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: Aleksander Barkov, FLA ($6,400)
Barkov has 23 points in 25 home games and faces the Minnesota Wild, who will be on the second game of a back-to-back set. With Devan Dubnyk starting on Thursday, Barkov will likely face Wild backup Darcy Kuemper with a chance to end a five-game goal drought. Barkov plays major minutes (19:25) and is a fixture on the Florida Panthers' first power-play unit (11 power-play points in 50 games).
Video: CGY@FLA: Barkov goes five-hole to beat Johnson
VALUE CENTER: Sam Gagner, CBJ ($4,300)
Gagner, an early-season fantasy standout who cooled off significantly in January and February, has bounced back with a three-game point streak on the Columbus Blue Jackets' third line and second power-play unit with Scott Hartnell. He has two goals, two assists, two blocks and three shots on goal in the three-game span and has 22 points in 33 home games. The Buffalo Sabres have one win in their past eight games and have been outscored 32-23 in that span.
TOP WING: Artemi Panarin, CHI ($6,200)
Even on the second of a back-to-back set, Panarin has a favorable matchup at the Detroit Red Wings. The Chicago Blackhawks wing has 31 points in 31 road games and had 5.0 DraftKings points against the Red Wings on Jan. 10. He has 11 points and 27 SOG in 12 games on no days' rest, and has 22 points in 23 games against the Eastern Conference. He enters Thursday on a five-game point streak.
Video: NYI@CHI: Panarin pots one-timer to tie the game late
VALUE WING: Patrick Maroon, EDM ($5,000)
Fantasy owners should include Jake Guentzel ($4,700) of the Pittsburgh Penguins and/or Nick Schmaltz ($4,300) of the Blackhawks in their lineups, but should also consider another affordable wing in Maroon. Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby will go head-to-head Friday, and Maroon has a chance to be part of any offense playing on McDavid's left wing. He had two points and four SOG (7.0 DraftKings points) against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 8.
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Justin Schultz, PIT ($5,500)
Schultz has been rolling ever since Mark Streit joined the Penguins, totaling three goals, three assists, four blocks and seven SOG (6.8 DraftKings points per game). Tied for fourth in scoring among defensemen (45 points in 62 games), Schultz has been one of the biggest fantasy surprise stories League-wide and will have a heavy workload with Kris Letang (upper body) likely out again. Expect some added motivation from Schultz when he visits the Oilers, his former team.
Video: PIT@WPG: Schultz rips a slapper top-shelf for PPG
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Sami Vatanen, ANA ($4,100)
Vatanen has underachieved from a fantasy standpoint, but has been generating more offense lately with three points, three blocks and 14 SOG in his past three games (5.2 DraftKings points per game). He had an assist and seven SOG against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, and has played 22:00 or more in six of his eight games since returning from injury. Though his point production has dipped (0.37 per game) compared to last season (0.54), he has more than 100 blocks (104) and is approaching 100 SOG (90), solid coverage even if he doesn't have a point.
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Jake Allen, STL ($7,700)
Allen has been outstanding in his past 10 games, going 6-4-0 with a .943 save percentage and two shutouts. He's 14-8-2 with a .908 SV% and one shutout at home this season, and the Anaheim Ducks have been outscored 99-82 in 34 road games. If backup Carter Hutton gets the start instead, he's $100 cheaper and has allowed one goal or fewer in four of his past five starts.
Video: STL@MIN: Allen slides to deny Staal on a breakaway
Check out DraftKings.com to play 1-Day Fantasy Hockey today. Entering is quick and simple: sign up for a free account, enter the $3 1-Day Fantasy Hockey contest and set your lineup, catch the games and win!
DraftKings fantasy hockey contests are operated by DraftKings Inc. and are in no way sponsored or administered by the NHL and/or any of its affiliated entities. Prohibited and/or not available in AL, AZ, DE, GA, HI, IA, ID, LA, MT, NV and WA. Offered in IL and TX pending litigation. See terms for additional eligibility rules.