The calendar year comes to a close with a rich nine-game slate of DraftKings NHL action. There are plenty of values and middle-range options that could allow you to build your lineup around an expensive goalie, defenseman or one of the four most-expensive wings, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Jamie Benn or Vladimir Tarasenko. Be mindful of injury situations (i.e. Zach Parise, John Carlson, Jeff Carter, Robin Lehner) that could have a ripple effect on lineups around the League. Here are your targets at each position for New Year’s Eve:
Jonathan Quick ($8,000) – If you’re going to spend up for a goalie, this workhorse is worth your while. After the Kings lost their first three games of the season at home, they are 23–8-2 overall and 12-5-2 on the road with the fourth-most points (48) in the NHL. Quick has been exceptional away from home with a 10-3-1 record and a .933 save percentage, giving him a ton of upside heading into Calgary. He has 10 wins in 21 career games against the Flames with two shutouts and a 1.82 goals-against average, so he should be unfazed by a team that had its home win streak snapped by the Ducks earlier this week.
Thomas Greiss ($7,600) – Jaroslav Halak is still dealing with injury, so Greiss is expected to get the start in Buffalo. Believe it or not, Greiss is one of three goalies with a .930 or better save percentage though 15-plus starts this season (others: Braden Holtby, James Reimer). He has outperformed Halak this season and his home/road splits suggest reliability in the DFS realm. It helps that the Islanders have the third-best road penalty kill in the NHL (87.0) against the Sabres, who average 2.0 goals per game at First Niagara Center.
John Gibson ($6,600) – Gibson, priced outside the top 25 at his position, is my value pick of the evening among goalies. He has won two straight, usurped Frederik Andersen for the starting job, and is fresh off his third shutout of the season in only 13 outings (11 starts). His peripherals are strong over his past 10 games (1.61, .930), and he’s facing the Oilers, who have dropped six of their past seven after a 6-0-0 start to the month.
Others to consider: Jake Allen ($7,700), Petr Mrazek ($7,200), Connor Hellebuyck ($6,900), Philipp Grubauer ($6,800)
Justin Faulk ($6,400) – The Capitals are riding high after their ninth straight win, but will be on the second of a back-to-back against the fresh Hurricanes, who are 7-5-1 this month and have reaped the rewards on a semi-consistent basis of their implemented puck possession style. Faulk has been an absolute beast this season and has kept it going over his past 10 games, averaging 4.9 DraftKings points per contest in that span. He suits up at home, where he averages nearly a point per game (16 in 18) and could face Washington backup Philipp Grubauer. There’s value in taking Faulk over top-priced defenseman Roman Josi ($7,200) to gain $800 of cap relief. In addition to his goal and assist production, he’s even proved valuable when he doesn’t score; last time Carolina hosted Washington, Faulk didn’t score but finished with three DraftKings points (four SOG, two blocks).
Duncan Keith ($5,700) – Until Keith’s price rises, keep rolling him out in DraftKings whether he’s coming up on a home or road game. Keith notched another three points at Arizona this week, meaning he has 15 points in as many away games with 21 blocks and 26 SOG to cover the three main DraftKings categories. He’s $1,500 cheaper than Josi with a more favorable matchup, as Josi could get bogged down by defensive duties of trying to slow down the Stars’ top line of Benn, Tyler Seguin and Patrick Sharp.
Michael Stone ($3,900) – Stone, overshadowed at times by teammate Oliver Ekman-Larsson, has played 20-plus minutes in each of his past 10 games and is riding a three-game point streak. He has 15 points on the season with 54 blocks and 78 SOG in 36 games, and 11 of those points have come in the desert. When the Coyotes roll three forwards on their power play, it’s OEL and Stone running the points, which gives him exposure to scoring situations that most defensemen priced below $4,000 don’t have the luxury of.
