Montreal vs Toronto
MTL PP 1: Gallagher, Suzuki, Toffoli, Caufield, Petry
MTL PP 2: Dvorak, Armia, Anderson, Wideman, Drouin
TOR PP 1: Spezza, Tavares, Marner, Nylander, Reilly
TOR PP 2: Engvall, Ritchie, Simmonds, Bunting, Sandin
The first game is going to be a fun one. Toronto is without Auston Matthews for the season opener and could be without Mitch Marner as well. So Toronto could potentially be without their two best forwards. So completely ignoring what happened last night with Pittsburgh (what the fuck), I think Montreal has a bit of an edge in this one. Either way, this should be a fairly offensive game that I want a chunk of in most of my lineups. I strongly prefer correlating the top power play units if possible as both teams are consolidating their talent to one unit. On the Toronto side, my first man in would be John Tavares. He is still an elite offensive center, just stuck behind Matthews’s shadow. If Marner plays, he would be my second man. If Marner is out and Nylander is moved up at 5v5, then Nylander. If he doesn’t get moved up, then Tavares/Reilly mini-stacks would be my favorite. I also love the upside of Sandin as a one-off for a cheap price.
On the Montreal side of this game, it’s painfully obvious that Nick Suzuki, Tyler Toffoli, and Cole Caufield are the premier plays. They’re fully correlated and are not expensive in a potential multi-point outing for all three. They get a massive boost if Marner misses as well and that would contend for favorite stack of the game. Jeff Petry is also a quality play at a fair price.
I also do not mind either goaltender here. I think I prefer Jake Allen over Jack Campbell but they’re both close. Both guys could see over thirty shots this game and should have zero ownership.
Three Stars: Tavares (1G, 1A), Suzuki (1G, 2A), Toffoli (3G, 0A)
Outcome: 5-3 MTL
New York Rangers vs Washington
WSH PP 1: Oshie, Kuznetsov, Ovechkin, Mantha, Carlson
WSH PP 2: Wilson, Eller, Lapierre, Orlov, Schultz
NYR PP 1: Panarin, Zibanejad, Fox, Kreider, Strome
NYR PP 2: Lafreniere, Kakko, Blais, Trouba, Miller
A less popular game that has the ability to pop off, these two teams are a bit more spread out in terms of how they organize. Washington losing Backstrom for a good bit certainly makes them a slight dog here, especially with how the Rangers have grown this off-season. I also like the Rangers pricing a bit more than the Caps.
On the Rangers side, you can go to either PP unit depending on how you want to spend. On top my favorite move is Strome, Panarin, and Fox. It has full correlation and is probably a bit too cheap. You can go Zibanejad if you like but he’s fairly priced. I can certainly get behind minis of Lafreniere, Miller, and Kakko, but I don’t love it.
If you’re not playing Ovi on the Caps side, then you probably should fade the entire PP1 altogether. I don’t mind Mantha as a one-off. I also don’t mind taking a shot on rookie Hendrix Lapierre getting power play time and decent usage at the bare minimum price. Also don’t mind Carlson as a one-off defenseman, but I much prefer him in a stack.
I love Shesterkin a good bit here. He should not be terribly popular and I like his odds more than Samsonov. Overall, this game has a bunch of decent options but nothing that sticks out a whole lot.
Three Stars: Strome (1G, 0A), Panarin (1G, 1A), Ovechkin (2G, 0A)
Outcome: 3-2 (OT) NYR
Chicago vs Colorado
CHI PP 1: Kane, Toews, Johnson, DeBrincat, Jones
CHI PP 2: Borgstrom, Dach, Kubalik, Kurashev, Mitchell
COL PP 1: Rantanen, Landeskog, Compher, Burakovsky, Makar
COL PP 2: Kadri, Nichushkin, Ranta, Newhook, Girard
This will be a fun one with a ton of variance. The biggest boon for the Blackhawks is that Nathan Mackinnon and Devon Toews will both miss this one for the Avalanche, which levels the playing field out a good bit. In this case, I love going to any of these power play units. I can dig three of any of the first power play unit sans Toews just due to him not being correlated here. This is also his first game back since missing all of last season with CIRS, but he’s looked back to business in training camp and pre-season so maybe I’m worrying too much. You can also consider a cheap Dach/Borgstrom mini if you want to get different and cheap.
