It's another busy Saturday in the NHL today, as 20 teams will lace up their skates and hit the ice. We have two matinee games to enjoy, but since the bulk of the action on FanDuel is centered around the eight-game evening slate, these picks will do the same. Both the Sharks and the Blue Jackets are playing on the second half of back-to-backs this evening
Aaron Dell – San Jose Sharks - $7,700 – With Martin Jones between the pipes last night in San Jose’s loss to the Anaheim Ducks, Peter DeBoer figures to give Aaron Dell the nod in net tonight against the visiting Carolina Panthers. Dell has been terrific in a limited workload thus far this season, posting a 2-1-0 record with a 1.93 GAA and .931 SV% in his four starts. He’ll square off against a Carolina team that has scored just 2.41 goals per game this season and who are just 4-7-6 on the road this season. Dells offers both a value price tag and a terrific chance at the 12 fantasy points that come along with a “W,” so be ready to pounce once he’s confirmed in net.
Ryan Johansen – Nashville Predators - $6,600 – Johansen has been a bit quiet over the last week, but nothing snaps a cold streak quicker than a visit to the desert to battle the Arizona Coyotes. Arizona has allowed an ugly 3.12 goals against per game this season to go along with an NHL-worst 35.1 shots against per game as well. It’s an ideal matchup for Johansen, and he comes at a very reasonable asking price. Johansen has posted a solid 13 goals and 38 assists in 68 games since joining the Predators last season and has become a lethal weapon alongside snipers James Neal and Filip Forsberg on the Predator’s #1 power-play unit.
Bryan Little – Winnipeg Jets - $5,600 – Little missed the first 23 games of the season, but he’s been an immediate factor since returning to the Winnipeg lineup. He has scored three goals and added two assists in seven games thus far and should continue to put up solid offensive numbers with the very talented duo of Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers on his wings. Little already has two 20 goals seasons on his resume and has a solid matchup awaiting him tonight against a defensively inept Calgary Flames hockey club.
Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning - $7,700 – With Steven Stamkos out for the remainder of the regular season, Kucherov looks poised to put this Tampa team on his back once again and carry them into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the defending champions paying a visit to Tampa this evening, I’m expecting a statement-making performance for Kucherov this evening. He’s been held off the scoresheet in each of the last two games but still owns 13 goals and 16 assists in just 27 games this season. Kucherov dished out three assists in the three meetings against Pittsburgh and is averaging nearly three shots on goal per game. Pittsburgh is as aggressive offensively as any team in the NHL (62.12 CF60) which should suit Kucherov quite well.
David Pastrnak – Boston Bruins - $7,000 – To say Pastrnak is thriving alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the Bruins top forward line would be an understatement. The 20-year-old first round draft pick showed plenty of offensive upside during his first two seasons as the NHL level, but has now bulked up a bit and is putting it all together. He lit the lamp two more times on Thursday night and has now poured in 18 goals (and six assists) in just 23 games this season. Tonight, he’ll face a Toronto team that has surrendered 3.08 goals per game this season and Pastrnak found the back of the net in their only previous meeting.
Dougie Hamilton – Calgary Flames - $5,500 – Mark Giordano seems to grab the most attention when looking at the Calgary Flames blue-line, but Hamilton is arguably the better option. He scored the game-winning goal on Thursday night and now owns a very solid four goals and ten assists in 30 games this season. He’s unloaded 85 shots on goal and is routinely seeing over 20 minutes of ice-time per game lately. His advanced stats (64.57 CF60, 2.85 XGF60 and 9.34 SCF60) are all terrific (and substantially better than Giordano’s) and his 98.53 PDO suggest he’s even been a bit unlucky in the early going this season. Tonight, he draws a very nice matchup as the Winnipeg Jets are not known for their sound defense and also happen to own the second most minor penalties in the NHL this season.