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Fantasy buzz: Donato's immediate impact; Matthews returning

Bruins rookie producing in power-play role; Hyman gains value with elite linemate back; injury updates on Jones, Kuznetsov

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

All season long, NHL.com'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.

 

Donato making early splash for depleted Bruins; Krug misses game

Boston Bruins rookie forward Ryan Donato continues to produce in a top-six and power-play role and is the most-added player in fantasy leagues over the past day as a result.

Donato (C, 6 percent owned in Yahoo) scored a power-play goal and had two shots on goal against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, giving him four points (two goals, two assists), two power-play points and eight SOG in his first two NHL games. He's playing on the second line with David Krejci and Danton Heinen and first power play with elite forwards Brad Marchand (15th in Yahoo) and David Pastrnak (31st). Donato, 21, signed an entry-level contract with the Bruins on Sunday after his NCAA season ended at Harvard University.

With defenseman Torey Krug (upper body; day to day) out against the Blues, Matt Grzelcyk (D, 1 percent) took over on the first power play. It is the latest injury blow for Boston, which was also without forwards Patrice Bergeron (foot), Rick Nash (upper body), David Backes (knee laceration), Jake DeBrusk (upper body), and defensemen Zdeno Chara (undisclosed) and Charlie McAvoy (knee).

Players like Donato, Riley Nash (C/RW, 27 percent) and Grzelcyk have become relevant in deep leagues given their expanded roles in the short term, especially considering Boston is tied for the second-most games remaining in the League (10).

Video: CBJ@BOS: Donato scores, adds two assists in debut

 

Matthews expected back for Maple Leafs against Predators

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is expected to return against the Nashville Predators on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; TVAS, FS-TN, SNO, NHL.TV). He has missed the past 10 games because of a shoulder injury.

Despite missing 20 games because of multiple injuries, Matthews is still a fringe top 100 player in Yahoo (119th) based on standard-category performance. He ranks fifth in even-strength points per 60 minutes (2.86) behind Nathan MacKinnon (3.4), Brad Marchand (3.12), Nikita Kucherov (3.05) and Connor McDavid (2.97), according to Corsica Hockey.

Matthews is expected to rejoin usual linemates William Nylander (C/RW, 135th in Yahoo) and Zach Hyman (C/LW, 12 percent, 209th). For DFS purposes, you can easily offset the expensive Matthews ($6,600) with Hyman ($3,700) and/or Nylander ($4,400). The Nashville Predators are 14-0-1 over their past 15 games, but Matthews' 5-on-5 dominance gives his line against-the-grain value.

After playing Thursday, the Maple Leafs have favorable home matchups against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday and Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

Video: NYI@TOR: Matthews ties game with fortunate redirect

 

Jones, Kuznetsov injury updates

-- Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones is a game-time decision against the Florida Panthers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-F, NHL.TV). He is priced at $5,900 in DraftKings and is averaging 4.3 DraftKings points per game (three assists, one block, four shots on goal) in two games against the Panthers.

-- Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov will miss his third-straight game against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV) because of an upper-body injury. In Kuznetsov's absence, Nicklas Backstrom has been reunited with Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson, with Lars Eller stepping up to the second line with Andre Burakovsky and T.J. Oshie. 

Backstrom's DFS price ($6,300) has risen drastically since March 10 ($5,500), but Ovechkin ($7,900) is worth spending up for against a favorable opponent on his own or with Oshie ($5,000) or Eller ($4,300) since those value picks are on the first power play.

 

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