Each day during the 2015-16 season, NHL.com's fantasy staff will identify one player at each position worth owning in DraftKings daily fantasy hockey contests. Based on factors including but not limited to matchups, line combinations, power-play usage, statistical coverage and recent production, we'll provide you with lower-priced options that can help you build a winning lineup.
Players accumulate points in DraftKings for each goal (3 points), assist (2), shot on goal (0.5), blocked shot (0.5) and shootout goal (0.2). Bonuses are given for shorthanded points (1) and hat tricks (1.5). Goalies accumulate points for each win (3) and save (0.2), and lose a point for each goal allowed. Goalie bonuses are given for a shutout (2) where the goalie completes the entire game with no goals allowed in regulation (and overtime, if applicable). Shootout goals will not prevent a shutout, and goalies will receive points for any goals or assists they score in a game. Penalty minutes, hits, plus-minus and PP points DO NOT count in DraftKings. DraftKings lineups must include nine players (2 C, 3 W, 2 D, 1 G, 1 FLEX) and fit within the $50,000 salary cap.
Brayden Schenn, C, Philadelphia Flyers
DraftKings price: $4,000
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The foundational production has been there from Schenn for most of the season (64 shots on goal in 27 games), but he's finally taking off in terms of points in an expanded role. He's skating on the top line with affordable superstar Claude Giroux ($6,700; 27 points in 29 games) and Michael Raffl ($3,300), who brings goal-scoring pop on occasion. Schenn plays on the top power-play unit with Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and value defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere ($3,800), which means he gets even more exposure to scoring chances. There are no players between $4,000 and $4,400 in this Friday contest, so fall back on Schenn, who's 24th among centers in price and riding a three-game point streak, as your second center or FLEX option against the Dallas Stars, who are the top offense in the League (3.50 goals per game) but allow three goals per game on home ice this season (39 in 13 games).
Valeri Nichushkin, W, Dallas Stars
DraftKings price: $3,500
Tyler Seguin ($8,800) and Jamie Benn ($8,400) are each on pace for 100-plus points with elite SOG production and priced accordingly. Nichushkin, who has flanked that duo the past few games on the right wing, has nine points in his past 10 games and is priced $1,000 above the bottom of the barrel in DraftKings. He's a growing commodity in larger contests, but is still worth rolling out every night in head-to-head or 50-50 formats until he slows down. He broke out of his home scoring drought Tuesday with three points and one SOG. While he doesn't do much damage on the power play with so many offensive studs in front of him in the pecking order, Nichushkin is a value dream at home against the Flyers, who have played much better of late but have still allowed 43 goals in 15 road games this season.
Olli Maatta, D, Pittsburgh Penguins
DraftKings price: $3,200
Since returning from injury, Maatta has been a point-producing machine with two goals and two assists in his three-game point streak. Kris Letang will not play Friday because of an upper-body injury, so Maatta should see 20-plus minutes of ice time and first-unit power-play action in his absence. Among defensemen with a minimum of 20 games played this season, Maatta ranks fifth in goals per 60 minutes (.67) behind only Justin Faulk, Brent Burns, Shea Weber and Dustin Byfuglien. He's tied for 43rd at his position in price Friday and can spell you thousands of dollars in cap relief and provide peripheral coverage as well (26 blocks, 21 SOG in 21 games).
John Gibson, G, Anaheim Ducks
DraftKings price: $6,500
Gibson and Connor Hellebuyck (also $6,500) are new to the DFS party and remain tremendous value plays because of their strong play and low prices, but I like Gibson on normal rest at home against the Carolina Hurricanes much more than Hellebuyck (if he plays) on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks and Patrick Kane's 24-game point streak. The Hurricanes are allowing the fourth-most DraftKings points per contest to opposing goalies, and Gibson suits up at Honda Center, where he's won two straight and is 4-1-1 with seven goals allowed and two shutouts in six games this season. There are eight goalies in the contest who are priced $1,000 more than Gibson. I'll take that value any day of the week with a favorable matchup.