RotoWire Partners

Monday Daily Puck: The Weight of Lowered Expectations

Dustin Nelson

Dustin Nelson is a writer based out of NYC. His fantasy team is full of loafers.

It'd be easy to forget that NHL games happened Sunday after the historic comeback in last night's Super Bowl. It doesn't help that there were only three games were played early in the day, but a game like that overshadows everything else.

But games did happen. Making it even harder to remember Sunday's action was the Oilers and Canadiens playing in a snoozefest that included a 4-on-1 that the Oilers couldn't turn into anything more than the slowest odd-man rush in history.

The Oilers eventually won a 1-0 shootout victory.

But, really, Sunday was all about the comeback in Houston. Nonetheless, it's time to move on and look into a light NHL schedule Monday.

Featured Matchups
Maple Leafs (PP: 2, PK: 6) at Islanders (PP: 25, PK: 19), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Frederik Andersen (22-11-8, 2.73, .916), Thomas Greiss (15-8-3, 2.35, .924)
Key Injuries: Cal Clutterbuck (lower body), Mikhail Grabovski (concussion), Travis Hamonic (knee), Joffrey Lupul (abdomen)

This isn't where we thought we'd be at the start of the season. The Leafs are better than the Islanders in almost every metric. Not only that, the Islanders are on pace to miss the postseason and the Leafs are working their way back into it.

But don't be fooled by the overall stats. The Islanders have been showing signs of improvement under new coach Doug Weight. It's not that strange for a team to have a sudden surge when a midseason coaching change is made and it's happening in Brooklyn. They're 5-1-2 under Weight and averaging a sturdy 3.375 goals per game.

There may be options down the Islanders lineup worth exploring because of that abrupt transition. Some players may be a little cheaper than usual due to their struggles and the price not quite catching up to their recent surge. For instance, over that eight-game stretch, John Tavares has four goals and 11 points. Anders Lee has two goals and six points. Nick Leddy has a goal and six points. Lee has been on fire since early December. But he and Leddy may be able to be acquired at price points that sit below what they've been delivering under Weight. There's also one more Islanders forward worth exploring that we'll get to below.

Blues (PP: 6, PK: 9) at Flyers (PP: 9, PK: 18), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Jake Allen (18-14-3, 2.82, .897), Steve Mason (16-16-6, 2.90, .900)
Key Injuries: Michael Del Zotto (lower body), Kyle Brodziak (foot), Robby Fabbri (knee)

Allen is back in net for the Blues and the team, now under the guidance of Mike Yeo, are hoping that his struggles are a thing of the past. He sat out for a bit and has come back after the All-Star break with two starts above a .900 save percentage.

But there's not much reason to assume that he's suddenly a changed man. Allen's .897 save percentage on the season is truly miserable. If you're looking at depth options for your roster, the Flyers aren't a bad spot to look on a thin night. With Allen having proven porous on many occasions, it's not a bad gamble.

Though Mason hasn't been that much better. It's been a less discussed situation, but Mason has not been the goaltender everyone knows he's capable of being. So, there's plenty of reasons to think that the Blues' forwards might feast as well.

One super deep option to keep an eye on is Kenny Agostino. It was revealed Sunday that Robby Fabbri will miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury. The team is going to give Agostino a crack at the lineup. He leads the AHL in points with 60 over just 48 games. He's played only 10 NHL games in his career with just two of them coming over the last two seasons. They want to find out what they've got in him. He's not going to step in and light the league on fire like Auston Matthews or Patrik Laine, but he could be an interesting depth option if he's able to slide into the lineup and make something happen.

Other Matchups
Sabres (PP: 5, PK: 29) at Devils (PP: 26, PK: 16), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Robin Lehner (13-13-6, 2.54, .923), Cory Schneider (16-15-8, 2.71, .911)
Key Injuries: Zach Bogosian (abdomen), William Carrier (knee), Johan Larsson (wrist), Beau Bennett (lower body), Jon Merrill (upper body), John Moore (concussion)

Of the three games on Monday's slate, this is the one that's more of a toss up than any. The Sabres rank 24th in goals per game and the Devils rank 27th. The Sabres take the 16th most shots per game and the Devils rank dead last.

Between those stilted offensive numbers and a pair of goaltenders who are playing quite well, the game has the potential to be a low-scoring affair. On the other hand, it provides two of the better goaltending options for the night. You've got goaltenders putting up good numbers who are facing tepid offensive attacks.

Recommended Pickup
Josh Bailey, LW, NYI Speaking of Islanders players who are having a resurgence under coach Weight, Bailey has been on fire. He has points in five of the last seven games and has put up four goals and an assist with a plus-2 rating and 17 shots in the last five games. He's been hit and miss all season, but the getting is good right now.

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.