NHL Daily Fantasy: Thursday picks and fades


This is the last Thursday of the NHL regular season, and we’ll be treated to nine games starting at 7 pm EDT. We already know which 16 teams will be in the playoffs, but there is still some ambiguity about their seeding in the final playoff bracket. And, even players on teams that are out of the hunt still have something left to fight for, whether it’s future contracts, the fans or simply pride. Here are some players that can help you win your daily fantasy tournaments Thursday.

GOALIE

Antti Raanta, CAR vs. NJ ($29): It’s unclear if Raanta will get the nod because he’s off an injury, but I’d be happy with Piotr Kochetkov ($25) as well. Kochetkov has won his first three NHL starts while posting a .902 save percentage and a 2.42 GAA. We want the Hurricanes because of the matchup, though, because the Devils have scored just eight goals in four games.

GOALIE TO AVOID

Mike Smith, EDM vs. SJ ($39): I’m telling you to bench the hottest goalie in the league. Despite winning eight straight games while posting a .963 save percentage and a 1.25 GAA, I’d rather fade the 40-year-old netminder as he’s commanding the highest salary on this DFS slate. Smith wasn’t great before his recent streak, and the Sharks aren’t pushovers, having averaged three goals per game over their last eight outings.

CENTER

Tage Thompson, BUF at BOS ($19): With 37 goals by Thompson this season, it looks like the Ryan O’Reilly trade may have been a win-win in the long run. The 24-year-old provides a solid nightly floor with more than three shots per game. Linus Ullmark will start for the Bruins, and he has merely been average at home this year with a .907 save percentage.

CENTER TO AVOID

Evgeny Kuznetsov, WAS at NYI ($21): Kuznetsov has posted 24 goals this season, but he makes his money as a playmaker, racking up 53 helpers. A big part of his ceiling comes from playing with Alex Ovechkin, however, and Ovie will likely sit out with an upper-body injury. That will lower Kuznetsov’s ceiling, as will facing the Islanders, who rank eighth in the league with a 2.80 GAA.

WIN

Timo Meier, SJ at EDM ($23): Meier has dominated all year. He has a career-high 35 goals while averaging more than four shots on net per game. He also has 18 power-play points. If you’re going to fade Smith as I suggested, you might as well go all the way and aim for a Sharks onslaught against an Oilers team that has a season-long 3.06 GAA.

Seth Jarvis, CAR vs. NJ ($17): Jarvis has improved all year as a rookie, and now he has posted 19 points through 21 games. He’s playing on the first line with Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov in addition to the second power-play unit. With the Devils ranking 29th in the league with a 3.64 GAA, Jarvis has a great opportunity to pay DFS dividends Thursday.

Consider Seth Jarvis in your NHL DFS lineups. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

WINGS TO AVOID

Mason Marchment, FLA at OTT ($20): Marchment has proven to be a solid NHL player, but for DFS purposes, this is a hefty salary to pay for a fourth-line guy that occasionally slips onto the power play. The matchup is intriguing against the Senators, but unless Marchment climbs into the top six, he’ll be tough to justify.

Ross Colton, TB at CLS ($20): Colton burned me the last time I labeled him as a fade. He has scored six goals on 22 shots (27.3 percent) over the last eight games, but that’s not a sustainable rate. Furthermore, he’s logged more than 15 minutes of ice time just once in that stretch, so we should keep avoiding him at this salary.

DEFENSE

Charlie McAvoy, BOS vs. BUF ($21): McAvoy has lived up to his new contract this season, posting career highs in goals (10) and points (55). Importantly, he’s recorded 21 points with the man advantage, and he’ll look to keep that rolling against Buffalo’s 23rd-ranked PK (76.1 percent).

Quinn Hughes, VAN vs. LA ($20): Hughes is red hot right now with 13 points over the last seven games while averaging 25 minutes of ice time per outing. He’s not overly reliant on the power play, but his ceiling will benefit from Los Angeles’ 22nd-ranked PK (76.1 percent). That ceiling will go up further if Cal Petersen – who has an .888 road save percentage – gets the nod.

DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID

Gustav Forsling, FLA at OTT ($19): Forsling put together a career year with 37 points and 145 shots on net through 71 games. However, he doesn’t play on the power play, so I’d much rather save a bit of cash and fire up Brandon Montour ($17)who also has 37 points this season.

Tyson Barrie, EDM vs. SJ ($18): The Sharks have had their struggles this season, but they still rank second in the league with an 85.3 percent penalty kill. Meanwhile, Barrie has been solid this season with 39 points. However, 21 of those points have come on the power play, so he’ll carry extra risk Thursday.



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