The final weekend of the regular season is upon us, and while there are still some very compelling battles for playoff lives/positioning, almost everything will be cleared up over the next 12 hours as all 30 NHL teams will lace up their skates tonight. This is the last big slate of the season, so don’t miss out. With the majority of the action on FanDuel centering on the 11-game evening slate, these picks will do the same.
Brian Elliot – St. Louis Blues - $9,700 – Brian Elliott doesn’t ever seem to get the credit he deserves, but he should be in the mix for the Vezina Trophy (even though it’s almost a certainty that his opponent tonight, Braden Holtby, wins it) as he’s posted a 23-7-6 record and an NHL best 2.00 GAA this season. He’s been absolutely sensational since the All-Star break as he’s posted a ridiculous 1.69 GAA and .940 SV% in 17 starts. With St. Louis desperate for a victory and Washington looking ahead to their first round playoff matchup, Elliott looks like a tremendous play in all formats tonight.
Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers - $7,500 - If Vancouver’s effort on Thursday night is any indication, the Canucks look eager to put their disappointing 2015-16 season into the rear view mirror. The Canucks were embarrassed in that game by the Calgary Flames (7-3 loss) and Edmonton has their way with them earlier this week in a 6-2 victory. McDavid scored a goal and added two assists in that game and now posted 48 points in 44 games in his first NHL season. The Canucks have allowed an ugly 3.19 goals against per game since the All-Star break and McDavid should be motivated to finish off his season with a bang in hopes of helping his chances at taking home some hardware over the off-season.
Frans Nielsen – New York Islanders - $5,300 - Nielsen often doesn’t garner the attention he deserves, but the talented two-way center lit the lamp for the 20th time this season against the Rangers on Thursday night and has now racked up a goal and four assists over his last five games. Jack Capuano recently shook up his forward lines with Nielsen being the biggest beneficiary as he’ll now join Kyle Okposo and John Tavares on both the top forward line and #1 power-play unit. He lit the lamp against Buffalo in their last meeting and looks like a terrific dollar-for-dollar play this evening.
Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues - $8,900 - Tarasenko was the hero on Thursday night against the rival Chicago Blackhawks as he tied the game with just over a minute left in regulation and later potted the game winner in overtime. The Russian sniper now sits just one goal shy of his first career 40-goal season and he’s been on fire down the stretch, pickup up points in seven straight games and posting nine goals and nine assists over his last 14 games. With the Blues still battling for the Central Division title, they should come out inspired against a Washington team who clinched the President’s Trophy weeks ago.
Artemi Panarin – Chicago Blackhawks - $7,000 - Just as it seemed Panarin was losing some steam down the stretch, the Calder Trophy front-runner has been on quiet the heater lately. He racked up three goals and seven assists in just four games this month and now leads all NHL rookies with 74 points in 78 games this season. Panarin dished out a pair of assists in the only previous meeting with the Columbus Blue Jackets and still has the luxury of playing alongside Patrick Kane at both even strength and on Chicago’s top power-play unit.
Jonathan Drouin – Tampa Bay Lightning - $4,300 - Drouin may have tarnished his reputation with his antics earlier this season, but with Steven Stamkos out for the season, the Lightning will need him to live up to his massive potential if they want to make another deep run into the playoffs this season. In his first game back at the NHL level in over three months, Drouin scored the game-winning goal against the Devils on Thursday night. The former third overall pick of the 2013 draft showed off his talent after finally reporting the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch as he racked up nine goals in his ten games since joining the team in mid-march. He certainly has the pedigree, motivation and opportunities to put up big numbers, and that dirt cheap price-tag adds to the appeal tonight.
Drew Doughty – Los Angeles Kings -$6,100 – With the Kings able to wrap up the Pacific Division title with a win tonight, I’m quite high on Doughty. He’s logged over 30 minutes of ice-time in each of the last two games and is now averaging over 28 minutes of playing time per game this season. Doughty runs the show from the top of Los Angeles’ #1 power-play where he’ll enjoy facing a Winnipeg team that’s not only the sixth most penalized team in the league this season, but who also own an ugly 78.4% penalty kill. Doughty has posted 23 points (and a +14) in 32 games since the All-Star break and has already dished out three assists in the two prior meetings against Winnipeg.
Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild - $4,700 – FanDuel has seemed averse to raising Ryan Suter’s price-tag all season, and nothing has changed today. Suter has posted a career high 51 points this season and, much like Doughty, is an absolute workhorse on the Wild blue-line. Suter facilitates things from the point of Minnesota’s top power-play where he’ll get a crack at Calgary’s NHL worst 75.0% penalty kill. Suter has grabbed a pair of assists in the prior two meetings this season with the Flames and will be a staple in all of my cash game lineups at this price-point.