Defensemen are hard to come by in the playoffs, even more so the deeper it gets. However, they can be valuable in getting categories like hits and blocks as well as adding points. Here are a few of the best options from the game on tap for tonight.
The Colorado Avalanche have the best defense pairing in the NHL. It is too obvious of a pick to continue to take Cale Makar every day, plus it may not be the best strategy for DFS when you need to spread the wealth. That’s where his partner, Devon Toews, comes in.
They are always on the ice together at five-on-five, and along with being able to shut down opponents, they can turn the puck up ice in a hurry to the speedy Avalanche forwards. The pairing is key to keeping pressure in the offensive zone once the puck is in there while Toews’ numbers haven’t been bad at all. He has scored four goals and six points in 10 games these playoffs after having 57 points in 66 games during the regular season.
Bowen Byram is playing with veteran defenseman Erik Johnson on the third pairing instead of moving up to play on the second line beside Josh Manson. This has worked out well since the third pairing has been good for the Avalanche. Byram was a stud in the limited amount of games he played during the regular season in his rookie year, but he is still looking to get going in the playoffs.
Byram is a plus-eight and has been in the action offensively a lot. He has just three assists in eight playoff games, but his five goals and 17 points in 30 playoff games give the confidence he can score and tally up some points sooner than later. He is still learning the game and getting comfortable with the style of play that playoffs bring. As the third pairing has been all season, expect them to make an impact offensively against a goaltender in Ville Husso who has played much worse than he did during the regular season.
The St. Louis Blues continue to get a spark from their power play with 12 goals between five players. Fortunately for Scott Perunovich, he has been able to take advantage of that and provide value in playing on the man advantage despite playing under 11 minutes a game.
He has gotten a chance due to Torey Krug being out with an injury and is serving as the Blues’ seventh defenseman. Despite the lack of ice time, he has recorded four assists in seven games, three of them coming on the power play. This has been one area of the game the Avalanche haven’t found an answer for in this series and the Minnesota Wild couldn’t find an answer for. As long as the power play continues to click at the rate it has and Perunovich is getting time there, he is a very cheap option with upside.
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