After a long layoff thanks to the All-Star Game, the NHL is back in action tonight (Tuesday) after five days. With that, welcome back to another round of bargain bin FanDuel values for the week.
The first thing that should be mentioned is there are a lot of moving parts early in the week. Most all-star participants did not skate with their teams on Monday, which may make the lines look a little funny. Also, there are some players – like the Blues' Jaden Schwartz – who may be making their return shortly, and that can alter lineups. Stay tuned to RotoWire’s depth charts for updated information.
As usual, there will be one skater per position priced (at time of writing) at $4,000 or less. There will also be specific days on which to use these players mentioned. At the end of the article, there will be a couple of cheap goalies to use this week.
Phillip Danault (Chicago) - $3,000
It’s important to note there really aren’t many (or any) cheap options at centre on the first FanDuel slate, which covers 80% of the teams in the league. In general, it appears spending at least a modest amount at centre this week is ideal.
Jonathan Toews will miss the first game this week (Tuesday) due to suspension. That has resulted in Teuvo Teravainen taking his spot alongside Marian Hossa for this contest.
The focus, thus, would be Chicago’s game on Thursday in Arizona.
When it comes to the Coyotes, their defence corps is anchored by the pairing of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Connor Murphy. Those two defencemen rank, by a fair margin, as the best d-men on their roster at preventing scoring chances (the difference is over 10%). On top of that, they’re at the top of the defence corps for being on-ice for scoring chances. That means the bottom two pairs, or the ones that Danualt’s line will be matched against, are less creative offensively and more deficient defensively. That bodes well for the third line to create offence, or at the least, not take a minus for getting scored against.
Brett Connolly (Boston) - $3,900
While Patrice Bergeron was out of the team’s first practice, it’s safe to assume he will be playing on the top line with Brad Marchand and Connolly. In that practice, the second line consisted of Loui Eriksson, David Krejci, and David Pastrnak.
There’s one thing important to understand about Connolly, for Tuesday’s game specifically: Toronto’s defence pairing of Matt Hunwick and Morgan Rielly have the worst scoring chance differential at five-on-five of all Toronto defencemen. This is critical to understand because when Toronto last visited Boston a couple weeks ago, the Bergeron line was used largely against this duo. In that game, that trio of forwards – Bergeron, Marchand, Connolly – accounted for nearly one-third (10) of Boston’s total scoring chances (31) at five-on-five.
Tuesday’s game at home against Toronto is a great matchup for the Bruins first unit, and with Connolly being more than $3,000 cheaper than either Bergeron or Marchand, he’s a great way to get exposure to that top line without paying top dollar.
Nino Niederreiter (Minnesota) - $3,900
For a couple months, the Minnesota lines have been constantly shuffled. Part of it has been due to underperformance, part of it injuries. The latest iteration has seen Niederreiter playing alongside Mikko Koivu on what would be considered Minnesota’s second line.
Niederreiter has quietly had a strong year for the Wild when looking at his non-traditional statistics. He has been on the ice for just 18.6 scoring chances against per 60 minutes at five-on-five. For reference, Jason Pominville is at 26.73, Mikael Granlund is at 25.72, and Thomas Vanek is at 27.28. In other words, it’s likely the Swiss winger has been a huge force defensively. What is notable about this is that Koivu is second behind Niederreiter on the Wild at 20.64. It is safe to assume they will be a stout shutdown duo when on the ice together.
That fact minimizes their downside, as barring an implosion in goal, they shouldn’t be minus-2 or minus-3 players on any given night. On Tuesday, the Wild are in Brooklyn to face the Islanders who, as a team, is 28th in scoring chances allowed at five-on-five. With seemingly minimal downside, Niederreiter is fine to use for Tuesday night.
Jeff Petry (Montreal) - $3,700
Montreal sure has their issues right now. One thing that has changed for the Habs of late is the top power play defence pairing has become P.K. Subban and Jeff Petry. At worst, the former Oiler is relegated at times to second unit duties. Regardless, he has been getting the second-most power play time on the Habs blueline over the last few games, and that cannot be ignored.
It seems intuitive, but the numbers back the Habs creating the most high-danger scoring chances on the power play per minute with Subban on the ice than any other defenceman going back to last year. On Saturday night, the Edmonton Oilers are in town, and Edmonton is a bottom-five penalty killing team by high-danger scoring chances allowed. It would seem the Saturday home game would be a prime chance for Petry to get on the scoreboard for a power play point.
Philipp Grubauer (Washington) - $7,500
There may be two different opportunities to use Grubauer this week. It appears he will get the first start for Washington this week on Tuesday night, in a home game against Florida (where the Panthers are not starting Roberto Luongo either). This weekend, the Caps have a back-to-back against Philadelphia and New Jersey. Grubauer is fine to use at home against the Panthers, and in either weekend game.
Louis Domingue (Arizona) - $6,900
Arizona has a home game Tuesday night against Los Angeles. That would seemingly be a game in favour of the Kings, and should draw some stacks in tournaments by the public for Los Angeles. Using Domingue, at his price, is a good time to go against the grain. He should be avoided for cash games, but for a third or fourth tournament lineup, at his price, he is viable in GPPs Tuesday.