Wednesday’s slate features only two games, with Toronto being the only team playing that isn’t on the second half of a back-to-back. Here are some tips to navigate the short schedule...
Frederik Andersen, TOR vs. OTT ($38)
I don’t usually like to use the highest-price option, but with so few choices on the table Wednesday and with uncertainty abound due to the high number of back-to-backs, Andersen is the most reliable goalie on the board. The Senators offense comes into the game on a minor hot streak, having scored 14 goals in its last three home games, but on the road they have lost nine straight. Look for a well-rested Andersen to take advantage.
Goalie to Avoid
Devan Dubnyk, MIN @ CHI ($33)
Dubnyk figures to see the start Wednesday with Alex Stalock in action Tuesday night, and while the former has seen an uptick in production lately, it’s important to note that much of his excellence has come in Minnesota. In away games, the 31-year-old shows a .896 save percentage and 3.41 GAA to go with a 5-7-0 record. Additionally, the Wild have scored just four goals over their last four road games, giving Dubnyk little in the way of goal support.
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William Nylander, TOR vs. OTT ($19)
If there’s anyone who has enjoyed having Auston Matthews in the lineup, it’s Nylander -- in the eight games since Dec 23., when Matthews returned to the lineup following a six-game absence, Nylander has three goals for eight points while playing on Matthews’ wing on the first line. The Calgary native gets plenty of power-play looks and could once again burn a poor Ottawa penalty kill that allowed him to score on Oct. 21.
Center to Avoid
Eric Staal, MIN @ CHI ($20)
Staal’s production has very much been of the boom-or-bust variety lately, as the veteran pivot has as many performances with over 16.6 fantasy points as he does with negative fantasy points over the last 15 games. The 33-year-old’s playing time is all over the place too, making his production unpredictable on a night-to-night basis. Considering he is the second-priced center Wednesday, you don’t want to waste your money on something that’s less than sure.
Jason Zucker, MIN @ CHI ($17)
While the Wild have generally been a poor road team this season, as outlined above, Zucker has mostly been an exception to the rule, as he’s racked up more than two-thirds of his points on the road despite having played just one more game than at home. Chicago boasts just the 13th ranked penalty-killing unit in the league and Zucker has become a mainstay with the man advantage for the Wild, so look for him to break through Wednesday.
Ryan Hartman, CHI vs. MIN ($15)
Hartman has had a decent go of it lately, marking down five points in his last six games, but it’s especially nice to see him take two shots or more in every game but one over that span. Coach Joel Quenneville is beginning to trust the 23-year-old in key situations -- as shown by his increased average ice time recently and his emergence of power-play duties -- so the low price makes for some nice value.
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Wings to Avoid
Zach Parise, MIN @ CHI ($23)
Until we’re sure that Parise can play up to the level we’ve come to expect from him following his recovery from back surgery, he won’t be a recommended play, especially not at this elevated price that makes him Wednesday’s second-most expensive wing option. Besides, the 33-year-old hasn’t historically played well against the Blackhawks, recording just five goals and 10 points in 28 career games.
James van Riemsdyk, TOR vs. OTT ($19)
Van Riemsdyk is currently on pace to set a new career high in goals, but it’s important to note that he’s converting on a 15.8 shooting percentage, well above his career average. As that number continues to level out, JVR will have to rely on assist production, which has been significantly tempered from seasons’ past. You can find better options on the wing for less coin Wednesday.
Morgan Rielly, TOR vs. OTT ($18)
Rielly has established himself as a premium offensive force from the blue line this season and is on pace to smash his previous career high for points as a result. The Vancouver native quarterbacks the Buds’ top power-play unit and has found the scoresheet 12 times in situations with the man advantage. Ottawa enters the contest killing off just 76.1 percent of its penalties, which should open up Rielly to continue his attacking ways.
Jordan Oesterle, CHI vs. MIN ($18)
Oesterle continues to build up his role on the Blackhawks, both from the traditional defensive standpoint and offensively as well. In the last seven games, the Michigan native has fired 23 shots on goal for three goals while adding four assists and 15 blocked shots. That sort of overall production gives him a nice level of appeal against a Minnesota team that has lost four consecutive away games.
Defensemen to Avoid
Jared Spurgeon, MIN @ CHI ($19)
Like many of his teammates, Spurgeon has enjoyed the comforts of home ice this season, but has shown less than inspiring play when the Wild hit the road. The 28-year-old has just five points in 18 away games this season, but perhaps more disturbing is the fact that he sports a minus-7 rating in those games as well. Going against a Chicago team that has scored 21 goals in its last four games, that could prove problematic.
Travis Dermott, TOR vs. OTT ($17)
There was a lot of hype surrounding Dermott before and since he made his NHL debut Saturday, but until he can start producing offensively convincingly and on a consistent basis, he isn’t worth the currently assigned asking price. Additionally, the 21-year-old will only be participating in his third career game Wednesday, and it doesn’t seem likely that the Leafs will provide him substantial enough ice time to make him worth it.