Weekend fantasy hockey tips: NHL picks, matchups, more

Artturi Lehkonen of the Colorado Avalanche won't be flying under the radar much longer. Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Erik Kallgren vs. Casey DeSmith. Felix Sandstrom vs. Semyon Varlamov. Dan Vladar vs. Antti Raanta (maybe). Thomas Greiss, Charlie Lindgren, and Scott Wedgewood could also start in net on Saturday. After 26 teams competed Friday, we're being treated to a parade of backups beginning in the afternoon and lasting well into the evening. If you thought Black Friday hockey was wild, just wait until some worn out defenses and secondary goalie options take the ice in Day 3 of America's elongated holiday weekend. We might very well see a whole lotta scoring going on.

Programming note: Saturday's Columbus Blue Jackets/Nashville Predators game is officially postponed after a nearby water main break flooded Bridgestone Arena. The Avalanche and Preds had to call off Friday's tilt because of the massive mess.

Resources: Goalie depth chart | Injuries | Schedule | How to watch on ESPN+ | Sign up for ESPN Fantasy Hockey | Download the ESPN Fantasy App | Daily lines | Troubleshooting

All times Eastern.

Favorable scoring match-ups

Calgary Flames at Carolina Hurricanes

4 p.m., PNC Arena, Watch live on ESPN+

It's a quick turnaround for both the Flames and Hurricanes after each lost Friday to the Capitals and Bruins, respectively. Put me down for the "over" when two tired defenses hit the ice Saturday afternoon, possibly including a not fully fit Raanta in Carolina's net (coach Rod Brind'Amour says he's "still a little nicked up") or a worn out Pyotr Kochetkov, and backup Vladar 'tending for Calgary. Unleash your most potent fantasy scoring assets from both clubs in what could be a lively affair altogether.

St. Louis Blues at Florida Panthers

6:30 p.m., FLA Live Arena, Watch live on ESPN+

The Panthers are scoring again; a total of 21 goals in their past five games, as it were. So I like their chances of potting a few past Greiss, assuming the backup gets the start after Binnington's appearance in Tampa on Friday. Especially forward Sam Bennett, who's humming along with two goals, five assists, 16 hits, and six blocked-shots in his past half-dozen games.

Mid-tier fantasy forwards

T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals (34.5%): Two healthy games in after losing most of November to a lower-body injury, the fired up winger has a goal and three assists on six shots. Even beyond Saturday's tilt with the Devils, Oshie should be rostered in much more than a third of ESPN.com leagues. He's flying out there at the moment.

See also:

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards

Calle Jarnkrok, Toronto Maple Leafs (0.6%): Bumped to a scoring line with Mitch Marner and John Tavares, Jarnkrok scored in Friday's 4-3 win in Minnesota. Not all that surprisingly, assisted by Tavares and defenseman Mark Giordano. I might score in the NHL, skating on a line with Tavares, considering how well the Leafs captain is playing at present. While we'll never find that out for sure, Jarnkrok deserves a good long thought as a Daily Fantasy asset when Toronto visits Pittsburgh on Saturday.

See also:

Mid-tier fantasy defensemen

  • Gustav Forsling, Florida Panthers (38.3%)

  • Mark Giordano, Toronto Maple Leafs (38.9%)

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen

Luke Schenn, Vancouver Canucks (3.3%): Even if he doesn't put up any points, Schenn will do right by you, fantasy-wise, in throwing a bunch of hits and blocking a good number of shots. And he might score too. For what it's worth, the veteran defender scored in last week's meeting with the Golden Knights.

See also:


Igor Shesterkin (projected), New York Rangers (92.7%): I'm not fully suggesting the Rangers' No. 1 will blank McDavid and Co. like Islanders 'keeper Ilya Sorokin did on Wednesday, but he's in position to give it a good go. After hammering seven past the Predators on Nov. 1, Edmonton's offense has dried up to the tune of 2.50 goals/game. Meanwhile Shesterkin is 4-0-1 in his past five starts, rocking a .931 SV% and 1.99 GAA.

See also:

Bench 'em

Casey DeSmith (projected), Pittsburgh Penguins (5.8%): The Maple Leafs beat DeSmith four times at their last meeting, a 5-2 victory for Toronto, only 11 days ago. Growing stronger as the season wears on, the Leafs have only lost once in regulation since Oct. 29 (incidentally also against the Penguins on Nov. 11). Forward John Tavares appears unstoppable at the moment, while Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner, and William Nylander are also doing their collective part. DeSmith doesn't strike as an ideal option in filling a goalie slot in fantasy competition this particular Saturday.

See also:

  • Charlie Lindgren (projected), Washington Capitals (0.7%)

  • Thatcher Demko (projected), Vancouver Canucks (55.8%)

Sunday's favorable scoring match-ups

Winnipeg Jets at Chicago Blackhawks

7 p.m., KeyBank Arena

The Jets decisively beat Chicago in their first meeting 4-0, approximately three weeks ago. I see no reason to expect much of a different result this round, especially if Petr Mrazek starts for the Blackhawks. His last two outings, versus Boston and Dallas, were particularly awful.

Vancouver Canucks at San Jose Sharks

8 p.m., SAP Center, Watch live on ESPN+

I'm all over a well rested Sharks squad hosting a travelling Canucks crew, coming off a game in Vegas the previous evening. Led by Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture, San Jose is stuffing the net with great frequency these days.