When setting your lineup on a challenging two-game night like this, you have to go heavy on the team of the goalie you are drafting. You can’t afford to pick too many of the opponent because positive points for your goalie’s opponents negatively impact your goalie. There is not much to choose from on the blue line and the goalie matchups heavily favor the home teams, with Jeff Zatkoff starting for the injury-depleted Penguins at the Bruins and Andrew Hammond getting a spot start for the Senators on the road in Washington. There’s a chance one of those goalies swings the DraftKings pendulum towards those who went against the grain. With very little room for error, here are some targets for Wednesday:
Tuukka Rask ($7,700) – Braden Holtby’s ownership percentage should be higher that Rask given the lower profile of the Senators compared to the more recognizable Penguins. The Bruins are coming off a disappointing home loss to the Oilers with Jonas Gustavsson between the pipes, so they turn back to Rask for their Rivalry Night clash against Pittsburgh. Rask’s home numbers are still poor heading into the game because of his early-season struggles, but he has been much better in general of late — especially at TD Garden. He’s won three straight at home with four goals allowed and one shutout, and has won three straight overall with wins at the Canucks (shutout), at the Canadiens and home against the Panthers with a combined two goals allowed in those three outings. His DraftKings points per game average over his past 10 games (6.2.) blows away his season average (4.7), so roll him out with confidence at home.
Andrew Hammond ($7,600) – Hammond has missed time because of injury and has been recalled from his conditioning stint in the American Hockey League to start for the Senators on the road in Washington. Zatkoff ($7,400) is $200 cheaper, but his Penguins are depleted by injury and struggling offensively. Each underdog goalie has solid road numbers this season, but the against-the-grain idea that the high-scoring Senators can surprise the Capitals with an offensive flurry is a distinct possibility. Hammond’s stellar even-strength save percentage last season (.943) and this season (.957) gives him a shot to pull the upset. While the Ottawa offense has only mustered two goals in their past two road games, they do have a high ceiling in those situations having scored four-plus goals in six of their 15 games away from home this season.
Erik Karlsson ($7,400) – Karlsson is the most expensive defenseman on the night, but his ceiling is higher than any other blueliner because of his elite consistency at home and on the road this season. He’s well over a point per game at home and close to a point per game on the road (14 in 15 games) with a high shot volume (36 SOG) and more than two blocked shots per game (31) in away games. If he puts it all together on this night, which is very well possible, he could set your team apart from the rest on a night where Alex Ovechkin is by far the most expensive skater ($8,900) but will only cover one of the two peripheral categories if he goes pointless. Karlsson should cover both blocks and SOG if he goes pointless, presenting much less risk in paying up for the top defenseman on a night where the pool at that position is weak.
Trevor Daley ($3,400) – Daley was traded from the Blackhawks to the Penguins on Monday, and the move gives him a clean slate after a disappointing offensive tenure in his few months with Chicago. After finishing fifth among all defensemen with 16 goals in 2014-15 with Dallas, Daley took a back seat to Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson after being traded to Chicago in the offseason, with no goals and six assists on 43 SOG in 29 games prior to being dealt to the Penguins. Pittsburgh is two games into the Mike Sullivan coaching era and already has to deal with the loss of stud goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to injury, so expect Sullivan to open up the playbook, use Olli Maatta ($3,300) to anchor his defensive efforts minus injured Kris Letang and give Daley elevated looks — possibly even on the power play with Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.
Others to consider: Matt Niskanen ($4,300), Olli Maatta ($3,300)
Patrice Bergeron ($6,800) – Malkin ($7,500) and Crosby ($7,100) carry tremendous upside any given night, but their road splits in terms of DraftKings production are alarming; Malkin averages 5.4 DraftKings points at home and 2.6 on the road, while Crosby produces 3.8 at home and only 2.5 in away games. Each is more expensive Wednesday than Bergeron, who has at least a point in 23 of his 29 games this season — third most consistent behind only Patrick Kane (29 of 32) and Tyler Seguin (25 of 31). Stack Bergeron, who’s second in the League in power-play points (15), with Brad Marchand ($6,100; T-7th with 15 goals this season) or the more affordable Brett Connolly ($3,100), who plays second-unit power play and chips in points on occasion.
Mika Zibanejad ($4,500) – On this light gamenight, it’s important to look at contrarian options. Yes, the Senators are facing stingy Braden Holtby and one of the best teams in the NHL in the Capitals, but their top line is clicking since Zibanejad was moved alongside Bobby Ryan and Mike Hoffman. Zibanejad is the eighth most-expensive center on the board and significantly cheaper than the seventh (Evgeny Kuznetsov, $5,800) — presenting an opportunity for cap relief. He has 20 points and 37 SOG in 30 games with 18 blocked shots and an elevated role for Ottawa, who is fourth in the League in goals per game (3.03).
Others to consider: Evgeny Kuznetsov ($5,800), Ryan Spooner ($4,100), Marcus Johansson ($4,000), Zack Smith ($2,600)
Patric Hornqvist ($5,700) – Hornqvist has had a disappointing season for the Penguins after eclipsing 50 points (51) last season despite missing time with injuries (64 games played). That said, he can be an against-the-grain option on the road in Boston (if you’re not drafting Rask) because he’s back on the top line with Crosby and Chris Kunitz after Pascal Dupuis retired for medical reasons and Beau Bennett was injured Monday. He also has a high shot volume (75 in 29 games this season), is due for a shooting percentage correction (6.7), and does have two multipoint efforts on the season. If you draft Hornqvist on this light night and he comes through for you, those will be rare points for a player who will likely have sparse ownership.
Bobby Ryan ($5,600) – Ryan is right behind Bergeron in terms of games with at least one point this season (22 of 31) and goes up against the Capitals, who have won five straight at home but could underestimate the offensive-minded Senators. After Ovechkin, three of the next four most productive wings in this contest hail from Ottawa: Mike Hoffman (4.7 DraftKings points per contest), Ryan (3.6) and Stone (3.6). On the nights where the Capitals light up the scoreboard, it’s usually hit or miss between their first or second line. The Senators’ big nights usually include each of the aforementioned wings.
Others to consider: Mike Hoffman ($5,900), T.J. Oshie ($5,800), Justin Williams ($4,800), Chris Kunitz ($4,100)