On the other side of the game, you can certainly play a fuck ton of Kadri. Playing with Landeskog and Rantanen at 5v5 at a way too cheap price is very attractive. You can stack those two wingers plus Cale Makar if you want to spend up in this one. I also love taking a shot on Sampo Ranta and Alex Newhook, two rookies, getting power play time for the minimum price.
I don’t love Kuemper here as much because he’s going to be the chalk goaltender and missing Devon Toews is a huge piece lost on defense. On the other hand, I love going to current Vezina winner Marc-Andre Fleury as he will be not owned at all and should still see a ton of work. He could absolutely let us down but goalies are voodoo and I don’t mind the low owned risk.
Three Stars: Kane (1G, 1A), Landeskog (1G, 2A), Debrincat (2G, 1A)
Outcome 4-3 CHI
Edmonton vs Vancouver
EDM PP 1: McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, Hyman, Barrie
EDM PP 2: McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, Puljujarvi, Nurse
VAN PP 1: Horvat, Pettersson, Hughes, Miller, Chiasson
VAN PP 2: Rathbone, Ekman-Larsson, Dowling, Garland, Pearson
Whenever Edmonton is on the slate we get to play a fun game: “Who Wants to Fade Connor McDavid?”. If you’re unaware, McDavid is easily the best player in the NHL and is a human cheat code in the game of hockey. It’s quite insane that Edmonton has not been able to put anything of a good contender around him at this point and they made more bone-headed moves this offseason. If you fade him on any given night, you run the risk of not making any serious cash. So with the lines I make tonight, I will try to get over the field on him and work in other Edmonton players in with him, like Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Those are three excruciatingly obvious choices for Edmonton and I’m willing to limit it at that.
Another Western Canadian franchise that loves to dwell in their own ineptitude, Vancouver has seemingly made a grave error of leaving Nils Hoglander off of the power play units. Hoglander is better than all of Pearson, Dowling, and Chiasson as far as the forwards go, so I’m not quite sure what Travis Green is doing here. Despite that, I love attacking with that first unit. Pettersson would be my go-to, then Hughes, then either of Horvat or Miller.
I think Demko is a definite GPP play just for taking on McDavid and Co. He has shown he can shut them down. I hate (HATE) Mike Smith in general. Don’t play him.
Three Stars: McDavid (1G, 1A), Draisaitl (1G, 1A), Pettersson (0G, 3A)
Outcome: 4-2 VAN
Anaheim vs Winnipeg
ANA PP1: Zegras, Rakell, Drysdale, Getzlaf, Comtois
ANA PP 2: Henrique, Terry, Silfverbeg, Shattenkirk, Fowler
WPG PP 1: Dubois, Lowry, Connor, Wheeler, Pionk
WPG PP 2: Ehlers, Stastny, Copp, Morissey, Schmidt
A game where we should see a lot of cheap chalk being used. I would not be surprised if this was the most lopsided game of the night according to Vegas. Pierre Luc-Dubois is paltry in price but gets a ton of top line, top unit work against a bad team. I think this is a good game to eat that chalk but just be aware, he’s easy to pivot off of in this game. Overall, I think Winnipeg will probably have too much ownership. This could be a very dull game especially with Schiefele out. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if John Gibson stood upon his head and kept this one close and under three goals allowed. If you have to go to Winnipeg, my favorite choice would be an Ehlers/Copp mini stack to get fully correlated. Everyone else is going to be much more owned and I’d rather pivot elsewhere.
If you want to get super contrarian, attacking with ANA’s top unit makes a ton of sense. I love Zegras, Rakell, and Drysdale the most of the group. Just know, they were one of the most dull teams offensively last season and I can see that happening again most of this year. I can also support going to either goalie here. I know Hellebuyck is going to be, likely, the most owned goalie on the slate so just be aware of that. John Gibson is a great GPP play as he should see a ton of work and would buck the slate entirely if the Ducks manage to reign in the Jets. I won’t have much exposure to this game as this could easily be a snoozer.
Three Stars: Rakell (1G, 0A), Ehlers (1G, 1A), Hellebuyck (1 GA, 27/28)
Outcome 3-1 WPG