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FanDuel NHL: Value Plays for the Week

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.

When looking for names in this column, as Iíve mentioned before, itís frequently about identifying players who have had their situations change offensively in a positive manner. It can take daily sites a week or more to catch up to reality, and that transition time between the lineup change and price correction is where the utmost value can be found.

As always, these are all players under $4,000 in salary for now, except for the goaltender.


Josh Jooris, Calgary ($3,000)

Calgaryís lines have been retooled recently. That shuffle has put Josh Jooris on what is Calgaryís unofficial second line, between Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler. In Calgaryís most recent game, Jooris didnít get in on the scoring, but he was on the ice for two goals at even strength, which led to a plus-2 rating. Just a plus-2 rating alone is enough to reach value at a salary of $3,000.

Jooris is not a household name just yet, and Iím not saying that he will be. He was a free agent coming out of the college hockey system, and signed with Calgary in 2013. He didnít make an appearance until this season.

The reason for pointing out Joorisís plus/minus in the last game was twofold. First, Jooris is not getting power-play time (yet). That second-line power-play unit still has Markus Granlund at center (and that makes Granlund a decent value play as well). Secondly, Calgary plays Arizona, Colorado, and San Jose this week. By puck possession metrics, Arizona and Colorado are 23rd and 28th in the NHL, respectively (via War On Ice). Calgary is 29th themselves, but it at least makes for an easier matchup on their behalf. Considering his new linemates, it wonít take much for Jooris to get to value against either opponent, and on large Tuesday and Thursday slates, his price allows for a lot of lineup flexibility.

Right Wing

Ales Hemsky, Dallas ($3,200)

It seems like almost every week, there is a different player in this column who has been put on the top line in Dallas with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. There is good reason for this:

1) Last year, Benn and Seguin were on the ice for 1.323 goals per 20 minutes at 5-on-5. For reference, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were at 1.330 goals per 20 minutes.

2) This year, albeit in a smaller sample, that number has increased to 1.692 for Benn and Seguin. Getzlaf and Perry, meanwhile, are at 1.035, Jori Lehtera and Vladimir Tarasenko are at 1.440, Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist are at 1.317, and Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan are a 1.356.

It shouldnít be news to many, but itís just pointing out statistically that at 5-on-5, there may not be a better duo at scoring goals than Benn and Seguin. Itís important to point that out because with plus/minus being a factor in FanDuel scoring, it can provide a nice floor for the third wheel on that line. At present time, thatís Hemsky.

As of this moment, Hemsky is not on the top power-play unit; thatís still Antoine Roussel. All the same, even a night of going plus-1 with two shots on goal gets Hemsky very close to value at this price. Itís really a low bar to pass at this price point, and Dallas has two good matchups this week against the Maple Leafs and Canadiens.

Left Wing

Brett Connolly, Tampa Bay ($3,000)

Kind of like looking for the third tripod leg of the Benn/Seguin line, searching for who is playing on the top power-play unit in Tampa Bay is advisable. At this time of writing, the Lightning are third in the NHL in power-play efficiency, trailing just Pittsburgh and Washington.

If the name Brett Connolly isnít familiar, he was a fairly highly-touted prospect and a sixth-overall pick back in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. While he hasnít been able to stick around permanently in the NHL, he has put up 120 points in 137 games at the AHL level. Connolly has been a healthy scratch at times this season, but he has recently been placed on a line with Jonathan Drouin and Valtteri Filppula, and also the top power-play unit.

Looking ahead this week, Tampa Bay has two games against Buffalo, and one against Columbus. By team points, they are 27th and 30th in the league respectively; by CorsiFor percentage -- measuring puck possession at 5-on-5 -- they are 30th and 25th; by penalty-kill percentage, they are 25th and 26th in efficiency. This is as good as a schedule can get in a week for Tampa Bay, and to get exposure to the Lightning without spending a lot of salary, Connolly should be at the top of the list of targets.


Zach Redmond, Colorado ($3,100)

Itís been a weird career for Redmond so far. He was drafted in the seventh round by the then-Atlanta Thrashers in 2008. He never appeared in the NHL until the lockout-shortened season of 2012-2013, and was signed as a free agent by Colorado this past offseason. Because of injuries -- and some underwhelming Avalanche play -- Redmond has found his way into the lineup, and as a member of the second power-play unit in Colorado.

Avoiding Colorado is usually a good idea on FanDuel because the plus/minus component makes the floor a lot lower for their players. Colorado also has only two more games this week, but one of them is against the Flames. While Calgary has been scoring at a good clip at even strength, they are 27th in the NHL in penalty-kill efficiency. While their unblocked shot attempts allowed short-handed indicate a forthcoming turnaround, Calgaryís unblocked shot attempts allowed at 5-on-5 indicates a downturn. It seems to be a push.

For this week, Redmond is probably a better tournament play than a cash-game play. Heís still on the Avalanche, and that means there is a low floor. But he also has a reasonably high ceiling, and thatís the type of variance that should be targeted in large tournaments.


Al Montoya, Florida ($7,000)

The Panthers are in the midst of a stretch that will see the team play five games in eight days. Regular starting goalie Roberto Luongo was injured in a game recently, and though he is set to return to action soon, it may not be out of the question for Montoya to get another start this week.

Montoya has been something of a traveling goalie, and his .917 save percentage at 5-on-5 from 2007-08 through last season was below average, but ahead of current NHLers like Ondrej Pavelec, Curtis McElhinney, Jonas Gustavsson, and Brian Elliott. While Montoya isnít great, heís not terrible either. Florida isnít bad at preventing shots, ranking in the middle of the pack in shot attempts allowed, and in the same company as the Kings, Rangers, and Islanders.

Floridaís final two games this week are against Columbus and Buffalo. If Montoya gets a start in either of those games, heís well worth a tournament play.

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.