NHL GPP Plays by donkshow
Every Tuesday and Thursday I’ll be providing my recommended player picks for your daily fantasy hockey lineups. The goal is to help you to the top of the leaderboards in FanDuel and DraftKings tournament play.
Opening night was pretty eventful, where we saw the Washington Capitals destroy the Boston Bruins, the expected dominant offense of the Toronto Maple Leafs just squeak a 3-2 win in overtime over the Montreal Canadiens, the Canucks defeating the Flames, and the Sharks losing at home to the Ducks. On the second night of the NHL season, we have a large 10-game slate with plenty of intriguing matchups.
NOTE: Make sure to check the RotoGrinders Starting Goalies Page page prior to game time, to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting.
Antti Raanta, Arizona Coyotes – Okay, this might seem a bit crazy, but hear me out. First of all, the matchup looks tough on paper as the Arizona Coyotes visit Dallas to take on the Stars. Not ideal. However, last season from January 1st until the end of the season — among all goalies with at least 15 starts — Antti Raanta led the league with a .942 SV% (second was way back at .931) and also led the league with a 1.83 GAA (second was back at 2.14). Raanta was incredibly dominant, putting up a 16-5-4 record across 25 starts. The Coyotes are a dark horse this season with an underrated defense core and Raanta could be a very high upside tournament play tonight at very low ownership. It’s risky, but he is very cheap.
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Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators – With four straight 25-plus goal seasons to start his career, Filip Forsberg has been a reliable goal scorer for the Nashville Predators. Over the last couple seasons, he’s found himself playing on the top line with players like Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson, who benefit playing with him as much as he benefits from playing with them. Forsberg led the team in points last season and was second only to Arvidsson in the goal department. He was second on the team in power play time on ice per game, just his linemate Johansen garnered more time on the man advantage than him among forwards. With guys like P.K. Subban and Roman Josi as potential options on the back-end on the power play, it’s surprising that the Predators only ranked 12th with the man advantage — converting at a 21.2 percent clip.
Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes – In just his second NHL season, Sebastian Aho led the Carolina Hurricanes in both goals (29) and points (65). Tonight, he’s slated to center Teuvo Teravainen and off-season acquisition Michael Ferland on the Hurricanes top line. Aho was tops among forwards on the Hurricanes in power play time on ice per game last season, which should easily continue into this season. He’ll spend time on there with Teravainen, which makes them a great two-man mini-stack for tournaments as they’ll spend all of their ice time together. Aho fired off 200 shots on goal last season, which was second among all forwards on the Hurricanes, behind Jeff Skinner who was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in the off-season. The shot volume is encouraging and raises his floor as well as his ceiling, because you’re not scoring unless you’re shooting.
Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins – Phil Kessel is inexplicably underpriced on DraftKings at just $5,700, despite coming off of a 34-goal and 92-point season which included 261 shots on goal and an incredible 42 power play points. As usual, he’s going to line up with Evgeni Malkin, who’s also pretty underpriced at $6,800 on DraftKings. They make for a fantastic mini-stack as they play together on the top power play unit, which is loaded with talent as they’re joined by Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist, and Kris Letang. Rounding out this line is Carl Hagelin, who’s cheap at $4,000, but can definitely be left off if you’re stacking them as he’s more of a third-wheel than a contributing factor to the success of Kessel and Malkin.
Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets – Over the last two seasons, Zach Werenski is actually fourth on the Blue Jackets in shots on goal with 395 and fourth in points with 84. The shot volume is encouraging for a defenseman to have, because it’s not common to find defenders that average almost 200 shots per season and put up 90 blocks as well. These statistics give Werenski a solid floor and playing on the top power play unit with his offensive ability gives him a very high ceiling as well. The Blue Jackets are on the road tonight to take on the Detroit Red Wings — a team that’s expected to struggle this season. It’s a great matchup for Werenski, who we’re hoping to get on the scoresheet in the point department.