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With college basketball season tipping off last night, we’re officially entering the best time of the year for a daily fantasy player. The NHL delivers another typically strong Saturday schedule, as 24 teams hit the ice. The first puck drops at 1 PM EST, but there is still a nice nine-game slate in the evening if you miss out on the early games.
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators, $8,600 – Rinne wasn’t at his best in St. Louis on Thursday night, but he’s off to a terrific start this season nonetheless. Through 14 starts he owns an impressive 10-3-1 record to go along with a 1.98 GAA and .928 SV%. Tonight he’ll welcome a Winnipeg team to “Nash-Vegas”, whom he posted a 31-save shutout against when they met last month. Only Buffalo owns a lower shooting percentage this season than the Jets (5.93%).
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, $9,600 – Stamkos will bring a four-game point streak into tonight’s game against the New York Islanders that has seen him amass three goals and two assists. He’s had success against the Islanders in his career, posting 10 goals and 10 assists in 20 meetings. After owning the league’s second-worst penalty kill last season, things haven’t changed for the Islanders this season, as they own just a 74.1% penalty kill. Stamkos has already picked up eight power-play points this season and should be able to justify his high asking price tonight.
Jori Lehtera, St. Louis Blues, $5,100 – The “S.T.L Line” (Schwartz, Tarasenko, Lehtera) has been absolutely on fire for St. Louis lately, and at just $5,100, Lehtera is one of the best values on the board. He brings a six-game point streak into tonight’s game that has seen him tally four goals, six assists and a +7. His dynamic forward line joins T.J. Oshie and Alex Pietrangelo on one of the Blues power-play units and they should continue to have success tonight against a Washington team that’s struggled on the penalty kill (78.8%) this season. With the Blues having won nine of their last 10 games, he’s one of the safest cash game options you’ll find tonight.
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs, $8,300 – With the Leafs heading to Buffalo to take on the dreadful Sabres, you’ll want some exposure to Toronto tonight. As Toronto’s top offensive weapon, Phil Kessel won’t come cheap, but considering his production thus far this season (10 goals and 11 assists in 16 games), he looks to be rather underpriced tonight. He’s tallied five goals and added eight assists in seven road games this season and posted a goal and an assist against Buffalo when they met last month. He lit the lamp three times versus Buffalo last season, and so he is an excellent cash game option tonight.
Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins, $8,000 – Pittsburgh’s offense has really come alive this season at the Console Energy Center, and things have been no different for Kunitz. In seven home games, Kunitz has posted five goals and added six assists. The New York Rangers had no answer for the Crosby/Kunitz/Dupuis line last season, as Kunitz lit them up for three goals and three assists in their four meetings. He’s not cheap, but pairing him with Pascal Dupuis gives you some reasonably-priced exposure to Crosby.
Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks, $7,500 – While San Jose is not quite as intimidating away from the Shark Tank, I like them tonight against a Columbus team that is allowing the most goals/game thus far this season. Marleau lit the lamp three times in their two meetings last season and posted an assist against the Blue Jackets when they met earlier this year. He’s tallied 12 of his 16 points this season on the road and should see plenty of time on the wing of the Sharks #1 power-play unit against Columbus’ sub-par 75% penalty kill.
Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues, $5,500 – Shattenkirk is off to a nice start this season, posting one goal and 13 assists over the Blue’s first 16 games. He’s routinely seeing north of 20 minutes of ice-time per game thus far and leads the Blues in average power-play ice-time. He’s yet to post a negative fantasy point game on FanDuel yet this season, and that’s the type of consistency you should be looking for in your cash games.
Cody Franson, Toronto Maple Leafs, $3,700 – Picking on the Buffalo Sabres has been a profitable approach to daily fantasy hockey thus far this season, and I don’t see any reason to stop today. Franson brings a six-game point streak into tonight’s game and has recorded two goals and six assists (and a +4) in seven games this month. He’s averaging over 20 minutes of ice-time per game this month and sees a healthy dose of time on the point of the Leafs top power-play unit. Enjoy his bargain price while it lasts.