I swear that I haven’t been taken hostage by Sabres fans and forced to write exclusively about those Buffalonian Beasts of the NorthEast. But every week seems to provide a new opportunity to work in one of the Sabres as we head back to KeyBank Center to peek at some wingers and ‘See More Skinner’.
At risk of working in a Simpsons reference or two here, Jeff Skinner, (DK: $5,200) seemed like he was doomed to be deemed a huge overpay when he signed that 9 million AAV extension in 2019. Coming off a 40 goal season, he certainly got paid like a top tier winger…then followed up that season with 14 goals and 7 goals respectively (albeit in less than 60 GP for each year). This year, he seems to have found a home on the top line with Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch. 14 points in 17 games with nearly 3 SOG per game qualifies as a good start, and his PP1 time could pay off against Matt Murray and the Leafs tonight. More importantly, unlike his Springfield namesake, I don’t think even ‘SuperNintendo Chalmers’ could rattle this Skinner.
As far as today’s schedule is concerned, we’ve got everyone in the league playing except for Arizona and Vancouver. There are only two afternoon matchups to play, so I’ll give you one winger from those but stick with the main slate for the rest of our picks today.
C – David Krejci, DK: $4,400 – It’s kind of a built-in balancer that for every Leaf or Sabre, I have to give you a Bruin. So, as Ralph Wiggum would say, here’s the token, “Will you bee my friend?” for the day. There were more than a few people that thought Krejci was finished in the NHL after returning to Czechia last year. Not only has he returned to the Bruins, but he’s brought some much needed stability to that second line. He scored twice in Thursday’s win over the Flyers and should provide some good FPTS against the Blackhawks tonight.
C – Matty Beniers, DK: $4,000 – This one is all about trying to find us a bargain play in a game that his team should win. Beniers is a top prospect off to a decent start with 5 goals and 9 points in 16 games. He’s slotted in at center on the second line at even strength, as well as on PP2. The 17:27 avg TOI isn’t quite top flight time, but it’s pretty good for a youngster just starting out his career. Seattle has been on a bit of a roll lately, (7-2-1 in their last 10), and I could see our 19.2% shooting youngster getting some good chances to fill the FPTS column today.
W – Jesper Bratt, DK: $6,000 – Coming into the season, no one outside of Jersey would have predicted this. Heck, even the home crowd was chanting “Fire Lindy” after the first few games. But things have been clicking in Newark for the Devils and a big part of that success can be credited to a guy that is just outside the top 10 in scoring. Bratt may be only getting 3rd line minutes, but he’s skating on the RW on PP1 and has 22 points in 17 games. Devils fans are undoubtedly glad that his 73 point season from last year looks legit, and I’d take him in an early stack today against the Senators in Ottawa.
W – Corey Perry, DK: $2,500 – I figured we needed another cheap skater in this slot and as I wrote up everything else, I got a bit frustrated that DraftKings hadn’t released the pricing yet. Can we find a winger that has a history of excellent production, is playing top 9 minutes, and still slotted in for powerplay time? Yes. Is he a guy that might be as old as Grandpa Simpson from our friendly family that lives next to Shelbyville? Also, yes. Perry skated over 15 minutes on Tuesday night and had an assist to add to his modest 5 points on the year, but he’s as good a bet as anyone on that Lightning team to put up some contributing points and still save us some cash for the big boys in other slots.
D – Rasmus Sandin, DK: $2,500 – We went with Liljegren last week as a value buy, so it makes sense to go back to his even strength partner for today. Sandin isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire (4 assists in 18 GP), but he is averaging over 16 minutes TOI and is on PP2. The Sabres skaters have been doing well offensively, but the goaltending that Sandin faces tonight has been less than stellar. We can throw a bonus point in that Eric Comrie is definitely not starting this one as he’s officially week-to-week with a knee injury. Sandin should get a chance to put up some counting stats against either a rookie or 40+ year old goalie tonight.
D – Noah Dobson, DK: $6,400 – I was going to roll with a bigger fish for this spot but as I said with Perry, the DK prices took forever to come out. Tyson Barrie? Charlie McAvoy? Even Erik Karlsson would have been a big chalk name. Instead, I went with a middle of the road guy with some bigger upside that plays into the moneyline picks below. Dobson is skating on the second pairing in New York, but is slotted in for that coveted PP1 D spot with 4 very skilled forwards. He may only have 12 points in 18 GP, but he should keep pace with his nearly 3 SOG and provide some hits and (more likely) some blocked shots.
UTIL – Pavel Zacha, DK: $2,900 – Looking through the matchups today, I can’t not go back to the Bruins for an extra play here. A team that is +33 in goal differential should provide a lot of opportunity to pad out lineups, and Zacha is a guy that seems pretty undervalued. Sure he’s only skating on the third line, but he’s produced to the tune of 11 points in 17 games and has 3 points in his last 2 games. PP time is still there for him (albeit on PP2) and the chemistry with Krejci makes for a good DFS pairing today.
G – Linus Ullmark – DK: $8,500 – This one is a perfect storm on a few levels. The Bruins are atop the league in points, goals scored per game, and team goals against. A big reason for the defensive numbers has been the play of Linus Ullmark. The NHL’s second star of last week leads the league in wins, save percentage, and goals against. His 12-1 record includes more than a few of the 10 games at home, where the Bruins are undefeated on the year. It’ll cost you to play him today, but it seems like a simple goalie decision as they face the 6-7-3 Blackhawks at TD Garden.
Well, this is a pretty economical group here. If you followed it to the letter, you’re $7,600 ahead. We can sub out a guy like Zacha for the top dog (McDavid – $9,800) and still have $700 extra to turn Dobson into the third star of the week from last week (Adam Fox – $6,800) or Victor Hedman ($6,600).
Here’s the three moneyline picks for the week too…
The Sea Bass : (Favorite)
Today’s favorite isn’t going to win you a lot of money on a small bet, but Boston (-425) at home against anyone is a great bet these days. Chicago is no exception. Look for the B’s to take care of Business in this one.
The Happy Gilmore : (Underdog)
Playing anyone against the Habs at home on a Saturday night isn’t usually a good play, but the Flyers (+110) qualify as an underdog here and played a great game against the Bruins on Thursday night. If Carter Hart gets the start (as he should) I could see Philly pulling off the upset and breaking their 5 game losing skid.
The Claude Lemieux : (Turtle/Flop)
Dallas is favored at home tonight (-150) against the Islanders, but it looks like Scott Wedgewood is day to day and Jake Oettinger has given up 5 GA in two of his four games since returning from injury. Isles at (+130) could be an easy upset.
That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below or give me a shout @MarmosDad.