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 nine-game Saturday contests beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
TOP CENTER: Ryan O'Reilly, BUF ($6,000)
Jack Eichel's scoring binge has taken the spotlight of late, but O'Reilly has put together a nice run of his own with points in five straight games for a total of seven points, one block and 16 shots on goal (5.3 DraftKings points per game) entering Friday. The Buffalo Sabres will play the second of a home-and-home, back-to-back set against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and O'Reilly has 10 points and 30 SOG in 12 games on no days' rest. He has 25 points in 29 home games.
Video: BUF@PIT: O'Reilly finishes tic-tac-toe passing play
VALUE CENTER: Brock Nelson, NYI ($4,000)
Nelson is having a solid road trip for the New York Islanders, who wrap up their nine-game swing at the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. He scored a goal with two SOG against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, giving him six points and 18 SOG in the first eight games of the trip. He had 4.0 DraftKings points (one assist, four SOG) against the Blues on Dec. 8 and ranks fourth on the Islanders with 37 points in 66 games.
TOP WING: Nikita Kucherov, TBL ($7,700)
Kucherov has an NHL-best 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in his past eight games, scoring at least three points four times in that span. He has a stellar shot volume (35 SOG) in the eight games and should be worth the price of admission against the Florida Panthers at home, where he has 40 points in 30 games. He's averaging 3.3 DraftKings points per game against the Panthers, who will be on short rest after playing Friday. He's tied for third in points per game (1.12; minimum 20 games) behind Evgeni Malkin (1.21) and Sidney Crosby (1.19) of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Video: MIN@TBL: Kucherov gives Lightning early lead with PPG
VALUE WING: Elias Lindholm, CAR ($4,900)
Lindholm leads the Carolina Hurricanes with 22 primary assists. He's tied for 26th League-wide in the category with fantasy breakout stars Mark Scheifele, Leon Draisaitl and Alexander Wennberg entering Friday. He has covered three DraftKings categories well in two games against the Toronto Maple Leafs with one assist, four blocks and four SOG (3.5 DraftKings points per game). He is also bound for a shooting percentage improvement with no goals in his past seven games and six on 116 SOG (5.2) this season.
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Alex Pietrangelo, STL ($5,200)
Pietrangelo will be on the second of a back-to-back set against the Islanders, but remains a safe bet to play more than 25 minutes and cover the major DraftKings categories. Since Kevin Shattenkirk was traded to the Washington Capitals on Feb. 27, Pietrangelo is averaging 26:49 per game with three assists, six blocks and eight SOG in four games (3.3 DraftKings points per game). He has taken over the first power-play unit, averaging 3:15 per game and scoring two PP points in that span.
Video: STL@CHI: Pietrangelo whips a PPG past Darling in 2nd
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Dion Phaneuf, OTT ($4,200)
Entering Friday, Phaneuf is one of six players with at least 25 points, 125 SOG and 125 blocks; the others are Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber, Rasmus Ristolainen, Ryan McDonagh and Pietrangelo. Phaneuf is by far the cheapest of that group in DraftKings and gets prime scoring chances on a nightly basis on the Ottawa Senators' first power-play unit with Karlsson. Phaneuf has five points (four PPP), 25 blocks and 21 SOG in his past 10 games (3.3 DraftKings points per game). He didn't score a point against the Colorado Avalanche on March 2, but his high floor paid off with six blocks and four SOG for 5.0 DraftKings points.
Video: OTT@NJD: Phaneuf cranks home a power-play goal
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Matt Murray, PIT ($8,100)
With backup Marc-Andre Fleury getting the start against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday, Murray is expected to play against the Canucks on Saturday. Murray had a 29-save shutout against the Canucks on Feb. 14, and is 11-6-1 with a .920 save percentage and one shutout on the road. Even after allowing a combined seven goals in his past two starts, he's 6-2-1 with a .928 SV% in his past 10. It's been a rookie class for the ages, and Murray (25-8-3, .923 SV%, 3 SO) deserves to be in the Calder Trophy conversation with Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine.
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