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 ($7,100)
Backstrom has a goal, seven assists and seven shots on goal in his past four games and will face the reeling Minnesota Wild on the road. The Wild aren't the same defensive team from earlier in the season, having allowed the most goals (39) in the NHL since March 9. Minnesota's penalty kill has been subpar during this stretch, and Backstrom leads the League in power-play points (31; seven goals, 24 assists). He had three assists and two SOG (7.0 DraftKings points) against the Wild on March 14 and is an excellent lineup anchor for cash games.
Video: DAL@WSH: Backstrom goes top shelf with nice redirect
VALUE CENTER: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM ($4,800)
Nugent-Hopkins is gaining some confidence with a goal, three assists and six SOG in his past two games (12.5 DraftKings points combined). He sports a high shot volume (194 in 75 games), making his floor a bit higher than a center priced this low. The Edmonton Oilers have a chance to put the Los Angeles Kings' hopes of a Stanley Cup Playoff berth to rest at home, which could fuel another high-scoring output. Nugent-Hopkins has had success against the Kings with a goal, assist, two blocks and eight SOG in three games (3.3 DraftKings points per contest). He also has added bonus playing on the Oilers' second power-play unit.
TOP WING: Cam Atkinson, CBJ ($7,200)
Atkinson hasn't scored a goal in four straight, but has four in his past 10 games. Expect him to break out of his slump against the Buffalo Sabres, who will be playing the second of a back-to-back set. The Columbus Blue Jackets have scored seven goals in two games against the Sabres this season, and chances are Buffalo will start backup Anders Nilsson, who has allowed at least three goals in five of his past six games. On a heavy slate and slumping, Atkinson's ownership percentage may be lower than usual, making him an ideal GPP candidate.
Video: CBJ@NYI: Atkinson buries OT game-winner at doorstep
VALUE WING: Rick Nash, NYR ($5,100)
The New York Rangers forward is riding a four-game goal streak into a matchup against the San Jose Sharks, who are on a six-game losing streak and have allowed 23 goals during their skid. Nash scored against San Jose back in October and has 20 goals in 40 games against the Sharks in his career. Extended his goal streak to five seems likely, though he's a risky play, making him more of a candidate for big tournaments.
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Roman Josi, NSH ($6,000)
After scoring two goals with six assists during a four-game winning streak from Feb. 23-28, Josi has gone 11 games in March without a goal (though he does have eight assists). Prior to a 2-1 win against the New York Islanders on Saturday, the Boston Bruins had allowed 20 goals during a four-game losing streak. The Nashville Predators offense has been hot with 25 goals in the past seven games, and Josi doesn't need to score to provide value against the Bruins. He has 111 blocks in 65 games, and Boston ranks second in the NHL with 33.6 SOG per game.
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Sami Vatanen, ANA ($4,200)
Vatanen has had a disappointing season compared to his past two (75 points combined), but the Anaheim Ducks defenseman has a chance to redeem himself against the Vancouver Canucks. The Ducks have rode a hot streak to the top of the Pacific Division and won't want to let the Canucks stand in their way of extending that lead. Vatanen has two assists in his past 10 games but also has two assists, five blocks and five SOG in three games against Vancouver (3.0 DraftKings points per game). He should have a very low ownership percentage in a decent matchup.
Video: TOR@ANA: Vatanen one-times Getzlaf's incredible dish
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Craig Anderson, OTT ($7,800)
The Ottawa Senators are closing in on the Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic Division and will start Anderson against the Philadelphia Flyers. Anderson made 33 saves on 35 shots in a 3-2 shootout win against the Flyers on Nov. 15 (7.6 DraftKings points). He also has impressive road splits, 11-5-0 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in 16 games. The Flyers offense has struggled against the Senators (five goals in two games) and is very enigmatic. Anderson is another contrarian play that should give you nice variation in a tournament lineup.
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