Montreal Canadiens G Charlie Lindgren Wins NHL Debut

The Montreal Canadiens announced on April 30 that the team had agreed to terms on a two-year contract with free agent NCAA goaltender Charlie Lindgren.

Lindgren just completed his third season with the St. Cloud State Huskies, and an impressive season it was. The 6’2 netminder boasted a 30-9-1 record, 2.13 GAA. .925 Sv%, and 5 shutouts. Those gaudy numbers ranked him first in the NCHC in wins, saves, and shutouts (T-2 others).

He finished his career with a rock solid 51-29-3 record, 2.21 GAA, .921 Sv% and 8 shutouts.

His team’s made it to the NCAA tournament every year Lindgren was guarding the paint, and was 2016’s NCHC Frozen Faceoff champion.

They say the difference between a starting and backup goaltender is their ability to maintain peak performance, so with 2,342 minutes played this season alone Lindgren has certainly shown the ability to carry the load for a successful club.

The signing of Charlie Lindgren is more than just a great addition to the goaltender depth in Montreal, it’s a symbol that the the doom and gloom season they’ve had is coming to an end and brighter days lay ahead of this organization.

While not all will look fondly upon the move, it without a doubt can only affect the organization in a positive manner. He was recently ranked the fourth overall, and top NCAA free agent goaltender.

Lindgren joined the team immediately upon signing his deal but did not play until April 7 when the Canadiens were in Carolina.

By starting the game, the Canadiens (essentially Lindgren) set a franchise record for most goalies used in a single season (5).

Avoiding the pressures of the Bell Center was key according to Head Coach Michel Therrien and the plan worked. Although Lindgren allowed a goal on his first shot against (it was a good scoring opportunity and bad defensive effort from his team), he did make 26 saves for the 4-2 victory in his NHL debut.

While he was visibly nervous early on, he settled down as he made some solid saves and was in control by the end. He showed poise and athleticism during scramble mode in the waning moments, robbing the Hurricanes at least three times including a gutsy two-pad stack in the clutch.

His future looks very bright.

If he stays in Montreal long-term, he and Carey Price could potentially combine to form the league’s best goaltending tandem.

Posted in NHL

Daily Fantasy Hockey Value Picks

It’s a relatively light Saturday schedule for the NHL today, as only 16 teams will be taking to the ice for action. There will be five puck-drops at 7 pm ET, one at 8 pm ET, and two more at 10 pm ET to close things out.

As usual, we’re here to provide you with a little extra nudge when assembling your roster, so take a glance at our daily fantasy hockey value picks below to help make your squad a winner!

Daily Fantasy Hockey Value Picks

G Garret Sparks TOR $6500 – The Red Wings are 5-5 in their last 10, including a 1-0 loss to these same Maple Leafs (Mar. 13), a 4-3 loss to the lowly Montreal Canadiens, and a 7-2 shellacking courtesy of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Of course there’s the flip side to all this. Jimmy Howard is an option at $6700 if you see this as an opportunity for Detroit to break-out, but goaltending is right at the top of the list of reasons for their struggles over the past month so proceed with caution.

G Cam Talbot EDM $6700 – As I stated earlier this week, “The Flames are merely a flicker on the road” moments before Calgary took to the ice for an 8-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Now, the Oilers are certainly no Ducks, but Calgary’s road record speaks for itself (12-24-3). Edmonton is considerably better at home (though it’s still nothing to brag about; 18-19-2), and Connor McDavid will produce tonight. The rookie phenom just had a seven game scoring streak snapped, and hasn’t gone more than two consecutive games without registering a point all season.

D Niklas Kronwall DET $3700 –  Kronwall has returned to form since being activated off the injured-reserve on February 23rd. Detroit’s defensive leader has scored 7 points in his last 10 contests, and has collected assists in three straight.

RW Jaromir Jagr FLA $6300 – The grizzled super-vet posted 15 points in March alone, including a point-per-game over his last 10 games. The Panthers are home to the Canadiens who are coming off a 3-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Mike Condon is getting the start for the Habs again, and rarely does he play two strong games in a row. Florida has a nice opportunity here, especially since Joel Hanley is penciled in as the Canadiens number four defenseman this evening.

