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Fantasy buzz: Stamkos could return; rookies to debut

Lightning center has discounted DFS price; Mittelstadt, Gaudette, Borgstrom could make immediate impact; Blue Jackets rolling since Vanek trade; Bruins injury updates

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

All season long, NHL.com'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.

 

Stamkos could return for Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos could return to their lineup against the Boston Bruins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, SN, NESN, FS-F, NHL.TV). He did not play against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday because of a lower-body injury.

Stamkos (6th in Yahoo) is tied for seventh in the NHL with 86 points (27 goals, 59 assists) in 75 games and has provided elite category coverage in standard leagues with a plus-22, 53 penalty minutes, 33 power-play points and 206 shots on goal. If he plays, he should rejoin the top line with Nikita Kucherov (2nd in Yahoo) and J.T. Miller (C/LW/RW, 55 percent owned, 135th).

Video: PHI@TBL: Stamkos scores power-play goal on one-timer

From a DFS standpoint, Stamkos ($6,800 in DraftKings) is available at a significant discount compared to his price against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday ($7,600). He has one goal and six SOG in two games against the Bruins (3.0 DraftKings points per game), and fantasy owners can trust his lineup placement and road splits (3.6; 39 points in 38 games).

 

Prospects set for NHL debuts Thursday

-- Buffalo Sabres center prospect Casey Mittelstadt is expected to make his NHL debut against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-D, NHL.TV). Mittelstadt, who had 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 34 games for University of Minnesota, will likely center the second line with forwards Sam Reinhart (C/LW/RW, 39 percent owned, 208th in Yahoo) and Evan Rodrigues.

Mittelstadt (1 percent owned in Yahoo; $3,000 in DraftKings) could also get a trial on a power-play unit with elite fantasy center Jack Eichel (127th in Yahoo). Mittelstadt is worth rostering in the second center or UTIL spot in classic DraftKings contests because of his low price and favorable opponent in the Red Wings, who are 13-23-3 on the road (outscored 129-100).

-- Vancouver Canucks forward prospect Adam Gaudette is expected to make his NHL debut against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, NHL.TV). Gaudette (fewer than 1 percent owned in Yahoo; $2,500 in DraftKings), who led the NCAA in scoring with 60 points (30 goals, 30 assists) in 38 regular-season games for Northeastern University, could feasibly slot onto Vancouver's top line with Bo Horvat in the absence of injured rookie Brock Boeser (103rd in Yahoo). The Canucks have five games remaining, four at home.

-- Florida Panthers forward prospect Henrik Borgstrom is expected to make his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN5, FS-F, NHL.TV). Borgstrom (1 percent owned in Yahoo; $2,500 in DraftKings) was better than a point per game over the past two seasons at Denver University (95 points 77 games) and could feasibly fill Florida's second-line void if he shifts to wing. The Panthers are tied for the most games remaining (seven) in the regular season.

 

Blue Jackets second line erupts after Vanek trade

The Columbus Blue Jackets second line of Thomas Vanek, Alexander Wennberg and Boone Jenner has become the talk of the fantasy world since the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline.

Vanek (LW/RW, 17 percent owned, 116th in Yahoo), acquired from the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 26, scored a hat trick with one assist and five shots on goal against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. He was held without a point in his first four games after the trade, but he's totaled 13 points (seven goals, six assists), a plus-14 and 33 shots on goal in 10 games since.

Video: CBJ@EDM: Vanek scores three for 11th career hat trick

Since the deadline, Wennberg (plus-17, 1st), Jenner (plus-13, T-5th) and Vanek (plus-12, T-7th) each ranks among the NHL's top 10 in plus/minus, with Columbus defensemen David Savard (plus-15) and Ian Cole (plus-13) also in that conversation. Wennberg (21 percent), Jenner (20 percent), Cole (3 percent) and Savard (4 percent) are all readily available and high-end streaming options for the surging Blue Jackets.

From a DFS standpoint, Vanek's performance Tuesday was good for 15.5 DraftKings points, and he's averaging 5.3 DraftKings points per game in that 10-game span. His price has risen from $4,600 on Tuesday to $5,200 against the Calgary Flames on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-O, NHL.TV), but his price remains convenient on this 10-game DFS slate. He's easily stackable with Wennberg ($4,400) or Jenner ($4,900) for this favorable matchup against the Flames, who are expected to be without top forwards Sean Monahan (wrist), Matthew Tkachuk (upper body) and potentially Johnny Gaudreau (personal) as well.

 

Injury updates on Chara, McAvoy, Grzelcyk, Backes

The Boston Bruins will again be without defenseman Zdeno Chara against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday because of an undisclosed injury, but defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) will likely play, and forward David Backes (knee laceration) will be a game-time decision.

In addition to Chara's absence, the Bruins are expected to be without forward Rick Nash (upper body) and rookies Charlie McAvoy (knee), Anders Bjork (shoulder) and Jake DeBrusk (upper body). McAvoy skated in a non-contact jersey, but there is no timetable on his return. The Bruins have seven games remaining, tied for most in the NHL with the Florida Panthers.

 

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