Valentineís Day offers a short, three-game slate that features some interesting matchups to be had. Letís see which of these values will have you feeling the love...
Semyon Varlamov, COL vs. MON ($31)
Despite having not captured a victory since returning from a groin injury, Varlamov has looked solid in his first two starts, allowing just five goals total and posting a .924 save percentage. The Canadiensí poor season has been characterized by terrible play on the road, whereas Varlamov has posted a .924 save percentage and 8-3-1 record at home, so look for the Russian to get back in the win column here.
Goalie to Avoid
James Reimer, FLA @ VAN ($30)
Reimer got a win in his last start, but did so while allowing five goals. In fact, the 29-year-old has been allowing goals like crazy in the back half of his tenure as the de facto starter, allowing three goals or more in six of his last seven starts while accumulating a .892 save percentage over that span. With Roberto Luongoís (lower body) return firmly on the horizon, this is a situation youíll want to avoid altogether.
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Pierre-Luc Dubois, CLS @ TOR ($17)
Dubois is becoming increasingly more involved in Columbusís offensive gameplans and itís showing in his stat lines -- in his last five games, the rookie has accumulated five points to go with 16 shots on goal. Despite seeing decently modest overall ice time, Duboisí presence with the second power-play group is just another indication that the Blue Jackets want him to be involved offensively, so look for him to take advantage.
Center to Avoid
Nazem Kadri, TOR vs. CLS ($18)
Kadriís offensive contributions are nice, but whatís been killing him recently has been his inconsistency in the defensive end of the ice -- the 27-year-old has posted a negative rating in three of his last four contests, leading to a minus-1 rating overall in that timespan. Going up against a Blue Jackets team that has scored 17 goals over the last five contests and allowed 2.50 goals per game in January doesnít make Kadriís prospects promising.
Evgenii Dadonov, FLA @ VAN ($17)
The Florida offense, led by centers Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck, has been quite potent this season, but Dadonov has been no slouch himself and represents a cheaper way to get a piece of the pie. The KHL import runs on a line with Barkov where the pair unleash shots at a furious pace, with Dadonov recording 24 of them in the last seven contests. Not for nothing, but Vancouver represents a soft matchup as well.
James van Riemsdyk, TOR vs. CLS ($17)
Donít look now, but van Riemsdyk has four goals and five points in his last six contests while firing four shots on goal in four of those games. JVR is a certified power-play specialist, having put up 15 of his 35 points while averaging 2:19 of ice time with the man advantage this season. Thatís a welcome notion considering the Blue Jackets kill off only 75.4 percent of their penalties.
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Wings to Avoid
Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA @ VAN ($23)
Huberdeau checks in as the third most expensive wing option on the board Wednesday, but given his current involvement in the Florida offense, he just isnít worth the financial risk. Over the last 11 contests, the 24-year-old has taken just 21 shots on goal, and that includes three games that saw him take none at all. That sort of inconsistency, combined with a mediocre plus-2 rating, doesnít make Huberdeau worth it in this limited slate.
Max Pacioretty, MON @ COL ($19)
The weak campaign for Pacioretty continues, as he has now not lit the lamp since before the All-Star break. Over the six-game span since then, the Canadiensí captain has just two assists, 15 shots on goal, and a minus-2 rating. As mentioned earlier, Varlamov and the rest of the Avalanche defense have proven tough to beat at Pepsi Center, so donít count on Paciorettyís slump stopping now.
Alexander Edler, VAN vs. FLA ($19)
Itís already been alluded to that the Panthers are quite shot-happy, and that could be a great thing for Edlerís fantasy prospects -- the Swedish blueliner is an absolutely elite shot blocker, having stepped in front of 122 shots this season despite playing in only 44 games thus far. This attribute gives Edler a nice floor and, given his ability to score as well (three points in the last three games), this could be a nice matchup against a generous Florida defense.
Tyson Barrie, COL vs. MON ($18)
As the quarterback for Colorado's power play, Barrie has shown a penchant for scoring when up a man. In the 41 games heís played this season, the 26-year-old has accumulated 13 of his 31 points while averaging a whopping 3:45 of ice time on the power-play. With points in each of his last two games, Barrieís hand is hot, and heís intriguing against this Montreal squad that kills just 70.7 percent of its penalties in away games.
Defensemen to Avoid
Erik Johnson, COL vs. MON ($19)
Throughout the campaign, Johnson has proven to be less offensively inclined than his teammate Barrie, and is currently riding a six-game span that has seen him record zero points and a minus-2 rating. Therefore, itís a bit odd that heís been awarded a slightly higher price tag than his fellow defenseman. Given the potential value of each one, Iím more inclined to lean towards the cheaper Avalanche player since heís more likely to score anyway.
Zach Werenski, CLS @ TOR ($17)
Speaking of scoring droughts, Werenski currently finds himself in one of his own, as he has not found the scoresheet in the last seven games, while recording a minus-3 rating in his last 12. If that werenít enough of a deterrent, Coach John Tortorella recently revealed that the 2017 Calder Trophy finalist is dealing with an undisclosed injury that will likely hamper him for the rest of the season, so itís probably best to stay away right now.