Head over to DraftKings and jump into some contests ahead of Friday's NHL action. The stars are out in what promises to be an exciting night with some high-scoring affairs to kick off the weekend!
Leon Draisaitl, EDM (DK $7,000)
- Draisaitl's salary is the lowest it's been in a calendar year, no exaggeration, and he's coming off a game with a goal and four shots on goal in over 20 minutes against the Maple Leafs, the team that Edmonton takes goes to battle against on Friday.
- The defending Hart Trophy winner has started slow with just one goal and six points in five games to this point. The contest between the Maple Leafs and Oilers on Wednesday night was expected to be an offensive bonanza but it took about two and a half periods to see some consistent scoring chances and goals put on the board. After a lengthy period of sloppy play on both sides, the offenses started firing on all cylinders for much of the third period.
- Look for both teams to come out with that similar energy en route to what should be a high-scoring affair.
Artemi Panarin, NYR (DK $6,900)
- The Rangers are expected to have some lapses defensively this season but the offense isn't expected to be an issue and a major part of the production is going to come from Hart Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin. Panarin has two goals and four points in his last two games and his salary has come down below $7,000 for the first time this season.
- Pittsburgh has struggled defensively through four games allowing four or more goals three times. Panarin was second among forwards with 3.28 points per 60 minutes at 5v5 last season. Considering the talent of Panarin and the matchup ahead, there's no reason for Panarin to be this underpriced as he should be up near the $7,500 range.
Max Pacioretty, VGK (DK $7,300)
- Pacioretty is off to a flying start with three goals and an assist through his first four games with 19 shots on goal. At 5v5 the Coyotes are allowing 52 shots attempts per 60 minutes and they have had some shaky goaltending to this point from Darcy Kuemper who's started three games and Antti Raanta who's started one.
- The production we've seen from Pacioretty to this point isn't just a lucky stretch either as the underlying data tells the story. The veteran winger is second in scoring chances per 60 minutes at 5v5 and seventh in high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes at 5v5 among forwards.
*Note: Lines are subject to change depending on morning skate lines. Revert to the chat and/or look for updates here for any impact they may have.
New York Rangers
Mika Zibanajad - Artemi Panarin - Chris Kreider - Alexis Lafreniere
- For the Rangers, the lines have been shuffling around a bit but the talent still remains the same. Zibanajad, Kreider, and Panarin all correlate on the top power-play unit with Panarin being the focal point on the second even-strength line while Zibanjad and Kreider make for two of the three skaters on the top trio.
- The third leg of the top line is number one overall pick Alexis Lafreniere who's still looking for his first NHL point having played four games. The truth is that he has looked a little timid early on with just five shots on goal but it's also worth noting that head coach David Quinn has been light on his ice time. No matter who has been in net for the Penguins between Tristan Jarry or Casey DeSmith, neither has been effective as Pittsburgh is allowed 4.5 goals per game to this point.
Jack Eichel - Taylor Hall - Sam Reinhart
- Buffalo didn't start the season with Sam Reinhart skating with Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall but it's nice to have him there now as all three correlate on the top power-play unit as well. Washington will be undermanned in this matchup due to a few players breaking COVID protocols. Eichel, Hall, and Reinhart have been one of the most productive forwards lines at even strength this season (with at least 30 minutes of ice time together) with 3.27 expected goals for per 60 minutes at 5v5, the third-highest in the league. The results have been right on part with 3.44 goals scored per 60. Eichel, Hall, and Reinhart have also combined for two goals and five assists with the man advantage. Washington's penalty kill has been solid but without one of their more reliable killers in Dmitry Orlov, they will be stretched this in they end up shorthanded.
- Aside from missing Alex Ovechkin, perhaps the most integral player missing for the Capitals will be goaltender Ilya Samsonov. Vitek Vanecek will face Buffalo for the second time and he fared well on the stat sheet last time out stopping 30 of 31 shots faced but the underlying statistics have been concerning early on. Vanecek's rebound control has been second-worst in the league among goaltenders who have started at least two games suggesting that he's been living a bit dangerously and perhaps a bit lucky to this point.
Toronto Maple Leafs
John Tavares - William Nylander - Zach Hyman - Morgan Rielly
- The Tavares line did not skate well against Edmonton on Wednesday night and that starts with John Tavares himself. With uncharacteristic turnovers and poor puck possession overall, look for Tavares and his linemates to bounce back. Nylander has been off to a great start to the season and Zach Hyman has been more aggressive than we're used to seeing including an effort two games back where he fired 10 shots on goal. The offense on the back end typically comes from Morgan Rielly but he has just one point thus far, a goal on opening night. Tavares, Nylander, and Rielly are all present on the top power-play unit, a unit that Toronto needs to get going as they rank just 16th on the season with the man advantage, tough to justify with the talent on this team.
- Edmonton has allowed 59.36 shot attempts per 60 minutes at 5v5 this season, the highest mark in the NHL. Goaltenders Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen have allowed just 3.2 goals per game considering that they're seeing 34.2 shots on goal per contest. The narrative is bound to change as I don't expect Koskinen and Smith to be able to stand on their heads for the majority of the season.
Other Stacks to Consider
Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen - Gabriel Landeskog
Pius Suter - Patrick Kane - Alex DeBrincat
Top Positional Plays
*Note: Last skater listed at each position is my top value play.
Auston Matthews, TOR (DK $8,400)
Dylan Larkin, DET (DK $6,400)
William Karlsson, VGK (DK $5,600)
Ryan Strome, NYR (DK $4,500)
Eric Staal, BUF (DK $3,300)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM (DK $6,600)
Mark Stone, VGK (DK $6,500)
Evander Kane, SJ (DK $6,100)
Anthony Mantha, DET (DK $5,600)
Kevin Fiala, MIN (DK $5,600)
Alex Tuch, VGK (DK $4,100)
Ryan Ellis, NSH (DK $6,600)
Darnell Nurse, EDM (DK $4,500)
Adam Fox, NYR (DK $5,100)
Erik Karlsson, SJ (DK $4,800)
Adam Boqvist, CHI (DK $3,900)
Justin Holl, TOR (DK $2,800)
Juuse Saros, NSH (DK $7,800)
- Provided that Saros is in net, and I expect that to be the case, he'll be taking on the Dallas Stars who are playing their first game of the season. Saros has been tremendous in his first two starts stopping 29 of 30 shots in his first game followed up by 42 saves on 44 shots against. His salary isn't taxing on the salary cap and I like his chances of being productive against a team that isn't even close to up to game speed yet.
Igor Shesterkin, NYR (DK $7,400)
- Shesterkin was able to get the sour taste of opening night out of his mouth as he came on in relief against the Devils on Tuesday. In relief, Igor stopped all eight shots he saw and will see a tough test on Friday against the Penguins. Pittsburgh hasn't gotten going offensively yet, which could be a scary thought, but taking into account the volume of shots Igor should see and his low salary, I would expect productive effort with the opportunity for some upside.
Linus Ullmark, BUF (DK $7,600)
With Carter Hutton out, it's expected that Ullmark will be in net when the Sabres take on the undermanned Capitals. Ullmark will have the luxury of defending the net without worrying about Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Ullmark didn't see much work in net in his only start this season thus far (19 saves on 21 shots against Washington) but I feel that was a bit of an outlier and didn't necessarily tell the tale of how this game will turn out.