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Fantasy buzz: Avalanche thriving with low expectations

Varlamov, Andrighetto among Colorado players off to good start

by James Harding / NHL.com Fantasy Correspondent

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.

5 p.m.
Daily Fantasy Advice for Saturday

PROJECTED STARTING GOALIES | DRAFTKINGS PICKS

Shipachyov recalled, Fleury status uncertain for Vegas

The Vegas Golden Knights recalled center Vadim Shipachyov from Chicago of the American Hockey League announced and placed forward Erik Haula on injured reserve.

Shipachyov, 31 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, was the third-leading scorer in the Kontinental Hockey League last season, scoring 76 points in 50 regular season games and adding 19 points in the playoffs. He is expected to make his NHL debut on Sunday against the Boston Bruins.

Shipachyov is worth adding in all formats, especially deeper fantasy leagues. There has been no word on who he would play with, so fantasy owners should monitor the situation.

Golden Knights starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury did not practice on Saturday, taking what coach Gerard Gallant called a maintenance day. Gallant would not commit to Fleury starting against the Bruins, meaning Malcolm Subban could make his season debut against the team that drafted him No. 24 in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Edler out for Canucks, Okposo not in lineup for Sabres

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler will be out 4-6 weeks after spraining his MCL against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

With Edler out, someone will be given a chance on the power play where he was averaging more than three minutes per game in his first three games. Christopher Tanev and Ben Hutton (each owned in less than 1 percent of Yahoo leagues) are skating together on the top defensive pairing and are the likely candidates.

Tanev has two goals, four blocked shots and six shots on goal and is second on the Canucks to Michael Del Zotto in average ice time (21:30). Hutton will move up from the third pairing to the first pair and should run the point on the second power-play unit. Until the pair, or any other defenders, start to show offensive spark, Tanev and Hutton should only be considered in very deep leagues or in DFS formats are deep value picks.

Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo will not play against the Los Angeles Kings because of the flu. Okposo (37 percent owned in Yahoo) played in a 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday and had had five shots in 20:35 of ice time. Matt Moulson ($3,000 in DraftKings) will slot back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch.

Byfuglien returns for Jets

Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, will return to the lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Byfuglien ($5,800 in DraftKings) is a great source of category coverage among fantasy defensemen and has one assist, two hits, three blocked shots and six shots on goal in two games. He will play in his usual spot in the Jets top-four defensive rotation on a pairing with Tobias Enstrom and will man the point on the first power-play unit. In two games, he is averaging over 23 minutes of ice time and more than six minutes of power play time.

1 p.m.
Niskanen, Niederreiter placed on injured reserve

The Washington Capitals placed defenseman Matt Niskanen on injured reserve on Saturday. It's a big loss for a defense that is adjusting to losing Kevin Shattenkirk, Karl Alzner and Nate Schmidt this offseason. Niskanen, owned in 69 percent of Yahoo leagues sustained an upper-body injury against the New Jersey Devils on Friday. Prior to the injury, he was anchoring their top defense pairing with Dmitry Orlov (44 percent owned) and was running the point on the second power-play unit.

Expect Orlov (44 percent owned) and potentially rookie Christian Djoos (1 percent owned) to have a bigger role on the power play. Other fantasy options who are available in most leagues are Olli Maatta of the Pittsburgh Penguins (32 percent), Mattias Ekholm of the Nashville Predators (29 percent) and Anton Stralman of the Tampa Bay Lightning (6 percent).

The Minnesota Wild will be without forward Nino Niederreiter (LW/RW, 60 percent owned) for at least three weeks after he sustained an ankle sprain against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. The Wild are also missing Mikael Granlund, Zach Parise, Charlie Coyle and Marcus Foligno. Tyler Ennis (2 percent owned) looks to slot into Niederreiter's spot on the Wild second line. Niederreiter was scoreless with 11 shots on goal this season.

