Thursday's NHL slate is a busy one, with 22 teams scheduled to take the ice beginning at 7:00 PM Eastern time. While there's no shortage of options, certain players still stand out as guys to target or avoid. Read on to see who those players are.
Matt Murray, PIT vs. LA ($30): Murray's gotten on a roll of late, with six wins in his past seven appearances. Keeping the good times going shouldn't be difficult against a Kings club that's in the middle of a seven-game road trip and coming off a 7-3 loss to Carolina.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Keith Kinkaid, NJ vs. CAR ($29): While the offense bailed Kinkaid out and ended his three-game losing streak with a 5-4 overtime victory over the Flyers on Tuesday, he's still allowed 17 goals over his past four starts. An improvement in form is unlikely against a streaking Carolina club that's outscored opponents 14-5 in winning its last three games.
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Derick Brassard, OTT vs. BUF ($16): Brassard's 5.8 fantasy points per game are tops among Ottawa's centers, and that average has been climbing recently, as the talented center's lit the lamp in three of his past four games. With a 27-goal season and two 58-point campaigns in his past four, Brassard certainly has the skills to maintain this recent high level of play. Don't be surprised to see him get on the scoresheet once again in this home tilt against an awful Sabres team that's been outscored 3.28 to 2.40 in the average game this season.
CENTER TO AVOID
Jonathan Marchessault, VGK vs. EDM ($25): Considering the Golden Knights have arguably the deepest lineup in the league, it makes little sense to pay $25 for Marchessault given the vast array of cheaper comparable alternatives. Four of Vegas' skaters have at least matched Marchessault's 11 power-play points this season, so he's not particularly primed to exploit Edmonton's greatest weakness -- penalty killing.
Logan Couture, SJ vs. VAN ($23): Couture's been relied upon heavily over the past four games, skating at least 20:33 in three of those. The reasons for that heavy workload are apparent, as he's already eclipsed the 20-goal mark for the seventh time in eight seasons with 23 in 53 games. With six goals and 10 points in the past 11 games, Couture's also showing no signs of slowing down. San Jose's leader in goals and second-best point-getter (43) should have no problem producing against a Canucks club that's playing its second game in as many nights and is allowing the seventh-most goals per game (3.16).
Sebastian Aho, CAR at NJ ($20): Aho continues to be available for $20 despite consistently outplaying that price over an extended period. In his past 19 appearances, Aho has 14 goals and 23 points. Given Kinkaid's aforementioned recent struggles, maintaining his scorching form shouldn't be difficult for the 20-year-old stud.
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WINGS TO AVOID
Phil Kessel, PIT vs. LA ($30): Kessel's underperformed relative to his hefty price more often than not lately, with fewer than 7.0 fantasy points in eight of his past 11 appearances. He's also relied on the power play for half of his points this season, which is another red flag against this particular opponent. Despite some recent struggles, the Kings are still allowing the second-fewest goals per game (2.50) while killing penalties at the league's fourth-highest rate (83.4 percent).
Alex Iafallo, LA at PIT ($17): It's unclear why Iafallo's price has climbed to $17, but the bottom line is he's overpriced at that valuation. His average of 4.1 fantasy points per game is tied for second-lowest among wingers that cost more than $14, and the clicking Penguins offense can put some serious hurt on a plus-6 rating that's propped up by a plus-9 mark from the first seven games of the season.
John Gilmour, NYR at NYI ($17): Gilmour's first NHL goal in his third game Tuesday was far from a fluke, as he's already fired 10 shots in his brief stint at the highest level. Injuries along the Rangers' blue line have also freed up power-play time for the rookie, and that's unlikely to diminish after he lit the lamp with the extra man Tuesday in Minnesota. Expect Gilmour's offensive skills to once again be put on display here against the league's worst defensive team, which has surrendered 3.67 goals per game.
Colin Miller, VGK vs. EDM ($14): Miller's 13 power-play points have him just one behind Erik Haula's team-leading total, but the affordable defenseman has been steadily gaining ground of late, with six of his 10 points over the past 11 games coming with the extra man. He won't get a better chance to add to those totals than this home tilt against an Oilers team that's killing penalties at a league-low 70.9 percent rate.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
John Carlson, WAS at MIN ($25): Carlson's three goals and five points over the past four games make him a tempting target, but the prospect of facing Devan Dubnyk at Xcel Energy Center should be enough to preclude owners from dropping $25 on the offensive-minded blueliner. Dubnyk's 15-2-4 with a 2.10 GAA and .934 save percentage at home, and Carlson's minus-4 rating and low block totals suggest he doesn't offer much when he can't get on the scoresheet.
Dougie Hamilton, CGY at NSH ($20): While Hamilton has 17 shots over his past three games, a minus-3 rating over that time has negated much of that value. Producing offensively while staying defensively responsible is going to be awfully difficult against a Predators team that's outscoring opponents 3.05 to 2.51 in the average game overall and boasts a 19-5-3 home record.