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.
NOTE: These picks are for two-day contests, including Game 1 of the Western Conference Final between the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks on Friday, and Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
TOP CENTER: Ryan Johansen, NSH ($6,100) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 5.5
Johansen thrived for Nashville in the first-round sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks, finishing with six points (one goal, five assists). He struggled at times in the second round against the St. Louis Blues, with one assist in five games before breaking out for two points (one goal, one assists) in a 3-1, Game 6 win. Johansen led Predators forwards with three points (one goal, two assists) in their first-round series win against the Ducks last season. The Predators will face arguably the weakest goaltender left in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, John Gibson, and Johansen offers contrarian value at center.
Video: STL@NSH, Gm6: Johansen nets backhand on the rush
VALUE CENTER: Derick Brassard, OTT ($4,500) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.0
Brassard is tied for first among Senators forwards with nine points (three goals, six assists) in 12 playoff games. He leads Ottawa with 35 shots on goal (2.9 per game) and Pittsburgh is allowing the most SOG per game (35.3) in the playoffs. Brassard has a high floor considering he's priced eighth among centers for the two-day contest and is averaging 3.2 DraftKings points in his past 10 games.
Video: NYR@OTT, Gm5: Brassard deflects in late equalizer
TOP WING: Jakob Silfverberg, ANA ($6,300) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 6.5
It's tough not to go with Penguins right wing Phil Kessel ($6,300) in this spot, but Silfverberg may be overlooked in many lineups. After a five-game point streak (five goals, three assists) for the Ducks to start the second round against the Edmonton Oilers, Silfverberg was scoreless in Games 6 and 7 (2.0 DraftKings points combined). He also took fewer shots in the past two games (three) and will have a tough task against Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. But Silfverberg had two goals and nine SOG in three games against Nashville during the regular season, and Anaheim will carry plenty of momentum from its Game 7 win against Edmonton.
VALUE WING: Bryan Rust, PIT ($4,400) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 2.5
Depending on how the Penguins lines look for Game 1, take your pick between Rust and wing Conor Sheary ($4,800). Rust is the cheaper option and scored the game-winner in a 2-0 victory against the Washington Capitals in Game 7 on Wednesday. He's playing on a line with center Sidney Crosby and wing Jake Guentzel, who leads the playoffs with nine goals. Rust is a solid boom-bust option for tournaments and was successful against Ottawa during the regular season, with four points (three goals, one assist) in two games.
Video: PIT@WSH, Gm7: Rust roofs Guentzel's perfect pass
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Erik Karlsson, OTT ($7,500) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 4.5
Karlsson might be the top option of any player in the two-day contest. He had one goal and four assists in Games 5 and 6 to close out the Senators' second-round series against the New York Rangers, combining for 15.5 DraftKings points. Karlsson leads remaining defensemen in ice time per game (28:57), and, as mentioned above, the Penguins are allowing a ton of SOG this postseason. He also dominated them during the regular season, scoring seven points (one goal, six assists) with four blocks and nine SOG in three games.
Video: OTT@NYR, Gm6: Karlsson buries Ryan's slick dish
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Sami Vatanen, ANA ($3,700) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.5
Vatanen has dealt with injury this postseason but finished the second round with at least 3.0 DraftKings points in four of five games for the Ducks. That's largely a testament to his defense; he has 16 blocked shots in his past five games. Vatanen had a down regular season offensively (24 points in 71 games) but was productive against the Predators with three assists, three blocks and 11 SOG in three games (4.3 DraftKings points per contest).
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Pekka Rinne, NSH ($7,500) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 6.4
It's a bit baffling that Rinne, who leads the NHL with a 1.37 goals-against average and .951 save percentage this postseason, is third in salary among projected starting goalies. Sure, he's on the road, where Nashville lost twice in the second round to the St. Louis Blues, but he managed 4.0 DraftKings points in one of those games. Rinne has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of 10 playoff games, a testament to the Predators' impressive defensive play, which should continue against the Ducks. The extra rest (four days) also doesn't hurt.
Video: STL@NSH, Gm6: Rinne extends to snag Parayko's wrister
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