It’s a five-game slate in the NHL on Wednesday with Washington, Toronto and Edmonton all significant favorites. The marquee matchup of the evening is definitely between the Bruins and Panthers, as the divisional foes both project to finish in the top half of the Eastern Division standings. Vegas is the only team playing for the second consecutive night. Here’s a peek at Wednesday’s fantasy landscape.
Top Line Stacks
Oilers vs. Flyers
Zach Hyman ($5,100) - Connor McDavid ($9,000) - Jesse Puljujarvi ($5,900)
The Edmonton top line doesn’t break the bank despite McDavid’s hefty salary, and has generated an elite 19.41 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 this season. However, they’ve connected for just a single goal and an 8.3% shooting rate, so positive regression is likely ahead. The Flyers have surrendered three goals or more in three of four games this season. It’s also worth noting that the trio provides exposure to both of Edmonton’s power-play units.
Maple Leafs at Blackhawks
Michael Bunting ($3,900) - Auston Matthews ($8,500) - Mitch Marner ($6,200)
There’s a lot going on in Chicago with off-ice distractions and multiple regulars out of the lineup for various reasons. It should translate into a soft matchup for Toronto. Matthews and Marner combined for 5.2 goals per 60 minutes over the previous two seasons, but haven’t connected for a single tally yet this year. Given the negativity focused on the two stars, it would be shocking if this wasn’t their best showing of the season, and Bunting helps bring the line’s cap hit down. He also provides exposure to the second power-play unit.
Superstar to Build Around
Alex Ovechkin, WAS vs. DET ($8,200) - Considering the high salaries of fellow stars, Ovechkin is a definite candidate to begin lineups with. The Red Wings have been inconsistent to start the year and have allowed three goals or more in four of six games. Additionally, No. 8 has found the scoresheet in each outing and totaled up an impressive seven tallies, five helpers, 26 shots and 50 attempts through just six contests. Ovechkin is also averaging 5:12 minutes of power-play time per game.
Value on Offense
John Tavares, TOR at CHI ($5,400) - The Toronto captain has underperformed offensively with just a single goal and two assists through seven games. However, Tavares paces the Maple Leafs in shots, attempts and individual high-danger scoring chances. Additionally, his 4.0% shooting rate is significantly lower than his mark through his first three seasons with Toronto. Chicago’s state of the union has already been mentioned.
Jamie Benn, DAL vs. VGK ($3,700) - With the Golden Knights travelling to play the second leg of a back-to-back road set, Benn’s current position on the third line and No. 1 power-play unit could lead to a number of favorable on-ice matchups. Vegas is dealing with a number of injuries, and backup netminder Laurent Brossoit ($7,700) allowed two goals on just 16 shots in his lone appearance this season.
Owen Tippett, FLA vs. BOS ($2,700) - While it should probably be viewed as a tough matchup against Boston, the cap relief and Tippett’s upside warrant a look. He’s skating on the second line with Sam Bennett ($5,500) and Jonathan Huberdeau ($6,100), and the trio have clicked for 6.76 goals and 14.88 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes dating back to last season.
Vitek Vanecek, WAS vs. DET ($8,300) - Before an underwhelming showing Saturday against Calgary, Vanecek stopped 70-of-74 shots through his first three games of the campaign. While Detroit has impressed offensively to start the season with 3.5 goals per contest, the success likely correlates with a soft schedule. Vanecek’s high salary could keep his ownership in check, too.
Braden Holtby, DAL vs. VGK ($7,700) - The new Stars goalie has allowed two goals or fewer in four of five appearances en route to an impressive .939 save percentage and 2.04 GAA. Additionally, the Stars have surrendered just nine 5-on-5 goals through six games, and Vegas has scored just 11 through its six outings. As noted, the Golden Knights are also in an unfavorable schedule spot.
Value on Defense
Evan Bouchard, EDM vs. PHI ($4,300) - It’s been an excellent start for the young blue liner. Bouchard is up to three points, 14 shots and 28 attempts through three games. He’s settled in as the quarterback of the No. 2 power-play unit, and as noted, Philadelphia hasn’t been sharp defensively.
Ryan Suter, DAL vs. VGK ($3,800) - While there’s probably only modest upside here, Suter has found the scoresheet in consecutive games and is quarterbacking the No. 1 power-play unit. Consider the veteran a solid target from this salary range, with Vegas in the noted vulnerable schedule spot.
Morgan Rielly, TOR at CHI ($5,400) - Another Maple Leaf with a reasonable salary, Rielly has missed the scoresheet in three straight contests after starting the campaign with three helpers and 12 shots through the first four games. Rielly quarterbacks the No. 1 power-play unit and checks out as a breakout candidate in the noted soft matchup against Chicago.
John Carlson, WAS vs. DET ($5,300) - Considering Carlson recorded an elite 2.29 points and 6.1 shots per 60 minutes over the previous three years, his current marks of 1.3 points and 3.47 shots point to positive regression ahead. The veteran quarterbacks the No. 1 power-play unit, and the Red Wings have already allowed six power-play goals through just six games.
All statistics from Natural Stat Trick and Hockey Reference.
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