This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
We've got a very small two-game NHL slate Monday night that includes just two skaters priced over $7,000 on FanDuel, with no defensemen over $6,000. With that in mind, don't be overly concerned with spending right to the cap as you normally would. Here are some of the most compelling value plays.
Mike Smith, ARI vs. ANA ($8,100): Since the start of the 2015-16 season, Smith has a .932 save percentage at 5-on-5. To put that into perspective, that has him ahead of names like Henrik Lundqvist, Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo. Making saves at such a high rate is good for the fantasy value of a goalie whose team gives up the second-most shots per game. The upside here is undeniable is great for tournament play, and this is an interesting counter play set against what should be significant ownership of Ducks skaters.
Ivan Barbashev, STL vs. FLA ($3,200): Though his ice time won't be that of a top-six forward anytime soon, Barbashev is a high-end prospect who seems to be locked in on the third line with Magnus Paajarvi for now, even with the impending return for Paul Stastny. What is important here is that per Corsica Hockey, the Panthers have given up the fewest scoring chances per minute when either of Aleksander Barkov or Vincent Trocheck, their top two centers, is on the ice. Barbashev and his linemates will not face either of those top two trios often, which should help them create scoring chances in the limited minutes they're given. He's also likely to be lightly owned.
Alex Burmistrov, ARI vs. ANA ($3,200): Since joining the Coyotes last month, Burmistrov has been averaging more than 16 minutes per contest. In their last game, he was moved up the lineup – depending on how one looks at the lineup – to play alongside Max Domi. He's also been skating on the second power-play unit. As with Barbashev, the main reason for playing Burmistrov is a lack of ownership. Choosing players with single-digit ownership on tiny slates like Monday night's are crucial to pushing your way up tournament leaderboards.
Andrew Cogliano, ANA at ARI ($4,400): Anaheim's most recent game saw Cogliano skating on a line with Ryan Kesler. In general, he has been playing a larger role for the Ducks, earning 16:08 of ice time per game over his last five contests, although it dipped under 15 minutes Sunday. Nonetheless, that additional opportunity is good for his fantasy floor, as he ranks third among Ducks forwards in shots per minute behind only Nick Ritchie and Jakob Silfverberg.
Radim Vrbata, ARI vs. ANA ($5,600): For those DFS players entering cash-game contests, Vrbata should be a staple of Monday's lineups. The 35-year-old winger leads the Coyotes in shots per minute, and the difference between him Jamie McGinn (who ranks second on the team in that category) is just slightly smaller than the difference between McGinn and the guy who's seventh on the team, Tobias Rieder. Indeed, Vrbata is averaging more than three shots on goal per game this year, and hasn't recorded fewer than two in over a month.
Vladimir Tarasenko, STL vs. FLA ($8,100): With all the value on the board Monday, there's not much of a reason to leave Tarasenko off your cash-game rosters. He ranks in the top 10 among forwards in shots per minute at 5-on-5, he's top 15 in points per minute and points per minute on the power play, and the list goes on. The young Russian is a game-breaking winger that can generate offense regardless of where he plays or who his linemates are. Fading him in tournaments is understandable, but not in cash contests.
Jussi Jokinen, FLA at STL ($4,900): After an incredibly slow start to the season that saw Jokinen post six points in his first 25 games, he's heated up in a big way, picking up six points in his last five games. That small-sample production isn't the reason to own him, though; we're talking about a player who's posted at least 33 assists and 44 points in six straight 82-game seasons, but was on pace for less than 20 assists and 30 points through the All-Star break. His price is about where it should be, considering his career performance, and he can greatly outperform that cost when factoring in positive regression.
Michael Matheson, FLA at STL ($3,700): Not only does the rookie lead all Panthers blueliners in shots per minute, he's third at the position in the entire league, trailing only Brent Burns and Dougie Hamilton. Since the All-Star break, Matheson is averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time, resulting in 3.43 shots per game. Though he isn't yet garnering any power-play time, the floor he can provide with shots on goal and blocked shots is very solid for his price. He doesn't even need to register a point to approach value, and that's good for cash games.
Brandon Montour, ANA at ARI ($3,300): Anaheim's forward units with the man advantage have been jumbled at times of late, but the defensive pairings have mostly been consistent, and that includes Montour on the second pairing with Hampus Lindholm. Arizona's given up the second-most scoring chances per minute while shorthanded, while the Ducks generate the second-most on the power-play. The rookie is a cheap add who should be more lightly owned than his better-known teammates, like Cam Fowler.