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Fantasy Hockey – Jan. 26 Daily Defenseman – Oliver Ekman-Larsson Leads the Way
Tuesday night offers a nine game NHL slate with some great fantasy hockey matchups from a defenseman perspective, where Oliver Ekman-Larsson leads the way. For me, the process of trying to predict defenseman scoring lies in the special teams aspect of the game, as this is where the most predictable scoring takes place. Generally, power-play units are consistent from game to game, and team’s habits with these power-play units remain fairly constant. It is too difficult to predict what forward line will be matched up with a certain defense pairing during 5-on-5 play, therefore making it tougher to predict scoring opportunities for defenseman, who rarely get these chances anyways. I have highlighted four defenseman which I believe are fantastic plays for your Draft Kings lineups on Tuesday January 26th.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ARZ) – $6,100
The Arizona Coyotes will take on the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night, and look to take advantage of the Jets terrible penalty habits. The Jets have spent a league high 290 minutes on the penalty kill this season, with the 4th lowest penalty kill percentage at 76.6 percent. This bodes well for the Coyotes, especially Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who quarterbacks the Coyotes power-play and is 4th in the NHL in defenseman scoring. To compound the Jets inability to stay out of the box, Arizona has spent the most time on the power-play this season, playing with the man advantage for 299 minutes. Expect Ekman-Larsson to have a high shot total – second in the league with 63 power-play shots – and plenty of scoring opportunities on Tuesday night, making him a great cash game and GPP play on Draft Kings.
Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF) – $5,900
The Buffalo Sabres are on the road in Ottawa Tuesday, looking to take two points from the struggling Senators. The Senators have been generous this season to the defense position, ranking 29th in Draft Kings points given up to defenseman. Rasmus Ristolainen has been phenomenal this season, ranking 10th in defenseman scoring, and 8th in power-play shots amongst blue liners. The Senators are giving up a league worst 33.3 shots against per game, and are second to last in penalty kill percentage at 75.6 percent. The makings for a stellar game from Ristolainen have aligned, as he looks to end his two game scoreless streak. Ristolainen is a solid play in both formats on Draft Kings.
Michael Stone (ARZ) – $4,200
For the same reason I love Oliver Ekman-Larsson, I like Michael Stone as well, who comes in at a much lower price than his teammate. Stone runs the second power-play unit for the Coyotes and should get his fair share of power-play time. If fitting Ekman-Larsson’s $6,100 salary into your lineup is difficult, Stone offers a great value in a potentially lucrative game for Arizona’s power-play units.
Mattias Ekholm (NSH) – $3,600
Mattias Ekholm has seen his role increase since the departure of Seth Jones, and he is answering the bell. Ekholm is on the blue line for the Predators’ second power-play unit, which also includes new-comer and scoring threat Ryan Johansen. Nashville is 7th in the league in power-play opportunities and are converting at a 20.6 percent rate, which ranks 8th in the NHL. On Tuesday night, the Predators will take on the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks rank 11th in the NHL in both penalty kill percentage, and time spent on the penalty kill, increasing Ekholm’s scoring opportunities. Ekholm is on a three game point streak, and has eight points in his last 10 games. A defense tandem of Ekman-Larsson and Ekholm would be extremely affordable for two players who could easily return over 10 Draft Kings points.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter, @EPattersonFS, for answers to all Draft Kings and season long fantasy hockey questions!