C Riley Sheahan DET $3600 – I’m aware I put Garret Sparks in the value column, but Sheahan’s recent production cannot be denied. The Red Wings centerman has four goals in his last 5 games, after only recording nine in his first 72.  That price tag is a hell of a steal when considering Sheahan has the same amount of goals as Henrik Zetterberg (13). 

Posted in NHL

Fantasy Hockey

Montreal Canadiens Prospect Report

As the real NHL season winds down, so does the fantasy hockey season. So for all those without a ticket to the playoffs, all eyes are onto the off-season. Well, if you’re wondering who to keep and who may be expandable, who to draft and who to target, we got you covered!

Today we’ll start with the NHL’s worst team since December, the free-falling Montreal Canadiens who always seem to reach a new low. Injury after injury, loss after loss, new faces have been in and out of the lineup more often than at your local precinct.

Lucas Lessio was acquired earlier this season in a trade that sent Christian Thomas to the Arizona Coyotes. Neither prospect had yet to live up to their high potential, so a change of scenery was necessary in hopes of righting the ship.

Fanpicks.com fantasyhockey
Lucas Lessio Fanpicks.com Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Lessio scored his first goal as a Montreal Canadiens on March 22 when he netted the game-winner against the Ducks at the Bell Centre. Other than a few games as a healthy scratch due to the ever-turning Habs roster, Lessio has been a mainstay on the fourth line bringing his size, speed and energy to each shift. What Lessio brings in terms of work ethic and character is something the Canadiens were deeply lacking all season, and with this part of the season essentially being training camp for next year, Lessio is fighting for a permanent spot with the Habs. I personally think the fit is great and he should play the majority of the games next year for Montreal, albeit on the fourth line.

While there haven’t been many positives this season for the Habs, Sven Andrighetto might just be the exception. He’s quietly put together another solid year (13 points/37 games) for the Canadiens while again dominating the AHL (26 games/23 points).

He is out with an upper-body injury at the moment, but strung together a three-game span with four assists prior to exiting the lineup. Presumably sustained against the Senators from a crunching open-ice hit by Dion Phaneuf. At the time he was skating on the top line next to Alex Galchenyuk (the league’s leading scorer since Feb 24) and Max Pacioretty (playing his best hockey of the season).

His quickness and more importantly, his natural playmaking ability make him a valued asset in an organization sorely lacking such abilities. It looks like “Ghetto” has a spot amongst the Canadiens top 12 forwards next season, and very possibly the top six.

He is on the verge of full-time play, the Habs can only get better and he is not a household name yet. Andrighetto would be a major “value” target of mine this fantasy hockey off-season.

Posted in NHL

Daily Fantasy Targets

FanPicks presents our daily fantasy targets once again. Important note: This isn’t necessarily an optimal lineup for you to use (though we do quite well), but rather Value Picks and Targets that could help put you over the top of your DFS contest. In order to win your daily fantasy contest you need to maximize your spending and get the right formula for victory. As you can see I still have a healthy $400 leftover, so use this roster as a fantasy aid to help land your desired athletes.

For example: While I think that T.J. Oshie could be in line for a good game tonight, the point of this lineup is to target the value picks and potential surprising performers so I’m suggesting the Canadiens Dale Weise and Bruins Brett Connolly on the Right Wing.

  • Let’s take a look at the rest of my targets today.

nhl0222

Alex Ovechkin is the lone superstar of the lineup and is a must-play, but Filip Forsberg is no slouch. The second best player in my lineup has been on a tear, and definitely holds his own star power. The Canadiens goaltending is subpar, so Forsberg could make the most of his opportunities.

Weise is rumoured to be on the trade block for the soon-to-be seller Montreal Canadiens, so a bump up to the first line in a showcase isn’t shocking. Sven Andrighetto could earn his place back on Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty‘s wing, but Weise will begin there and has a chance to produce. He scored last game and has 14 goals on the year.

The same philosophy stands for Brett Connolly. While he isn’t necessarily on the trade block, he does have great linemates in Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Marchand is 3rd in NHL even-strength goals and rolling at the moment, so Connolly should have a safe floor with some upside.

Mike Ribeiro returns to his former, and hometown Montreal Canadiens tonight. Since being paired together Forsberg has been dominant, so stacking this duo could prove fruitful.

Robby Fabbri comes as cheap as $3400 in some leagues, and has 8 points in his last 9 games. Alex Steen just went on the IR. More ice-time=more points for the talented young Blue.

