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Fantasy buzz: Parise, Ellis will make season debut

Wild left wing high-floor DFS option; Ellis to rejoin Josi on top pair; Byfuglien returning for Jets

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / Senior Fantasy Editor

All season long,'s fantasy hockey staff will have you covered with daily lineup news, production trends and injury notes from around the League. We will identify how these developments affect fantasy owners in year-long (Yahoo) and daily (DraftKings) formats.


Byfuglien returning for Jets; Trouba's value dips

Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will play for the Winnipeg Jets in their road game against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, TSN3, NHL.TV). He has missed the past 10 games because of a lower-body injury.

His return will likely bump defenseman Jacob Trouba (68 percent owned in Yahoo) off the first power-play unit. Trouba is droppable in most non-hits leagues considering he had no goals and three assists (two power-play points) despite 30 shots on goal in a featured offensive role during Byfuglien's 10-game absence. Trouba played on the second power-play unit with defenseman Tyler Myers prior to Byfuglien's injury.

Byfuglien is still without a goal on the season (none on 69 SOG in 28 games), but nine of his 15 assists have come on the power play alongside mostly forwards Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine and rookie Kyle Connor. He should be owned in all season-long leagues because of his exposure to one of the League's best offenses (3.33 goals per game; T-4th) and power plays (24.1 percent; 4th) and his elite coverage of SOG, power-play points, penalty minutes (49, T-11th) and hits (2.64 per game; 28th, minimum 28 games).

Considering Scheifele (upper body; out 6-8 weeks) is injured and the Avalanche are tied for the third-best penalty kill at 84.0 percent (93.7 at home, best in NHL), Byfuglien ($4,900 in DraftKings) is hardly a DFS lineup lock in this matchup. That said, Byfuglien had 3.0 DraftKings points (one assist, one block, one SOG) against the Avalanche on Nov. 29 and remains a high-floor defenseman. He is averaging 23:40 per game and is overdue for his first goal; Duncan Keith (no goals on 90 SOG) of the Chicago Blackhawks and Marco Scandella (no goals on 74 SOG) of the Buffalo Sabres are the only skaters with higher shot totals and no goals.


Parise of Wild, Ellis of Predators set for season debuts Tuesday

Fantasy owners of Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise and/or Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis could be rewarded for their patience with each making his season debut Tuesday.

Parise, who has missed Minnesota's first 39 games because of a back injury, will play against the Florida Panthers (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-F, NHL.TV). Ellis, who has missed Nashville's first 38 games because of a knee injury, will return against the Vegas Golden Knights (10 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, FS-TN, NHL.TV).

Each skater is owned in 52 percent of Yahoo leagues and worth adding in standard formats. Parise has also missed time because of injuries in each of his previous four seasons, but ranks tied for 35th in points per game (0.76; minimum 280 games) over the span. Ellis finished 29th among defensemen based on standard-category performance last season.

Parise skated most often with forwards Eric Staal and Charlie Coyle on the top line last season but is expected to start on the third line with Coyle and Chris Stewart. Since joining the Wild in 2012-13, Parise has averaged 3:07 per game on the power play. His average from last season (2:17) was the lowest of those five seasons, but he should still be on one of Minnesota's first two units from the start.

Ellis is expected to be back with Roman Josi on Nashville's top defense pair. Mattias Ekholm, who has been skating alongside Josi on the top pair and also on the power play in Ellis' absence, is expected to move back to a pair with P.K. Subban, whom he skated with frequently last season. Ekholm (75 percent owned; 116th in Yahoo) has been held without a point over his past seven games, and Ellis' return could further negatively affect his fantasy value.

From a DFS standpoint, Parise is a high-floor forward priced at $5,000 in DraftKings. With 69 blocks in 69 games last season, Parise was one of four forwards (others: Ryan Getzlaf, Nick Bonino, Tom Pyatt) to average a blocked shot or better per game in at least 50 games with the most shots on goal per game (2.81) by far among those players. Parise forms an attractive line stack with Coyle ($4,100) given their chemistry from last season.

Ellis is an ideal second defenseman priced at $4,400 in DraftKings with frequent exposure to Josi, who's tied for fourth at the position in DraftKings points per game (3.8).



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