NHL Daily Plays: Saturday, March 14th
Happy Saturday Grinders! With nine games on the slate as part of the evening schedule in the NHL, there is plenty of value to be had throughout the various positions tonight. With some juicy matchups to exploit, targeting these key value players will allow you to load up the rest of your lineup with some of the league’s top scorers. But with obvious value comes high ownership, which means you’ll need to be creative in your GPPs tonight by gaining an edge on some of the under the radar plays that have great potential. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the players I’m targeting throughout the league tonight:
Make sure to check the RotoGrinders Starting Goalies Page to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting prior to puck-drop.
Cory Schneider – New Jersey Devils – It isn’t very often that I target Cory Schneider, but it’s hard to ignore how great he has played in recent months. Since the start of January, Schneider boasts the second-best adjusted SV% at .948. Wins have been hard to come by for Schneider this season which is largely due to a lack of goal support and poor defense in front of him on most nights. That changes tonight, as he’ll be taking on an Arizona Coyotes team that has won just 2 of their last 17 games and have averaged just 1.29 goals per game during that span. Schneider won’t be cheap and his team may struggle to find the back of the net themselves, but he is an elite goaltender that is capable of standing on his head and will fly under the radar tonight.
MacKenzie Skapski – New York Rangers – On the tail end of a five-game road trip, the Rangers will turn to backup MacKenzie Skapski, who will be making his second career start in Buffalo tonight. His debut came against this very same Buffalo Sabres in which he stopped 24 of 25 shots en route to his first career victory. Ranking dead last in nearly every statistical category, it’s no secret by now how bad the Sabres are as a team. Often times targeting the Sabres can prove costly however, since it usually takes a shutout to make it worth your while, but with his near-minimum salary across most of the industry, he should have no problems receiving plenty of goal support to bring home an easy victory for the Rangers.
Disclaimer: Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Justin Faulk, Victor Hedman, P.K. Subban, Alex Pietrangelo, Drew Doughty, Dennis Wideman, and Keith Yandle are elite fantasy defensemen and are always in play.
Ryan McDonagh – New York Rangers – Back on the Rangers’ top power-play unit, Ryan McDonagh is my top price-play on defense tonight with a great matchup against the Buffalo Sabres. He hasn’t had a great year offensively, but McDonough’s underrated puck moving skills and heavy ice time is the main reason I’ll be taking him tonight. With the Rangers on the road tonight in Buffalo, there’s also a good chance McDonagh won’t see much of Buffalo’s top line at even strength, making him one of the safer options on defense to spend on tonight in a game that New York should have no problems dominating from start to finish..
Lubomir Visnovsky – New York Islanders – If you’re looking for a value on defense tonight, consider taking the veteran Lubomir Visnovsky. At the ripe age of 38, Visnovsky is back to his role as the quarterback of the Islanders’ top power-play unit and will be taking on Montreal Canadiens team that has surrendered 5 power play goals in as many games entering tonight. Home ice advantage will allow head coach Jack Capuano to get Visnovsky on the ice in plus matchups at even strength, which will prevent the aging defensemen from facing Montreal’s lethal top line tonight in a game that could fly under the radar as one of the higher scoring games of the night.
Top Value Plays: Dan Boyle (NYR), Yannick Weber (VAN)
Disclaimer: John Tavares, Tyler Johnson, Jeff Carter, and Matt Duchene are elite fantasy centers and are always in play.
Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning – Stamkos scored his team-leading 37th goal before being ejected for inadvertently tossing a broken stick into the stands in his last game against Boston, giving him a whopping seven goals in his last ten games. Stamkos is featured on Tampa’s top power play unit and will be up against a Winnipeg Jets team that is the most penalized team in the NHL this season. In addition to plenty of expected power play time, home ice advantage will allow head coach Jon Cooper to target “Stammer” and his team’s top line against one of the weaker defensive pairings for Winnipeg, making him a great option with tremendous upside for me tonight.
Victor Rask – Carolina Hurricanes – If you’re looking for value at the center position tonight, look no further than Rask, who enters tonight’s game against Florida with 8 points in his last ten games for the league’s best Corsi % team over the past 30 days. Rask is currently featured on Carolina’s third line at even strength, but his strong play recently has earned him time on Carolina’s top power play unit. Florida doesn’t take too many penalties, but they have been in the bottom third in the league in penalty kill percentage throughout much of the 2015 season. They will also once again be trotting out Dan Ellis, who despite entering tonight undefeated in regulation in three starts for the Panthers, has struggled during his tenure in the AHL this season.
Top Value Plays: Jori Lehtera (STL), Jordan Staal (CAR)
Disclaimer: Alexander Steen, Jaden Schwartz, Zach Parise, James Neal, Filip Forsberg, Max Pacioretty, Eric Staal, Tyler Toffoli, Gabriel Landeskog, and Johnny Gaudreau are elite fantasy forwards and are always in play.
Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues – Despite snapping a three-game point streak in his last game against Philadelphia, Tarasenko still has a fantastic 65 points in 66 games for the Blues this season. A matchup against a stingy defensive team like the Wild isn’t ideal, but they will be playing on back to back nights entering tonight’s game and have yet to confirm their starting goaltender. Home ice advantage will give head coach Ken Hitchcock to keep his talented sniper away from shutdown defenseman Ryan Suter throughout most of this game, which should allow Tarasenko plenty of scoring chances, especially if Niklas Backstrom is in net for the Wild.
Rick Nash – New York Rangers – After struggling early during his tenure with the Rangers, Rick Nash is finally playing like the superstar the Rangers expected of him in his first full season in the Big Apple with 62 points in 65 games. He’s currently ranked second in goals and third in shots on goal and will be taking on a Buffalo Sabres team he has dominated for 2 goals and 2 assists in the teams’ two previous meetings. Nash is the focal point of New York’s offense when he’s on the ice and there’s no reason to assume why he can’t continue his fantastic season tonight against the league’s worst team.
Kyle Okposo – New York Islanders – The main beneficiary of prime scoring opportunities created by superstar John Tavares, Kyle Okposo registered nearly a point per game last season for the Islanders. After missing 22 games with a serious eye condition, Okposo is back on the Islanders’ top line and top power play unit. He hasn’t found the score sheet in two games since returning from injury, but he appears to be healthy and firing shots on net. Tonight, Okposo will look to get back on track against a Montreal Canadiens team he’s torched for 2 goals, an assist, and a whopping 12 shots on goal in just two games this season.
Top Value Plays: Zack Kassian (VAN), Steve Bernier (NJ), Josh Bailey (NYI), Alexander Semin (CAR)