The first Saturday night hockey of the regular season and thirteen games means tons of fantasy hockey action and an assortment of ways to go with your fantasy team(s). I like a few games on the schedule and will probably focus most of my attention on players who showed strong performances in game one of their respective seasons.
Yesterday was a pretty good day for my picks. I suggested focusing on P.K. Subban because he was playing his first game for the Predators. He had a raucous crowd behind him at home and he was clearly pumped up. He scored a goal (on the power play), had four shots on goal and was second on the team (to only Ryan Ellis) in blocked shots. Subban was right up there for defensemen in terms of fantasy points.
In contrast, I suggested taking Adam Larsson, with the expectation Calgary would put on a better performance coming off a 7-4 loss to the Oilers. Larsson was steady and even for the night, with one shot and two blocks, but Edmonton deployed its defense way more evenly than I’d expected and his ice time was more limited to just over 19 minutes. Not a bad choice and a good value, but there was better.
Speaking of better, I suggested taking Connor McDavid again and if you did, you would have been right near the leaders in your pool. McDavid had another three-point night with a goal and two assists. The only Oiler who was better was Leon Draisaitl who had two goals, an assist, five shots on goal and a blocked shot. Draisaitl was a great value pick — I wish I’d suggested him.
I rounded out yesterday suggesting you take Anze Kopitar and avoid Brian Elliott. Both of those would have been smart picks.
Anaheim at Pittsburgh
Boston at Toronto
Detroit and Florida
Montreal at Ottawa
New Jersey at Tampa Bay
New York Islanders at Washington
San Jose at Columbus
Winnipeg at Minnesota
New York Rangers at St. Louis
Nasville at Chicago
Dallas at Colorado
Philadelphia at Arizona
Calgary at Vancouver
Henrik Sedin ($4700-$4900)
I like Sedin on Saturday in the Canuck home opener against Calgary. The Flames are struggling and while they’ve played okay hockey, they may be feeling the pressure and are playing a back-to-back game on the road against a team who hasn’t played a regular-season contest yet. The value is really good at this price and if you want to take Sedin as your lower priced center then add a player like Seguin or Stamkos, Sedin’s price-point allows you to do so.
Auston Matthews ($6000-$6200)
It’s unlikely Matthews has a performance anywhere near his first game. Four goals in two straight games would be astronomically hard to do, but he could still have a big game and his price is good. Toronto is at home, but playing against the Bruins who looked great in their first game. Take Matthews, but don’t take the Leafs.
Brad Marchand ($7200-$7400)
Marchand stole the night on Wednesday for fantasy points and playing against a weaker defense in Toronto, he could do so again. He’ll get lots of scoring opportunities and he’s a safe play even with a higher sticker price. His fantasy points-per-game stat is ridiculous, so I wouldn’t go by that as your decision maker, but he’s still good value.
Victor Hedman ($5900-$6800)
Hedman had two points in his first game, blocked a couple shots, had hits, shots on goal and more to make him a huge fantasy winner in game one of Tampa’s season. The Lightning are considered heavy favorites at home and Hedman should be a lock on your team at his lower price-point.
Seth Jones ($4900-$5100)
Jones will be in tough against the Sharks who I expect to take this game, but sometimes this is good for a couple extra fantasy points where defensemen are concerned. It could mean a lot of shots against and as a result, blocked shots. Jones should see heavy minutes in this game and he had a goal and an assist in the last game with a couple shots on goal. His lower price tag makes him an attractive option.
Andrei Vasilevsky ($8000)
I had gone with Ben Bishop, but he wasn’t confirmed to get the start as of this writing, so that may change. You’re going to spend a lot of money to get Bishop, but he’s probably worth it. Against the Devils, he has a good chance to come out with the win. He did not have a good game against the Red Wings on Thursday and even though Tampa came away with the win in that game, I expect he’ll want to have a rebound performance. There are lots of good goaltenders, but I’d suggest Bishop or Montoya again from Montreal.
UPDATE: as per Dailyfaceoff.com
Despite Ben Bishop practicing in the “starter’s crease” this morning, head coach Jon Cooper said Vasilevskiy will start tonight vs. the Devils. Bishop had a rough night vs. the Red Wings on Thursday, so they will turn to Vasilevskiy, who draws a great matchup tonight vs. the Devils. Vasilevskiy comes in with an 18-15-1 record while posting a 2.60 GAA and .913 SV% in 40 career NHL games.
Andrew Cogliano ($3900-$4300)
Cogliano was a huge fantasy point getter in a loss to Dallas. This time, he’s on the road against the Penguins. Against the Stars he had two goals, (one of which was short-handed), five shots on goal and he’s a good price, thus allowing you to take a player that can fill out your roster quite nicely.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”