Speaking of talented young Blues, Colton Parayko seems like a must-start every night. The hulking 22-year-old has 4 points in his last 3 games and continues to fill in gracefully for the injured anchor Alex Pietrangelo.

I think Andrei Markov is going to have a multi-point night, so play him if you can afford it. In this case I couldn’t so I went with the more youthful of Canadiens defenders, Nathan Beaulieu. Beaulieu is a fine talent on the backend, a terrific skater with poise and a solid defensive game. But he is still developing so inconsistency is his biggest issue. That being said, home games are when you should play him. When he gets the matchup he needs he has the opportunity to carry the puck up ice and make plays offensively. On the road he gets stuck in tough situations and needs to remain safe more often than not. The Predators like to active their D (Weber, Josi, Ellis, Ekholm), so expect the Habs to mirror that with PK Subban, Markov and Beaulieu.

In goal, likely MVP Brayden Holtby was my numero uno selection as he has a great matchup and is just too good this season. He’s fresh and ready to to go. The cheaper option here was Boston’s Jonas Gustavsson. He is 10-4-1 this season, and the visiting Blue Jackets are a good matchup (3rd worst in NHL) for the Bruins backup goaltender.

 

Posted in NHL

Daily Fantasy Hockey Picks

Over the last few days I have been producing playable daily fantasy lineups. But I just wanted to take a second and state that these “lineups” could be more accurately described as “fantasy players to target”. I am giving you all the tools (players to target, value picks, streaks and matchups) for you to build your own winning DFS lineup. The guys who fit into my cap will be on my roster, but be sure to read below for guys who didn’t make the cut but could be the difference in your daily fantasy contest.

Today I am going to feature the stack technique. Meaning when you “stack” your roster with two (or more) players from the same team. Linemates whose production can be largely based off one another.

  • My roster

NHLlineup0217

Even though the Avalanche have been in a scoring slump for the past month, I almost took the chance and stacked the high-priced Nate MacKinnon with his immensely talented but low-cost teammate Mikhail Grigorenko. They aren’t playing together tonight, but a great showing versus the Canadiens earlier this season has me holding my breath. Grigorenko also has assists in consecutive matches. But due to the much lower salary hit, I will take Derek Stepan instead of MacKinnon and stack him with one of his wingers.

That winger being Mats Zuccarello. He’s been tearing it up lately with 4 points in his last 2 games.

In another stack I’m going with NHL scoring leader Patrick Kane and his linemate Artemi Panarin. Their numbers speak for themselves with 13 points in the last 4 games combined. Sven Andrighetto is also a great option at an ultra low cost.

Johnny Gaudreau had 3 points versus the Ducks in his last game, and 2 assists a game removed versus the Sharks. A matchup with the sinking Minnesota Wild can’t be a bad thing for Johnny Hockey.

Offensive D-man Tyson Barrie scored in that 6-1 beating the Avs put on the Canadiens back in November, and plays a ton on the PP. He is a solid option against the lowly Habs. Speaking of the Habs, Nathan Beaulieu has seen a big bump in ice-time since the injury to Jeff Petry. He is a skilled defender who can skate and plays the powerplay. He can provide you with the same results as someone like Mark Giordano, but at half the price.

I’m going with Calgary’s Jonas Hiller in net. A matchup versus the Wild, who have lost 8 of their last 9 games is great, and I like it a lot more than taking a guy like Lundqvist vs the high-flying Hawks or Crawford vs the streaking New York Rangers. Semyon Varlamov is a tempting option, but it could be a trap game. The Canadiens have switched their lines up and may actually have found something that works on offense to finally win a game.

Posted in NHL

Buffalo Sabres vs Montreal Canadiens 02/02/16 Preview

Buffalo Sabres (20-26-4) at Montreal Canadiens (24-23-4) (7 pm EST)

The Montreal Canadiens suffered another defeat last night, this time at the hands of the 13th place Philadelphia Flyers. The general thought is that the Habs are about to roll over and concede defeat to the Sabres on Wednesday night at the Bell Centre.

Personally I think Brendan Gallagher is going to lead the way for the Canadiens in this one. I believe the team is past the point of feeling sorry for themselves and will be flat out angry. They will skate hard, shoot a lot and crash the net to score goals, while giving the Sabres all they can handle defensively.

