Patrick Kane (CHI)
After playing their first four games of the season on the road, the Jets came home to play their home opener the other night. Now, all of the sudden, they’re back on the road in Chicago against a Blackhawks team that lost a tough game, their home opener two nights ago against the Sharks. Kane has been one of the more consistent forwards in the league for what seems like an eternity and sure enough, he’s off to a good start with four points in his first two games skating over 20 minutes in each contest. Winnipeg is very weak defensively and is allowing a ton of scoring chances early on. This bodes well for Kane and the Hawks who will look to push the tempo.
John Tavares (TOR)
Toronto was embarrassed at home on Thursday night by Tampa despite a good game from Tavares, well, good period basically as all of his production came early on. Nonetheless, I expect Toronto to respond tonight in Detroit against the Red Wings and, just like Thursday, J.T. is substantially less expensive than Auston Matthews in tonight.
Taylor Hall (NJ)
While Boston is a good defensive team overall and a better team than the Devils there are a few factors to note here. The Bruins are back on the East coast after opening their season out West for four games with their last coming on Thursday. The Devils have barely had to travel at all thus far. Lastly, Hall’s price went from $7,200 last game against Edmonton to $6,300 tonight which literally makes zero sense. As one of the more established wingers in the Eastern conference, Hall should never be priced below 7K in my opinion. Hall has yet to record a goal but has 16 shots in four games. He’s surpassed 20 minutes of ice time in three of those matchups. Take advantage of the misprice on the former Hart trophy winner.
Favorite Line Stacks
First Line: Nylander – Toews – Kane
I spoke on Kane above and I’ll reinforce that I love the spot for him tonight. He’s long been teamed up with captain Jonathan Toews who is priced extremely low for a top-line center in a good offense who also sees top power-play minutes. The discount we get with him will offset Kane’s high salary. Speaking of discounts, Alex Nylander at 4K is a supreme discount to lock in on this line. Once a prized prospect for the Buffalo Sabres, Nylander had a good preseason (as usual) and has a chance on the top line for Chicago to make an impact.
Preferred Two-Player Pairing: Toews, Kane
Toronto Maple Leafs
Second Line: Kapanen – Tavares – Marner
Same old story here. These three skated well early against Tampa before the Lightning just took over the game scoring seven goals en route to a lopsided victory. While, once again, the Matthews line (with Johnsson and Willie Nylander) are in play, the Tavares line is a better value to consider in this spot on the road.
Preferred Two-Player Pairing: Tavares, Marner
First Line: Benn – Seguin – Radulov
I’m on the record for a while now in saying that Braden Holtby is a fraud. When Holtby sees a surplus of shots, he generally crumbles and gives up goals in bunches. With a line consisting of Seguin, Benn, and Radulov there should be no shortage of shots. Through five games Seguin has 18 shots, Radulov 11, and Benn 13 while the trio has combined for four goals and three assists. All three skaters are together on the top power-play unit as well giving us full correlation in this home matchup for the Stars.
Others to consider:
Detroit Red Wings First Line: Mantha – Larkin – Bertuzzi
Vegas Golden Knights First Line: Marchessault – Karlsson – Smith
Value Line Stacks:
Philadelphia Flyers First Line: Giroux – Hayes – Voracek
Chicago Blackhawks Second Line: Debrincat – Strome – Shaw
Calgary Flames Second Line: Tkachuk – Backlund – Mangiapane
Top Positional Plays
Auston Matthews (TOR) – Yes, I prefer Tavares because of his price, but AM34 has the safest floor of anyone so far this season. He has six goals in five games and at least four shots in all but one of those contests.
Sean Couturier (PHI) – Through two games, Couts has a goal and nine shots while Vancouver has allowed just over 12 shots per game to centers through three games.
Dylan Larkin (DET) – In a fast-paced game, Larkin will be the fastest skater on the ice. Toronto has been sub-par defensively against centers and Larkin has points in every game so far skating in 20 plus minutes in each contest and is less than 7K.
Mark Scheifele (WPG) – Scheifele is off to a great start with eight points thus far and has three goals, five assists, and 14 shots in his last four games against Chicago who have been killed by centers early on.
Jonathan Toews (CHI) – Mentioned above in the Hawks line stack.
Brayden Schenn (STL) – Goals in each of his last three games and seeing impactful minutes at over 17 per game in all four games this season.
Patrik Laine (WPG) – Clearly comfortable skating with Scheifele and Wheeler (DON’T CHANGE THAT) with three goals, five assists, and nine shots over his last three games.
Anthony Mantha (DET) – Big body in front of the net with tremendous speed and shooting ability. He has 21 shots in four games resulting in six goals thus far.
Brendan Gallagher (MTL) – Still underpriced considering the shot volume and high-danger chances he brings.
Alex Debrincat (CHI) – Good value on the top power-play unit in a game that should be high-scoring.
Joe Pavelski (DAL) – He’s all the way down to $4,500 which is hard to believe for a guy that scored over 30 goals last season.
Brandon Saad (CHI) – Leading the league in high-danger chances even though his minutes have been suppressed. He does have four shots in both games this season though.
Alex Edler (VAN) – Price continues to go up but his floor is rock solid.
Alex Pietrangelo (STL) – Montreal is struggling against d-men and A.P. brings offensive upside and is seemingly always on the ice for the Blues.
Ryan Pulock (NYI) – Florida has been one of the worst teams against d-men in the league for nearly two years now and Pulock is seeing about 20 minutes per game on the top pairing and power-play unit.
Dougie Hamilton (CAR) – Has goals in three straight games. While he’s extremely pricey, no one will pay for him and Columbus has been bad against d-men since the middle of last season.
P.K. Subban (NJ) – I’d b shocked if he’s not popular at $4,400. He’s been quiet so far but he’s an offensive force on the backend.
Duncan Keith (CHI) – The Jets have allowed five goals in five games to defensemen along with 10 assists and 62 (!) shots on goal this season. No one has allowed more in any of those three categories.
Justin Faulk (STL) – If not paying for Pietrangelo, Faulk is a solid pivot at $4,400.
Travis Hamonic (CGY)
Nick Leddy (NYI)
Esa Lindell (DAL)
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ARI)
Sam Girard (COL)
Carter Hart (PHI)
Ben Bishop (DAL)
Devan Dubnyk (MIN)
Cory Schneider (NJ)