NOTE: These picks are for 11-game Saturday contests and do not include the four afternoon games.
C - Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks ($5,900)
Thornton's surge continued Thursday with a two-point outing, marking his sixth straight game with at least a point. He averages nearly a point per game at SAP Center this season (37 points in 40 games) and has four assists, two blocks and two shots on goal in four games against the Arizona Coyotes. His low shot volume (118 in 81 games) has kept his price under $6,000 all season, but he has posted his best single-season points output (81) since 2009-10 (89). He has 65 points in 52 games since Dec. 15 and has gone toe-to-toe with Sidney Crosby (66 points in 51 games) for the NHL lead in scoring during that span.
C - Frans Nielsen, New York Islanders ($5,400)
Nielsen is playing on the Islanders' top line alongside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, and fantasy results have materialized for the pending unrestricted free agent. Nielsen had a goal, three blocks and one SOG against the New York Rangers on Thursday, has points in three straight and five points in as many games. He has one goal, three blocks and eight SOG in two games against the Buffalo Sabres, who will be on the second of a back-to-back set Saturday.
W - Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues ($7,600)
Tarasenko, priced fourth among wings, has three straight multipoint games and a seven-game point streak. He provides $1,000 in savings compared to Patrick Kane ($8,600) of the Chicago Blackhawks, and has 37 points with nearly four SOG per game in 38 games at Scottrade Center. He faces the Washington Capitals, who have clinched the Presidents' Trophy, and scored a goal with three SOG and two blocks against them earlier in the season (5.5 DraftKings points).
W - Craig Smith, Nashville Predators ($4,700)
Smith has had an up-and-down season, but has exploited the Dallas Stars for three goals, two assists and 11 SOG in four games. He's approaching 40 points and 200 SOG, and can be stacked with linemates Filip Forsberg and/or Mike Ribeiro. He's tied for 46th among wings in price, provides top-six exposure, and allows you to spend up at other positions.
Video: TBL@NJD: Drouin nets an insurance goal in the 3rd
W - Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning ($3,100)
Taking a flier on Drouin was a successful strategy Thursday, as the forward scored a goal on four SOG in his return to the Lightning after a stint in the American Hockey League. He played with Vladislav Namestnikov and Alex Killorn on the Lightning's second line and made an immediate DFS impact for nearly minimum price ($2,600). His price has only risen $500, so there's not much to lose in drafting him for the game at the Montreal Canadiens, who have been outscored 32-21 in nine home games since the beginning of March.
D - Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks ($5,900)
Seabrook has one goal and four assists with 10 blocks and nine SOG in the first four games of Duncan Keith's suspension. He had one block and two SOG in his earlier game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but takes on greater offensive responsibility Saturday. The Blue Jackets allow the fifth-most DraftKings points to opposing defensemen, so let the well-rounded Seabrook loose on your fantasy blue line.
D - Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers ($4,900)
Ekblad's four-game point streak (six assists in span) ended Thursday, but he still chipped in a blocked shot and three SOG to salvage his DFS return with 2.0 DraftKings points. He's priced below $5,000 and offers first-unit power-play exposure, which is significant because the Panthers' convert at a 19.7 percent clip at home (T-15th in NHL) as opposed to 13.7 on the road (26th). He's tied for 29th in price among defensemen and one of the most steady middle-range options on the market.
G - Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings ($8,000)
Quick has the second-most home wins (24-12-2) in the NHL and has the Kings on the cusp of the Pacific Division title. He's tied for sixth in DraftKings price among goalies and has allowed four goals in two games against the Winnipeg Jets this season. His peripheral stats are on par with his career averages, but he has eclipsed the 40-win mark for the first time of his career. Roll him out with confidence in the Kings' season finale if he gets the start. Jhonas Enroth is even cheaper ($7,100) if he gets the call, and is tied for second League-wide in even-strength save percentage (.937) among goalies with at least 15 games played.
UTIL - William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs ($4,100)
Nylander already has four multipoint outings in 21 games since debuting Feb. 29, and 10 of his 13 points have come at Air Canada Centre. His first three road points at the NHL level (one goal, two assists) came Thursday with four SOG to help Toronto play spoiler by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime. The Maple Leafs rookie is still far from a sure thing on a nightly basis in DFS, but he has certainly made waves in a top-six role and should be a prime sleeper candidate entering next season.
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