It’s an eight game night in the NHL, and an interesting price structure that finds three skaters above the $8,000 mark, including one defenseman (Brent Burns) who certainly deserves that billing. If you roll multiple lineups, definitely make sure to touch on the Capitals (home vs. Canucks) and Sharks (home vs. Oilers) for obvious reasons and build lineups around those games. No teams are on the second of a back-to-back, so there are a number of toss-up games (NYR-NYI, CHI-MTL, NSH-WPG) where you would be wise to avoid the goaltenders. Let’s get to some options at each position that will give you a great chance to cash out in your contest(s).
Martin Jones ($7,000) – The Oilers have the worst road record in the NHL and the Sharks are rolling. While Jones’ home splits don’t look great at the surface, he’s 2-2-0 at SAP Center with seven goals allowed and one shutout since his gruesome loss to the Avalanche on Dec. 28. He has four shutouts on the season and is on plenty of rest after Alex Stalock spelled him a day off as the Sharks swept their road back-to-back set against the Flames and Jets. All in all, it’s been a learning experience for Jones in his first season as a starter, with plenty of more room for home success to make his season look even better when it’s all said and done if San Jose makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs out of the weak Pacific Division.
Calvin Pickard ($6,100) – Speaking of that Sharks-Avalanche game in late December, that was Pickard’s only start of the season to this point. He made 35 saves on 38 shots faced in that win and gets another opportunity Thursday for the inconsistent Avalanche. Semyon Varlamov has allowed 14 goals over his past four starts, opening the door for Pickard to earn some playing time. Colorado is tied for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with the also-struggling Predators, and Pickard knows what’s at stake against the Devils, who’s struggling offense will be without Mike Cammalleri and Patrik Elias. You won’t find a Thursday starting goalie cheaper than Pickard, who had success at the NHL level in 2014-15 (.932 save percentage in 16 games).
Others to consider: Braden Holtby ($8,500), Petr Mrazek ($7,500), Cam Ward ($6,700) or Eddie Lack ($6,600), Louis Domigue ($6,600)
Brent Burns ($8,300 vs. EDM) – Burns moving from forward to defense last season turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He’s playing more than 26 minutes per night for the Sharks, and is close to a point per game on the season (40 in 41). He has been one of the best DraftKings players in the League over his past 10 games, with 14 points, 17 blocks and 39 SOG in that span for an average of 6.4 DraftKings points per contest (even better than Alex Ovechkin!). The Oilers have been awful on the road and Burns has been a consistent force even in the Sharks’ home struggles with 16 points in 18 games. Build your lineup around Burns with confidence, because he’ll likely justify the pick with foundational points alone in the worst-case scenario if he doesn’t register a point.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($5,900) – As discussed in Thursday’s episode of The Daily Fantasy Hockey Edge, OEL is making a strong case for the Norris Trophy this season. He has 14 points in 12 games since Dec. 13, the second-most among defensemen behind only Burns. He had 12 DraftKings points Tuesday against the Oilers and faces the Red Wings, who are allowing the third-most DraftKings points to opposing defensemen this season. Even better, he’s 10th in DraftKings price among D-men.
Others to consider: Matt Niskanen ($4,600), Michael Stone ($4,100), Calvin de Haan ($3,700), Nick Holden ($3,500), Mattias Ekholm ($3,200)
Logan Couture ($6,000) – As consistent as Joe Pavelski has been at home and on the road and as red-hot as the ageless Joe Thornton has been over the past month, I like the idea of tapping into the Sharks with an against-the-grain call against the Oilers. Couture has been skating with Tommy Wingels, a physical, underrated forward who can create a ton of space for his center. Couture missed a large chunk of the season (only 11 games played) because of multiple injuries, but has points in two straight with five SOG in that span. He’s also blocked shots in the past at a strong rate for a forward, so I like his production to increase over the course of the second half.
Ryan Strome ($4,000) – Strome skated with John Tavares ($7,800) on Tuesday and scored a goal in the Islanders’ win against the Blue Jackets. It’s the latest trial from coach Jack Capuano in an effort to spark Tavares, who only has 30 points in 40 games after finishing second in the NHL in scoring last season. First it was Brock Nelson, then it was Anders Lee, and now it’s Strome, who has added motivation after an early-season demotion to the AHL. Strome scored 50 points for the Islanders last season and was due for a breakout step prior to his setback, so he has a real chance to stick on the top line with this opportunity.
Others to consider: Henrik Zetterberg ($5,800), Bryan Little ($5,600), Joe Thornton ($5,100), Marcus Johansson ($4,100; back from suspension), Mike Ribeiro ($3,700)
Mikkel Boedker ($5,000) – Boedker is underpriced yet again for the Coyotes, whom he leads in scoring. He plays with Max Domi and Antoine Vermette and has been one of their better home performers with 16 points in 20 games with 55 SOG. He has assists in two of his past three games with a steady shot volume and has had two hat tricks already this season. He’s always capable of a monster night, and the Coyotes are as confident as ever heading into their game against the inconsistent Red Wings.
Justin Williams ($4,700) – Lather, rinse, repeat. Stacking Evgeny Kuznetsov ($6,000) and Williams has been a low-risk, high-reward option more times than not this season. Kuznetsov has 38 points in 42 games and a heavier shot volume of late (30 in past 10). He’s facing the Canucks and Ryan Miller, who has been generous to his opponents (2.74 goals-against average) this season. Miller also hasn’t played since Dec. 20 because of injury. Williams is still outside the top 30 among wings and a true value pick every night out.
Others to consider: Marian Hossa ($5,700), Teuvo Teravainen ($4,100), Anthony Duclair ($3,800), Jayson Megna ($2,600)