Each day this season, NHL.com's fantasy staff will provide daily picks for DraftKings NHL contests. This article includes expensive and value plays and should be used as a basis for your roster decision-making.
Note: These picks are for 7 p.m. ET contests, excluding the three early games.
TOP CENTER: Jonathan Toews, CHI ($7,000)
The Chicago Blackhawks will be an appealing stack option against the last-place Colorado Avalanche. Though most of their players will have high ownership, Toews is one of the two elite options at center, along with Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings ($7,200). He enters Saturday with points in back-to-back games, and has two goals, an assist and 11 shots on goal in three games against the Avalanche this season. Toews is a strong play in cash games and can be paired with less expensive linemates Richard Panik ($5,200) and John Hayden ($3,000).
Video: CHI@NSH: Toews buries a loose puck on power play
VALUE CENTER: Victor Rask, CAR ($4,800)
Rask has points in four of five games entering Saturday, and has two assists and five SOG in three games vs. the Philadelphia Flyers this season. The Carolina Hurricanes have scored 19 goals in their past five games and the Flyers have allowed at least four goals in three of their past five. Rask is fourth among Hurricanes forwards in average ice time per game (17:37) and gets over 2:00 on the power play despite being on the second unit. Jordan Staal ($4,900) is also a decent value play for the Hurricanes.
TOP WING: Max Pacioretty, MTL ($6,600)
Pacioretty should see a low ownership percentage with a tougher matchup against the Ottawa Senators and two of the top four wings coming from the Blackhawks (Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin). He presents a high floor with five goals, three assists and 50 SOG in his past 10 games entering Saturday (4.9 DraftKings points per contest). Pacioretty has been more effective on the road (4.3 DraftKings points per game in 36) and has a high ceiling as well, with 15 multipoint games this season. The Montreal Canadiens are also likely to face backup goalie Mike Condon, who is 1-3-1 in his past five starts.
Video: MTL@EDM: Pacioretty buries go-ahead goal from circle
VALUE WING: Dustin Brown, LAK ($3,800)
Brown has had a resurgence this season with his highest point total (31) since 2011-12. He has a goal, two assists and nine SOG in his past three games, and is averaging 2.6 SOG in his past 10. Brown, once demoted to the bottom-six forward group, is on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Jarome Iginla. He has two assists and four SOG (3.3 DraftKings points per game) in two games against the Calgary Flames this season, and 28 points in 49 games against them in his career.
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI ($4,800)
Gostisbehere may be struggling in his second NHL season, but he certainly isn't against the Hurricanes; in three games vs. Carolina, he has two goals, two assists, seven blocks and seven SOG (5.7 DraftKings points per contest). Gostisbehere has a goal, three assists and 13 SOG in his past five games, and the Flyers get the Hurricanes on the second of a back-to-back, and their fifth game in seven days. There are limited top defensemen in four-game contests, so spending down to draft Gostisbehere will still give you someone with an elite ceiling and low ownership percentage.
Video: PHI@TOR: Gostisbehere blasts one-timer past Andersen
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Niklas Hjalmarsson, CHI ($3,200)
Hjalmarsson is more of a blocks specialist (163 in 64 games), but enters Saturday with two assists in his past three games. His odds of getting another point Sunday are high, considering the Blackhawks have scored at least four goals in two of three games vs. the Avalanche this season. Hjalmarsson should be able to return value from blocks alone, but if he gets the game off to rest on the second of a back-to-back, target Trevor van Riemsdyk ($3,400), who has been skating on the top pair with Duncan Keith.
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Scott Darling, CHI ($8,400)
There's no need to get cute at goaltender, go with the sure thing. With Corey Crawford starting Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, expect Darling to be in net Sunday against the Avalanche, who are allowing the most DraftKings points to goaltenders this season. Darling is 9-3-1 with a 2.06 goals-against average at United Center, and is riding a personal five-game winning streak. Colorado hasn't scored more than three goals in seven straight, and Darling has allowed more than three goals once in nine games in 2017.
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