In the throes of winter, you may not want to spend much time watching people skate around on ice. Perhaps watching repeats of beach volleyball feels more palatable. However, weíre still in the hockey mood, and there are six games Friday from which you can choose to fill out your Yahoo Daily Fantasy roster.
John Gibson, ANA vs. ARI ($34): Gibsonís overall numbers arenít great, but he did post a shutout Wednesday to follow up his 51-save gem from New Yearís Day. Beyond that, though, the Coyotes arenít much of a threat offensively, as theyíre averaging a mere 2.08 goals per game. Arizona isnít a threat in general, frankly, having lost eight in a row; the defense is just as bad as the offense. Youíve got to like Gibsonís chances of picking up a win in this matchup.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Cam Ward, CAR at CHI ($33): Ward is projected to start both Thursday and Friday, which would put him at a disadvantage in this matchup with the Blackhawks. While heís having one of the better seasons of his career and he beat the Blues on Thursday, Ward has still posted sub-.900 save marks in three of his last five outings and six of his last 11. Additionally, while the Hurricanes have been formidable at home, theyíre only 6-10-6 on the road.
Nazem Kadri, TOR at NJD ($17): While Kadri may be overshadowed by his younger, more promising teammates, his 6.9 fantasy points per game exceed William Nylanderís average and equal Mitch Marnerís. However, Kadri is slightly cheaper than both those hyped-up teammates. The Devils have given up 31.5 shots on goal per game, while Kadri has notched 117 of his own, and all those attempts have resulted in 14 goals.
CENTER TO AVOID
Jonathan Toews, CHI vs. CAR ($20): Although Ward may be playing back-to-back games, his defense should be able to bail him out to some degree. The ĎCanes are surprisingly only giving up 27.2 shots on goal per game, which puts them in the NHLís top five. On top of that, one third of Toewsí points have come on the power play, and Carolina boasts the best penalty kill in the NHL Ė a feat helped in no small part by the fact that the Hurricanes have been shorthanded the fourth-fewest times in the league.
Michael Frolik, CGY at VAN ($18): After a cold streak, Frolik has picked his play back up recently, tallying six points in his last five games. The Canucks are giving up 2.88 goals per game, and their team save percentage is a mere .906. While Frolik isnít likely to take advantage of Vancouverís poor penalty killing, he wonít need to do that in order to continue his impressive run.
Anders Lee, NYI at COL ($16): Lee has scored an impressive 14 goals in 36 games this season. Granted, his shooting percentage is unsustainably high, but he tallied 25 goals just two seasons ago, so itís not like heís a total fluke. Besides, this is a great matchup for Lee, as the Avs own a league-worst 3.37 GAA and give up 32.3 shots on goal per game as well.
WINGS TO AVOID
Filip Forsberg, NAS at FLA ($18): The Predators will be on the second night of a back-to-back, while the Panthers wonít, which already puts Forsberg and company at a slight disadvantage. Forsberg will also have to go up against workhorse Roberto Luongo and his .919 save percentage, making it unlikely that heíll turn around a rough season in which heís only averaging 5.6 fantasy points per game. If you really want to own a Predator, you could have Viktor Arvidsson (7.5 fantasy points per game) for a mere dollar more.
Reilly Smith, FLA vs. NAS ($18): Meanwhile, the Predators could be starting Juuse Saros on Friday, presuming they donít want to start Pekka Rinne on back-to-back nights. Saros does not have a large sample size of NHL action, but what weíve seen has been impressive: a 1.16 GAA and .957 save percentage in six appearances. Itís enough to make you concerned about Smithís upside in this one, especially since heís only averaging 4.4 fantasy points per game.
Sami Vatanen, ANA vs. ARI ($17): Arizona gives up a whopping 34.7 shots on goal per game, although Vatanen (50 shots in 37 games) may not necessarily be the best guy to take advantage of that. However, Arizona has also given up 3.24 goals per game this season, and Vatanen does have 16 points to his credit. Ten of those points have come on the power play, and the Coyotesí struggles have been due in part to their 29th-ranked penalty kill.
Nick Leddy, NYI at COL ($14): Itís already been established how many goals and shots the Avalanche give up. Well, Leddy takes a decent number of shots (63 on goal in 35 games), and heís also averaging 3:10 per night with the extra man. On top of all their other issues, the Avs rank 25th in penalty-kill percentage, so Leddyís power-play prowess could come in handy.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Steve Santini, NJD vs. TOR ($18): It feels very odd to see Santini listed at $18. Hereís a guy whoís played in two games this season and is averaging 13:22 of ice time with no power-play minutes. Itís not like he was tearing it up in the AHL either (zero points in 15 games). Maybe he has some sort of long-term potential, but that isnít likely to materialize Friday.
Jason Demers, FLA vs. NAS ($17): Demers has an impressive seven goals this season, but he also has a 14.6 shooting percentage. Thatís well above his career average, and itís definitely unsustainable. Even with that production, heís still only averaging 4.4 fantasy points per game. If you really wanted a Florida defenseman, you could get Keith Yandle for the exact same price. Thatís a much more sensible option.