Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes – Game 1
Before I dig into this game, I’d recommend checking out previous showdown articles where Ryan Clifford thoroughly lays out some rules and strategies to help find success in these slates – such as no full line stacking and only using one goaltender (if any), among many others.
I’ll start with the favored Bruins. Members of the big line are going to be extremely popular and understandably so. While all three are firmly in play, I prefer Patrice Bergeron (added faceoff value) and David Pastrnak (more of shooter/chance generator) to Brad Marchand. It’s expensive, but you can take them and still get some quality Hurricanes because a few are really underpriced (I’ll get to that in a bit).
On the 2nd line, Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci would be my preferred mini. DeBrusk, in particular, really stands out if you only have room for one player, or are loading up on Hurricanes instead. He is tied for the team lead in shots on goal, is 2nd to Bergeron in expected goals, and 2nd to Pastrnak in scoring chances at 5v5. DeBrusk took some heat early in the playoffs but he is quietly generating a lot. He also brings exposure to all of the big guns on the top power play. I think he is a really good play at his price. I don’t have much interest in David Backes as a punt because he’s not playing many minutes even when listed higher in the lineup, and he doesn’t shoot a lot.
The 3rdline of Marcus Johansson, Charlie Coyle, and Danton Heinen is really interesting. I think any of them are usable, though Coyle (faceoff value) and Heinen (solid scoring threat + potential to move up if the top line gets split for balance) would be my preferred plays. If I had to pick one, I probably go Coyle.
Sean Kuraly or bust on line 4, though I won’t be going there personally.
On defense, Torey Krug is the standout play. Exposure to the big guns, likes to shoot, and could be relied upon a little more with Charlie McAvoy out. After that, I actually like Brandon Carlo. I think he’s a sneaky play tonight. The right side of the defense is really thin without McAvoy, and I think he could play RD1 minutes. He is pretty solid peripherally and more minutes would only increase his floor. He is cheap, and I don’t think he’d be highly owned. You could play Matt Grzelyck and hope for a PP point but his overall usage, and lack of shot volume, scares me.
In goal, Tuukka Rask is a really strong play. Home favorite vs a team that, generally speaking, is more known for shot volume than shot quality.
To Carolina we go. Their top line of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Tervainen, and Andrei Svechnikov is downright sex. They’re the three most talented forwards on the roster. Aho and Tervainen have lit it up all season long, and Svechnikov quietly led the team in expected goals/60 at 5v5. He is a chance machine – he just didn’t get enough minutes to *really* take advantage. It seems like that won’t be an issue tonight. You can use any combo of the three, but I want Svechnikov in all of mine. He is soooo talented, is being given a golden opportunity alongside high-end linemates, and is priced nearly the same as a Bruins 4thline (Kuraly). It’s crazy. Svechnikov + Aho is my preferred duo, but Svechnikov + Teravainen is exciting as well. Or just Svechnikov by himself if you’re stacking Bruins. Either way, get him in.
Jordan Staal is a good player but he’s a little pricey for me tonight. His run of points has more to do with shooting percentages (on-ice, and individually) than chance generation. Could it continue another game? Sure. But I’d rather pay up a little more for Aho, or drop down to Teravainen or Krejci (point+faceoff upside) if you can fit another Bruin in. I prefer his linemates Nino Niederreiter (1ston Hurricanes in expected goals/60 *after* the trade) or Justin Williams given the price gap.
I don’t have a ton of interest in Hurricanes forwards after that, although Micheal Ferland is an interesting one-off if deemed healthy and good to go. He has been re-injured a couple times, which is concerning, but he is really good at generating high-danger chances and he should see depth lines/pairings. There’s also potential for him to move up if something in the top-6 isn’t clicking. I don’t know that I’d play him in single entry – there is a lot of risk – but I want some MME exposure.
On defense, I really like Dougie Hamilton. His usage is a little wonky at times but he has put up Brent Burns/Erik Karlsson-type rate stats (shots/60, points/60, etc.) at 5v5 the last few years. There’s a ton of upside and he is someone who can win you a showdown.
Justin Faulk has some pop and gets the reps Hamilton *should* get but I worry about his ownership a bit because he is cheaper and more attractive than Hamilton. I think paying up for Hamilton instead could be a good way to differentiate.
Another way to do so is avoiding both and going with Jaccob Slavin. He is going to play a ton, he is really good peripherally, and he is very reasonably priced.
If you’re stacking Bruins, Slavin fits nicely with Svechnikov for cheap Hurricanes exposure with opportunity and upside.
Petr Mrazek is in play MMEing. Single entry, I would almost prefer taking all skaters as opposed to playing him because it’s really not unrealistic to see him allow three goals on, say, 25 shots in a loss.
Favorite mini stacks:
L1: Bergeron/Pastrnak –– Aho/Svechnikov
L2: DeBrusk/Krejci –– Niederreiter/Williams
L3: Coyle/Heinen –– bottom-6 usage could be dicey, no preferred play there
Punt and pray:
Favorite four-man build (you guys/girls can do the rest):
Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Andrei Svechnikov, Jaccob Slavin
Data from NaturalStatTrick.com