The NHL has an 11-game schedule Thursday with lots of top-tier talent available. Sidney Crosby ($8,200) hopes to keep his 12-game scoring streak going as his Pittsburgh Penguins try for a seventh straight win with a home game against the New Jersey Devils, while forward Jamie Benn ($8,000) leads the Tyler Seguin-less Dallas Stars into a road tilt with the Arizona Coyotes. The intensity level goes to 11 tonight as teams jockey for playoff berths and positions with just over two weeks left in the regular season. Here are some players that can help you bring home the big prize.
Marc-Andre Fleury – PIT vs. NJD – $8,300 – Although the Devils are more desperate for points and will have rookie goaltender Scott Wedgewood ($6,500) back in the crease for his second NHL start tonight, the Penguins have been just too good lately to overlook Fleury. If owners want to take a big gamble and go with the wild card Wedgewood then that is understandable, but the safer decision is to spend the money on Fleury. The veteran goaltender has a five-game winning streak with a 1.80 goals-against average while also benefitting from an average of four goals in support over that span.
Niklas Backstrom – CGY vs. MIN – $6,400 – Circumstances are such that the veteran Backstrom can play his part in nixing his former Minnesota Wild’s chance at a playoff spot this season. Traded by the Wild to the Flames at the Feb. 29th trade deadline after spending a decade with Minnesota, Backstrom is set to start Thursday for just the second time since Jan. 13, 2015. There aren’t any stats to help legitimize this choice but for those owners who like to spin the wheel on a low-cost goalie; Backstrom will definitely fit the bill tonight.
Others to Consider: Pekka Rinne ($8,100), Steve Mason ($7,600), Martin Jones ($7,500), Kari Lehtonen ($7,300) or Antti Niemi ($7,000)
Mark Giordano – CGY vs. MIN – $7,500 – For owners that roll with Backstrom in goal tonight, Giordano figures a perfect accompaniment as your top defender. Giordano has 11 points (four goals, seven assists), 22 blocked shots and 38 shots on goal in the past 10 games. While he is the second most expensive defender out there tonight, the consistently strong play recently makes Giordano a sound selection against the Wild.
“The 27-year-old defender [Muzzin] has five points (one goal, four assists) and 12 SOG in seven career games against Winnipeg”
Jake Muzzin – LAK vs. WPG – $5,500 – The Kings are fighting to remain atop the Pacific Division while also trying to catch the Stars for first place in the Western Conference and draw a very favorable matchup at the Winnipeg Jets. Muzzin has been strong against the Jets in his career and has plenty of chances on the power play, so going with him as your second choice tonight is justified. The 27-year-old defender has five points (one goal, four assists) and 12 SOG in seven career games against Winnipeg.
Others to Consider: Brent Burns ($8,300), Kris Letang ($7,000), Dougie Hamilton ($5,200), Hampus Lindholm ($4,600), David Savard ($4,200)
Sidney Crosby, C – PIT vs. NJD – $8,200 – It would be a huge disservice to not pick the scorching-hot Penguin as the top target at forward tonight. Crosby has 20 points (six points, 14 assists) and 37 SOG during his 12-game point streak and is not likely to stop against a Devils team that he has dominated over his 11 NHL seasons. Crosby has 55 points (25 goals, 30 assists) and 160 SOG in 51 career games against New Jersey. While all point streaks must eventually end, you don’t want to be the only owner out there with empty pockets if The Kid comes through again.
“The Czech mega star [Jagr] is tops on the Panthers with 24 goals and 55 points through 70 games this season”
Jaromir Jagr, RW – FLA vs. BOS – $5,700 – The ageless Jagr continues to amaze as he leads a Florida Panthers forward corps that, age-wise, can all be his sons. The Czech mega star is tops on the Panthers with 24 goals and 55 points through 70 games this season. To say Jagr has absolutely owned a team over his career is almost unnecessary at this point, but the veteran has 99 points (33 goals, 66 assists) and 246 SOG in 80 career games against Boston. For some of the older DraftKings participants; don’t miss the chance to cash in as your childhood hockey hero looks to reach the century mark against the Bruins.
Others to Consider: Joe Pavelski ($7,300), Connor McDavid ($7,200), Claude Giroux ($7,100), Filip Forsberg ($6,800), Jeff Skinner ($5,600), Shane Doan ($4,400)