With The NHL All-Star Game just behind us, the second half of the season is now in full swing. Teams are beginning that hunt for the playoffs and every game matters. This means the players are picking their level of play up and it’s paying big dividends for fantasy owners. Thursday night features nine hockey games, so there’s a big selection of talent out there. Here are your best picks for your FanSaloon.com Fantasy Hockey Leagues for Tonight.
Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets ($5,438): Kane has already eclipsed his 2010-11 goals total and he isn’t done yet. The speedy winger is averaging 4.35 Fantasy Points a game, putting his production right up there with the elite players at his position.
James Van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia Flyers ($4,600): JVR is coming off a tough injury, but don’t let that be a concern. In his two games back he has 2 assists and 10 shots on goal, he hasn’t lost a step. Picking Van Riemsdyk also makes sense as they play the often shaky Edmonton Oilers tonight, only making him more likely to get you points.
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers ($6,825): Giroux has been the epitome of productive this season and tonight’s favorable match-up makes him a must pick. Giroux has been a rock all season for the Flyers while operating at a point-per-game clip; pick him with confidence.
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks ($6,125): Last season’s MVP has been having a tough year…until lately. Seemingly haven awoken over the past month, Perry has been a machine while getting Anaheim back into the playoff race. Every game is crucial for his team so look for Perry to bring his A-game tonight and come through for your fantasy team as well.
Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks ($5,425): Last season’s rookie standout was an early victim of a sophomore slump, but he’s beginning to find his way again. In a match-up against Winnipeg tonight look for Couture to continue gaining confidence and to translate that into points. This guy can score goals for you and I think he’ll cash one in tonight.
Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes ($4,650): Last Year’s Rookie of The Year hasn’t really found his way this season, but he’s still shooting the puck a lot (149 SOG) and has been playing better as the season wears on. Skinner plays against the streaking Anaheim Ducks tonight, but if anyone can put a puck past the red-hot Jonas Hiller, I like that guy to be Jeff Skinner.
Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks ($5,400): Hiller has been a monster the past month in leading his team (along with Corey Perry) into playoff contention. Hiller’s play has helped give Anaheim consistency, and tonight’s game against the Hurricanes could be a big day for the man in goal. Carolina isn’t the most offensive bunch around and a shutout could be in the works – Hiller could well be today’s best value pick.
Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia Flyers ($5,275): Fantasy is all about match-ups people and tonight the Flyers have a great one. Bryvgalov hasn’t been as dominant as he’s been in seasons past, but tonight should be a good way for him to find his stride and begin to be the force he was during his time with the Phoenix Coyotes. Although Ilya has been shaky all year I think he’ll put in a solid performance tonight and make you a happy fantasy owner.
Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks ($3,063): A player that many expected to compete for the Norris Trophy (Leagues’ Top Defensemen) has been a letdown this season. However, tonight against the Dallas Stars I look for him to break out and have a big game because he’s just too good to bottle up for this long. I’m a firm believer that skill must take over at some point, and that point is tonight for the talented defenseman, take a chance on him.
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings ($3,925): Playing fantasy hockey I’ve learned one thing for certain…Lidstrom is a must pick. The ageless veteran is a fantasy machine and although Detroit has an unfavorable match-up against Vancouver tonight, someone must score in this game. Lidstrom isn’t killing it this season, but he’s always capable of scoring a goal or putting up multiple assists; this may be one of those nights where they need him to come up big.
High Risk-High Reward Pick of the Day
Roberto Loungo, Vancouver Canucks ($6,913): Luongo has been looking like his past self over the last couple of weeks and that has teams across the NHL in fear, and rightfully so. Loungo on any given day can be the best goalie you’ve ever seen take the ice, but his inconsistency has plagued him throughout his career. In a showcase game against Detroit tonight, Loungo has an opportunity to prove doubters wrong and show he’s still a Vezina Candidate. A shutout from Luongo would be enormous and would do your fantasy squad well. However, Detroit is riding that NHL Record 23 Straight Wins at Home (this games at Detroit)…will Loungo be the man to stop that?
Who’s your pick of the night? Will Detroit’s streak end tonight? Let Me Hear What You Think!