Wednesday, October 19 is a slow day in the NHL with only two games on the schedule. The shot-happy Rangers are at home against a red-hot Mike Green and the Red Wings while a slightly slumping Jets are taking on the Leafs in an Auston Matthews versus Patrick Laine showdown.
I did not do terribly well with my picks yesterday. It wasn’t that the players I suggested didn’t produce, it was more that teams like Chicago, Ottawa and Minnesota had huge high-scoring games and took all the fantasy points leaving me on the outside looking in.
That likely won’t happen on Wednesday. If I’m wrong, it will be because I chose the wrong team to win the game. With only two games, I have a 25% chance I’ll be picking a team that will earn a ton of fantasy points.
Detroit Red Wings at New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs at Winnipeg Jets
Derek Stepan ($5500-$6500)
Stepan has 10 shots on goal in three games. He got his first two assists in the last game against San Jose and with the tremendous amount of shots the Rangers have been putting on net in their games, it’s a matter time before Stepan starts showing up more often on the scoreboard. While not the least expensive center available, he’s a pretty good value. I think he gets at least a goal and an assist or a couple of assists.
Auston Matthews ($6100-$6700)
After an amazing first game, Matthews was quiet in his second professional hockey contest, but Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock seems to be growing more and more confident in the young superstar.
Considering too that he’ll be playing against the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft, makes this a first overall versus second overall game and this could be just what Matthews needs as motivation to have a big game. He started on the third line for game one of the season and he’s projected to play top-line minutes on Wednesday.
Kreider-Zuccarello-Vesy (approx. $15,800)
I like the Rangers on Wednesday and am taking them in all three of my winger spots. I’ll be snatching up Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello and Jimmy Vesey. These three, in combination with Derek Stepan, give me all of the top line projected players for the Rangers and arguably the hottest player on the team in Kreider.
I like the Rangers for a couple reasons. They’re 2-1-0 and playing at home against a Red Wings team that is 1-2-0. Better yet, while I expect New York to win the game, even if they lose, the Rangers are second in the NHL at shots per game. They’re playing a Detroit team that is second-worst in the NHL for shots allowed per game. If the Red Wings are letting teams shoot an average of 35.3 times per game and the Rangers are shooting on average 34.3 times per game against opponents that are not as bad at allowing shots, this could be a shooting gallery.
I’m betting on this game being a high scoring affair. Neither goaltender has me feeling very confident so here’s to hoping the forwards run away with this one.
Morgan Rielly ($4300-$4600)
I like Rielly as a play here because I think he too has a big game at home. He’s been steady in two games and he’s not been a player to have one game with tons of points and the next with none. He’s offered reliable fantasy point production with an assist in each of his games. He’s added some blocked shots and a couple shots on goal and the Jets have allowed 12 goals in three games.
Frederik Andersen ($7100-$8800)
I had considered taking Lundqvist here and that may be a smarter play considering how much I like the Rangers to win the game. But, Lundqvist hasn’t exactly shut the door on his opponents with a GAA of 3.03 and a save percentage of .870. So, because I’m thinking the Leafs upset the Jets, I’m taking Andersen.
Andersen is a risk with a lower GAA, but he was much better in his last game with a .960 save percentage and only one goal against. I’m hoping that first game against the Senators was an anomaly and the latest version of Andersen is the one that shows up on Wednesday.
Mitch Marner ($4400-$4700)
Something tells me, after Marner’s first goal against Boston he’s just heating up. He’s not the cheapest, but he could way overproduce his cost and get more than his fair share of fantasy points. If the Leafs do in fact score a ton of goals on the Jets (which so far is a theme being the second worst in the NHL for goals allowed), Marner could have a couple points.
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.”