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Fantasy buzz: Ducks relying heavily on defensemen

Two playing on each power-play unit with Rakell injured; Dadonov out 4-6 weeks for Panthers

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / Senior Fantasy Editor

All season long,'s fantasy hockey staff will have you covered with daily lineup news, production trends and injury notes from around the League. We will identify how these developments affect fantasy owners in year-long (Yahoo) and daily (DraftKings) formats.


4 p.m.
DraftKings value picks for five-game Monday contests



Nico Hischier, NJD ($5,300 vs. FLA): The rookie center has yet to score a goal on 26 shots on goal in 11 home games, but that could easily change against the Florida Panthers on Monday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-F, NHL.TV). Hischier has 27 SOG over his past 10 games, including 10 over his past three, and the Panthers are allowing the third-most DraftKings points to opposing centers. He's centering Taylor Hall and Jesper Bratt on the top line and averaging 2:19 per game on the power play. He's fifth among rookies with 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 23 games.



Wayne Simmonds, PHI ($5,100 at PIT): The Philadelphia Flyers forward always seems to be at the top of his game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the numbers support that notion; he has 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists) in 28 regular-season games against them. He had points in back-to-back games against the New York Islanders this past week and is averaging 3.3 DraftKings points per game through 11 road games. He and rookie center Nolan Patrick ($3,600) could have a big night against the Penguins (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVAS, SN, ATTSN-PT, NBCSP, NHL.TV), who are allowing the sixth-most DraftKings points to opposing centers and eighth-most to opposing right wings.

Video: NYI@PHI: Simmonds fires into open net off rebound



Cody Franson, CHI ($3,400 vs. ANA): The Chicago Blackhawks have been playing Franson on their first power-play unit with forwards Patrick Kane, Nick Schmaltz, Brandon Saad and Artem Anisimov. Franson has four assists, two on the power play, in four home games and forms an affordable DFS value stack with any of those forwards against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, FS-W, NHL.TV). The Ducks will be without leading scorer Rickard Rakell, who joins centers Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler on the injured list. Chicago's top two centers, Jonathan Toews and Anisimov, should overwhelm the Ducks and produce some impressive fantasy totals in the process.



Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ ($7,500 at MTL): The Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender is among the early candidates for the Vezina Trophy at the one-quarter mark after winning the award for the second time of his career last season. It's hard to believe he's priced sixth among projected starting goaltenders against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN2, FS-O, NHL.TV), especially considering he's 6-1-1 with a .919 save percentage on the road this season. He stopped 28 of 29 shots faced at Montreal on Nov. 14.

Video: OTT@CBJ: Bobrovsky shuts down Karlsson, Dzingel


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3 p.m.
Rakell not traveling with Ducks; four defensemen in power-play mix

Anaheim Ducks forward Rickard Rakell is not traveling to start their road trip and will not play against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, FS-W, NHL.TV). He missed their game against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday because of an upper-body injury.

Rakell leads the Ducks with 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) and six power-play points in 22 games, but now joins centers Ryan Getzlaf (face) and Ryan Kesler (hip) on the injured list. Centers Derek Grant (C, $3,900 in DraftKings) and Chris Wagner (C, $3,400) have become nightly value picks with top-six and power-play usage in the absence of Rakell, Getzlaf and Kesler.

Video: VGK@ANA: Grant deflects Lindholm's shot past Lagace

The Ducks' top two lines against the Kings on Saturday featured Grant centering Nick Ritchie and Corey Perry and Wagner centering Jakob Silfverberg and Cogliano. The Ducks utilized two defensemen on each of their power-play units in Rakell's absence; Brandon Montour and Sami Vatanen were on the first unit with Silfverberg, Perry and Grant, and the second unit consisted of Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm with Wagner, Ritchie and Antoine Vermette.

For fantasy owners in year-long leagues, the big takeaway from this development is that Montour (54 percent owned; 117th in Yahoo), Fowler (52 percent owned), Lindholm (18 percent) and Vatanen (12 percent) each carries upside in deep leagues moving forward with heavier offensive usage. Montour leads Ducks defensemen with five power-play points, and Lindholm (four), Vatanen (two) and Fowler (one) have also touched on the category when healthy this season, as well as in years past.

Even defenseman Josh Manson (38 percent; 142nd in Yahoo), who's doesn't play on the power play and ranks second among Ducks defensemen in even-strength (17:35) and shorthanded (3:13) minutes per game behind Lindholm (18:24; 3:16), has become fantasy relevant, especially in leagues that count hits (53 in 23 games). Montour and Manson are the only Ducks defensemen to play in all 23 games.


Dadonov out for Panthers; Haapala or Malgin could emerge

Florida Panthers forward Evgenii Dadonov will not play against the New Jersey Devils on Monday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-F, NHL.TV) and will be sidelined 4-6 weeks because of an upper-body injury.

Dadonov (RW, 35 percent owned; 141st in Yahoo), who plays on the Panthers' top line and first power-play unit with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, was averaging 3.5 DraftKings points per game prior to the injury. Forward Colton Sceviour, who has six points (four goals, two assists), 16 blocked shots and 36 shots on goal (2.2 DraftKings points per game) in 16 games, is projected to start on the top line with Barkov and Huberdeau.

Video: FLA@BUF: Dadonov cashes in on rebound in front

Prospects Henrik Haapala (one assist in two games) and/or Denis Malgin (recalled from Springfield of American Hockey League on Monday) could also earn a trial in those prime spots during Dadonov's absence. Sceviour ($3,300), Haapala ($3,300) and Malgin ($2,900) are each priced near the DraftKings minimum for Monday, but Malgin may not play because of the quick turnaround. Each forward is owned in fewer than 1 percent of Yahoo leagues but is worth monitoring in deep leagues.


READ: Fantasy top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 8

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