight with the undisciplined Winnipeg Jets in town. It is the same old Jets in terms of special teams, Winnipeg continues to take too many penalties (eighth-most minor penalties), and their penalty kill is simply average despite all the practice while short-handed. Cam Fowler logs huge minutes for Anaheim in all situations (averaging over 24 minutes per game), and he is coming off a multi-point performance against the New York Rangers. With so many good offenses in play, Fowler and the Ducks’ offense will likely get overlooked, and Fowler has multi-point upside on the power play alone tonight at the Honda Center.