Pittsburgh vs Tampa Bay
PIT PP 1: Rust (6200), Carter (6100), Kapanen (4800), Letang (5800), Zucker (4400)
PIT PP 2: O’Connor (2600), Simon (2600), Marino (4300), Petterson (2700), Rodrigues (4400)
TB PP 1: Kucherov (8000), Point (7300), Hedman (6300), Stamkos (5900), Killorn (5200)
TB PP 2: Palat (5800), Cirelli (3900), Perry (3200), Maroon (2800), Sergachev (3400)
If you did not know a single thing that has happened during the course of the off-season, then you would probably assume this would be an incredibly competitive matchup. However, the Penguins are missing their three best forwards. Evgeni Malkin is out for at least the first two months of the season healing from surgery. Sidney Crosby is out roughly a month. Lastly, Jake Guentzel is on the Covid list which means he will miss opening night. Tampa Bay should be able to route the Pens to the exit pretty quickly and I wouldn’t be surprised if they put up a crooked number. On a two game slate though, we can’t really ignore Pittsburgh though. If they score a couple of goals, then that’s going to be crucial to access for success. If I’m going to the Pens here, I’m bypassing the more expensive Rust and Carter and going for Letang and Zucker as a cheap mini-stack that’s power play correlated. I also don’t mind going cheaper with a Simon/Pettersson mini stack or just using one of them as one-offs. If you are feeling bold and possibly a bit stupid, then give Jarry a shot. He will certainly see the volume, which is king in NHL DFS, but the volume may be too high quality to make use of in this game..
Over on the Tampa side, they are too underpriced to not play them. Kucherov will be in the high 8s soon. Point will be 8000. Hedman should be closer to 7000. Stamkos is so paltry at a sub 6k price and he will be closer to 7k very soon. Cirelli and Sergachev are both under 4k and will be 5k each in the future. You need to get access to this side of the game since Pittsburgh probably has zero chance of winning and very little chance of making this competitive. I really don’t mind going a four or five man stack from the Tampa side with each power play unit considered. You don’t have to go all-in on them, but you should have at least a mini-stack in every lineup you make. The world and their mothers will be on Andrei Vasilevskiy tonight and I understand that this should be a free win for him. However, he may not see 20 shots this game. If he allows 2 goals on sub-20 shots, then this won’t pay off his price. I will probably avoid this game for goaltending as it should be ugly for both Jarry and Vasilevskiy, DFS wise.
Three Stars: Sergachev (1G, 1A), Point (3A), Kucherov (2G, 1A)
Outcome: 6-2 TBL
Seattle vs Las Vegas
SEA PP 1: Schwartz (5000), Eberle (4600), Giordano (5600), McCann (4900), Donato (2700)
SEA PP 2: Geekie (2800), Donskoi (4300), Jarnkrok (4000), Wennberg (5100), Dunn (4900)
VGK PP 1: Stone (6600), Pacioretty (7100), Dadonov (3900), Theodore (5700), Patrick (3600)
VGK PP 2: Karlsson (5200), Marchessault (6000), Pietrangelo (6000), Martinez (5500), Smith (4000)
The 31st team takes on the 32nd in the first ever Expansion Bowl. All jokes aside, opening night gives us a first look at the Kraken and the outlook on this team is divisive. Analytic models have them as a mid range team while most narrative-driven folks think they will be hot dog shit on a summer day. We do have some injury concerns firstly. The biggest one is whether top five defensemen in the league Shea Theodore will be ready for opening night. Signs point to him being in the lineup but there’s enough concern that he could potentially miss. If he’s out, then Pietrangelo likely moves up to PP1 and they put another forward on PP2. The other injury concern is Calle Jarnkrok, who landed on the Covid list. If he misses, then we probably see Mason Appleton slide up to the second line and a healthy body fill in on the fourth line.
Let us also take a moment to reflect on the Vegas expansion. Generally speaking, expansion teams are bad. They’re the leftovers of every other team and are forced to congeal with each other or drown doing so. The Vegas expansion is a different beast. Ownership was very savvy in hiring George McPhee, one of the better drafting and trading GMs in the league. He was able to fleece Anaheim out of Shea Theodore amongst other great moves. McPhee then hired Gerard Gallant, one of the best coaches in the league, to take over the Knights’ HC position. This was the almost best case scenario beginning for Vegas. Now let us take a look at the Kraken. They hired Ron Francis, who is a HoF hockey player and a bum of a general manager. He was idle on expansion draft day and did not make enough moves during the event. Whether that’s other managers learning their lesson or not is left to remain unknown. Francis then hired Dave Hakstol, a not so good coach to boot. So Seattle management brought in a subpar coach and GM and might be expected to recreate that Vegas magic from four years ago. Fat chance.
I have a good feeling that this game might go similarly to the earlier game, but not nearly as telling on the score sheet. I think Vegas dominates possession and gets the sum of the better chances, but Seattle’s above average defense keeps Vegas from pouring it on. Regardless, I love going to Vegas with either PP unit. My favorite would have to include a very cheap Evgeni Dadonov getting some quality minutes. I also think Mark Stone and Shea Theodore (if he plays) are about 500-1000 too cheap for where they’ll be down the line. If you would rather pay down and go to PP2, then something featuring William Karlsson and Reilly Smith would be my preference. On the Seattle side, you can take either unit here as we don’t really know how they’re going to deploy their units. Donato and Geekie are fantastic one-offs if you don’t want to stack these guys. As far as goaltending goes, I don’t mind risking Grubauer here. He’s proven he can steal games and could absolutely do so here. Lehner is my favorite play and should be about half the ownership of Vasilevskiy and should see way more volume.
Three Stars: Karlsson (1G, 1A), Smith (1G, 1A), Pacioretty (2G, 0A)
Outcome: 4-2 VGK