Every Thursday I will be providing my recommended player picks for your daily fantasy hockey lineups. The goal is to help you to the top of the leader boards in FanDuel and DraftKings tournament play.
The NHL schedule can be frustrating when you go from two games on a Wednesday night to 12 games on the following night. But here we are and there are plenty of lopsided matchups in terms of team possession. Some notable matchups see the Carolina Hurricanes — the possession darlings of the NHL — host the Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay visits Western Canada to take on the Calgary Flames and the Jets head to San Jose to take on the Sharks.
NOTE: Make sure to check the "RotoGrinders Starting Goalies Page":https://rotogrinders.com/lineups/nhl?site=fanduel page prior to game time, to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting.
Jaroslav Halak, Boston Bruins – I’ll be the first to admit that the Anaheim Ducks have been a better team since Ondrej Kase returned from injury. However, the Boston Bruins have been elite this season despite a slew of injuries. They have managed to stay afloat due to their solid defensive play and possession numbers, along with the surprise play of “backup” goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Boston has a 52.15 CF%, which ranks eighth; but they allow just 2.59 goals against per game, which is the second-best mark in the NHL. Additionally, Halak has been elite this season. He’s got an incredible .946 even strength save percentage, which is third-best in the NHL, and has three shutouts to go along with that. The Bruins are on home ice and are currently -160 favorites to win, giving Halak solid win equity.
Editor’s Note: RotoGrinders.com is our exclusive partner for daily fantasy hockey strategy. Want to take your FanDuel game to the next level? Check out RotoGrinders' FanDuel Incentives Package to get picks and advice from proven daily fantasy winners.
Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes – He started off the season hot with 17 points in 12 October games, slowed down a bit in November with nine points in 13 games and then has picked it up again in December with eight points in seven games. He’s expected to play on the top line with Teuvo Teravainen and Jordan Martinook this evening, which is solid. He and Teravainen have played together for basically the entire season and have developed fantastic chemistry together. Carolina is an elite possession team in the NHL with league-bests of 56.27 CF% and 68.49 CF/60. They take on a Detroit Red Wings team that is on the opposite end of the spectrum with a 27th ranked 46.42 CF% and 26th ranked 51.55 CF/60. Also encouraging for the Hurricanes is that Detroit is allowing 59.52 CA/60, which is the fifth-most in the NHL.
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning – Steven Stamkos got off to a slow start in the month of October, picking up just two goals and eight points in 11 games. However, since then he’s put up 15 goals and 28 points in 24 games, including nine goals and 14 points in nine December games. Tampa Bay is the best team in the NHL as they lead the league in points with 54 and have an incredible +44 goal differential. These numbers are sustainable when you consider they rank fifth with a 53.42 CF% and also fifth with a 61.51 CF/60. They have a relatively neutral matchup against the Calgary Flames and being on the road is also a slight downgrade for the Lightning, but their offense has been so lethal it is hard to ignore. Over their last ten games, they have scored an absurd 50 goals, averaging five goals per game. Calgary has been playing solid lately, allowing just 22 goals over their last ten games, but it is a bit deceiving considering only three of the ten teams are currently in a playoff spot.
Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets – Mark Scheifele has been the hottest player in the NHL in the month of December. He leads the league with 17 points in 10 games, including eight goals. Linemate Blake Wheeler has also been great with 12 points in 10 games. The two are playing alongside Nikolaj Ehlers as the Winnipeg Jets travel to San Jose to take on the Sharks. San Jose has been one of the best possession teams in the NHL this season, but their numbers haven’t necessarily translated into points as well as one would expect, despite their current playoff spot. A large part of this is due to the struggles of goaltender Martin Jones. At even strength, Jones has an abysmal .895 save percentage, which ranks 62nd out of 65 goaltenders with at least 300 minutes of game play. The Sharks have been great, but their goaltending has prevented them from being among the top five teams in the NHL. Here’s hoping Jones kills them again.
Keith Yandle, Florida Panthers – Keith Yandle has been having some dominant action on the power play in the month of December. He’s got eight points in eight games with six of those coming on the man advantage. The Panthers have the sixth best power play this month, converting on 30 percent of their opportunities. The Leafs – their opponent tonight – haven’t had a great penalty kill this month, killing off just 80.8 percent of their penalties, which ranks 19th. Even with that, their season long PK numbers are just a 78.9 percent success rate, so they’ve sat middle-of-the-pack all season. Yandle is sixth in the NHL among defensemen in points on the season with 30 in 32 games including an incredible 21 power play points. If the Panthers PP is clicking tonight, Yandle should be able to get on the scoresheet.