With six NHL games on tap to kick off this weekend of DraftKings hockey contests, DFS hockey players have a solid player pool to wade through in order to fill-out their lineups with both superstar and value plays. Let’s take a look at some of the evening’s top and bargain buys for tonight’s game:
Corey Crawford ($8,100) – At the moment Crawford is on pace for his best career season and is a large reason why they are a contender to repeat their Stanley Cup this season. The Blackhawks netminder is currently on his way to posting his highest win total in a season (21 in 33 starts so far) and his best full-season GAA and SV%. Crawford also leads the NHL in shutouts with six already on the season, and those six represent one-third of his career total of 18. The Blackhawks square off with the Sabres on Friday night, who Crawford beat three weeks ago on the road, and for his career Crawford’s 6-0-0 record, 1.82 GAA and .932 SV% in six starts against Buffalo makes him the top goalie on the evening.
Ben Bishop ($7,500) – Bishop continues to have a strong season for the inconsistent Lightning, but he has a very favorable matchup tonight against the struggling Oilers who are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. Bishop has been a little shaky lately allowing 10 goals against in his previous four starts, and his record in his last 10 games is only 4-5-1. But when you look deeper at those numbers in those 10 starts he has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of those games and three of them have been losses. Bishop still ranks well inside the top-10 in the league with a 2.06 GAA and is just outside the top-10 in SV% with a .924 mark. He comes in $600 cheaper than Crawford allowing for some more flexibility for your lineups and despite the up-and-down play of the Lightning lately, he should seriously be considered for your roster tonight.
Anton Forsberg ($6,100) – It remains to be seen if Forsberg gets the nod for the Blue Jackets tonight, but if he does he’s a great buy-low option for you. He made 29 saves on 31 shots in his first start of the season on Tuesday against Minnesota and looked solid coming into the Capitals game before that in relief of Curtis McElhinney and picking up the win in OT with six saves. The Blue Jackets net is one of total uncertainty right now with Bobrovsky and McElhinney both on IR but his solid play as of late should earn Forsberg the start tonight against an equally bad team in the Hurricanes.
Others to Consider: Jake Allen ($7,600), Pekka Rinne ($7,300), Tuukka Rask ($7,800), Cory Schneider ($7,900)
Roman Josi ($7,200) – Josi coming on as one of the best defensemen in the league, especially playing next to Shea Weber, allowed the Predators to trade Seth Jones away earlier this week. Josi is fourth in the NHL in points for defensemen since the beginning of last season with 85 in 121 games. He is one of five dmen in the league to break the 30-point barrier and is tied with Justin Faulk with 30 points on the season right now. On top of points production, Josi has almost 100 shots on the season (94 in 40 games) and is third in the league in blocked shots with 105 on the year. He had a solid game on Tuesday against the Jets with an assist, three blocks and two shots on goal and against the Avs is a top pick on the blueline tonight.
Torey Krug ($6,000) – Krug, along with Zdeno Chara, are the blueline producers for the Bruins and Krug has three points in his last three games. He had an assist against the Capitals on Tuesday and two assists against the Senators last week and all three points came on the Bruins potent power-play. He has also produced 10 shots on goal in his last three games, bringing his total up to 112 on the season which is good for fifth in the league among defensemen. The Bruins have a tough matchup against the Devils and goalie Cory Schneider on Friday night, but Schneider has been vulnerable on the penalty-kill allowing 18 goals against and posting a .882 SV% when the Devils are down a man.
Seth Jones ($4,200) – Jones is super talented and is still nowhere near the prime years of his career, but it was clear that he was going to be blocked going forward from putting up top numbers and hitting his potential playing behind Shea Weber and Roman Josi. Now with the trade to the Blue Jackets he immediately steps into a top-two role next to Ryan Murray at even strength and will assume a point position on the Columbus first power-play unit on the blueline. He will see expanded minutes and responsibility and will be playing with young, developing offensive playmakers like Brandon Saad and Alex Wennberg and going against the Hurricanes tonight is a great matchup to make his debut and have a chance for offensive production immediately.
