Welcome back to this corner of the NHL DFS world for another round of bargain bin options to use this week on FanDuel.
Note that this is a shortened week in the NHL. The All-Star Game takes place this weekend, so Wednesday is the last day of games until next Tuesday. With this in mind, these players will all be playing tonight (Tuesday). The Wednesday slate is just four games, so I feel itís best to focus on the night with the most games to help the most people possible.
As always, there will be one player listed per position that will be priced at $4,000 or less. At the end of the article, there will be a couple of cheap goalies to use.
Alexander Wennberg (Columbus) - $3,800
Columbus is in Montreal tonight after having played the Canadiens at home last night. Back-to-back games are usually tougher on the road team, but Iím not sure either has an advantage here.
Last night, Wennberg was used as the centre between Brandon Saad and Scott Hartnell. While Columbus certainly has had their issues this year Ė theyíre in last place for a reason Ė Saad and Hartnell are two of the top four Columbus forwards on the ice for the most high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes at five-on-five. Also, it was the Dubinsky line that was often matched up against the Pacioretty line. And while the Habs will have last change tonight, I am hopeful Montreal coach Michel Therrien stays with this matchup.
Wennberg has averaged just 1.07 points per 60 minutes at five-on-five going back to last year but that number jumps to 1.83 when playing alongside Hartnell. As long as the Swede has those two wingers with him, at this price, heís always in consideration as a bargain option.
Mark Stone (Ottawa) - $3,700
Stone is in a bit of a slump right now, having managed just one goal and two points so far this month. That is a huge reason for his dip in price, from over $5,000 to now under $4,000. Stone is probably a bit overrated as a player, but that is another conversation for another day, and this price is too low to ignore.
The Sens are in a great spot tonight, hosting a Buffalo team that played the Rangers last night, and are thus playing back-to-back on the road. The availability of Kyle Turris will play a factor here, as he is a key component of this Ottawa forward group. All the same, Stone is a scoring winger who should get 18-19 minutes and at that price, in his situation, itís tough to ignore.
The one thing I will say is if Turris does not play, Stone becomes more of a tournament play for me. The Sens are a pretty poor defensive team, regardless of the team coming in, so thereís a real possibility of Stone finishing with a negative point total without Turris beside him.
Kevin Fiala (Nashville) - $3,000
Fiala was scratched in Nashvilleís last game after having played on the top line after being called up. Whether or not heís benched again will be up to the coach but if Fiala is in, heís automatically in contention as one of the top bargain options of the night.
For those unfamiliar, Fiala was a first round pick (11th overall) in the 2014 draft, and is generally a very highly-thought of offensive talent. Considering this team has historically had trouble scoring, and thatís been no different this year, I canít imagine Fiala sits again. To me, it was more of a wake-up call than anything to the rookie.
Itís still an extremely small sample, but when thereís a mid-season trade, itís all that we have to work with. All the same, since Ryan Johansen was traded to the Predators, Nashville produces 69 shot attempts per 60 minutes when heís on the ice with James Neal (over 108 minutes of ice time). When Neal is playing without Johansen, that number drops 62.3. Again, itís still early, but Johansen and Neal seem to have a bit of chemistry. If Fiala draws back in with that duo against a Vancouver team without their top centre in Henrik Sedin, there is a lot of upside for Nashvilleís top line.
Shea Theodore (Anaheim) - $3,200
Speaking of teams playing back-to-back, the Boston Bruins are doing exactly that after having played last night. With Tuukka Rask having played last night, the assumption here would be Jonas Gustavsson gets the start tonight. According to the adjusted save percentage at War-On-Ice, Rask ranks second among 41 goalies with at least 6000 minutes played since 2009 at five-on-five. By comparison, Gustavsson ranks 40th out of 41 goalies in this regard, besting only Martin Brodeur. In short, Gustavsson is not good.
The Ducks have had their own problems this year, but they do rank in the top-10 in high-danger chances per 60 minutes as a team on the season, which is a decent indicator that things should turn around. Since November 1, or after their abysmal start to the season, Anaheim is seventh in this category.
Theodore is being counted on as a staple of the blue line (for now), and is playing on the top power play unit as well. Given Bostonís situation, their likely goaltender, and Anaheimís solid play that has gone unrewarded all season, Theodore is a solid option for tonight among bargain bin defencemen.
Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg) - $6,700
Things arenít going well in Winnipeg, but they have a home game tonight against an Arizona team that played last night. Winnipegís issues have not been from their goaltending, as Hellebuyck has been very solid for them since getting called up. At his price, in this matchup, heís hard to fade regardless of how poorly his team is playing in front of him. He is fine to use in both cash games and tournaments.
James Reimer (Toronto) - $7,700
I would only use Reimer (or Jonathan Bernier if he gets the start) in tournaments tonight. There is a bit too much risk here to make him a safe cash game play. With that said, I imagine the Florida top line will be widely owned tonight in GPPs. It makes sense considering Aleksander Barkov has been in the news because of his contract signing and the top line having been dangerous most of the year. For that reason, starting the Toronto goalies makes sense to get to the top of GPPs. They wonít be widely owned themselves, and helps counteract the popular usage of Florida forwards.