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.
NOTE: These picks are for 13-game evening contests on Saturday, Oct. 10, excluding matinee game between Tampa Bay Lightning and Buffalo Sabres.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Washington Capitals
DraftKings price: $5,200
With Nicklas Backstrom sidelined for the season opener, Kuznetsov will center Alex Ovechkin, the most expensive DraftKings player ($8,700) of the night, in a favorable home game against the New Jersey Devils. Ovechkin has 39 points in 37 career games against the Devils, and Kuznetsov is coming off a strong preseason with six points and 15 shots on goal in five games. Expect the well-rested Capitals to exploit the Devils, who play their second game in as many nights. Stacking Kuznetsov, Ovechkin and affordable wing T.J. Oshie ($5,000) is a worthwhile strategy because Ovi's linemates offset the steep price tag.
Jaromir Jagr, W, Florida Panthers
DraftKings price: $4,800
The 43-year-old is still playing at a high level and plays the Philadelphia Flyers, one of his many former teams, in the Panthers opener. He's expected to flank Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, his linemates from the tail-end of last season, against Philadelphia which had the sixth-worst road record in the League last season and lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime Thursday. At this price, Jagr is a no-brainer because he averaged nearly a point per game (18) and 2.5 SOG per game (50) in 20 games with Florida last season.
Brent Burns, D, San Jose Sharks
DraftKings price: $5,700
The only defensemen in this contest who average more DraftKings points per game than Burns are Erik Karlsson, Roman Josi and Mark Giordano, so his value is evident with six defensemen priced higher in this contest and Erik Karlsson (similar ceiling) going for $1,200 more. Burns did it all in the Sharks' opener against the Los Angeles Kings with two points, four SOG and two blocked shots, which is no surprise considering he finished tied for second among defensemen in points and third in SOG last season to go with 125 blocks in 82 games. With the DraftKings price structure scaled down early this season, Burns is a great pick who can help you gain late-game points on the West coast to finish your contest strong.
Petr Mrazek, G, Detroit Red Wings
DraftKings price: $7,000
I was torn between Antti Niemi and Mrazek, who are going for the same price, but I like the matchup a lot more for Mrazek at the low-scoring Carolina Hurricanes as opposed to Niemi at the Colorado Avalanche. A lot more DFS owners will be going with Niemi after his monster shutout with two assists against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, but the Avalanche likely will score some goals and be motivated after blowing a big lead and losing in regulation in their opener on Thursday. Jimmy Howard had a 22-save shutout against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, so Mrazek will start Saturday. Mrazek's road record last season was 11-5-0 with two shutouts in the regular season and 2-2 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with one shutout. The Hurricanes have a respectable power play, but those situations were Mrazek's forte last postseason (.976 playoff PP save percentage). Eighteen goalies are priced higher than Mrazek going against one of the worst offenses in the League. Anything can happen, but I'll take my chances with those odds on a busy night like this.