NHL.com's fantasy staff will provide daily picks for DraftKings NHL games during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (until end of conference finals). This article includes expensive and value plays and should be used as a basis for your roster decision-making.
TOP CENTER: Evgeni Malkin, PIT ($8,200) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 3.0
When you're playing daily fantasy this deep into the season, you must build your lineup around at least one expensive skater, even if the name might seem obvious. Malkin leads the League with 19 points in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games, giving him 148 points in 137 career NHL postseason games. He's also tops in home playoff points with 11 in seven games. He scored one goal on four shots on goal in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators and is still $100 cheaper than teammate Sidney Crosby ($8,300). The Penguins should bounce back after going 0-for-5 on the power play in Game 1, and you can expect Malkin to be heavily involved. Stack Malkin with either Phil Kessel ($6,200) or Chris Kunitz ($4,200).
Video: OTT@PIT, Gm1: Malkin ties game with tip-in goal
VALUE CENTER: Mike Fisher, NSH ($4,100) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 2.0
Most daily fantasy owners know the landscape by now, but the unpredictable nature of the playoffs means you still have to be bold to win contests. Fisher, a depth-line center, finished fifth on the Nashville Predators with 42 regular-season points but surprisingly has none in 11 postseason games. The 36-year-old has 47 career playoff points and leads Nashville forwards with 15 blocks this postseason. He had two assists in three regular-season games against the Anaheim Ducks and is a cheap, low-ownership flier who could bounce back in Game 2 on Sunday.
TOP WING: Rickard Rakell, ANA ($6,000) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 3.0
Rakell has 10 points, is plus-11 and has 40 SOG (T-3rd among remaining players) through 12 games after leading the Ducks with 33 goals in the regular season. Lining up next to Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in this series means he'll be in on some high-quality scoring chances. He's almost bound to score a point in Game 2 after being held without one in each of the past two games despite a combined six SOG. Prior to this brief slump, he had a stretch of at least 5.0 DraftKings points in four straight playoff games against the Edmonton Oilers.
VALUE WING: Bobby Ryan, OTT ($4,200) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 0.5
The most cost-effective line stack of the two remaining series is clearly Ryan with center Jean-Gabriel Pageau ($4,300). Even if you draft Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, you should roster one of these Senators forwards, given their offensive consistency this postseason. Ryan looks completely revitalized with 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 13 postseason games, including two points in Game 1. Pageau is tied for second in playoff goals (eight) behind Penguins forward Jake Guentzel (nine). Ryan and Pageau are likely to have high ownership at this stage, but each offers low-risk, high-reward upside with an unaltered DraftKings price for Game 2 on Monday. The Senators are 6-1 in overtime this postseason, with Ryan scoring a point on three of the goals.
Video: OTT@PIT, Gm1: Ryan roofs game-winning goal in OT
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Ryan Ellis, NSH ($5,800) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 0.0
Nashville Predators defensemen continue to amaze this postseason, combining for 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) in 11 games. Their top three at the position -- Roman Josi ($6,200), Ellis and P.K. Subban ($5,400) -- have been outstanding, and fantasy owners should not construct a daily roster without one of the three. The best value remains Ellis, who leads Predators defensemen in playoff points (nine) and blocks (34) and ranks second in SOG (30). He didn't have a point in Game 1 and has gone three straight games without one, but it hasn't mattered from a DraftKings standpoint; he had two blocks and a game-high seven SOG in the opener against the Ducks and continues to return value based on peripherals alone.
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Brandon Montour, ANA ($3,300) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 2.5
Montour has been a pleasant surprise for the Ducks during this postseason, skating frequently with Hampus Lindholm and averaging 20 minutes per game. He has respectable coverage for a defenseman priced so close to the DraftKings minimum, totaling five assists, 25 SOG and 15 blocks in 12 playoff games. With the Ducks hoping to respond in Game 2 at home, look for Montour and their young defensemen to play up to their competition. Montour had three SOG in Game 1, giving him 12 in his past four games. He had one assist, two blocks and four SOG in Game 7 against the Oilers (5.0 DraftKings points).
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT ($8,200) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 9.6
Fleury has arguably been Pittsburgh's most valuable player this postseason, ranking second among the four remaining goalies with a .928 save percentage in 13 games (8-5). He made 33 saves on 35 shots faced in Game 1 against the Senators, returning value with 4.6 DraftKings points despite the overtime loss. Fleury responded well after losses in Games 5 and 6 against the Washington Capitals with a 29-save road shutout in Game 7, and is worth spending up for with the Penguins in a bounce-back spot at home.
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