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.
TOP CENTER: Nicklas Backstrom, WSH ($7,200)
Backstrom has been as consistent as any center this season. He has at least one point in nine of his past 10 games, with five goals and 11 assists (5.0 DraftKings points per game) in that span. The Washington Capitals have scored at least four goals in five of their past seven games and play the Edmonton Oilers, who are in the middle of a six-game road trip. Backstrom arguably has a higher floor than Oilers center Connor McDavid ($7,900) and can save you some cap space for cash-game lineups.
Video: WSH@PHI: Backstrom roofs wrister to open the scoring
VALUE CENTER: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, OTT ($4,000)
The Ottawa Senators are dealing with injuries to forwards Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone and Bobby Ryan. With all three out of the lineup Monday in a 2-1 win against the New Jersey Devils, Pageau skated 18:41 and had an assist with two shots on goal (3.5 DraftKings points). The Senators should have an easier time scoring on the Carolina Hurricanes, who have allowed 19 goals during a five-game losing streak. Pageau has at least 2.0 DraftKings points in six of his past seven games and makes for a nice tournament lineup filler.
TOP WING: Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA ($6,400)
Huberdeau has cooled off since returning from injury on Feb. 3, but what better way to heat up again than against the Calgary Flames, who allowed five goals to the Nashville Predators in a 6-5 OT win Tuesday. The Flames will be playing the second of a back-to-back, which could mean backup goalie Chad Johnson will start. Johnson has allowed 18 goals in his past five games. Huberdeau won't break the bank and is averaging 4.1 DraftKings points in eight games this season.
Video: FLA@LAK: Huberdeau rips home pinpoint snipe
VALUE WING: Radim Vrbata, ARI ($5,100)
The veteran wing has one goal, five assists and 19 SOG during a six-game point streak for the Arizona Coyotes. Vrbata has had success against the Dallas Stars, scoring 20 goals with 21 assists in 51 games. He's been better at home this season (25 points in 30 games), but scored a goal and had 4.5 DraftKings points against the Stars on Dec. 27. The Arizona offense is beginning to come around, with at least four goals in four of their past seven games, plus Dallas is 29th in the NHL in goals against per game (3.20).
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Erik Karlsson, OTT ($7,100)
With the top options at defenseman limited, lean on Karlsson, who has two goals, six assists and 21 SOG during a six-game point streak. He has at least 4.5 DraftKings points in each game on the streak, plus 10 blocks in his past two games. The Hurricanes have been known all season for their penalty kill, but that has wavered recently; Carolina is 15-for-20 in its past six games (75 percent). Karlsson has a three-game power-play point streak and he will be relied on heavily with the Senators thin at forward.
Video: OTT@NJD: Karlsson picks the corner for nice PPG
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Aaron Ekblad, FLA ($4,500)
Ekblad has struggled on offense this season but continues to be one of the top SOG providers in the NHL. He enters Thursday third among defensemen with 184 SOG (3.1 per game) and has a point in four of five games (one goal, three assists), scoring at least 3.5 DraftKings points in each. Ekblad should be able to get off more shots against a tired Flames team playing their fourth game on the road in seven days.
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Craig Anderson, OTT ($7,400)
Anderson has been confirmed in net for the Senators, so there's little risk of a late change messing with your lineup (though Mike Condon is priced the same). Anderson has won three of his past four games and is 7-3-0 with a 2.44 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in his past 10. He has been stellar on the road, going 7-2-0 with a 2.13 GAA, .938 SV% and three shutouts, and is 2-0-0 with two goals allowed and 32 saves per game (8.4 DraftKings points per game) against the Hurricanes this season.
Video: OTT@NJD: Anderson stones Wood's wide-open shot
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