FanDuel NHL: Monday Picks
FanDuel NHL: Monday Picks

This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.

Monday night is a two-game slate in the NHL, and one of those games features Arizona going into Pittsburgh. Given that Pittsburgh is averaging the league's second-highest goals per game and Arizona has allowed the fourth-most, it's easy to figure out where the ownership will be trending. This column will attempt to explore the less obvious options for these contests.

CENTER

Nick Bonino, PIT vs. ARI ($4,500): While less heralded than some of his teammates, Bonino has been very productive in his time with Pittsburgh; since the start of the 2015-16 season, the center has managed slightly more points per 60 minutes (1.85) than more highly regarded forwards like Corey Perry (1.84) and Vincent Trocheck (1.83). The hope Monday is that Bonino's line will see the depth defense pairs for the Coyotes, as they've been giving up more than 12 scoring chances against per 60 minutes when Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Connor Murphy are off the ice, per Corsica Hockey. That's an abysmal number.

Patrice Bergeron, BOS at MON ($6,600): This situation is tricky. In Sunday's practice, the Bruins had Frank Vatrano playing in the top-six forward mix, with David Pastrnak shifted to the second line and David Backes to the first. However, the still-injured Vatrano will be out for Monday's game and the actual lines won't be known until morning skate. It's ideal for fantasy owners if Bergeron, Pastrnak and Brad Marchand continue to play together; per Corsica Hockey, that line is on the ice for more adjusted shot attempts generated per 60 minutes (75.23) than any other regular trio in the league. With Bergeron on the top power-play quintet, deferring to him is the option here.

WING

Radim Vrbata, ARI at PIT ($4,900): This has been a resurgent year for Vrbata, as he's on pace for more than 20 goals and 50 points coming off a season in which he put up 13 and 27, respectively. The veteran's averaging exactly three shots on goal per game this year, which is good news for cash games. With all the focus on Pittsburgh's potential goal scoring Monday, it's easy to overlook the fact that the Penguins give up the seventh-most adjusted shot attempts at five-on-five. With his low cost and this decent matchup, the former 30-goal scorer is certainly in play.

Conor Sheary, PIT vs. ARI ($5,000): Not since the heyday of Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz has Sidney Crosby had consistent linemates. He seems to have finally found them, though, in Sheary and Patric Hornqvist. That trio has been lights out this year; per Corsica, they lead the NHL in expected goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five. Sheary's 82-game pace is 27 goals and 31 assists, all without a single power-play point (yet). Monday's matchup against the defensively suspect Coyotes should prove fruitful for that line.

Bryan Rust, PIT vs. ARI ($3,500): Rust's 82-game pace for goals this year is an even 20 – a somewhat startling fact, considering he skates less than 13 minutes a game, but playing for an offensive juggernaut of a Penguins team helps. He's averaging nearly two shots per game (1.88), but Rust is more of a tournament option than a reliable choice for cash games while playing on the third line with Bonino.

Alexander Radulov, MON vs. BOS ($6,200): The Canadiens are coming off a game in which they scored 10 goals; obviously, no such outburst should be expected Monday. All the same, the early returns on the newly formed top line of Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Radulov have been solid. Their shot attempts generated per 60 minutes (over 75) and expected goals per 60 minutes (over 3.7) since joining together look quite promising. Be wary of the small sample, but they have played well. This new trio should mostly avoid the defensively stout Bergeron line in this game, which rates as good news too.

DEFENSE

Anthony DeAngelo, ARI at PIT ($3,600): Of all defensemen on Monday's slate who have played at least 10 games, this rookie is tied for third in fantasy points per game with 10. Despite this, he's 13th among blueliners in cost. On the season, DeAngelo has 18 shots on goal and 16 blocked shots – combine those two FanDuel-point-earning stats and you get nearly three per game. At his price, that's a solid floor to work with. More than that, he lines up with Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the power play. If you're looking to save significant cap space while grabbing a potentially low-ownership rearguard, DeAngelo is the play.

Jeff Petry, MON vs. BOS ($4,500): This is shaping up to be a career year for Petry, who's on pace for 12 goals and 33 points – both of which would be his best by a wide margin. He also has 51 shots on goal and 51 blocked shots in his 27 games this year, which gives the 29-year-old a solid floor. For the game against Boston, though, his utility will be his ownership. There will naturally be more owners investing in Shea Weber and Andrei Markov, but Petry does play on the second power-play unit and should easily pass 20 minutes of ice time. Though he's more of a tournament option, Petry is a more contrarian play that'll let you avoid the higher-owned Montréal blueliners.

GOALIE

Matt Murray, PIT vs. ARI ($9,000): The goalies for Monday's games are not confirmed, but for those playing cash games, Murray (or Marc-Andre Fleury, if he gets the nod) should be a staple of FanDuel lineups. Anything can happen in a professional hockey game, but Pittsurgh is heavily favored, while the Canadiens-Bruins game should be a much tighter affair. The good news is that Pittsburgh, as mentioned earlier, does give up a fair number of shots, so even a goal or two against Murray won't ruin his fantasy performance so long as the Penguins actually win. He's also starred since returning from an early injury, going 10-2 with a 2.01 GAA and .929 save percentage.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Clifford
Michael Clifford writes about fantasy hockey for RotoWire. He was a FSWA finalist in 2015 and 2013 for Hockey Writer of the Year. Former SportsNet hockey columnist, where he churned out four articles a week.
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