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: John Tavares, NYI ($7,500)
The New York Islanders don't seem to quit, starting a nine-game road trip with two straight wins. Tavares has two goals, an assist and five shots on goal in those victories, and has three goals, six assists and 36 SOG in his past 10 games. The Islanders captain has good road splits: 12 goals, 12 assists and 90 SOG in 28 games. Plus, he's been great against the Columbus Blue Jackets this season, with one goal, two assists and four SOG in two games. Tavares shouldn't have an incredibly high ownership percentage with plenty of elite center options Saturday, making him a solid tournament play.
VALUE CENTER: Joe Thornton, SJS ($4,900)
Usually Thornton wouldn't be defined in DFS with the word value, but at this price he certainly is. The center had a five-game point streak (two goals, four assists) end Feb. 19, prior to the San Jose Sharks' five-day break. Thornton will look to start a new streak against the Vancouver Canucks, who have had problems containing him. He has 16 goals and 48 assists in 56 regular-season games against the Canucks. Thornton also has a high ceiling for a player whose salary is this low.
TOP WING: Filip Forsberg, NSH ($6,400)
The odds of Forsberg scoring a third straight hat trick are slim, but he's worth paying for to see if it happens. What better team to do it against than the Washington Capitals, who drafted Forsberg in 2012 before trading him to the Nashville Predators in 2013. Forsberg's splits at home can be misleading considering six of his 14 goals were scored in the past two games, but he has a high shot volume (93) in 31 games at Bridgestone Arena. Expect Forsberg's ownership percentage to be higher than usual, so it may make sense to only draft him for 50-50 contests.
Video: COL@NSH: Forsberg nets second consecutive hat trick
VALUE WING: Chris Kunitz, PIT ($4,800)
With injuries to forwards Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary, the Pittsburgh Penguins have reunited Kunitz with center Sidney Crosby. The Penguins play the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2017 NHL Coors Light Stadium Series at Heinz Field. Though Pittsburgh has struggled outdoors (1-2-0), the Penguins should be able to advantage of the Flyers, who have allowed 16 goals in their past four road games. Kunitz is affordable, and any player on the ice at the same time as Crosby for under $5,000 is worth the risk.
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Shea Weber, MTL ($5,800)
To say Weber enjoys playing the Toronto Maple Leafs would be an understatement. The Montreal Canadiens defenseman has one goal, four assists, 15 blocks and 14 SOG in three games against the Maple Leafs this season (8.5 DraftKings points per game). His inconsistent first season in Montreal has driven his price below $6,000, but Weber has been a safe play on most nights because of his category coverage (127 blocks, 148 SOG). Toronto has at least 31 SOG in each of its past 10 games and has allowed at least 31 in nine of 11.
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: David Schlemko, SJS ($3,300)
The Canucks are dealing with the mumps, which could leave their lineup shorthanded against the Sharks. If so, a lopsided result could go in San Jose's favor, which would lead to added value for Schlemko, who is more of an offensive specialist on defense. He entered the five-day break with three assists, seven blocks and 11 SOG in three games (5.0 DraftKings points per game). The Canucks have allowed four PP goals in their past three games, plus Schlemko had one assist, three blocks and a SOG (4.0 DraftKings points) against Vancouver on Feb. 2.
Video: SJS@MTL: Schlemko uses screen on PPG to open scoring
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Carey Price, MTL ($7,400)
Being able to draft Price at this, well, price is extremely attractive against the Maple Leafs despite the game being at Air Canada Centre. The Canadiens goalie has struggled lately, going 3-6-0 with a .905 save percentage in his past nine games. But like Weber, he has dominated Toronto this season. In three games against the Maple Leafs, Price is 3-0-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .953 SV% (8.1 DraftKings points per contest). Even if Price allows a few goals and takes a loss, he should see a high shot volume, making his floor higher.
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