It's another busy Thursday in the NHL with 11 games on tap. The Oilers are a tired team after upending Chicago on Wednesday, and now travel to Minnesota to take on the Wild. The Avalanche are also beneficiaries of a tired team as they are in Buffalo, who lost to the Red Wings on Wednesday. The other nine games feature two rested teams. Below, you'll find suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB at PHI ($31): The NHL's top goaltender heading into the 2022-23 season, Vasilevskiy has had a tough time by his standards, going 8-7-1 with a 2.88 GAA and a .906 save percentage. He seems to be turning things around though, as he has given up two goals in each of his last two games. He will face a weak Flyers team that has scored only 56 goals in 23 games, the lowest average per game in the NHL. It could be breakout time for Vasilevskiy on Thursday.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Juuse Saros, NAS at NJ ($27): Saros has won his last two starts, giving up four goals on 62 shots, but he faces the tough Devils, who are in first in the tough Metropolitan Division and have scored 87 goals in 23 games, third best in the NHL. Saros has struggled at times this season as he is 8-6-2 with a 2.92 GAA and a .910 save percentage. This doesn't seem like a good spot for him.
Steven Stamkos, TB at PHI ($34): Stamkos has been red hot of late as he is on an eight-game point streak, scoring six goals and adding eight assists. He had been slumping before his recent outburst with no goals and only four assists in his previous nine contests, but he has returned to form. Stamkos has 13 goals and 27 points in 22 games this season, after a 42-goal, 106 season in 2021-22.
CENTER TO AVOID
Joel Eriksson Ek, MIN vs. EDM ($25): While Eriksson Ek has been hot of late with two goals and five assists in his last five games, his salary is too high given his overall production, six goals and 17 points in 21 games. He does see first-unit power play time and has five points with the man advantage, but he is also on the third line with Marcus Foligno and Ryan Reaves during even-strength situations.
Jason Robertson, DAL vs. ANA ($31): Robertson is on fire as he has a 16-game point streak. He leads the NHL in goals with 19 and is tied for second in points with 36, five behind Connor McDavid. Robertson has 17 goals and 29 points during his streak and is an early contender for the Hart Trophy.
Troy Terry, ANA at DAL ($18): Terry is becoming the go-to player for the Ducks as he has 10 goals and 24 points in 23 games, proving that last season's 67 points were no fluke. Terry has boosted his average playing time to 19:55 this season, almost two minutes better than last season and over five minutes more than any other of his previous three campaigns. Terry plays alongside Trevor Zegras and Adam Henrique on the Ducks' first power play unit as well as their top line. He also had two goals and an assist in three games against the Stars last season.
WINGS TO AVOID
Filip Forsberg, NAS at NJ ($26): Forsberg has been held off the scoresheet in his last two games as the Predators found the back of the net only twice against Anaheim and Detroit. They face the red-hot, and first-place, Devils in this one, a big step up in competition. Overall, Forsberg has seven goals and 19 points in 21 games with a minus-eight rating.
Adam Ruzicka, CGY vs. MON ($14): Ruzicka has lost his time on the first line and power play, as he is seeing third line minutes alongside Mikael Backlund and Blake Coleman, a huge difference from playing alongside Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli. Ruzicka has just one goal in his last five games and is not worth a spot in your lineup.
Cale Makar, COL at BUF ($34): Makar will face another great young defenseman in Rasmus Dahlin on Thursday. Makar has six goals and 21 points in 20 games this season, and while he has zero points in his last two games, he had goals in three straight games prior to that. Makar won the Norris Trophy last season with an outstanding 28 goals and 58 assists in 77 games.
Jeff Petry, PIT vs. VGK ($16): With the unfortunate loss of Kris Letang due to a stroke, Petry takes over quarterbacking duties on the top power play unit for Pittsburgh. He has three goals and 10 points in 23 games and was on the ice for 26:03 on Tuesday, the most ice time he has seen this season in regulation play.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Victor Hedman, TB at PHI ($20): It has been a tough season for Hedman, who has only a goal and 10 points in 20 games. He was a workhorse last season with 20 goals and 85 points, but at the age of 31, time could be catching up with one of the top defensemen of the last decade. Hedman has only one assist in his last 10 games.
Devon Toews, COL at BUF ($19): Toews has a goal and 12 points in 18 games, which is a good pace, but a closer look shows that the rearguard has only one helper in his last five games with just six shots on goal. Toews had a breakout season in 2021-22, scoring a career high 13 goals as well as 44 assists in only 66 games, but his recent slump is enough reason to avoid him.