Here in the breakdown we’re going to identify the games with the best fantasy scoring environments for everyday of the NHL season. To do this we’re going to look at teams’ scoring chances for (SCF), scoring chances against (SCA), high danger chances for (HDF), high danger chances against (HDA), power play opportunities (PPO) and power play opportunities against (PPOA). The reason for applying those stats to this particular exercise is because they are the best indicator of a team’s scoring opportunities and we want to identify games with teams that possess the best combination of quality and quantity of scoring opportunities. I’ll also offer some of my favorite individual plays from each game using average time on ice (ATOI), average power play time on ice (PPTOI) and team role. We’ll be looking for players on one of the top two scoring lines and players on one of a team’s power play units.
Only a 4 game slate tonight so less options on the table than normal, but we still have a pair of games I think will set themselves apart tonight. These two games are basically two sides of the same coin. Both have great potential to go off and provide excellent scoring environments but for different reasons.
New York Rangers @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Totals: Highest 6 DK 6 FD 6
The Toronto Maple Leafs host the New York Rangers tonight, the Leafs are 2-1 after splitting a pair of games with the Ottawa Senators and beating the Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers enter this game with a 1-1-1 record, opening the season with a 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals then dropping a game in overtime to the Dallas Stars before before beating the Canadiens 3-1 on Saturday. Based off of last years rankings both teams will bring plenty of offense into this game, the Maple Leafs ranked 3rd in SCF (833) and 4th in HDF (206) while the Rangers ranked 11th in SCF (677) and 10th in HDF (187). Power play opportunities will likely be driven by New York’s play as they were 4th in PPO (179) and 12th in PPOA (169) while the Leafs ranked in the bottom third of the league in both categories. Through three games this season Toronto’s games average 65.3 shots on goal and 7 total PPO, Rangers games average 55.3 shots on goal per game and 8 PPO. This game has a great chance to be the highest scoring game of the night and should feature plenty of scoring chances and power plays, the high end skill guys always have a chance to hit their ceiling but there should be scoring up and down the lineups in this one. Nick Ritchie ($3,400 DK, $4,200 FD) earned a top line role out of training camp but has yet to record a point this season and that has his price tag low on both sites, playing big minutes on a line with two of the best playmakers in the world will eventually lead to scoring success for Ritchie, it helps that he plays on the power play too. Speaking of slow starts and power play units, Morgan Reilly ($5,800 DK, $6,200 FD) only has 2 assists though 3 games but he’s averaging of 24 minutes of ice time a game (24:04) and nearly 3 and ½ minutes of power play time a game (3:28) with that kind of opportunity he should find success soon. Alexis Lafreniere ($3,300 DK, $5,300 FD) scored the first goal of his sophomore season against Montreal and that could be the beginning of a big run for him. Playing top line minutes and on the top power play unit, Lafreniere looks poised to have a breakout year and take his spot as the next young superstar in this league.
St. Louis Blues @ Arizona Coyotes
Totals: Highest 6.5 DK 5.5 FD 5.5
The 1-0-0 St. Louis Blues visit the 0-1-1 Arizona Coyotes in what has the potential to be an ugly shootout with some unlikely fantasy contributors. The Coyotes just dropped a shootout loss to the Sabres on Saturday after getting shellshocked by the Blue Jackets 8-2 in their season opener. The Blues beat the Avalanche 5-3 with plenty of offensive fireworks. Going off of last years rankings each of these teams should provide the other with plenty of scoring chances . The Blues ranked 7th in SCA (724) and 9th in HDA (194) and the Coyotes ranked 2nd in SCA (803) and 6th in HDA (210), and the Coyotes will probably see a decent amount of power play opportunities after ranking 5th in PPO (178) last year while the Blues ranked 11th in PPOA (171). The Blues game against Colorado featured 60 shots on goal and 5 power play opportunities, Arizona’s games are averaging 59 shots on goal with 5.5 power play opportunities per game. While the NYR/TOR game is a game that is going to drive up scoring because of high end offensive talent, this game will produce a friendly fantasy environment due to a lack of defensive skill as both of these teams feature defenses that would fit right in playin hockey in the 1980’s. While not exactly the sniper he used to be Phil Kessel ($4,800 DK, $4,700 FD) still possesses a great shot and has all the opportunity in the world playing on the top line and the top power play unit with 0 shots on goal through two games expect Kessel to find his groove tonight. While his own zone struggles are well documented Shayne Gostisbehere ($5,200 DK, $4,100 FD) has never had his offensive ability questioned. With 4 shots on goal and an assist through 2 games he appears to be playing with confidence and motivation after the Flyers essentially had to pay the Coyotes to take him off their hands. Over on the Blues side Brandon Saad ($4,600 DK, $4,400 FD) picked up an assist and hit the 3 shot block bonus against Colorado in the opener, playing in all situations and on the top line Saad has a great floor/ceiling combo and is an excellent value tonight.