This week we try to find value where others aren’t looking. It’s important to focus on what a player can provide going forward as opposed to what they’ve done in the past. Best of luck to those of you in playoff matchups!
The Anaheim Ducks probably have the best schedule this week. Not only do they play on the typical off-days – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday – but they play against favourable opponents. Unfortunately, since this comes out on a Tuesday, we’ve already missed Monday’s matchup against the Blues. Fortunately, they still play the Canucks, Red Wings, and Devils. Three teams who aren’t exactly in good form, sporting a minus-20, minus-15, and minus-12 goal differential, respectively, since the beginning of 2018.
While Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Rickard Rakell are probably already owned in your league, Anaheim’s second line is flying under the radar and might still be available. As of right now, Kesler is owned in 39% of Yahoo! Leagues, Silfverberg in 31%, and Cogliano in just 3%. As a trio, their numbers aren’t very good. Not only have they given up more scoring chances than they’ve created (94 for vs. 121 against), but their 47.10 Corsi For % is below average. Their struggles might be centered around Kesler’s offseason hip surgery, which has forced him to make a lot of adjustments in his skating. Kesler has fallen short of many expectations this season, with just nine points in 32 games. However, as I mentioned earlier, the Ducks are facing three defensively-challenged teams this week, which should result in some scoring from their second line. Silfverberg has been heating up recently with four points in his last four games.
Okay, I know the Coyotes sit last in the league. I know they have a minus-56 goal differential. I know they have twice as many losses as they do wins. Trust me, I know. But sometimes we get too caught up in overall numbers and fail to capitalize on hot stretches. Has Arizona been a bad team this 2017-2018 season? Yes. However, they’ve been one of the best teams in the past month, sporting a 9-3-1 record. Only the Panthers, Predators, and Lightning won more games in that stretch! My hot take: the Arizona Coyotes make the playoffs next season. Put down your pitchforks and check out some more hot takes here on the Dobber Facebook page! I know the desert usually isn’t a hotspot for goal scoring – even during this hot stretch the Coyotes are averaging only 2.61 goals-for per game – but succeeding in these final weeks of the fantasy hockey season often means finding value where no one else is willing to look. While Arizona faces some good teams this week (Kings, Predators, Wild), both the Kings and Wild will be on the second half of a back to back. If the desert dogs can take advantage of two tired teams, they should put up some points for you!
I’m going to be honest with you, the Perlini-Stepan-Keller line doesn’t have very impressive underlying numbers. Their 47.43 Corsi For % looks even worse when you realize they’ve generated only 28 high-danger scoring chances compared to the 37 they’ve allowed. But sometimes the fancy numbers don’t tell the whole story, because the trio has scored 11 goals and allowed only four. Stepan has been hot recently, with four points in his last five games. He should be available on your waiver wire considering he’s owned in just 30% of leagues. Despite being overshadowed by Mathew Barzal and Brock Boeser this season, Clayton Keller has had a very impressive rookie campaign. He has five points in his last six games and could very well flirt with a 60-point total. I wouldn’t exactly endorse Perlini unless your league is deeper than my hatred for short-handed points as a fantasy hockey category. He was drafted 12th overall in 2014, but has some room to develop before becoming a legitimate option.
Line Combinations Value Menu
Pontus Aberg – Connor McDavid – Ryan Nugent Hopkins
Connor McDavid is good. Connor McDavid gets points. Pick up players who play with Connor McDavid. Sit back and relax. If you’re looking for a more logical explanation, Steve Laidlaw has more on Nugent-Hopkins here.
The line has six goals for and zero against. They have created twice as many scoring chances at they’ve allowed. The Sharks play the Oilers, Flames and Canucks this week. Each of those teams has struggled defensively in 2018, allowing 3.23, 2.90, and 3.28 goals against/game respectively. Joonas Donskoi has six points in his last six games and is owned in just 3% of Yahoo! Leagues. More on the Sharks here.
For more information on the latest line combinations and injury updates, follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza!
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