The carousel that is the NHL coaching position continues to spin with each change more surprising than the next.
Ten days ago, we saw Nashville decide to move on from Peter Laviolette for John Hynes despite being just a few points out of a wildcard spot with some games in hand. Hynes most recently coached the Devils earlier this season and became only the third coach in Nashville’s history.
Not to be outdone, Vegas, who was only three points out of first place in the Pacific, fired Gerard Gallant this week. Gallant of course led the expansion franchise to the postseason each of the past two years including a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017-2018. Arguably the Knights biggest rival during their two years has been the San Jose Sharks, coached by Peter DeBoer, who Gallant called a “clown” in their playoff series back in April. That clown now has his job after he and the Sharks parted ways in December.
If Twitter is any indication on how each team’s fan bases feel about the moves, “not pleased” would be an understatement. Only time will tell if these changes will actually pay off and jumpstart these two teams with high expectations.
An update on the “Last Men In” voting for the upcoming All-Star game in St. Louis. Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin was NOT voted in by the fans despite his request to not be so he could enjoy the days off instead. I am disappointed in the fans for failing to make this happen.
On to fantasy. We’ve got 12 games on the docket for Saturday, four of which have a puck drop in the afternoon with the remaining eight starting at 7 p.m. EST or later. Those eight will be the focus of today’s article as both sites have these as their “main” slate. All players and prices used are from DraftKings but can be applied to FanDuel as well.
C –Auston Matthews ($8,400)
After missing last week, an at-home Toronto team is back on the slate for tonight. That means fire up Matthews. The young star has been on a tear at Scotiabank Arena with an astonishing 14 goals in Toronto’s last nine home games. He has scored at least once in every one of those nine games except for Thursday’s clash against Calgary, but he still racked up the fantasy points with nine shots on goal. During this stretch Matthews is averaging 26.6 DraftKings points per game, an impressive number considering the sample size.
The Blackhawks come in having allowed the most shot attempts against in the league. Everything seems to be lining up for a big night from Matthews and the Leafs.
C – Kevin Hayes ($4,900)
After picking up a big win in St. Louis on Wednesday, the Flyers returned home Thursday and suffered a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Canadiens. A surprising set of outcomes considering the Flyers home/road splits on the season. Despite Thursday’s loss, the Flyers have fared much better at home where they are 15-4-4 and average nearly a full goal per game higher, which is where they find themselves tonight.
The Flyers have been tinkering with their lines lately so stacking them could be tricky, be sure to check pre-game rushes. If they keep things as they have been, Hayes represents a great value being he is centering the top line as well as skating on the top power play unit. If they flip him and Couturier, then he would be downgraded slightly. Hayes hasn’t taken advantage of the top line duties quite yet, with just one goal in three games, but he is putting the puck on net and it’s better to take a chance and be ahead of a blow-up game.
W – Cam Atkinson ($5,600)
Atkinson returned to the Blue Jackets lineup Thursday and immediately made an impact scoring a goal and adding an assist. Columbus is in the midst of a stretch where they have won 12 of their past 16 games and getting back a player of the caliber of Atkinson should help in continuing their winning ways. Despite missing 13 games prior to Thursday, Atkinson still ranks second on the team in shots and fourth in goals.
While the Blue Jackets defensive-minded system likely makes Atkinson’s floor a little too unstable for cash games, in tournaments he represents a fine option. New Jersey’s struggles have been well documented and their 3.49 goals allowed per game trails only Detroit. Cory Schneider is likely to be in goal and while he has certainly shown what he is capable of in the past, that has not been the case this year as his 4.42 GAA and .859 save percentage would indicate. If Schneider doesn’t right the ship, Columbus could be in store for a big night.
W – Mike Hoffman ($5,500)
Picking on Detroit has been a successful strategy all season as they lead the league in goals allowed by a wide margin. Coming in on the second half of a back to back only makes this spot better for the Florida Panthers who have scored 17 goals in their past three games. As a result, all forwards on the top three lines are worthy of consideration and use for tournament lineups. If looking to get away from the likely high ownership that will come with the top line skaters, then consider Hoffman.
Hoffman is riding a seven-game point streak comprised of five goals and four assists. During that stretch he is averaging north of 13 DraftKings points per game. Hoffman skates on the team’s top power-play unit which is responsible for two of his goals and an assist in that span. Coming in at around $2,000 cheaper than those on the top line, Hoffman offers a nice discount while still maintaining some upside.
W – Tanner Pearson ($4,600)
The San Jose Sharks continue to flounder in the standings, as a team they only lead Anaheim and L.A. in points in the West. With their captain Logan Couture sidelined due to injury and coming off back-to-back road losses where they allowed six and four goals respectively, now could be a good time to stack against the Sharks as they likely continue their descent.
Vancouver has been a different team on home ice where they average 3.65 goals per game, as compared to just 2.84 on the road. While you could certainly make the argument for the Elias Pettersson line, don’t sleep on Pearson and Bo Horvat. In the ten games since the Christmas break this duo has combined for ten goals and 14 assists. Pearson himself has 11 points in that span and is averaging 11.7 DraftKings points per game.
Stacking Options: Bo Horvat ($5,900)
Other W’s to Consider: Mitch Marner ($7,700), Jonathan Huberdeau ($7,500), Max Pacioretty ($7,300), William Nylander ($6,500), J.T. Miller ($5,700), Travis Konecny ($5,400), Gustav Nyquist ($4,700), Jake Virtanen ($3,700)
D – Roman Josi ($7,800)
As a team, the Predators continue to seesaw up and down, but that hasn’t stopped Josi from producing at an elite level. The defenseman is on pace for the best offensive season of his career as he currently has 47 points in 46 games. In the past 15 games Josi has 21 points and has averaged 18.8 DraftKings points per game. The price tag is a hefty one but there are few safer options available for double digit points as Josi has eclipsed the ten-point mark 18 times over the past 20 games.
Goalies (Be sure to confirm goalies at Goalie Post before rostering)
Pekka Rinne ($8,300)
Elvis Merzlikins ($8,200)
Frederik Andersen ($8,400)
The Five Hole
Five players to build cash lineups around:
Five tournaments stacks to consider not previously mentioned:
Feel free to reach out to me via Twitter for any NHL DFS questions. Follow me @SteveDotzel and I will do my best to tweet any major updates to players in the article throughout the day and before lock.