Lineup picks, matchups, start or sit advice for Monday

    Sean Allen is a fantasy analyst for He was the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hockey Writer of the Year. You can tweet him @seanard.

Monday’s six-game slate of NHL games gets fantasy hockey going earlier than usual with a 1 p.m. puck drop in Florida and Boston. Make sure you are also getting your weekly lineups in with plenty of time to spare, as Presidents’ Day allows for the early start.

It’s one of the later games, featuring the Winnipeg Jets visiting the New York Rangers, that I’ll be watching closer for line deployment.

After getting their skates handed to them on Thursday by the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets, the Jets came into Sunday’s game against the New Jersey Devils with a top nine — instead of a top six — for the first time in a long time. Rather than stack two lines with their best six forwards, as they always do, the forwards were paired off for three lines of offense.

Mark Scheifele and Cole Perfetti were joined by Mason Appleton; Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor were put with Saku Maenalanen; and Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler got Adam Lowry.

This might be a short-term message exercise from coach Rick Bowness, but it will be worth monitoring, as the Jets were beating the Devils until the third period. The Scheifele-Perfetti-Appleton trio were on the ice for both Jets goals.

The Jets are one of two teams playing again after games on Sunday. The Ottawa Senators are coming off a big win against the St. Louis Blues, but will be in tough visiting the Boston Bruins.

The Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers will play again on Tuesday, but with little fantasy interest in their goaltenders — let alone the backups — we can cruise right on into the scoring matchups.

Resources: Goalie depth chart | Injuries | Schedule | How to watch on ESPN+ | Download the ESPN Fantasy App | Daily lines

All times Eastern.

Favorable scoring matchups

Anaheim Ducks at Florida Panthers

1 p.m., FLA Live Arena

Sam Bennett is possible for Monday’s matinee, but is reportedly more likely to return on Friday. That would give Eetu Luostarinen another game on the second line with Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe. The trio has played 16 and a half minutes together over the past two and a half games since Bennett was hurt, posting four goals at even strength ( and only allowing one against. The Ducks still have the leagues most porous defense, so siding with the Panthers to earn a fair share of goals is fair play. But the Panthers haven’t been the sharpest tacks on defense either; Sergei Bobrovsky was chased on Saturday, but Spencer Knight has been allowing plenty of goals, too. The Ducks top line at the moment has Trevor Zegras with Derek Grant and Ryan Strome, but Frank Vatrano has a hot stick on the third line with eight of his 14 goals this season coming in the past 12 games.

Seattle Kraken at San Jose Sharks

4 p.m., SAP Center, Watch live on ESPN+

Timo Meier is questionable with an upper-body injury, so don’t be too keen on starting much from the Sharks side. Without Meier to help drive the top line and power play, Erik Karlsson can only do so much. This should be the Kraken’s bus to drive when it comes to scoring. The line of Oliver Bjorkstrand, Yanni Gourde and Eeli Tolvanen have posted 4.48 goals per 60 at even strength this season, which ranks fifth in the NHL among lines with at least 200 minutes together. One of the four lines ahead of them in that mark? Matty Beniers, Jordan Eberle and Jared McCann sit at 5.21 per 60. The Sharks have been better defensively in recent weeks, turning their ranking of 28th in five-on-five goals against per 60 to an improved 15th in the past month. Still, these are two of the better even strength lines in the league visiting San Jose. Eberle, McCann and Tolvanen are all available and have been closer to fantasy relevance than other Kraken.

Mid-tier fantasy forwards

Jake DeBrusk, W, Boston Bruins (51.2%): Back in his usual spot again on Saturday for the first time since he hurt his leg at the Winter Classic, DeBrusk picked up a goal and assist playing alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron — on and off the power play.

Jason Zucker, W, Pittsburgh Penguins (17.8%): Zucker, currently lining up with Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust, scored a goal and dished out five hits when the Pens and New York Islanders met on Friday.

See also:

  • Filip Chytil, C/W, New York Rangers (27.7%)

  • Anton Lundell, C, Florida Panthers (37.8%)

  • Anders Lee, W, New York Islanders (67.4%)

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards

Shane Pinto, C, Ottawa Senators (5.8%): Back on the second line again with Alex DeBrincat and Drake Batherson, Pinto stacked his spot in the top six with a goal and assist on Sunday against the St. Louis Blues.

Dillon Dube, C/W, Calgary Flames (5.6%): Elias Lindholm is expected back after missing Saturday’s game for the birth of his child. He anchors the top line with Dube and Tyler Toffoli. Dube, for his part, had seven points in three games prior to Saturday’s outing without Lindholm.

See also:

  • Eetu Luostarinen, C/W, Florida Panthers (1.0%)

  • Frank Vatrano, W, Anaheim Ducks (9.4%)

  • Mason Appleton, C/W, Winnipeg Jets (0.1%)

  • Kyle Palmieri, W, New York Islanders (2.3%)

  • Mikael Backlund, C, Calgary Flames (8.2%)

  • Jimmy Vesey, W, New York Rangers (0.7%)

Mid-tier fantasy defensemen

See also:

  • Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Anaheim Ducks (43.3%)

  • K’Andre Miller, D, New York Rangers (34.4%)

  • Gustav Forsling, D, Florida Panthers (55.1%)

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen

Erik Brannstrom, D, Ottawa Senators (0.4%): Usually in a depth role, Brannstrom has played more than 20 minutes in three of the four games Jake Sanderson has missed, while scoring a point in three of those four games. Sanderson’s continued absence has given him a chance to step up.

See also:

  • Adam Pelech, D, New York Islanders (4.3%)

  • Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Philadelphia Flyers (15.9%)


Sergei Bobrovsky, D, Florida Panthers (61.4%): After a solid run in the crease since the start of February, Bobrovsky had a rough outing on Saturday and was lifted. But Spencer Knight did no better against the Nashville Predators. Hopefully Bobrovsky is back in the crease again here and gets to start putting fantasy points on the board again in a winnable game against one of the league’s worst offenses. I don’t know that I’d roll with Knight if he gets the start as his last good outing was Jan. 3.

Casey DeSmith, G, Pittsburgh Penguins (7.0%): It’s not clear if Tristan Jarry will be making his return in time for this Monday contest, so DeSmith is likely going to be out for revenge after giving up five goals in a loss to the Isles on Friday. The Islanders might be without Mathew Barzal and will be without Josh Bailey. Barzal has points on four of the 10 goals the Islanders have scored against the Penguins this season, so his absence works in DeSmith’s favor.

Bench ’em

Jeremy Swayman, G, Boston Bruins (63.9%): The Senators have played the Bruins twice this season, with Swayman taking the loss in both games. In the rotation, he’s arguably the next one up in the crease. We’ll see if the Bruins are willing to give him a third try.

Kevin Mandolese, G, Ottawa Senators (0.5%): Rotating in the crease with Mads Sogaard while Cam Talbot is sidelined, Mandolese made 46 saves in his NHL debut to beat the New York Islanders last week. If you buy into the Bruins being snake-bitten against the Sens this season (two of their 13 total losses), then it’s a high-risk play. I don’t know that I’d start him on a Monday to start a fantasy week, but it’s an option.

Mathew Barzal, C, New York Islanders (80.2%): Without more of an explanation for why he left Saturday’s game after just 1:32 of ice time, you shouldn’t count on Barzal in this one. With Josh Bailey also out, Bo Horvat got some shifts with Kyle Palmieri and Anders Lee, so I might also bench Brock Nelson here.

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