This article is part of our FantasyAces NHL series.
There may only be three games on the schedule Friday, but there are still a good number of big names and fine value plays to choose from.
Here are my recommendations for tonight:
C – Steven Stamkos ($6,000) – He is the hottest of the big shooters at the center position who are in action Friday (seven goals, 10 points in the last nine games) and may get a bit of a break if Detroit's top pivot, Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), is unable to play. It's a home game for the Bolts against a division rival, and Stamkos knows you can't afford to lose these kinds of matchups. This result will go a long way to determining whether the Bolts are in a battle to rise to first place or hold onto second place.
W – Adam Henrique ($4,650) - I don't know about you, but my eyes light up when I see Buffalo on the schedule. My sense is that the low-scoring Devils feel the same way. Henrique is their hottest shooter over the last three weeks, with seven points in nine games. He's also a fixture on the ninth-best power play in the league, which faces the worst penalty-kill unit in the NHL on Friday. He should be licking his chops in anticipation.
W – Justin Abdelkader ($4,800) – The big winger is enjoying a career-best NHL season, as he has tallied 19 goals and 18 assists in 62 games. He has also become a focal point on the special teams, with seven power-play goals. He has grown into a younger (and healthier) version of Johan Franzen and has the size to battle for position in front of the net against the big Tampa defense. He's wielding a hot stick with six goals and one assist in his last nine games.
W – Jakob Silfverberg ($4,500) - The big winger has long been touted as a highly-skilled scorer, but only recently has he finally started to actually fit that profile, with nine points in his last 10 games. This scoring binge has solidified a second scoring line for the Ducks. He is fourth in team scoring and has also proven to be quite responsible defensively, accounting for a plus-13 rating, which is second to Corey Perry among Ducks forwards. Having earned the trust of his coaching staff, he has earned regular duty on both of Anaheim's special teams.
W – Patrick Maroon ($3,750) – Maroon has reestablished himself as the most frequent partner to the Ducks' dynamic duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on Anaheim's top line. He went through a seven-game scoring drought before picking up three points in his last two games and looked very engaged in his first line minutes. He is also back in the mix for power-play duty.
D - Victor Hedman ($5,250) – Despite missing 20 games, Hedman is still in the top-30 scoring defensemen in the league, with 35 points in only 51 games. Of late, he has shown his full capacity with seven points in his last nine. Most recently, he delivered a tour de force effort in a critical win over the Canadiens, when he had a goal and an assist in more than 22 minutes. He has arrived as a team leader and a key to all aspects of the Lightning approach.
D – Hampus Lindholm ($3,600) – On a blueline that boasts familiar names like Francois Beauchemin, Cam Fowler and recently-reacquired power-play specialist James Wisniewski, Lindholm is something of an afterthought. However, he has improved on a nice 30-point rookie campaign with 33 points during his sophomore season. He has solidified his top-four status on a talented blueline and continues to be viewed as a key part of the club's attack mode, even earning regular duty on Anaheim's potent power play.
Flex – Tyler Ennis ($4,150) – This pick is for all my detractors who say I show no love for the lowly Sabres. Ennis has five points in his last seven games and continues to give everything he has, despite his small stature and the hopeless season Buffalo is enduring. My hat is off to him for showing that he cares enough to put out a top-notch effort, night after night, in games that have no meaning for the Sabres.
Goalie – Ben Bishop ($8,000) – For a second consecutive season, Bishop has proven to be a capable workhorse in leading the Bolts toward a very impressive season as they battle for the top spot in the Atlantic division. He has recorded 34 wins against only 11 losses, while posting a 2.32 goals-against average and gives the Bolts a big edge against an unsteady tandem that has been tending goal for Detroit.