Yahoo DFS Hockey: Thursday Picks

Chris Morgan

As the NHL trade deadline approaches, we're starting to see some notable players swap teams. Fortunately for you, you get to build your DFS lineup from the ground up every day, and you don't have to trade any draft picks to do it either. There are eight NHL games on the docket Thursday. Here are some players to target, and to avoid, for your daily fantasy lineup. No trades required.

GOALIE

MacKenzie Blackwood, NJD vs. SAN ($32): Yes, the Devils have struggled in many ways this season, but in spite of that Blackwood has a 2.79 GAA and .913 save percentage. Not great numbers, but far from terrible. On the other hand, the Sharks have only scored 2.59 goals per game. Oh, and now they are without Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, and Erik Karlsson.

GOALIE TO AVOID

Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK vs. TAM ($28): The "Vegas Flu" has been cured. This year, Fleury has actually been worse at home, where he has a 2.96 GAA and .900 save percentage. I'd worry about the Lightning's offense wherever this game was though, given that they've scored 3.55 goals per contest.

CENTER

Pierre-Luc Dubois, CLM vs. PHI ($19) : Dubois has started 63.1 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, highest on the Blue Jackets. The Flyers took down the Jackets at home recently, but there's good reason to think Dubois and company will get their revenge. Philadelphia has a 3.65 road GAA, bottom five in the NHL.

CENTER TO AVOID

John Tavares, TOR vs. PIT ($28): Is it just me, or does Tavares feel like he's been almost forgotten in Toronto? He's having a really good year, 51 points in 54 games, but Auston Matthews has sort of stolen his spotlight. That's not why I am recommending you avoid Tavares, though. My concern is Tristan Jarry's 2.13 GAA and .931 save percentage, and also Pittsburgh's seventh-ranked penalty kill.

WING

Jason Zucker, PIT at TOR ($17): Zucker has been tossed right onto a line with Sidney Crosby since joining the Penguins, and unsurprisingly he has four points in four games. Meanwhile, Frederik Andersen has really struggled to find his footing since returning from injury. In three starts he has a 4.42 GAA and .835 save percentage.

Alex Iafallo, LOS vs. FLA ($17): Iafallo likely won't be impacted much by the trade of Tyler Toffoli, but he's notched 15 goals and 20 assists in 60 games, and he's playing on the wing of the Kings' top line. As for the Panthers, they have a 3.36 GAA, third highest in the NHL. On top of that, they are also on the road for the second game of a back-to-back.

WINGS TO AVOID

Taylor Hall, ARI at STL ($23): You know what team has been strong defensively at home? That would be the Blues, who have a 2.37 GAA and have only allowed 27.8 shots on net per contest in St. Louis. Hall has played well since joining the Coyotes, but Arizona is also on the second game of a back-to-back Thursday, which will make this an even more daunting task.

Travis Konecny, PHI at CLM ($17): The Flyers made Elvis Merzlikins look human for the first time since taking over as Columbus' starter in their last game. However, even with that he has a 1.82 GAA and .940 save percentage in his 19 games since Joonas Korpisalo went down. The Jackets also have a 2.09 GAA at home, second best in the NHL (behind the Flyers, funnily enough). I expect this game to go quite differently for Konecny and company.

DEFENSE

Neal Pionk, WPG at OTT ($17): Pionk is cruising past his career-best numbers this season, as he now has 39 points in 61 games. He's been hot recently as well, notching six points in his last six contests. The Senators have a 3.32 GAA and have allowed 33.5 shots on net per game, so they don't seem likely to stand in Pionk's way.

Thomas Chabot, OTT vs. WPG ($17): Chabot stays active offensively, probably in part because of the fact he's averaged 3:18 per game with the extra man. Oddly, he has no goals on the power play, but the 22-year-old still has 11 power-play points. The penalty kill is definitely Winnipeg's weak point, as it ranks in the bottom five in that area.

DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID

Shea Weber, MON at WAS ($19): Weber is back in the lineup after missing six games with injury, but even before he got hurt he was scuffling a bit. The veteran defenseman only has two points in his last 13 games. While Braden Holtby has had issues this year, and it would probably be smart for the Capitals to play Ilya Samsonov more, the team still has the fourth-ranked penalty kill.

Aaron Ekblad, FLA at LOS ($16): Ekblad and the Panthers are on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back, which certainly won't help him. Additionally, the Kings have actually been quite respectable at home defensively. In their own arena, the team has a 2.80 GAA, above league average, and have only allowed 28.9 shots on net per contest.