Max Pacioretty had six shots on net last night against the Flyers but couldn’t light the lamp when the team needed it most. He is streaky, so a few targets toward the net could result in a couple of goals. Watch for the break out.

Alex Galchenyuk created a few chances for the offensively challenged Canadiens but his teammates couldn’t cash in, so he may be another breakout option.

Sabres rookie Jack Eichel has been tremendous of late and has 34 points in 50 games and seven in his last five.

Ryan O’Reilly just came back from the All-Star game, and could take that experience with him to grow as a leader even more. The Sabres think they are slowly climbing out of the basement, and RR will have to be the man to lead the way if they have any hope.

Goaltender Robin Lehner has been good of late, even though his Sabres dropped the last two games he played. The Canadiens don’t have an arsenal of scorers, so one big save may be enough.

It doesn’t matter who’s in nets for the Canadiens, as neither Mike Condon or Ben Scrivens are fantasy hockey worthy.

Posted in NHL

NHL Saturday Night 1/23/16 Preview & Picks

With a trio of games being postponed due to the snow taking part of the country by storm, we will look at a trio of games that are still on the menu tonight. The Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks vs Detroit Red Wings and finally, Colorado Avalanche vs the Dallas Stars.

Montreal Canadiens (23-20-4) at Toronto Maple Leafs  (17-20-8) (7 pm)

While the Canadiens have been the NHL’s worst team over the past two months, the Leafs have been at the bottom for the whole season (and many, many years). The Habs need to find their scoring touch badly, and can’t seem to score more than one goal in far too many games. But this age old rivalry has always brought the best out in the Canadiens, often lighting the lamp four or five times against Toronto. Even when they are playing this horribly.

Brendan Gallagher is the type of player who is always in front of the net, and you’d have to be insane to not think the Habs game plan is to fire as much rubber toward the net and hope for the best.

Advice: Brendan Gallagher and PK Subban, who has points in six straight, usually play well against Toronto. Tyler Bozak and Leafs All-Star representative Leo Komarov have been Habs killers in the past.

Anaheim Ducks (20-18-7) at Detroit Red Wings (24-15-8) (7 pm)

East coast teams heading out to the West coast to compete are always at a distinct disadvantage. The travel, the jet-lag, time-change and long haul all have a tremendous effect on the body and mind, which is why a team like the NFLs Seattle Seahawks are so dominate at home, yet very regular on the road. The Ducks though did skip one bullet, as their game last night against the Washington Capitals was postponed due to the aforementioned snowstorm.

They will be fresher than they should have been, and they should be thankful for that. Rather than pulling out the oxygen tanks in the first period, they might get to the third before the effects of the speedy Red Wings kick in. No two teams have such a contrasting style, as the Detroit pace of play may be too much for the bigger, slower Ducks to keep up with.

Advice: Dylan Larkin and Henrik Zetterberg hooked up for a beauty last game and look to keep that momentum going. Ducks defenseman Shea Theodore and Sami Vatanen are good values who can collect a couple of assists.

Colorado Avalanche (25-21-3) at Dallas Stars (30-13-5) (8 pm)

Carl Soderberg has been the Avalanche top scorer since late November, and number one defenseman Erik Johnson will return to the lineup tonight. The consistency of Soderberg and boost Johnson provides will make this matchup a lot closer than it would have been a few weeks ago. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov has been hot of late as well.

Antti Niemi, who is MUCH better at home this season is 12-3-0, with a .923 save percentage and three shutouts on the books will get the start for Dallas. His composure under pressure allow him to thrive in this run-and-gun offense the Stars run, as he never seems to panic, no matter the score or moment.

This wouldn’t be a Stars report without the mention of superstars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. This duo is matchup-proof, but the sandpaper-like Avalanche will give them all the resistance they can deal with. Colorado is hard in front of the net, but Benn and Seguin won’t shy away. The pair could go off for 10 combined points on any given night but I don’t think it will be today.

Advice: Soderberg is consistent, while Nate MacKinnon may have something to prove to Dallas’ superstars and be worth the gamble for a huge game. The Stars are 10-2 in their last 12 home games, so while they may win, it may be a lower-scoring affair than we’re used to due to Varlamov. Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp could get the line matches they want and take advantage at a much lower price tag then Benn and Seguin.

 

Posted in NHL