With the trade deadline just days away, the next week of the NHL season is extremely important for fates of many NHL teams. As we've grown accustomed to throughout the season, it’s another busy Saturday on the ice, as 16 teams will hop over the boards tonight. The puck drops a bit earlier than usual (4PM Eastern), and hopefully these picks can help jump-start your research for your FanDuel games. The night is highlighted by the Stadium Series game from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Robin Lehner - Buffalo Sabres - $8,200 - Lehner had a rough outing against the Blackhawks on Sunday, but he should be well rested, and I expected him to bounce back nicely tonight against the feeble Colorado Avalanche. Despite the poor performance against Chicago, Lehner has posted an impressive 2.20 GAA to go along with a .942 SV% in 10 starts since the All-Star break. The Colorado Avalanche have scored an NHL worst 1.97 goals per game, this season and Lehner turned away all 23 shots they threw his direction in his second shutout of the season just last week. With a very reasonable asking price and a rock-solid chance at a “W,” he should be a popular selection between the pipes.
Jack Eichel - Buffalo Sabres - $7,300 - Eichel picked up an assist on Buffalo's lone goal against Chicago on Thursday night, and the phenom has now racked up a goal and 11 assists in his last 10 games. He's now averaging over four shots on goal per game this season and has quickly lived up to the hype that made him the second overall draft pick in loaded 2015 NHL Entry Draft (behind Connor McDavid). Eichel is greeted with the best matchup on the board tonight, as the Colorado Avalanche have surrendered an NHL-worst 3.31 goals against per game this season and sport an ugly 78.6% penalty kill. Eichel picked up a helper the only other time these teams met and it would be surprising to see him held off the score sheet tonight.
Brandon Dubinsky - Columbus Blue Jackets - $5,200 - After an entire week off, Dubinsky and his Blue Jacket teammates should be very excited to get back onto the ice tonight when they play host to the New York Islanders. Dubinsky was ice cold to start the season, but he's making up for lost time in a hurry, as he's scored four goals and added six assists in just nine games this month. He picked up an assist in New York's last visit to Nationwide Arena and his sluggish start to the season has kept his asking price at a very affordable level.
Patric Hornqvist - Pittsburgh Penguins - $6,800 - From an advanced metrics standpoint, Patric Hornqvist has been one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the entire league this season. His 3.71 xGF60 sits tops among all NHL players who have played at least 150 minutes and his 67.36 CF60 highlights his offensive aggressiveness and puck-control abilities. Now slated to skate alongside Sidney Crosby on Pittsburgh's top forward line, his upside is through the roof. Hornqvist grabbed a pair of assists against the Flyers in their first meeting this season and I'll be doing my best to get plenty of exposure as the Flyers have allowed an ugly 2.98 goals against per game this season. Just be sure to monitor the weather (and ice condition reports) as game-time approaches as rain is forecasted to be in the area.
Alexander Radulov - Montreal Canadiens - $5,800 - I won't try to sugarcoat it; Radulov has been ice cold lately, and his pointless streak has now reached five games. With that said, he's still in the midst of a fine season in his return to the NHL, as he's racked up 14 goals and 28 assists in 59 games. Tonight, he'll head to Toronto to face a Maple Leafs team that happens to play at the quickest pace in the entire NHL (121.48 CP60) and who he's already torched for a goal and five assists in just three prior meetings this season. He's simply too talented to stay quiet for long, especially with Max Pacioretty playing alongside him on both the top forward line and #1 power-play unit.
Justin Williams – Washington Capitals - $5,000 – With T.J. Oshie unlikely to play once again tonight, Justin Williams becomes one of the top value options on the board. He’s slated to join Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the top forward line and #1 power-play unit. He may not be the most exciting fantasy option to choose from, but he’s quietly already racked up 35 points in 59 games. He scored the game-winning goal in last night’s game and picked up a pair of assists the game prior.
Brent Burns - San Jose Sharks - $8,600 - This is an obvious play and he may be the most expensive defenseman on the board, but I'd argue that he's still underpriced at FanDuel. Burns owns 64 points through the first 60 games and his 242 shots on goal is the top mark in the entire NHL. He scored a goal and added an assist against this Vancouver team when they squared off earlier this season and sees a significant fantasy boost considering the Canuck's abysmal 70.4% penalty kill since the All-Star break.
Brian Dumoulin – Pittsburgh Penguins - $3,300 – With several very appealing expensive options to fit into your lineups, I’ll be looking for some salary relief on the blue-line. Trevor Daley was injured in Pittsburgh’s last game and will now join Justin Schultz and Olli Maatta in the press box. Dumoulin is not typically targeted in DFS, but those injuries will lock him into huge minutes tonight against Philadelphia, and he’ll even take over as the point-man on the second power-play unit. His shot blocking ability gives him a safe floor for cash game use, and his new role opens the door for some offensive production as well (Just check Justin Schultz status as game-time approaches).