On Thursday, the puck will drop on Round 4 of the free-to-enter NHL Yahoo Cup.
The slate includes nine games, giving contestants plenty of options to choose from when it comes to constructing their lineup.
Here are three lineup options I suggest playing for the tournament:
Option 1: Canucks Stack
The Vancouver Canucks have a lot of fantasy-relevant players on their roster, and most of them can be found in the stack shown above.
The reason why I'm stacking Vancouver's top players is because they will battle a Philadelphia Flyers team that'll be playing its second game in as many nights. Philly has allowed the fourth-most shots on goal per game in the NHL, making it a perfect squad to pick on.
Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller, Alex Chiasson and Quinn Hughes made the lineup because they are all featured on the top power-play unit. With two points awarded for a power-play point, stacking a team's man advantage is always recommended given the potential upside that comes from doing it. I also tossed Brock Boeser onto the squad as his 18:40 of average ice time is the highest amongst all wingers on the Canucks.
On defense, I also went with Cale Makar. After a slow start to the season, the elite blueliner has recorded a goal and three points in his last two games. He seems to be heating up and with lots of money to spend, I couldn't resist.
Because the Vancouver stack is extremely cost-efficient, I was able to pay up for Andrei Vasilevskiy who has an excellent matchup at home against the lowly Arizona Coyotes. Additionally, I chose John Gibson who also has a home date against a bad team, the Buffalo Sabres. After winning its first three games, Buffalo has lost three-straight contests and has scored just three goals in that span.
Option 2: Ducks Stack
If you're looking to go against the grain in Round 4 of the NHL Yahoo Cup, may I introduce you to the Anaheim Ducks stack?
Anaheim hosts Buffalo on Thursday, and as mentioned above, the Sabres have been struggling. The squad has allowed 11.73 high-danger chances against per-60 this season, which ranks 11th-worst in the NHL, according to Natural Stat Trick. Additionally, the team has allowed 11 goals in its last three contests, meaning Ducks shooters will likely have some nice looks.
Ryan Getzlaf, Trevor Zegras, Rickard Rakell and Jamie Drysdale crack the lineup as all four play on the top power-play unit. None have had standout years offensively to this point, but Drysdale and Zegras are very intriguing youngsters who have flashed high-end ability in the NHL. Rakell and Getzlaf rank first and second respectively in ice-time amongst the squad's forwards, which means they'll both likely have plenty of chances in Thursday's game.
To fill out the two vacant winger spots, I chose Gabriel Landeskog and Kirill Kaprizov. I like Landeskog because even though the St. Louis Blues have allowed the fourth-fewest goals per game, they are allowing the fourth-most high-danger chances per-60. I selected Kaprizov because the Seattle Kraken have allowed four goals or more in three of their last four games, and the Montreal Canadiens were the only team that didn't score four goals, and they don't count given how bad they've been.
Option 3: All-in on the Avs Stack
If you want to stuff Colorado Avalanche into your lineup like a kid stuffs candy into a pillowcase on Halloween, this is how you do it.
Despite extremely hefty price tags, Nathan MacKinnon, Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Makar all squeezed their way into this entry. These are Colorado's four best players, and all see minutes on the first power-play unit. The three forwards — MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rantanen — all play together on the first forward line and are capable of going off at any given moment of a hockey game. As mentioned above, the Blues are allowing a considerable amount of high-danger chances, and this is a group that will make you pay for that.
On the wing, I also targeted Corey Perry because I was running out of salary and because he is posted up on the Tampa Bay Lightning's top power-play unit with Nikita Kucherov out. The Bolts play the Yotes, who own a league-worst 35.7-percent penalty kill rate.
On defense, I selected Jeff Petry because I was still running out of salary. He's still Montreal's top defenseman and he's seeing time on the power play, so for the price tag, it's the best I could find.
Between the pipes, I selected Darcy Kuemper because the Avs are favored to win the game, and that's what really matters. Calvin Petersen draws into the lineup because outside of a poor performance against the Blues in his most recent start, he was pretty solid in his other two outings. I was also still running out of salary.
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