Wednesday’s NHL slate is a modest one, with just three games on tap after 7:00 PM Eastern time. While there aren’t many options to choose from, certain players still stand out as this slate’s top value plays while others are best avoided at their respective prices. Read on to see who falls into which category.
Mikko Koskinen, EDM vs. NJ ($27): Koskinen has thrived as the full-time starter since Cam Talbot was moved to Philadelphia, keeping Edmonton’s faint playoff hopes alive with a 7-2-2 record and .927 save percentage in 11 starts. The Finnish netminder remains affordable at just $27 despite this recent hot streak, making Koskinen a terrific value play against a Devils team that’s 8-24-3 on the road and playing its second game in as many nights.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Jacob Markstrom, VAN vs. NYR ($32): The Rangers aren’t exactly fearsome opponents, but it’s hard to trust Markstrom against anybody considering he’s allowed three-plus goals in nine of his last 13 appearances. He offers poor bang for the buck as the second-most expensive goalie in this slate.
Dylan Strome, CHI at TOR ($20): Those looking for an against-the-grain option in this small slate should give Strome heavy consideration despite the difficult matchup in front of him. The third overall selection in the 2015 draft has blossomed over his past 20 games, recording seven goals and 25 points. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the talented youngster thrive here despite facing a tough Toronto club.
CENTER TO AVOID
Ryan Strome, NYR at VAN ($17): The older Strome’s playing a bigger role since the Rangers sold off a few forwards at the trade deadline, but he’s not worth paying $17 for. His average of 3.6 fantasy points is the lowest among all centers that cost over $12, and Chicago’s Artem Anisimov (4.3) is the only other center priced over $12 averaging fewer than 5.8.
Brendan Lemieux, NYR at VAN ($14): Lemieux was rarely cracking 10 minutes of ice time as a fourth-liner on the deep Jets forward group, but he’s excelled since coming over to New York at the trade deadline. After taking one game to adjust to his new surroundings, the physical forward has racked up two goals and three assists over the last six, and Lemieux’s 17 shots in that span suggest this production is no fluke. He won’t stay as cheap as $14 for much longer if he keeps this up, so grab Lemieux on the cheap while you still can.
Brock Boeser, VAN vs. NYR ($22): Boeser finally scored on one of his seven shots in Vancouver’s last game, stretching his point streak to three games and four points. With a 12.8 shooting percentage that’s well below his 16.2 percent mark from last season, the talented forward is still due for some more puck luck when it comes to lighting the lamp. Vancouver’s focal point on offense now that Elias Pettersson has hit a rookie wall, Boeser gets a nice opportunity to stretch his point streak to four games against a Rangers team that’s giving up 3.82 goals per game on the road — fourth-most in the league.
WINGS TO AVOID
Kyle Palmieri, NJ at EDM ($17): With usual linemates Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier sidelined by injuries, Palmieri hasn’t gotten much going offensively of late. His goal in Tuesday’s 9-4 loss to Calgary snapped a six-game drought in that category, during which Palmieri dished out just one helper. Improving offensively will be difficult against a locked-in Koskinen.
Brendan Perlini, CHI at TOR ($16): Perlini has six goals in his last six games, but don’t expect this success to last. After all, this is a guy who’s averaging just 2.9 fantasy points per game and went 12 games without a goal or assist prior to this recent uptick.
Morgan Rielly, TOR vs. CHI ($25): Rielly’s the most expensive blueliner in this slate, but he’s worth paying up for in this favorable matchup. With 18 goals, 65 points and a plus-29 rating, his production rivals that of high-tier forwards. A Blackhawks team that’s giving up 3.70 goals per game — .01 from Ottawa’s league-worst mark — is unlikely to keep Rielly from adding to his impressive totals.
Darnell Nurse, EDM vs. NJ ($19): Nurse’s offensive breakout this season occurred with fellow Oilers blueliner Oscar Klefbom sidelined by injury, and Klefbom could be out again after leaving Edmonton’s last game in the first period. After posting an assist and six shots in 30:42 of ice time Monday, Nurse is poised for another huge workload in a game that the Oilers could well dominate.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Erik Gustafsson, CHI at TOR ($19): If you’re going to spend $19 or more on a blueliner, you’re better off with Rielly or Nurse than Gustafsson. With a minus-14 rating this season, Gustafsson has a low floor that could well come into play on the road against a superior Toronto team.
Kris Russell, EDM vs. NJ ($16): Most of Russell’s value comes from blocking shots, but the injury-riddled Devils have been so bad recently that they likely won’t have the puck much, thus limiting Russell’s opportunities to put his body on the line. With just 14 points this season, Russell doesn’t offer enough offensive value to justify a look at $16.