It’s the first Saturday in recent memory without some pigskin flying around on the T.V., but all is not lost in the sports world as the NHL delivers a plump 12-game schedule this evening. It’s the last Saturday before the All-Star break and the action will be intense as teams try to hit the break with momentum for the home stretch. If you’ve yet to check it out, now is as good of a time as any to head on over to FanDuel.com and get in on the Daily Fantasy Hockey revolution.
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Make sure to check the RotoGrinders Starting Goalies Page to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting prior to game time.
Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators, $9,700 – After being shut out last night by the Vancouver Canucks, the Carolina Hurricanes will head to Canada’s Capital having scored just 1.96 goals per game this season on the road. Anderson has been terrific lately, posting a 3-1-1 record with a 1.76 GAA and .938 SV% in his five January starts. He’s also been terrific all year at home where he owns a 7-2-3 record, 2.13 GAA and .931 SV%. He’s not cheap, but he has a solid chance at a “W” while also a good bet for 25+ saves.
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning, $7,800 - After missing a game with a lower body injury, Johnson returned the lineup on Thursday and promptly picked up a pair of assists. After an impressive rookie campaign that saw him put up 24 goals and 26 assists last season, the 24-year-old has taken his game to another level this season. Through 44 games he’s racked up 17 goals, added 31 assists and sports the league’s second best +/- at +26. While opposing coaches are forced to worry about Steven Stamkos on the Lightning’s top scoring line, it’s been the Johnson/Palat/Kucherov line that has been giving opposing goalies nightmares. Tonight the Lightning will face a Colorado team who has allowed a league-worst 37.9 shots on goal per game in January. Tampa Bay’s home dominance can’t be understated, and if you’re a believer in Corsi stats, then you should be all over Tampa Bay in this one. The Bolts’ 54.6 CF% is the second best in the NHL, while the Avalanche’s 43.9 CF% ranks them only ahead of the lowly Buffalo Sabres.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers, $4,400 – We’re starting to get a glimpse at the bright future of the Florida Panthers, and their talented young center is one on the cornerstones. Tonight he’ll square off against an Edmonton Oilers team that has given up the second most goals in the NHL this season and who have a 3-19-8 record over their last 30 games. Over his last ten games, the former first round pick has chipped in four goals and added seven assists. He’s offensively gifted, fairly cheap, and in a terrific matchup, so give him a look.
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers, $8,300 - If you’re not picking on the Buffalo Sabres, then you’re not doing something right. Buffalo has dropped nine straight games and they have won just one game over their last 14 while allowing an absurd 4.43 goals against per game during that stretch. Voracek leads the NHL in multi-point games this season (16) and has hooked up with Claude Giroux for an NHL-best 32 goals. Philadelphia has been shutout in back-to-back games, so I’m expecting an offensive explosion tonight. The matchup and his lofty upside make him a tremendous target tonight for both cash games and GPPs.
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues, $7,400 - His price has slowly risen all season, but it still doesn’t reflect his production this year. He’s headed to his first NHL All-Star game with 24 goals, 23 assists and a +23 in 44 games thus far and it’s apparent that he’s one of the games brightest young superstars. Tarasenko is on a four-game point streak that has seen him tally two goals and four assists. He now owns 5.48 FanDuel points per game at the Scottrade Center this season and should have a field day against a Maple Leafs team that has scored just one goal in their last three games and who are allowing 3.7 goals per game during their current 3-11-0 streak.
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild, $7,800 - Parise broke out of his mini scoring slump on Thursday, scoring a goal and adding an assist against the Buffalo Sabres. Tonight he’ll turn his attention to an Arizona team who has allowed 28 goals in their last seven games. Parise has picked up a point in both previous meetings against the Coyotes this season and scored a pair of goals against them in their only meeting last year. He’s picked up 19 points in 18 home games and Minnesota may need to “open things up” a bit tonight with Ryan Suter serving the second game of his suspension. Parise routinely logs 20 minutes of ice-time per game and is a staple on the wing of the team’s #1 power-play unit. In 19 games since the beginning of December, the Coyotes own the league’s second worst penalty kill (21 goals against for a 70.0% PK) which bodes well for Parise and Company.
Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings, $4,800 – Nashville has been one of the stingiest defensive teams in the league this year, but things change a bit with Pekka Rinne in the press box. Abdelkader is the ball of energy alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on the Wings’ top scoring line as well as the top power-play unit. Abdelkader has scored two goals and added four assists over the last five games and, considering the quality of his linemates, his $4,800 asking price is simply too low. With Nashville likely looking to play a slow and physical game against the wings, Abdelkader’s size, speed and fearlessness will make him one of Coach Babcock’s favorite options.
Torey Krug, Boston Bruins, $5,800 – After a rookie season with 14 goal, 26 assists and +18 last year, expectations were quite high for Krug entering the 2014-15 season. However, after the first 21 games he owned just three goals and four assists and fans in Beantown started to grow concerned. Well, that was then and this is now. In the 19 games since, Krug has racked up five goals, added 11 assists and is a +6. He enters tonight’s game against a defensively challenged Columbus team riding a five-game scoring streak. He sees ample time on the point of the teams second power-play unit and gets a crack at the Blue Jackets 79% penalty kill.
Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers, $4,500 – Eklbad is as impressive of a young defenseman as I can remember watching over the past few years. The first overall pick in last year’s draft is already playing at all-star level. He’s a mortal lock to see north of 20 minutes of ice-time tonight and sees plenty or run on the point of the team’s top power-play unit. He’s second on the Panthers in points (25), leads them in assists (19), +/- (+9), and second in shots on goal (92). And he plays defense. And he’s only 18. And he’s cheap. A home matchup against the defensively inept Edmonton Oilers is just the icing on the cake.