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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.

Welcome back for another week of FanDuel bargain bin options.

With the trade deadline Monday, there are a lot of moving parts this week so youíll see a lot of new linemates and line combinations. Keep an eye on RotoWireís depth charts for up-to-date information.

There will be one skater listed per FanDuel position that is priced at $4,000 or less. There will also be a couple of goalies at the end of the article that are very cheap as well.

Centre

Adam Henrique (New Jersey) - $3,800


After a hot start offensively, the Devils have certainly cooled off: since the calendar turned to 2016, the Devils are the lowest scoring team per minute at five-on-five in the NHL. In fact, they are averaging fewer goals per minute in this two-month stretch than the historically bad Buffalo Sabres did in January and February of last season.

With that said, Henrique is still producing decently, with 13 points in 25 games. So while it has been bad for the Devils as a whole, it hasnít been awful for him. That is pretty important to note.

The Devils host the Hurricanes tonight (Tuesday), and they are still without star defenceman Justin Faulk and just traded their captain Eric Staal. Those are two significant losses to a team that isnít very deep to begin with, so this looks to be a decent matchup for Jersey. I suspect Henrique will be very low-owned, and that makes him a great cap relief target for Tuesdayís slate in tournaments.

Right Wing

Zack Kassian (Edmonton) - $3,900


As with most teams at the bottom of the NHL, there have been a lot of changes in Edmonton. Kassian had already moved up to a line with Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl before some of these changes started occurring. As a result, he has played over 16 minutes in each of his last three games, a welcome change from the roughly 13-minute average before that.

Kassian is a player who seems to be on his last chance in the league. After an off-ice incident in Montreal, he was shipped off to Edmonton and has had a long road back. The thing is, despite his issues, he has been a productive player: from 2011-2015, among 298 forwards with at least 2000 total five-on-five minutes played, Kassian was ranked 80th in goals per 60 minutes at 0.81, which put him in the neighbourhood of players like Hall and James van Riemsdyk (0.83), Jason Spezza (0.80), and Blake Wheeler (0.78).

Edmonton has four road games this week, but they are in Buffalo, Philadelphia, Columbus, and Winnipeg. All four are currently non-playoff clubs. With the increased ice time, and new line (with whom heís on the power play), Kassian looks to be a solid bargain option both Friday and Sunday against Columbus and Winnipeg.

Left Wing

Nick Ritchie (Anaheim) - $3,000


For those unfamiliar with the name, Ritchie is a fairly highly touted prospect for the Ducks, having been selected 10th overall in the 2014 draft. Having turned 20 in December, he managed 28 points in 33 games Ė including 15 goals Ė in the AHL this season. In other words, this isnít a guy who is just filling a spot in the lineup. He is someone they are looking to provide scoring depth.

Right now, Ritchie is slotted on a line with Corey Perry and Rickard Rakell. Itís a tiny sample, so beware of variance here, but with that trio on the ice, the Ducks are generating nearly 60.5 shot attempts per 60 minutes of ice time. When Rakell and Perry arenít with Ritchie, that number falls to between 57-57.5. So while there will be some movement in this number, in the short-term, Ritchie has helped make them a bit more potent offensively, even if the goals havenít been there yet.

The biggest reason for using Ritchie this week aside from a favorable position is the Ducksí upcoming games. On Wednesday, which is a short three-game slate, the Ducks are hosting the Canadiens. Typically, itís the Ryan Kesler line that gets to matchups, so Ritchieís line shouldnít see much of Max Pacioretty. On Thursday, Anaheim goes into Arizona, a team that is starting its expected slide. Either day is fine to use Ritchie, but particularly on Thursday when there are so many top-end options on a big slate.

Defence

Rasmus Ristolainen (Buffalo) - $3,500


The hesitation should be there to use Ristolainen. Though it is an outdated statistic, the Finn is sitting at minus-17 on the season. On a site that uses plus/minus for scoring, that is a big hindrance, and likely a reason why his price has dropped from over $5,000 a month ago to where it is now.

Even with this information, Ristolainen is still on pace for over 45 points, and thatís a very solid season for a defenceman. He is logging a lot of minutes on a bad team, which explains the plus/minus, but heís getting top power play minutes too, and thatís valuable.

Buffalo has two home games this week against the Alberta teams, Calgary and Edmonton. Though each side features respectable offensive talent, they are both exceptionally defensively deficient. Itís very possible he finishes as an even player, but just registering a power play assist or even strength point brings him to value at his low price.

Goalies

Matt Murray (Pittsburgh) Ė (price TBD at time of writing)


It is a very busy week for the Penguins, as they play a total of five games, which includes two sets of back-to-back games. This weekend, they are home to Calgary on Saturday and going into New Jersey on Sunday.

Murray is expected to be the goaltender of the future, and thatís started now as heís been recalled by Pittsburgh. With the busy schedule and easier matchups on the weekend, I suspect Murray gets at least one of those weekend games. Heís fine to start in cash games or tournaments when he does get the nod.

James Reimer (San Jose) - $6,600

One deal that happened the weekend before the deadline was the Sharks adding a bit of security in net with Reimer. Visa issues have kept him, and will keep him, out of the lineup for a little while yet.

The Sharks have two games later this week against the Vancouver Canucks in a home-and-home situation. The assumption is that once his paperwork has cleared up, Reimer will at least get one of the starts to get him into the Sharks lineup and get him acclimated. Now that heís behind actual NHL players, and not half an AHL roster like he was in Toronto, there could be a lot of safe points to be had here. Whenever he starts, he is fine for cash or tournaments at his price.

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.