Each day this season, NHL.com's fantasy staff will provide daily picks for DraftKings NHL contests. This list of targets includes expensive and value options at each position to help you build a winning roster.
C - John Tavares, NYI ($7,600)
Andrew Ladd (W, $5,600) has yet to score a point through four games despite playing on the New York Islanders' top line with Tavares. He has two blocks and eight shots on goal, but has been one of the biggest fantasy disappointments thus far. That said, it's only a matter of time before this new-look top line starts clicking, and the outburst for Tavares (2.9 DraftKings points per game) and Ladd could come Friday at home against the Arizona Coyotes. Arizona has allowed the most goals per game (5.0) entering Thursday, will likely be without goalie Mike Smith, and will be playing the second game of a back-to-back.
C - Dylan Strome, ARI ($3,900)
After being a healthy scratch in the Coyotes' first game of the season, Strome made his NHL debut Tuesday and had an assist and one SOG. He played mostly with Anthony Duclair and Tobias Rieder on the second line at even strength, and logged 3:22 on the power play. For a shade under $4,000, Strome is a clear value pick and an affordable stack with Duclair (W, $4,000).
W - Thomas Vanek, DET ($5,200)
Vanek is tied for ninth among wings in DraftKings price, and is tied for the League lead in power-play points (four) entering Thursday. He has six points in his first four games with the Detroit Red Wings, playing on the first power-play unit with forwards Henrik Zetterberg, Frans Nielsen and Tomas Tatar, and defenseman Mike Green. He's averaging 13:02 of ice time per game, but 2:53 has come with the man-advantage.
Video: DET@NYR: Vanek redirects Nielsen's shot for PPG
W - Richard Panik, CHI ($4,700)
Panik has five points in his first four games with two coming on the power play. He will play with Jonathan Toews again on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have allowed nine goals in their first two games. He ranks third in DraftKings points per game among wings, yet is 14th at his position in price. Until his price rises above $5,000, Panik is worth rolling out in DFS and can be stacked conveniently with linemate Tyler Motte (W, $3,800).
D - Brent Seabrook, CHI ($5,800)
There's a good chance Patrick Kane (W, $8,300) and Artemi Panarin (W, $6,700) will exploit the suspect Blue Jackets defense, so try to spend up for at least one. It's also recommended to get a piece of Chicago's first power-play unit with either Duncan Keith ($5,900) or the slightly cheaper Seabrook. Seabrook had a career-high 49 points last season and has had back-to-back multipoint games against the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators.
D - Alex Goligoski, ARI ($4,800)
Goligoski is playing major minutes and seeing plenty of power-play time for the Coyotes, and his DFS production has been outstanding as a result. He has three assists, six blocks and four SOG in his first two games, an average of 5.5 DraftKings points per contest (third among defensemen Friday). Eight defensemen are more expensive than Goligoski. If you need a cheaper defenseman, look no further than Zach Werenski ($4,200), who will play first power-play minutes for the Blue Jackets against the Blackhawks, who have the worst penalty kill in the NHL (47 percent).
G - Corey Crawford, CHI ($8,400)
Crawford has the best chance at the win bonus of any goalie in action Friday. The Blue Jackets are allowing the third-most DraftKings points to opposing goalies so far this season, and Crawford should get plenty of goal support. He is 11-3-2 with strong peripherals (2.19 goals-against average, .926 save percentage, one shutout) against Columbus in his NHL career.
Video: PHI@CHI: Crawford stones Simmonds in the 1st
G - Petr Mrazek ($7,600) or Jimmy Howard, DET ($7,500)
The Detroit Red Wings are tied for seventh in team save percentage (.914 in four games) entering Thursday, and are coming off an impressive 2-1 win at the New York Rangers on Wednesday. Howard stopped 32 of 33 shots faced, including all seven shots faced with the Rangers on the power play, and Mrazek has had a .919 or better SV% in each of his past two outings. On a three-game DFS slate like this, it's a good strategy to pick a cost-effective goalie playing at home (Red Wings host Nashville Predators) from one game and load up on skaters from the other two.
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