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Friday Daily Puck: Burrowing for Value

Sasha Yodashkin

Sasha Yodashkin writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

With just two days having passed since the trade deadline, players are still acclimating to new teammates and surroundings. This adjustment period creates an opportunity for savvy fantasy owners to find players with improved roles and chances of success while demoting those whose values were diminished by Wednesday’s flurry of moves. Friday’s six-game slate grants both daily and season-long owners the chance to get a leg up on the competition by utilizing undervalued assets like new Ducks winger Patrick Eaves against a tired Maple Leafs team.

Featured Matchups
Coyotes (PP:27, PK:26) at Hurricanes (PP:22, PK:3), 7:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Louis Domingue (6-14-1, 3.26, .897), Cam Ward (21-19-8, 2.64, .905)
Key Injuries: Dave Bolland (back), Brad Richardson (leg), Bryan Bickell (illness), Jeff Skinner (neck)

Carolina’s offense has a dream matchup against one of the league’s least effective netminders on the second night of a back-to-back. Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin has put up 16 power-play points since being taken fifth overall in the 2015 draft, and has an excellent opportunity to add to that total against the league’s fifth-most generous penalty kill. Conversely, Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson is unlikely to add to his team-leading 17 power-play points against a unit that has denied 85.7 percent of opposing opportunities with the extra man.

Islanders (PP:26, PK:23) at Blackhawks (PP:16, PK:28), 8:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Jean-Francois Berube (3-2-2, 3.38, .894), Corey Crawford (24-13-3, 2.58, .917)
Key Injuries: Artem Anisimov (lower body), Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body), Johnny Oduya (rest), Artemi Panarin (upper body), Nick Schmaltz (illness), Mikhail Grabovski (concussion), Travis Hamonic (knee), Andrew Ladd (back), Alan Quine (upper body)

It's unfortunate that Schmaltz is sick considering he has 12 points in his past nine games. Patrick Kane could easily make up for the rookie's absence all by himself after recording a pair of hat tricks and seven goals over the past three games, though. Even against a banged-up Blackhawks team, Berube holds almost no appeal in any format given his struggles so far. This matchup will be no cakewalk for Crawford, either, as the Islanders have lit the lamp at least three times in four of their past five games.

Maple Leafs (PP:1, PK:9) at Ducks (PP:15, PK:4), 10:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Curtis McElhinney (2-1-2, 2.39, .924), Jonathan Bernier (9-6-2, 2.94, .901)
Key Injuries: John Gibson (lower body), Clayton Stoner (abdomen), Antoine Vermette (suspension), Joffrey Lupul (abdomen)

This is projected to be a battle of the backups, with McElhinney starting the second game of a back-to-back and Bernier stepping in for the injured Gibson. Both offenses should be in line for a bump as a result, though power-play goals will be hard to come by given both teams’ top-10 standing on the penalty kill. All 24 of Zach Hyman’s points have come at even strength or shorthanded, and the 24-year-old winger is in prime position to add that total given his spot on Toronto’s top line alongside Auston Matthews and William Nylander. Patrick Eaves failed to connect on any of his five shots in his Ducks debut, but his line with Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry has the potential to be one of the most fearsome third lines in the league.

Other Matchups
Lightning (PP:2, PK:18) at Penguins (PP:7, PK:19), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Andrei Vasilevskiy (13-13-5, 2.75, .911), Matt Murray (23-8-3, 2.29, .926)
Key Injuries: Trevor Daley (knee), Kris Letang (upper body), Olli Maatta (hand), Bryan Rust (arm), Conor Sheary (upper body), Ryan Callahan (hip), Steven Stamkos (knee)

Both teams are teeming with top-end talent despite dealing with injuries. Vasilevskiy has won both of the Lightning’s first two games since Ben Bishop was dealt to Los Angeles, but Tampa Bay’s new starter in net faces his toughest test yet against the league’s most potent offense.

Blues (PP:6, PK:8) at Jets (PP:20, PK:27), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Jake Allen (22-18-3, 2.66, .905), Michael Hutchinson (4-11-3, 3.21, .894)
Key Injuries: Robby Fabbri (knee), Tyler Myers (lower body), Jacob Trouba (suspension)

St. Louis’ superiority in net and on special teams should be enough to earn a road win in what is likely to be a high-scoring affair.

Red Wings (PP:30, PK:14) at Flames (PP:14, PK:21), 9:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Petr Mrazek (15-16-6, 2.95, .903), Brian Elliott (16-13-3, 2.69, .901)
Key Injuries:Ladislav Smid (neck), Johan Franzen (concussion), Jimmy Howard (knee), Gustav Nyquist (suspension)

Elliott finished 7-1-1- in February, and should have no problem staying hot against a Red Wings offense that has been the fifth-worst in the league at 2.39 goals per game.

Recommended Pickup
Alex Burrows, RW, OTT - Burrows was immediately thrust into an offensive role after being acquired from the Canucks in the lead-up to Wednesday’s trade deadline, and made a significant impact in his Senators debut by scoring both of the team’s goals in Thursday’s 2-1 win over the Avalanche. He skated on a line with Mike Hoffman and Derick Brassard, marking a stark contrast to the unskilled bottom-six forwards Burrows was asked to play alongside in Vancouver. Given the agitator’s propensity to take trips to the sin bin, his combination of skill and extracurriculars make him an intriguing option in leagues that count penalty minutes given his new role.