This eight-game night features a number of elite forwards worth the price of admission, including many priced lower than they should be. There are goalies and value defensemen with promising matchups that should be drafted first to determine how flexible of a forward budget you can manage. This is a night where you should be able to field a lineup full of proven offensive players and follow their successes as the games unfold.
Antti Niemi ($6,700) – Niemi and Kari Lehtonen have alternated starts for much of the season, but it looks like Stars coach Lindy Ruff is giving Niemi his second straight call and third straight appearance, according to the Dallas Morning News. The veteran goalie is 4-1-0 with one shutout and a respectable 14 goals allowed in six games this season, but all you need to know is these Dallas goalies are getting goal support more often than not from a deep offense and much-improved power play (30 percent, 2nd in NHL). Also, because this is a timeshare situation, the Stars tandem will be much cheaper in DraftKings for their individual starts than workhorse goalies around the League. Vancouver is probably too inconsistent to knock off two of the best teams in the League in consecutive games, so this is a spot where you can roll out Niemi with confidence.
Thomas Greiss ($6,600) – Jaroslav Halak has made headlines with two shutouts in his first four games, but his backup has been nearly as productive. New York is rolling three strong lines and a healthy shot-blocking defense in front of Greiss in a spot start Thursday. The Islanders are 4-1-1 at Barclays Center and Greiss is 3-0-1 on the season with an outstanding .932 save percentage – partly because New York is allowing 33 SOG per game (T-2nd in NHL). The Hurricanes, his opponent, are averaging fewer than two goals per game on the road this season, so I like Greiss’ chances of getting the win with 30-plus saves and fewer than three goals allowed.
Others to consider: Ben Bishop ($7,300), Jake Allen ($7,200), Jeff Zatkoff ($6,900),
Victor Hedman ($4,900) – Hedman is one of the best puck-possession defensemen out there and the Lightning are hosting the Avalanche, who have the worst Shot Attempts % in the League and a 1-2-0 road record. Hedman is still without a goal on the season but has nine assists in as many games (T-3rd in NHL). He’s been much cheaper than other elite defensemen so far this season in DraftKings and could easily post a multipoint game in this situation. With 13 shots on goal and 13 blocks, the foundation stats are there and will pad any point production.
Mark Streit ($4,600) – Streit and Claude Giroux ($6,800) were the most productive defensemen-forward point pair in the League last season and the veteran blueliner is picking up where he left off. He has one goal and four assists during his three-game point streak and is facing the Devils at home. His DraftKings points per contest average (3.9) ranks fourth among defensemen in this contest with more than one game played this season, and his price is 17th at his position. Pair him with Giroux and/or Voracek ($6,500) for a chance to capitalize on their time as a trio on Philly’s potent top power-play unit.
Colton Parayko ($3,300) – Parayko, who’s benefiting in the short term from an elevated role in Kevin Shattenkirk’s absence, has three goals, three assists, 18 blocked shots and 20 SOG in nine games for the Blues, who welcome the reeling Ducks to town. The 22-year-old busted out for a 10-point DraftKings performance last Saturday and followed it up with an assist, three blocks and a SOG against the Lightning on Tuesday. His ownership is likely growing with each passing day, but he’s still a must-draft player for this cheap as you look to spend your money elsewhere on forwards.
Others to consider: John Klingberg ($4,900), Andrei Markov ($4,700), Brent Seabrook ($4,700), Tyler Myers ($4,200), Cody Franson ($3,400)
Sidney Crosby ($7,700) – Crosby is priced third among centers because of his track record, but is only averaging 2.5 DraftKings points per game. So why spend up for him? He has 45 points in 28 career games against the Sabres. He played with Pascal Dupuis and Patric Hornqvist at even strength and with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel on the power play Wednesday, so don’t be surprised to see a multipoint effort from Crosby, who had a five-assist game and a three-assist game against Buffalo last season. Many more people will stack Malkin with Kessel (total price of $14,200), but Crosby and one of his linemates provides a more affordable price with a similar ceiling based on the matchup.
Jason Spezza ($6,000) – The line shuffling in Dallas continues, with Spezza now playing with Valeri Nichushkin and Patrick Sharp on the second line and Cody Eakin up top centering Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Spezza is averaging more than three SOG per game this season (33 in 9 games), has a multipoint ceiling, and is going for $2,500 less than the highest-priced center on the board (Seguin).
Jori Lehtera ($4,000) – Lehtera has at least a point in six of his nine games this season and is arguably the most affordable high-end stacking option of the contest, whether you opt to roll him out with Vladimir Tarasenko ($7,600) or Alexander Steen ($6,500). With Paul Stastny and Jaden Schwartz injured, the Blues are loading up their most explosive forwards onto their top line — which brings serious DFS upside. Lehtera has been more of a distributor at the NHL level but does have two goals on the season, and he doesn’t even have to go up against Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who’s out because of appendicitis.
Others to consider: Tomas Plekanec ($6,000), Connor McDavid ($5,600), Tyler Johnson ($5,600), Ryan Kesler ($4,900), Cody Eakin ($4,400)
Brendan Gallagher ($5,400) – After losing their first game of the season, the Canadiens should bounce back Thursday against the Oilers, who have been suspect at Rexall Place this season (1-3-0). Gallagher, who plays on Montreal’s top line with Max Pacioretty ($7,700) and Tomas Plekanec ($6,000), has been on the ice for 15 team goals and only one allowed this season, yet is somehow tied for 20th in price among wings. The Oilers are in the top-third of the League in terms of allowing points to wings in DraftKings, and Gallagher has at least one goal in three of his past five games. I really like the low-risk, high-reward stack of Gallagher and Plekanec.
Mike Cammalleri ($5,200) – Cammalleri was held off the board with three SOG Tuesday at home against the Blue Jackets, but has done most of his damage on the road so far this season. He’s tied with three others for the most road points in the NHL this season (nine) and has 14 SOG in those four contests. His line with Adam Henrique ($4,800) and Lee Stempniak ($3,400) is severely underrated and he has a chance to do further damage in Philly.
Josh Bailey ($4,000) – Bailey is averaging close to three DraftKings points per contest this season, with a recent uptick in production after being moved to the Islanders top line with John Tavares ($8,400). The left wing has points in three straight and five of his past seven. He has a real shot at a multipoint game anytime he’s stationed alongside one of the game’s top playmakers, and Islanders coach Jack Capuano loved him in that spot at times last season as well. In six home games, Bailey has five points and 15 SOG. One of the best value picks of the night.
Others to consider: Patrick Sharp ($5,800), Artemi Panarin ($4,700), Nikolaj Ehlers ($4,700), Nail Yakupov ($4,200), Johan Larsson ($2,600)