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DraftKings picks: MacKinnon eyes outdoor outburst

Shot volume signals breakout; DFS picks by position

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Fantasy Insider

NOTE: These picks are for eight-game DraftKings contests and do not include the Arizona Coyotes at Philadelphia Flyers game Saturday afternoon.

CENTERS

Spend up for: Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche ($6,600)

The Avalanche host the Detroit Red Wings in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, and it just might be the breath of fresh air MacKinnon needs to snap his six-game goal drought. He has 26 shots on goal in that span and one goal on 43 SOG in his past 10 games, and is also among the forward leaders in blocked shots (50 in 63 games). MacKinnon averages 4.0 DraftKings points per contest in home games and presents a low-priced stacking option with even-strength linemate Alex Tanguay ($3,200) to offset his cost.

Value pick: Vincent Trocheck, Florida Panthers ($5,000)

With Aleksander Barkov back from injury, Trocheck has been moved off the top line. But don't let that keep you from drafting him against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who allow the sixth-most DraftKings points to opposing centers. Trocheck has one goal, one assist, two blocked shots and five SOG in two games against the Blue Jackets this season (4.3 DraftKings points per game), and has been excellent at BB&T Center with 24 points (10 on power play) and 86 SOG in 33 games. On a busy Saturday, he brings low ownership and multipoint potential in DFS.

WINGS

Spend up for: Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames ($7,100)

Gaudreau leads the NHL in home points per game (1.40; 42 points in 30 games) and is worth rolling out in a favorable spot against the Ottawa Senators, who allow the third-most DraftKings points to opposing wings. He has a six-game point streak and 10 points in his past nine games. With Jamie Benn ($8,500; top-priced wing) putting his elite home stats to the test against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, take the safer, more affordable route and build your lineup around Gaudreau.

Value pick: Jamie McGinn, Buffalo Sabres ($3,900)

McGinn has a much better road DraftKings points per game average (2.7) than he does at home (1.7), so stack him conveniently with even-strength linemate Jack Eichel ($5,700) as against-the-grain plays at the Los Angeles Kings. He has five points, four blocks and 20 SOG in his past 10 games and had a two-goal game Feb. 19. As a general rule of thumb, a forward priced below $4,000 who plays top-six and first power-play minutes is worth the risk as a cheap flier to round out your roster.

DEFENSEMEN

Spend up for: Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins ($6,900)

Letang is second among defensemen in points per game (0.92) and is in a prime spot at home against the depleted Winnipeg Jets, who have lost Bryan Little for the season and traded Andrew Ladd. He's better than a point per game at home this season (26 points in 24 games) and has strong peripherals (85 blocks, 156 SOG). He and Erik Karlsson ($8,000) have separated themselves from the rest of the pack at their position, but drafting Letang allows you to use that $1,100 in savings to invest in any Penguins forward who plays on the power play -- especially with Evgeni Malkin ($7,400) returning from injury.

Value pick: Ryan Murray, Blue Jackets ($3,700)

When looking for foundational coverage among skaters, the primary category of reference is SOG. But don't forget to refer to blocked shots, which are worth the same as SOG in DraftKings, specifically when choosing your second defenseman. Murray has four points and five SOG in his past 10 games, but most notably has 30 blocks in that span, including eight in one game Feb. 5. He ranks 12th League-wide in the category entering Friday (129), and is averaging more than 22 minutes per game this season. He offers exposure to all situations, covers blocks as well as many middle-tier forwards cover SOG, and is worth rostering as long as he's below the $4,000 mark.

GOALIES

Spend up for: Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators ($7,700)

Rinne is 0-3-0 against the St. Louis Blues this season, but has only allowed seven goals in those games and has a .925 save percentage in 35 career games against them. He has finally turned his season around, helping Nashville earn a point in each of his past four outings (3-0-1) with four goals allowed and one shutout. His even-strength SV% in that stretch is .963, considerably better than his rate for the season (.918). Carter Hutton, meanwhile, is 4-0-1 with six goals allowed in his past five outings and offers $300 in savings if he gets the start Saturday.

Value pick: Mike Condon, Montreal Canadiens ($7,400)

Condon has bounced back from a miserable, two-month stretch by going 2-0-1 with six goals allowed in his past three games. The only loss in that stretch came against the Nashville Predators, where he allowed one goal on 30 shots faced for 4.8 DraftKings points. His opponent, the Toronto Maple Leafs, are in sell-now mode and allow the most DraftKings points to opposing goalies this season. This value pick is matchup-based, with Condon having better peripheral category coverage at home than on the road, but his solid play of late gives DFS owners added peace of mind. He's tied for 14th among goalies in price.

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