It’s the second 11-game night this week, so fasten your seat belts. There are plenty of valuable forwards and defensemen to choose from in the middle range at each position, so be mindful of each team’s line combinations and top power-play units. The goalie win bonus will be crucial in larger contests, so make sure to dig deep into the matchups and put your best foot forward in fielding a star-studded lineup that gives you the best chance to cash out. Here are your NHL targets for Thursday:
Devan Dubnyk ($7,400) vs. NYR) – The Rangers are in the midst of a tough schedule draw, with their three-game road trip in Western Canada (all losses), random home game (win) against the Oilers and subsequent Northwest trip to visit Minnesota on Thursday and Winnipeg on Friday. As good as Darcy Kuemper has been of late as a fill-in, the Wild are glad to be getting back Dubnyk, their starting goalie who has not played since Dec. 5 because of injury. He is tied for the NHL lead with four shutouts (all have come at home) and is 9-3-0 with a .931 save percentage at Xcel Energy Center this season. New York has done most of its damage at home this season, sporting an ordinary 6-5-3 road mark.
Cory Schneider ($7,600 vs. FLA) – The Devils have become notorious for becoming a stopper when they encounter hot offenses, with the sixth-fewest goals allowed per game this season (2.32) — largely due to Schneider. He’s among the top 10 League-wide in wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts and will be making his 27th start of the season Thursday, which is tops in the League. The Panthers are coming off an impressive win against the Islanders in Brooklyn on Tuesday, but are averaging 2.4 goals per game on the road and are running into Schneider, who’s fresh off a shutout in Buffalo. He’s tied for the sixth most-expensive goalie on the night and is $500 cheaper than Henrik Lundqvist, who’s facing a much tougher matchup on the road in Minnesota.
Others to consider: Martin Jones ($7,100), Antti Niemi or Kari Lehtonen ($7,000), Steve Mason ($6,900), John Gibson ($6,500)
Kevin Shattenkirk ($5,700) – There are a ton of value picks among defensemen, but Shattenkirk is the hottest player at his position and is still tied for eighth in DraftKings price, a whopping $2,000 cheaper than Brent Burns. Shattenkirk has seven points in his five-game point streak and has made the rounds over his past 10 games with 10 points, 18 blocks and 27 SOG (4.6 DraftKings points per contest in span). This is still a small price to pay for an elite fantasy defenseman, so roll him out every day of the week.
Rasmus Ristolainen ($5,400) – I talk about Ristolainen so much but he has been the breakout defenseman of the season so far and continues to produce. He was held off the scoresheet Tuesday in the Sabres’ shutout loss, but still racked up two SOG and three blocks to salvage his cost. He’s tied for third among this contest’s D-men in DraftKings point per contest (3.8) behind only Burns (5.2) and Roman Josi (4.2), so the consistency has certainly been there. He has at least one point in 15 of his 32 games this season, tied for ninth at his position in most such games. The scary part is he’s only 21 and is logging more than 24 minutes of ice time per game with all this production.
Kris Russell ($4,500 at DAL) – Russell had some signature DraftKings showings last season while Mark Giordano was injured and he is beginning to show off that rare category coverage in his past two games. He’s played 23 minutes a night in each of his past two with multipoint outings and four blocked shots in each game. He has a lot of other defensemen to compete with for power-play time in Calgary, but is second in the League in blocked shots (91) and first in blocks per game (3.4) — the ideal foundational coverage.
Others to consider: John Klingberg ($5,900), Duncan Keith ($5,600), Erik Johnson ($5,000), T.J. Brodie ($4,800), Jake Muzzin ($4,400), Shayne Gostisbehere ($4,000)
Joe Pavelski ($7,500) – Considering struggling John Tavares ($7,800) is priced $300 higher than Pavelski, the versatile Sharks forward a no-brainer in this spot on the road against the Maple Leafs. Pavelski has 17 points, 44 SOG and 16 blocks in 17 road games this season and finally helped San Jose snap out of its recent funk with one goal, one assist, two blocks and four SOG against the Canadiens on Tuesday. He’s so consistent through thick and thin and continues to be worth the price of admission in DFS.
Jason Spezza ($5,800 vs. CGY) – Spezza bounces around the potent Stars lineup regularly but does see top power-play minutes alongside Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg. He averages more than three SOG per game despite all the fluctuation and continues to be a self-sustainable fantasy asset. That said, he hasn’t had a multipoint outing since Nov. 3 and could certainly be due for a big showing at home against the red-hot Flames, who are bound to have a blip on the radar eventually given their early-season flaws and awful goal differential. Spezza is tied for 11th in price among centers, so now is the perfect time to buy low.
Brayden Schenn ($4,100) – Claude Giroux ($6,600) is still affordable and convenient to stack with linemate Schenn at home against the Canucks. Schenn has seven points and 25 SOG in his past 10 games and is beginning to trend in the right direction and stick on Philly’s top line and first-unit power-play group. He scored a goal Tuesday against the Hurricanes with one block and four SOG and is extremely cheap given his current role and favorable opponent; Vancouver has allowed 54 goals in 18 road games (3rd-most in NHL).
Others to consider: Nathan MacKinnon ($6,800), Ryan Getzlaf ($6,100), Leon Draisaitl ($4,700), Brandon Pirri ($4,300), Dainius Zubrus ($2,700 at TOR)
Corey Perry ($6,700) – The Ducks have struggled on the road this season (3-8-1) and have fallen into the bottom five of the NHL standings. But because of the parity in the League, they still remain within striking distance, three points, of the final Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the up-for-grabs Pacific Division. Perry is heating up of late with eight points, eight blocks and 35 SOG in his past 10 games for Anaheim, who desperately needs a win at Buffalo. It’s also worth noting how good Perry has been in his career against the Sabres:
10 goals, 3 assists and 44 SOG in 11 career regular-season games.
Jordan Eberle ($5,200) – Eberle missed the first month of the season with injury and started the season off poorly with three goals, no assists and a minus-11 rating in his first 13 games. But he’s completely turned it around over his next six games, scoring five goals, dishing out three assists and racking up 21 SOG in that span alongside mostly Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($4,700) on the Oilers’ second line. He faces a tough matchup against the Blackhawks, who just had Patrick Kane’s point streak come to an end in a loss to the Avalanche. But as good as Chicago has been at United Center (12-4-1), Edmonton is 7-2-1 in its past 10 games and holds against-the-grain value in DraftKings.
Lee Stempniak ($4,100 vs. FLA) – The journeyman has found a home with the Devils this season. He has been a fixture with Mike Cammalleri and Adam Henrique on the top line and scored a goal again Tuesday against the Sabres, giving him points in six of his past seven games and 24 points in 31 games on the season. He’s averaging more than two SOG per game and has been especially dangerous at Prudential Center this season with 14 points in 16 home games. When you look at some of the players priced around him in DraftKings on Thursday, you truly see how much bang for your buck he can provide outside the top 50 at his position in terms of cost.
Others to consider: Zach Parise ($7,700), Johnny Gaudreau ($6,500), Artemi Panarin ($5,700), Brandon Saad ($5,500), Mikkel Boedker ($4,600), Viktor Tikhonov ($2,600)