Others to Consider: Justin Faulk ($6,400), Kevin Shattenkirk ($6,500), Duncan Keith ($5,900), Tyson Barrie ($5,300), Andrej Sekera ($4,000), Victor Hedman ($5,300), Sami Vatanen ($4,800), Cody Goloubef ($2,900).
Jonathan Toews ($6,100) – Despite being held off the scoresheet on Wednesday against the Penguins Toews has been on fire lately for the Blackhawks and is beginning to take some of the scoring pressure of the Patrick Kane line. He has had an inconsistent year for the Blackhawks and his numbers are down compared to most of his career numbers, but he has nine points and has put 27 shots on goal in his last 10 games overall and has a favorable matchup tonight. The Hawks face the Sabres at home tonight where Toews has 16 of his 26 points on the season and in 11 career games against the Sabres Toews has torched them to the tune of six goals and four assists with a +6 rating.
Ryan Johansen ($5,600) – Johansen has always possessed elite-level skills, but was inconsistent in his time with the Blue Jackets. Now he will be handed the keys to the Predators top line and top power-play unit and the change of scenery, along with the move to Peter Laviolette’s offensive system, could do wonders for his game playing with a young, dynamic scoring playmaker like Filip Forsberg. He had fallen out of favor with Columbus and new coach John Tortorella and spent the last couple of weeks buried in their bottom-six, and still had managed 26 points in 38 games with a limited role. Johansen will be extra motivated to prove everyone wrong and show the Predators faith in him, and he gets a great chance to prove it immediately against Avs weak scoring defense.
Adam Henrique ($4,900) – Henrique, like his linemates on the Devils, had hit a wall in his production in mid and late December but is beginning to turn things around with points in three of his last six games, including two of his last three. He’s right now on pace for his best statistical season of his career, but even with a drop in production he should easily break the 43 points he put up in each of the last two seasons. He has a goal, two assists and five shots in his last three games for the Devils despite not having the team’s leading scorer Mike Cammalleri on his wing like he has all season. Cammalleri will be out against the Bruins tonight so Henrique will have an expanded role in the offense and will be leaned on, with Kyle Palmieri, to produce for the team.
Nick Foligno ($5,100) – Foligno has produced consistent numbers for the Blue Jackets this season even though he has not seen time with Ryan Johansen as much as he had in his breakout season last year. His numbers are down this season compared to this point last year, but he had put up strong numbers as of late and has five points in his last three games playing in a primarily third line role. He has a goal, four assists, seven SOG and two blocks in his three game outburst and could see more of an expanded power-play role with the trade of Johansen. He has been about a .5 PPG player in his career against Friday night’s opponent the Hurricanes with 12 points in 25 games.
David Pastrnak ($3,800) – After his breakout rookie campaign last season, hopes were high for Pastrnak to come in and take off offensively for the Bruins this year. That did not happen and it’s resulted in only four points in 10 games and a demotion to the AHL. However the Bruins have re-called the young Czech sniper after he played in the World Junior Championships last week, putting up a goal and three assists in four games in the tournament, and he was on their top line practice yesterday with Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson. At $3,800 and looking like he will get a chance to produce in their top-six at the moment, Pastrnak is a great value flier to take tonight for your rosters.
Others to Consider: Patrick Kane ($8,900), Vladimir Tarasenko ($8,000), Nathan MacKinnon ($6,900), Steven Stamkos ($7,600), Jori Lehtera ($3,300), Alex Wennberg ($3,400), Brandon Saad ($6,100), Taylor Hall ($7,500), Artemi Panarin ($5,900), Filip Forsberg ($5,800), Gabriel Landeskog ($6,700), Cam Atkinson ($4,500), Teuvo Teravainen ($4,300), Lee Stempniak ($4,200), Patrice Bergeron ($7,300).
Make sure to check out Cheat Sheet and NHL Line Stacks posts today and as always for any DFS Hockey questions or comments this season, find me on Twitter at: @JHarding_Hockey