Ben Bishop, DAL at CAR ($33) – It’s slim pickings for Monday, and Bishop has the hottest hand with a 14-save shutout win against the Islanders in his previous start. In his past four appearances, Bishop is just 2-2, but both losses came against the Jets. The Hurricanes have won just three of their past 10 games and they’re definite underdog against a playoff-bound team.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Mike Smith, CGY vs. STL ($36) – Smith will start after injuring his hand briefly, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s allowed 12 goals in his past four games. The defense in front of him hasn’t been very dependable, and Smith will be facing one of the league’s best snipers in Vladimir Tarasenko. Smith isn’t worth the risk for someone who’s valued to be the best. The Flames are only 5-5 at home and the Blues are arguably the best team in the conference.
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Brayden Schenn, STL at CGY ($20) – He’s one of the best all-around fantasy players in the league, and he’s been scoring like an elite center since joining the Blues. The Flames defense will be without the services of Travis Hamonic, and Smith is going through one of those spells where you wonder how he managed to keep his Coyotes job for so long. Schenn’s scored nine points in his past four games.
CENTER TO AVOID
Radek Faksa, DAL at CAR ($13) – He’s an excellent two-way player, which translates little to fantasy. After scoring two points against Buffalo he sat out a game against Winnipeg, and upon his return had zeroes across the board in a 5-0 smackdown of the Islanders. Faksa has seven points in 15 games this season, but he’s not showing signs of a real breakout and plays third-line minutes most nights.
Alexander Radulov, DAL at CAR ($22) – He’s on a seven-game point streak and no matter how much Ken Htichcock wants to balance out the scoring, he invariably goes back to Radulov with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin during crunch time. People don’t give Radulov enough credit for what he can do, and it’s hard to believe that a young Carolina defense can contain him.
Micheal Ferland, CGY vs. STL ($18) – He’s scored three goals in four games because Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau are both flying. That’s great for Ferland, who’s been a near-fixture on that line, and against the Blues they’ll need him to open up space with his physicality. If he can do that, that allows Gaudreau and Monahan to create offense, and Ferland is the type of player who doesn’t mind going into the dirty areas and scoring the garbage goals.
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WING TO AVOID
Sebastian Aho, CAR vs. DAL ($17) – His talent is tantalizing, but Aho’s still looking for his first goal of the season after a breakout campaign last year. He’s got four assists in his past six games, four of which were Carolina losses, and continues to see his ice time fluctuate as he tries to become a more consistent player. Dallas has been successful this year because they’re tougher to score against, and given Carolina’s offense-by-committee approach, it’s difficult to trust Aho.
Jaromir Jagr, CGY vs. STL ($15) – He’s fun to talk and reminisce about, but nobody should deny that Jagr is a second or third-line one-dimensional winger at this point of his career. In past years, Jagr would be an intriguing matchup against the Blues, but under Mike Yeo they’re a more up-tempo team, and Jagr’s lack of speed can be a problem sometimes. He’s coming off a two-point effort against Detroit, but his role is very limited on the Flames. The upside isn’t what it used to be.
John Klingberg, DAL at CAR ($23) – With 165 points career points already, at this rate Klingberg will shatter Sergei Zubov’s record of 549 points by a defenseman in a Stars uniform. He scored 58 points just two seasons ago but it looks like the best has yet to come with the way he can control the play. Defenses have to respect his speed and puck-moving ability, but concentrate on him too much and he can easily find the open man for a scoring chance. Carolina’s defense has been pretty steady for such a young team, but their goaltending hasn’t been very reliable so far.
Vince Dunn, STL at CGY ($12) – He was nearly a point-per-game player in the OHL and scored 45 points in 72 games in his rookie season with AHL Chicago, and through 18 games has already scored two goals. He has a lot of upside on offense, and if Calgary gets into penalty trouble it’ll give Dunn a chance to shine, but he’s a risk because he doesn’t get much playing time at even strength – in the last two games, both losses that had lots of garbage time, he played just 19 minutes. Still, he may be worth the risk.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Dougie Hamilton, CGY vs. STL ($17) – It’s amazing how he’s managed to score between 40-50 points for three straight seasons, yet at no point ever seems to be a dominant defenseman. He’s scored just one goal in his past nine games and Calgary’s power play is a paltry 20th. The Blues won’t be easy to score on, and considering how good they are, Glen Gulutzan will likely prefer to play Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie more than usual.
Esa Lindell, DAL at CAR ($17) – Lindell’s coming off a two-point performance against the Islanders, but everyone knows Klingberg is the man on the blue line. Lindell is going to be an important piece of the Stars’ future, but he’s more of a two-way player who can score in bunches. He’ll get whatever power play minutes that are left behind by Klingberg, but at the rate the Stars’ first unit is scoring, there may not be any mop-up minutes for Lindell.