Others to consider: Drew Doughty ($5,600), Sami Vatanen ($4,800), Jared Spurgeon ($4,600), Matt Niskanen ($4,300), Shea Theodore ($2,500)
Evgeny Kuznetsov ($5,700) – Kuznetsov is tied for 15th in the League in points (33; same as Ovechkin), yet is priced tied for 13th among centers. He had two assists and six SOG Wednesday in a monster performance to fuel the Capitals’ comeback against the Sabres. The upside is so high on a nightly basis for Kuznetsov that it’s consistently worth the risk for a middle-tier price tag. He’s been slightly better on the road this season with 3.7 DraftKings points per contest via seven goals, nine assists and 40 SOG in 17 away games. He’ll be facing Eddie Lack, who’s 0-4-0 with an .864 save percentage at PNC Arena.
Anze Kopitar ($5,300) – A big factor into drafting Kopitar should be whether Jeff Carter plays after being injured (upper body) three games ago against the Coyotes. Kopitar has points in three straight with one goal, six assists and seven SOG in that span, and has been outstanding with 11 points in his past nine games. With Carter out, he’s playing with Tyler Toffoli, who’s a hot-and-cold wing but in the midst of a breakout season and severely underpriced at $5,700.
Charlie Coyle ($3,500) – Another player who can benefit from an injury on his team is Coyle, who could see an elevated role with Zach Parise likely to miss the Wild’s NYE date with the Blues because of injury. Coyle has been stationed on the third line with Minnesota’s top two units clicking, but has still managed three goals, two assists, two blocks and 14 SOG in his past six games. If he plays on the wing Thursday alongside Mikael Granlund or Mikko Koivu, he could keep it going and provide tremendous bang for your buck for such a small price (T-48th among centers).
Others to consider: Nathan MacKinnon ($6,800), Ryan Getzlaf ($5,800), Pavel Datsyuk ($5,700), Bryan Little ($5,600), Jack Eichel ($5,200), Carl Soderberg ($4,500), Mike Ribeiro ($3,500)
Vladimir Tarasenko ($7,900) – Tarasenko has gone two games without a point, his longest point drought since Oct. 20-27 (three games). Translation: he usually snaps out of his brief funks sooner than later, and is a dynamic goal-scorer who can be obtained in DraftKings for hundreds of dollars cheaper than fellow elite wings Ovechkin ($8,800), Kane ($8,700) and Benn ($8,500). He’s better than a point per game at Scottrade Center this season (14 goals, seven assists, 81 SOG) through 20 home games. Roll him out on his own or stacked with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk ($6,200), because his frequent center Paul Stastny has been strangely ineffective at home (no goals, three assists in 12 games) with little benefit other than offsetting Tarasenko’s price.
Patrick Sharp ($6,700) – Sharp is one of the hottest players out there and has the two best linemates in the League in Benn and Seguin. Which it’s tough to stack two or three of these Dallas forwards, it’s always worth tapping into that line for the cheapest price possible. That means investing in Sharp, who has 20 points in 19 home games and four goals and five assists in his past six games ahead of his tilt against Nashville. He had a goal against Columbus on Tuesday with eight SOG in his second straight game with seven or more DraftKings points. To put his low price into perspective, he’s still $100 cheaper than Penguins wing Phil Kessel, who’s averaging considerably fewer DraftKings points per contest (3.1) on the season than Sharp (3.7).
Mikkel Boedker ($4,900) – While the Coyotes’ offense was driven by Martin Hanzal (now injured) and youngsters Max Domi and Anthony Duclair during their early-season surge, the tide has turned over time and Boedker is now their leading scorer with 29 points and 90 SOG in 36 games. He has two hat tricks this season and is riding a three-game point streak entering his NYE clash with the Jets at home. With 10 points in his past 10 games and priced 29th among wings, this is the no-brainer pick of the night. Don’t think twice about FLEXing him if he fits into your price point.
Others to consider: Tyler Toffoli ($5,700), Evander Kane ($5,600), Justin Abdelkader ($4,700), Anders Lee ($4,500), Alex Tanguay ($3,500)