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.
NOTE: These picks are for nine-game Saturday contests, excluding the 1 p.m. ET game between the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres.
C - Auston Matthews, TOR ($7,100)
Matthews' early-season production will be tested against the dominant Montreal Canadiens (7-0-1), but his shot volume alone (30; fourth in NHL) makes him worth your investment as a high-floor DFS option. He is tied for second in the NHL entering Friday with 10 points in seven games and is still only the 10th most-expensive skater in DraftKings, $900 cheaper than top-priced center Sidney Crosby ($8,000).
C - Joel Eriksson Ek, MIN ($2,500)
On such busy DFS nights, it's never a bad idea to consider any productive player priced at or near the bottom of the barrel to spell yourself salary-cap relief. Eriksson Ek, who has five points in his first four games for the Minnesota Wild playing mostly with Chris Stewart and Jason Zucker, is averaging 4.0 DraftKings points per game and is still at minimum price for a home game against the depleted Dallas Stars.
W - Wayne Simmonds, PHI ($6,400)
Simmonds is providing his trademark coverage of goals (five), points (seven), power-play points (five) and SOG (22) on the Philadelphia Flyers first line and top power-play unit with Claude Giroux ($6,800). You can count on him to bring offense and physicality against the Pittsburgh Penguins, whom he has 20 points (nine power-play points) and 51 SOG in 24 career regular-season games.
Video: CAR@PHI: Simmonds finishes rebound in front for PPG
W - Mikko Rantanen, COL ($3,900)
Rantanen, second among American Hockey League rookies in scoring (60 points in 52 games) last season, is making his season debut Friday on the Colorado Avalanche's top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikhail Grigorenko. He will have a chance to do damage Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes, who are allowing the most goals per game in the League (4.29). His DraftKings price will remain unaltered Saturday because of the back-to-back situation, so taking fliers on Eriksson Ek and Rantanen will allow you to spend up at other roster spots.
D - Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI ($6,000)
Ekman-Larsson has three goals in his past two games, and is averaging 4.1 DraftKings points per game this season with five goals, seven blocks and 20 SOG in his first seven games (six on road). The Coyotes-Avalanche game should be high scoring, so don't hesitate to draft Ekman-Larsson, priced seventh at his position. He leads the NHL in power-play ice time per game (5:11) and will save you salary compared to top-priced defenseman Brent Burns ($8,300).
Video: ARI@PHI: Ekman-Larsson spins, scores through traffic
D - Alec Martinez, LAK ($4,600)
Martinez has points in four straight games, totaling two goals, four assists, eight blocks and 12 SOG in the span (6.0 DraftKings points per game). He's been a point-per-game player through seven games, is on the Los Angeles Kings' second pair with Jake Muzzin, and is averaging nearly two minutes per game (1:58; two PPP) on the power play.
G - Braden Holtby, WSH ($8,100)
Holtby has struggled in his past two outings, allowing a total of seven goals in losses to the New York Rangers at home and the Edmonton Oilers on the road. That said, a trip to face the Vancouver Canucks offers a bounce-back opportunity for Holtby, who faces the worst offense in the League in terms of goals per game (2.00).
Video: WSH@EDM: Holtby denies the Oilers twice up close
G - Cory Schneider, NJD ($7,200)
The New Jersey Devils are starting Keith Kinkaid on Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks and Schneider on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. That will mark Kinkaid's first outing of the season; Schneider played the first six games, going 3-2-1 with outstanding peripherals (2.00 goals-against average, .936 save percentage). Schneider should face a heavy shot volume against the Lightning and return value in DFS even if he doesn't get the win.
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