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.
Pavel Datsyuk, C, Detroit Red Wings
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DraftKings price: $5,600
Datsyuk has produced underwhelming offensive numbers since returning from injury (two goals, one assist in 10 games), but it's only a matter of time before his first multipoint game of the season. That could come Thursday at home against the Arizona Coyotes, who have the fifth-most road goals allowed per game (3.07; 43 goals in 14 road games). Datsyuk, who's averaging an impressive three shots on goal per game (30 in 10 games), is playing with familiar linemate Darren Helm ($3,200), who has been nonexistent but could emerge as a lower-tier threat if stacked with Datsyuk in DFS.
Justin Williams, W, Washington Capitals
DraftKings price: $4,800
You probably remember Williams for his past Stanley Cup Playoff heroics, but his regular-season numbers have taken off since Evgeny Kuznetsov moved off Alex Ovechkin's side and onto his line. Kuznetsov is tied for fourth in even-strength scoring and Williams has goals in five of his past nine games. He faces Montreal Canadiens backup goalie Mike Condon, who is 5-2-2 at Bell Centre this season but has a mediocre save percentage in those games (.903). Williams, 34, is averaging 2.65 SOG per game this season and is tied for 30th in DraftKings price among wings.
Jared Spurgeon, D, Minnesota Wild
DraftKings price: $4,400
Spurgeon has been excellent at home this season (nine points, 28 blocks, 17 SOG in 12 games) and is tied for 10th in the NHL entering Thursday with 2.2 blocked shots per game (minimum 20 games played). He sees close to two minutes of power-play time per game and could exploit the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are playing the second game of a back-to-back after a lopsided loss at the Winnipeg Jets. Spurgeon averages 3.0 DraftKings points per contest (T-16th among defenseman), but is tied for 22nd in DraftKings price, so there's certainly value here on a night where the defenseman pool doesn't have a ton of high-floor options per dollar.
Kari Lehtonen, G, Dallas Stars
DraftKings price: $7,100
There's some sleeper upside with Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche at $6,800 on the road against the depleted New York Rangers on the second of their back-to-back, but I'd rather roll the safer pick for $300 more in Lehtonen on the road against the Vancouver Canucks as he's likely to return from injury. Dallas should respond after a tough loss at the Calgary Flames earlier in the week, and Lehtonen is 6-0-0 with 12 goals allowed in road games this season. Vancouver is familiar with Dallas, having already played them twice this season, but I still love Lehtonen's chances of getting that important win bonus. He's also $900 cheaper than the most expensive goalie (Braden Holtby, $8,000).