Forward replacements that fantasy owners should target on the waiver wire include Bryan Rust (14 percent) who has seven points and is skating with Sidney Crosby for the Penguins and Alex Killorn (9 percent) who also has seven points and is skating on the Tampa Bay Lightning's top power play unit. Jakub Vrana (39 percent) is skating on the Capitals top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov; and Dustin Brown (28 percent) who's skating on the Los Angeles Kings top line with Anze Kopitar, are higher-percent owned players who should be targets if available in leagues.

 

Eberle uncertain for Islanders, Draisaitl out for Oilers

Forward Jordan Eberle may not play for the New York Islanders at the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

Eberle sustained an undisclosed injury when he took a hit in practice on Thursday and did not skate on Friday. He skated in his normal lineup spot with John Tavares and Anders Lee on Wednesday in the Islanders' 3-2 loss against the Anaheim Ducks finishing the game with five shots on goal. He has two points in four games this season. Josh Bailey ($4,100 in DraftKings), owned in 5 percent of leagues, could slot into Eberle's spot should he not play against the San Jose Sharks. Bailey had an NHL career-high 56 points playing with Tavares and Lee last season.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl will not play against the Ottawa Senators because of an eye injury. With Draisaitl out, rookie forward Kailer Yamamoto ($4,600), who is 5 percent owned, could be first in line for a look on the Oilers top line next to Connor McDavid. Yamamoto looked good when playing with McDavid in the preseason and has been skating with McDavid and Patrick Maroon in practice this week.

 

10 a.m.
Varlamov, Avalanche continue hot start with low ownership

Ahead of a very tough game against the Dallas Stars on Saturday, the Colorado Avalanche are enjoying are 4-1-0 to start the season. Colorado defeated the Anaheim Ducks on Friday to push their winning streak to three games. 

Semyon Varlamov (50 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) start against the Stars and should be owned more in Yahoo leagues. Varlamov ($7,300 in DraftKings) is 3-0-0 with a 1.67 goals against average and .945 save percentage. He is averaging the second-most fantasy points per game of any goaltender available in DraftKings on Saturday, and is one of the least-expensive options of the projected starters.

Sven Andrighetto (5 percent owned) has a three-game point streak and leads Colorado through five games with six points. He's skating on the top line opposite another low-ownership player Mikko Rantanen (17 percent). Nail Yakupov (16 percent) has five points and Alexander Kerfoot (less than 1 percent owned) has two points skating on the second line with Matt Duchene. All are very solid value targets, especially in DFS formats.

 

Mantha, Zetterberg, Nyqusit help Red Wings hand Golden Knights first loss

Anthony Mantha (LW/RW) has helped the Detroit Red Wings this season after a disappointing season last year. Mantha, owned in 35 percent of leagues, is tied for the team lead with three goals and is second with seven points. He had one goal, two assists and four shots on goal against the Golden Knights

Mantha also skated with Gustav Nyquist and Henrik Zetterberg for a good portion of the game. Nyquist (23 percent owned) scored his first points of the season, with two goals and an assist on Mantha's goal. Zetterberg had four points (one goal, three assists), pushing his point streak to three games, and giving him points in four of five games this season.

Video: DET@VGK: Mantha sweeps home Zetterberg's nice feed

 

Captials power play front and center against Devils

The Washington Capitals defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Friday and it was their top power-play unit that did the majority of the damage. All five members - Alex Ovechkin ($8,400 in DraftKings), Evgeny Kuznetsov ($6,900), Nicklas Backstrom ($6,500), T.J. Oshie ($6,200) and John Carlson ($5,800) - had at least one power-play point. 

Backstrom had three assists and four points with three points on the power play (10.5 DraftKings points). Oshie had two goals and an assist, with two power-play points. Ovechkin scored his league-leading ninth goal and had an assist, each coming on the man-advantage. 

This unit, along with players like Jakub Vrana ($4,900) and Andre Burakovsky ($4,600) who are getting exposure to the top six at even strength, are great targets against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday in all DFS contests. The Flyers are allowing 3.3 goals against per game on the season and rank tied for 29th in the league in in penalty killing percentage (70.6)

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