There are six games in the NHL on Wednesday, and it’s a particularly interesting schedule with no standout favorites and the lowly Kings receiving the most chalk on the docket. In addition to Los Angeles, Minnesota and Vegas are home favorites, whereas the Canadiens, Sharks and Jets are all home underdogs. The marquee matchup is between the Avalanche and Golden Knights, while the bout between Toronto and Montreal is definitely a close second, as the Canadiens try to lock down the final playoff position in the North Division. It’s worth adding, that with so many expected close contests, selecting the right netminder could be a little more difficult on Wednesday.
All statistics from Natural Stat Trick and Hockey Reference.
Top Line Stacks
Oilers at Jets
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($5,900) - Leon Draisaitl ($8,100) - Kailer Yamamoto ($3,400)
This is a throwback line for the Oilers, and a trio that’s had a lot of success over the past two seasons. Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins and Yamamoto have clicked for 5.3 goals and 13.7 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes over the past two seasons, and the Jets have allowed a healthy 18 goals during their current four-game losing streak.
Maple Leafs at Canadiens
Alex Galchenyuk ($3,600) - John Tavares ($6,900) - William Nylander ($6,200)
Toronto’s second line doesn’t break the bank and there’s likely positive statistical regression ahead. Tavares, Nylander and Galchenyuk have generated 14.7 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes, but have translated them into just 2.8 goals with an 8.9 shooting percentage. Montreal has also lost nine of its past 14 while allowing 3.4 goals per game, so the matchup isn’t daunting, either.
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Superstar to Build Around
Nathan MacKinnon, COL at VGK ($9,000) - The big salary and tough matchup could keep MacKinnon’s popularity in check, which could add sneaky value to his already high-floor, high-ceiling profile. After all, the 25-year-old superstar sports a 14-game point streak consisting of nine tallies, 16 helpers, 13 power-play points and nine multi-point showings. MacKinnon’s matchup proof.
Value on Offense
Jesse Puljujarvi, EDM at WPG ($4,300) - As noted, the Jets aren’t at the top of their game right now, so Puljujarvi is another Oiler to consider. The 22-year-old has collected three goals and three assists through his past four games while skating in a top offensive role alongside Connor McDavid ($9,100) in all situations.
Nick Schmaltz, ARI at SJ ($4,000) - Centering an intriguing line with Clayton Keller ($4,100) and Michael Bunting ($4,400), Schmaltz is worth a look in his salary range. He’s probably not going to be an overly popular target, and the Sharks have allowed the fourth-most goals per game in the league this season. Schmaltz has also recorded five points through five meetings with San Jose this season.
Jordan Binnington, STL at MIN ($7,300) - Coming off consecutive wins over the Avalanche, Binnington’s worth considering at his manageable salary. He’s stopped 59-of-63 shots during this stretch, and the Blues are still battling for a playoff position. Minnesota, on the other hand, is all but locked into the third seed in the West Division. It’s obviously a tough matchup with Minnesota 17-4 on home ice, though.
John Gibson, ANH at LA ($7,100) - Another low-salary target in goal. Gibson has allowed 17 goals through his past four starts with an .884 save percentage. Still, Los Angeles has scored just 2.7 goals per game for the campaign, and turning to Gibson opens oodles of cap space to load up on expensive skaters.
Value on Defense
Alex Goligoski, ARI at SJ ($3,600) - As noted, the Sharks aren’t a matchup to steer clear of, and Goligoski’s current form doesn’t match his salary. The veteran has collected a rock-solid 14 points, 21 shots and 28 blocks while averaging 23:45 of ice time (1:51 with the man advantage) through the past 15 games.
Mario Ferraro, SJ vs. ARI ($3,100) - Projected to skate with the No. 1 power-play unit Wednesday, Ferraro receives a value boost. He’s been held to just 15 points through 48 games this season, but he has chipped in well in the secondary categories with 56 shots and 77 blocks, all while averaging a significant 22:22 of ice time per game.
Tyson Barrie, EDM at WPG ($5,400) - The first-year Oiler ranks third in points per 60 minutes among regular defensemen this season and has collected a goal and six assists through his past seven games. With Winnipeg struggling of late, Barrie’s a solid addition to an Edmonton stack.
Jared Spurgeon, MIN vs. STL ($5,200) - The Blues have the fourth-worst penalty-kill percentage in the league, so Spurgeon checks out as a solid option from this salary range. He’s also produced across the stat line of late with three points, six shots and 14 blocks through the past five games.
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