Yahoo DFS Hockey: Thursday Picks

GOALIE

Jack Campbell, TOR vs. TB ($32): Rarely do we want to play a goalie against the Lightning, but that makes Campbell an intriguing contrarian option in DFS tournaments. Campbell has been excellent this season with a .929 save percentage and a 1.99 GAA. Meanwhile, the Lightning have underwhelmed out of the gate with a 2.17 xGF/60 at even strength, ranking 24th in the league, per Natural Stat Trick. 

GOALIE TO AVOID

Jeremy Swayman, BOS vs. DET ($27): Swayman looks like a major bargain on paper, carrying one of the lowest goaltender salaries while facing the Red Wings. However, Detroit isn’t the punching bag that it was last year, carrying a 4-3-2 record with a 2.5 xGF/60 — the fifth-highest rate in the league. Let others take the bait.

CENTER

Jeff Carter, PIT vs. PHI ($20): Sidney Crosby just made his season debut a few days ago but now is in the COVID-19 protocols. Carter will center the first line yet again as a result. Through four games on the top unit, Carter has posted a goal, three assists and 13 shots on net. Carter Hart has been impressive lately, but his defense is still doing him no favors, resulting in a 2.57 xGA/60 at even strength. 

CENTER TO AVOID

Josh Norris, OTT vs. VGK ($19): Norris is scoring on a ridiculous 23.1 percent of his shots, a rate that isn’t sustainable. We could see some regression soon, and the matchup against the Golden Knights isn’t ideal. Robin Lehner has a mediocre .906 save percentage, but he’s a stout goalie with one of the best blue lines in the league in front of him. 

WING

Vladimir Tarasenko, STL at SJ ($22): Tarasenko passes the eye test after having three shoulder surgeries and requesting a trade. More importantly, he’s producing at a high level with four goals and five assists through seven games. He was previously skating on the second line but injuries have shifted him to the first unit, so his ceiling is even higher.

Oliver Wahlstrom, NYI at MON ($18): Wahlstrom has a pair of goals on the power play and another two at even strength. He has also fired 19 shots on net through seven games. His usage with the man advantage is key, as the Canadiens rank 30th in the league with a 66.7 percent penalty kill, and he comes at a fair salary. 

WINGS TO AVOID

William Nylander, TOR vs. TB ($26): Nylander is having an excellent season with four goals and as many assists through 10 games, and three of those points were with the man advantage. He provides a solid floor on a nightly basis with his shot volume, but you need more than that to justify the salary. It’ll be tough to convert against Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has a .915 save percentage this year and is a perennial Vezina candidate. 

T.J. Oshie, WAS at FLA ($22): Oshie posted a hat trick last week, but he has gone pointless in four of the past five games while going minus-5 in that stretch, making him tough to justify at this salary in a tough matchup against the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky will be starting and looking to extend his win streak to seven games. Over the past six contests, he’s posted a .944 save percentage and a 1.81 GAA. 

DEFENSE

Alec Martinez, VGK at OTT ($19): Martinez continues to block shots at a prolific rate, stepping in front of 20 shots through six games. That provides a rock-solid floor, and he has added three assists, four shots on net and a plus-1 rating. More importantly, his ceiling is quite high. Martinez skates on PP1 and will take on the Senators’ 26th-ranked penalty kill (73.1 percent). 

Brent Burns, SJ vs. STL ($19): There’s a good chance Jordan Binnington starts back-to-back games; otherwise, Joel Hofer will make his first career start. Regardless, the Blues will be on little rest, and they already sport a 2.79 xGA/60 at even strength, which is the second-worst mark in the league. Burns offers a solid floor with 31 shots on goal and 24 blocked shots through nine games, and his offensive skills are still apparent with five helpers in that span. 

DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID

Victor Hedman, TB at TOR ($24): It’s hard to avoid a Norris favorite, but Hedman has yet to score a goal and has fired 20 shots on net through nine games. Upward regression is in his future, but the matchup against Campbell and the Leafs is difficult. Fade Hedman to differentiate your squad while targeting more affordable options. 

Ivan Provorov, PHI at PIT ($18): Provorov is playing on the top pairing and getting plenty of opportunities, but he has one point through eight games while firing just nine shots on goal. His blocked shot count can only get him so far, and we want more ceiling in tournament settings. Tristan Jarry has a .926 save percentage and a 2.15 GAA this year, so Provorov’s path to a smash performance is difficult.