It’s a smaller three-game slate tonight with fewer studs to choose from. There’s lots of room for getting creative here, though, as none of the three games have puck totals greater than 6.0, and yet there’s a very weak crop of goalies to choose from. From a narrative perspective, the Ducks, who take on the Blue Jackets tonight, will be looking to prove their hot start isn’t a fluke, while the last year’s surprise team, the Islanders, will be looking to get back to .500 after a slower 1-2 start.
Top Line Stacks
Florida at Buffalo
Jack Eichel ($8,100) – Sam Reinhart ($6,700) – Victor Olofsson ($6,800)
The Sabres have started the season off well, posting a 3-1 record so far with 18 goals scored. Their top line is the main reason that the season has started off so well, with newcomer Victor Olofsson providing the Sabres with the kind of scoring depth they need to become a legitimate two-line team. They’ll be taking on a Florida squad that has allowed nearly five goals per game, with new goalie Sergei Bobrovsky ($7,000) having trouble adjusting to his new environment. Buffalo’s power play is converting at a 50% clip so far and, while that may be unsustainable long term, riding the first line here until it cools off makes sense. All three of the first liners for the Sabres also stay together on the power play, and they have already cashed in 11 power-play points between them. This is a great spot to deploy them all and hope that another big correlation game arises. Both Eichel and Olofsson have recorded three or more SOG in three of four games already, so lots of potential bonus points are on tap here, too, with this line making them worth the salary on a night with few potential studs to choose from.
Superstar to Build Around
Sebastian Aho ($6,500) – Even with his team off to a fast start, Aho has been a bit slow to get going on the stat sheet, recording just one goal through four games. The leading scorer for the Canes from last season is trying his best to get things going, though, as he’s recorded 19 shots thus far, hitting the DK SOG bonus twice already. Aho doesn’t have the greatest matchup on paper, but on a short slate, with three relatively mediocre games to target, we can’t be as concerned with matchup here. Despite seeing just 14.5 minutes in his last start, Aho is still in line to anchor Carolina’s first line and power-play unit, and he should be in a spot tonight to build off his first goal. Having recorded a point-per-game last year, and going up against an Islanders squad that hasn’t shown the same kind of defensive prowess they did last year thus far, buying low on Aho here makes sense on a smaller slate.
Value on Offense
Brett Connolly ($4,000), FLA at BUF – Connolly has recorded assists in three straight games now with his new team. He has been anchoring Florida’s second line, a role which should come with lots of opportunities, given that he’s currently flanked by snipers Vincent Trocheck ($6,900) and Mike Hoffman ($7,000). Playing 15-plus minutes a night in a top-6 role, and seeing extra minutes on the PP, means Connolly is one of the better values out there any night, and especially on this smaller slate with limited options.
Ryan Dzingel ($4,200), CAR vs. NYI – Dzingel has started his season out nicely on his new club gaining four points already through just four games. He’s not playing a ton of minutes but he’s getting plenty of power-play opportunities, with two of his points coming with the man advantage. The Hurricanes have also started the season off well, averaging four goals per game as a team thus far, with a 33% power-play conversion rate. On a shorter slate, Dzingel’s a fine target given the fact he averaged 2.03 SOG last season, and he is coming off back-to-back seasons of 20-plus goals.
Petr Mrazek ($8,000), CAR vs. NYI – The Hurricanes have started the season 3-1, scoring four goals per game thus far, and enter tonight’s matchup with the Islanders as (-180) favorites. Mrazek looked shaky in his last start, but was solid in his first game, posting a .917 save percentage while turning away 33 shots. The Islanders have had trouble scoring goals to start the year, posting just seven through three games, and Mrazek should be in a good spot to post a win here, and bounce back in a home start, a setting in which he went 12-5 last year in 17 starts.
Jonas Korpisalo ($7,700), CLB vs. ANH – Korpisalo enters this game 1-1 on the season and has posted sub-.900 save %’s in each of his first two starts. Still, the Blue Jackets will be relying on him tonight, and will be taking the Ducks as (-145) home favorites, making this a potential bounce-back spot for Korpisalo from a fantasy perspective. The Blue Jackets new No. 1 did look sharp in the preseason, and the Ducks are on the second half of a back-to-back tonight, meaning they will likely be starting back up netminder Ryan Miller. Korpisalo should be in a good spot to get the win bonus here, and could even surprise with a big game given the Ducks lack of offensive finishers at forward.
Value on Defense
Nick Leddy ($3,700), NYI at CAR– There’s not a ton to choose from tonight in this spot but Leddy provides some decent upside at a cheap price. The long-time Islander is still locked into a role that has him on the ice for 20-plus minutes a night while playing steady minutes on the Islanders’ power play. Leddy’s ability to show up on the scoresheet with an assist or two gives him nice upside at this price and, while he’s not a high volume shot blocker, his ice time gives him a chance at achieving the DraftKings bonus in that area, as well.
Ryan Murray ($3,200), CLB vs. ANH – Despite taking a bit of a backseat offensively to other players this season, Murray is still locked into a top-four role for Columbus, and he has averaged well over 20 minutes of ice time per game thus far through three starts. His new role has also allowed him to hit the blocked shot bonus twice already, so fantasy players should take note of his new potential upside in this area. Still a skilled passer of the puck, Murray will eventually rack up some assists on the season and his potential there, along with his ice-time and heightened blocked shot percentage, makes him a fine target for those not wanting to splurge on defense tonight.
Rasmus Ristolainen ($4,700), BUF vs. FLA – This is a bargain price for Ristolainen, who enters tonight’s game averaging over 24 minutes of ice-time per game while anchoring their first unit powerplay. The Fin averaged well over two SOG per game last season, and he has already hit the five-shot bonus mark once on DK, giving him true blow-up play potential if he were to find the net or get to the blocked shot bonus. The Sabres also have arguably the best matchup on this slate, as the Panthers allowed the fourth-most goals against last year, and have already given up 14 goals through three games. Ristolainen is too cheap on this shorter slate not to take advantage.
Dougie Hamilton ($6,300), CAR vs. NYI – Despite the big salary attached, Hamilton looks like a solid pay-up candidate tonight, as there’s arguably no other defenseman on the slate with his upside. The former Flame is now anchoring the power play for Carolina, and his new role has paid off nicely in fantasy as he’s racked up three power-play points and five points altogether through four games. Hamilton’s also producing in other areas, having hit the blocked shot bonus twice already, and looks like a prime breakout candidate this season. His price could eventually rise into the $7K range if he stays on this pace, so taking advantage tonight and making room for him isn’t a bad idea at all.
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