Saturday Fantasy Hockey Tips – NHL Picks, Matchups, More

Saturday’s live, post-deadline trade begins with what promises to be an entertaining tilt between the Lightning and Sabers in Buffalo. The last time these two teams met, nine days ago, Tage Thompson victimized Andrei Vasilevskiy with a hat trick. We’ve got one of the top games of the day coming up early when the mighty Bruins host the Rangers on ESPN+ and ABC. Brad Marchand is indeed expected to suit up after suffering an injury scare late in the week, while Tyler Bertuzzi plans to make his (top-six?) debut in Boston.

Look for Jake Oettinger and Alexandar Georgiev to square off in a mighty divisional battle when the Stars — including rookie Max Domi — host the Avalanche, while the Penguins and Panthers renew acquaintances after that 7-6 romp — The Kris Letang Show — back on January 24th. No word yet on whether Aleksander Barkov or Sam Bennett will finally be able to return for Florida. Two games into his second stint with the Maple Leafs, shot-blocking machine Luke Schenn is already ready to face former teammates in Vancouver. A game that should also see Matt Murray (ankle) make his first start for the Leafs in well over six weeks.

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All weather Eastern.

Favorable ranking matches

7 p.m. ET, Canada Life Center

We were supposed to be treated to a battle of the reserves on Saturday after Connor Hellebuyck and Stuart Skinner squared off in the first home-and-home set on Friday. That was before the Jets’ starter went out after two innings in what appeared to be a move to keep him around for the next day’s action back home. Either way, we’re likely to see some scoring from both ends after the Oilers — including the up-and-coming Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — pressured Hellebuyck/David Rittich for six Friday, while Edmonton’s Jack Campbell has proven himself able this season to deliver a few as well.

7 p.m. ET, Canadian Tire Center

Brand new to the Blue Jackets, goaltender Michael Hutchinson appears eager to make his first NHL start of the season — 11th overall since 2019-20 — while his limited AHL work this campaign has been mediocre at best. Unless, of course, Elvis Merzlikins agrees to start his second in as many days. The Senators have scored a total of 22 goals in their last four games. And new defenseman Jacob Chychrun is still settled. You have to like the home team to put some into this match.

Fantastic mid-range strikers

Gabriel Vilardi, Los Angeles Kings (23.6%): The extremely streaky young forward is in a groove right now, with three goals and one assist on 12 shots in his last four games. He also skates on the Kings’ top power play. With Los Angeles scheduled to host the Blues, Vilardi is one of my favorite fantasy assets overall on this busy Saturday.

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Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards

Pierre Engvall, New York Islanders (0.2%): Based on Friday’s practice, the former Maple Leaf looks poised to begin his Islanders career on a top line with Bo Horvat and Anders Lee. While I wouldn’t count on Engvall staying in that role long-term, it’s definitely worth rolling the Daily-Fantasy dice against the visiting Red Wings right away.

See also:

  • Jack Quinn, Buffalo Sabers (3.0%)

  • Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning (10.7%)

  • Anthony Duclair, Florida Panthers (17.5%)

  • Bryan Rust, Pittsburgh Penguins (57.3%)

  • Calle Jarnkrok, Toronto Maple Leafs (1.2%)

  • Anthony Beauvillier, Vancouver Canucks (7.0%)

  • Shane Pinto, Ottawa Senators (5.7%)

  • Tommy Novak, Nashville Predators (7.2%)

  • Kailer Yamamoto, Edmonton Oilers (5.0%)

  • Lukas Reichel, Chicago Blackhawks (0.4%)

  • Kent Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets (3.8%)

  • Kasperi Kapanen, St. Louis Blues (1.5%)

Mid-level fantasy defenders

John Klingberg, Minnesota Wild (55.6%): If he is indeed ready to go for his new team, Klingberg makes for an interesting fantasy play against the Flames. Said to be “very, very excited” to join the Wild, the offensive defenseman will want to make his best impression as early as possible. Never underestimate the power of adrenaline.

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Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defenders

Rasmus Sandin, Washington Capitals (3.9%): Immigration issues cleared up — an issue earlier in the week — the Capitals’ newest D-man is projected to walk out of the gates on Washington’s No. 1 power play. Against the Sharks.

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Darcy Kuemper (projected), Washington Capitals (88.8%): Facing the skeleton and confused crew in San Jose, this matchup is not one that the Capitals and/or Kuemper should waste.

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