This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
Welcome back to another round of FanDuel bargain options for February 16-21.
For those who may be new to this column thanks to the NBA All-Star break, this article looks at skaters priced $4,000 or less on FanDuel for the week, and the matchups that look favourable. There will be one skater per position in that price range. At the end of the article, there will be a couple of cheap goalies.
Alexander Wennberg (Columbus) - $3,800
Columbus has been really bad this year. They're at the bottom of the standings, and in the bottom-10 of the league in score-adjusted CorsiFor percentage (a measure of puck possession).
One bright spot has been Wennberg, who has shown flashes of production this year. While his 1.34 points per 60 minutes at five-on-five isn't very good, that number rises to 1.63 points/60 when playing with Brandon Saad, which is on par with Boone Jenner's season. All of a sudden, a bad number looks promising when you remove the time he spent (mostly) in Columbus' bottom-six forward mix.
According to Emmanuel Perry's app, the line of Wennberg-Saad-Hartnell are on the ice for only 22.6 scoring chances against per 60 minutes of five-on-five play. That is the best of regular Columbus line combinations, with the next closest at 26. Fewer scoring chances typically leads to fewer goals against, and that means less downside because of plus/minus, a problem that has plagued Columbus skaters this season.
Should Boston be without Patrice Bergeron on Tuesday, I am fine using Wennberg because that means his matchup is, technically, against Boston's third line centre. If not, there is a good matchup for Columbus at home on Friday against Buffalo.
Joe Blandisi (New Jersey) - $3,800
Sean Couturier is still out of the lineup for the Philadelphia Flyers, and will be there for a couple more weeks. He has developed into a reliable two-way center, and his absence forces guys like Scott Laughton to step into roles they may not be ready for. Since Couturier's injury, the Flyers have lost five of six, have been held to two goals or fewer in five of those (all losses), and have a score-adjusted CorsiFor percentage of 45.2. In short, times have been tough without their second line centre.
This is important information because the Devils host the Flyers on Tuesday and Blandisi is playing on New Jersey's top line. In New Jersey's most recent game, the top line was not used against the opponent's first unit (i.e. Anze Kopitar's group), which means Blandisi's line can do more offensively as they should avoid Claude Giroux et al.
As long as Blandisi stays put, and it appears he will be, he is a solid cheap option on the wing for Tuesday versus Philly.
Sven Andrighetto (Montreal) - $3,300
Wednesday night is a short slate in the NHL, with just three games. One of them features Montreal going into Colorado. Even with the Habs' struggles the last few months, Andrighetto is one of the bright spots: in his 22 games (at time of writing, they play Monday night in Arizona), he leads the Habs in goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five.
While Andrighetto's five-on-five shooting percentage is too high to sustain itself, his individual assists percentage (IAP), or the rate at which he's assisted goals scored by Montreal when he is on the ice, is extremely low at 9.1-percent. For reference, only three regular forwards in the NHL last year had an IAP under 44-percent, and no one was under 33-percent. As he is now in a featured top-six role on the Max Pacioretty line, the impending slowdown in goal production can be mitigated with more ice time and improved IAP.
Colorado is also poor defensively, tied with Edmonton for most high-danger scoring chances allowed per 60 minutes this year. With Andrighetto in the top-six forward mix for the Canadiens, the low number of games, and power play time, he is a solid bargain option on Wednesday night.
Jaccob Slavin (Carolina) - $3,600
Justin Faulk has been a stud on the Carolina blue line. However, he has been scratched for two straight games, and was not on the ice for practice on Monday. That would seem to indicate he will not return for at least Tuesday's home game against Winnipeg, and possibly longer.
In Faulk's absence, one player given a bigger role is Slavin. In the two games without Faulk, Slavin has played nearly 24 minutes, and added an assist on Saturday night. He is also playing on the second power play unit, and that is important: Winnipeg is the most penalized team in the NHL, and are 29th in high-danger scoring chances against per 60 minutes. Thursday's opponent, Ottawa, is more in the middle for being penalized as a team, but rank 27th in that same scoring chance category. That means Carolina has plus-power play matchups for both games.
So long as Faulk is out of the lineup, Slavin should be considered on the cheap. He is being given lots of ice time, and more importantly, power play time with promising situations on the horizon.
Darcy Kuemper (Minnesota) - $7,600
It has been a relatively solid season overall for Kuemper, as he's posted an overall save percentage of .918, which is actually slightly higher than starting goalie Devan Dubnyk's (.917). Kuemper is also superior in adjusted five-on-five save percentage this year.
Minnesota has three games in four nights to start the week, including a back-to-back against Edmonton and Calgary. Hopefully the new coach in Minnesota can instill a bit more structure to the game, and produce positive results. No issue with taking a chance on Kuemper should he start one of those games against the Alberta teams.
Eddie Lack (Carolina) - $6,800
Carolina's other goalie, Cam Ward, left a weekend game with a lower-body injury. It would appear, for now, that the goalie cage belongs to Lack.
Lack isn't anything special as a netminder, as his career save percentage sits at .913. The Hurricanes are hosting San Jose on Friday night, and that game will be the second game in as many nights on the road for the Sharks, and three in four nights. Catching a team on the road playing a back-to-back is a good situation for any team by win probability, and at Lack's price, he makes a very solid tournament option.