The NHL schedule kicks off with a typically quiet Monday night. Below I’ve gone over my top high-priced, mid-range, and value stacks for tonight’s five-game slate. Good luck!
Vegas 1 – Jonathan Marchessault ($6,800), William Karlsson ($7,000), Reilly Smith ($5,500)
Considering they’re taking on one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL, it should come as no surprise that Vegas 1 is the top high-priced stack tonight. Karlsson, Marchessault, and Smith have been a model of consistency since their franchise’s inception a few years ago, and this season has been no different. They’re averaging 31 scoring and 12 high-danger chances per 60 while surrendering just 52 shot attempts and 24 scoring chances to the opposition. They repeatedly make routine work of out sub-par 5v5 teams, and that’s exactly what the Rangers are.
On home ice this season, the Rangers are opting to use Mika Zibanejad against the opponent’s top line, to varying degrees of success. Zibanejad’s current line-mates of Brendan Lemieux and Pavel Buchnevich don’t make for the strongest shutdown unit, and their numbers are reflective of that. Zibanejad and Buchnevich are surrendering over 38 scoring chances and a whopping 19 high-danger chances per 60 at 5v5. You can expect Vegas 1 to have them hemmed into their own zone all night long. Add in the fact that all three members of Vegas 1 are on the top power-play unit, and it’s easy to get excited about this stack tonight. The Rangers own the league’s ninth-worst PK% at 76.8%.
New York Islanders 2 – Anthony Beauvillier ($5,300), Brock Nelson ($6,300), Derick Brassard ($4,700)
The Islanders draw the cushiest matchup on the slate as they head to Detroit to take on the league’s worst team. Without Anthony Mantha in the lineup, Detroit’s top-heavy lineup will have a tough time sustaining any sort of offensive pressure. The Islanders should have plenty of time and space to create quality scoring chances at even strength tonight, especially when Dylan Larkin is off the ice. The Red Wings are pretty fluid in their line matching, but Larkin does tend to spend the majority of his 5v5 ice time against the opponent’s top line. That means the Nelson line shouldn’t have to endure more than 2 or 3 minutes of 5v5 ice time against the Larkin line, giving them plenty of time to go off against the feeble depth of the Red Wings.
New York 2’s most common opponent should be the Valtteri Filppula line. Despite some decent offensive talent on the wings in Andreas Athanasiou and Robby Fabbri, Detroit 2 own an ugly 43.48 SCF% and a 30.77 HDCF% in just over 80 minutes of 5v5 time together. It’s hard not to like New York 2 in that matchup, and their upside is boosted by the potential power-play production. All three of Beauvillier, Nelson, and Brassard will be on the top power-play unit tonight against the worst penalty-killing team in the NHL.
St. Louis 1 – Jaden Schwartz ($5,600), Brayden Schenn ($5,300), Nathan Walker ($2,700)
Some recent line juggling bumps Walker to the top line with Schenn and Schwartz, helping the full stuck slip back into value territory for tonight’s clash against the Blackhawks. Chicago’s defensive struggles this season are well-documented, and you can expect the Blues’ top line to take advantage of them tonight.
Schenn and Schwartz are maintaining positive possession numbers in the absence of Vladimir Tarasenko and continue to generate offense at a respectable clip. Their structured, disciplined offensive play should fare well against a Chicago team that surrenders 30 scoring chances per 60 at 5v5. Obviously, Walker’s production is far from a safe bet, but he did fare well after a mid-game promotion to the top line on Saturday. Walker scored a goal on three shots in just over 10 minutes of ice-time. If you don’t need to fit the extra value into your lineup, feel free to omit him in favour of the Schwartz-Schenn mini-stack, but Walker is more than just a punt in this matchup.