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.
C - Evgeni Malkin, PIT at LA ($7,000)
A healthy Malkin is essentially as valuable as a healthy Sidney Crosby, who is priced $1,200 higher than his Pittsburgh Penguins teammate. Malkin has three goals and two assists on a three-game point streak and had at least 6.5 DraftKings points in three of his past five games. The Los Angeles Kings have allowed the second-most points to opposing centers and their penalty kill (26th; 73.7 percent) will have to try to stop the Penguins power play (4th; 26.5). Malkin has as high a ceiling as any center in DraftKings contests Thursday and is conveniently priced eighth at his position.
C - Ryan Johansen, NSH at ARI ($5,500)
It took a while, but Johansen finally broke through with his first goal of the season (and an assist) in the Nashville Predators' 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. He had had four assists in his previous eight games and was off the scoresheet in six. This is another case when one team's power play has an amazing matchup against the opponent's penalty kill; the Predators PP is second in the NHL (33.3 percent) and the Arizona Coyotes PK is 25th (74.2). Johansen had 11 power-play points in 42 games with Nashville last season and is on the first unit. He offers a nice contrarian play with a heavy slate of games (12).
W - Vladimir Tarasenko, STL at DAL ($7,700)
Tarasenko is in the midst of a six-game goal drought but has done some damage against the Dallas Stars in his career. The St. Louis Blues wing has eight goals and 13 points in 14 games against the Stars, who are sixth in the NHL in goals allowed per game (3.22). The Blues offense has been stagnant, but the Stars could be the perfect remedy regardless of whether Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi is the goalie. Tarasenko is more than due, but even if he doesn't score, the Stars are allowing 30 shots on goal per game, and his ownership percentage should be lower than normal.
W - Jimmy Vesey, NYR vs. EDM ($4,900)
The New York Rangers may have the best offense in the NHL right now and not even Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot can slow it down. New York is first in the NHL in goals per game (4.00) and has scored at least five in half of its 10 games this season. Vesey has been a big contributor, leading the Rangers in goals (6) with nine points (three PPP). He's one of New York's cheaper forwards and makes for a great stack option with right wing J.T. Miller ($5,000) and center Mika Zibanejad ($6,300), which will help you cover all of the Rangers' top three lines.
D - Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF vs. TOR ($5,600)
Ristolainen has two assists in six games since starting the season with five assists in the Buffalo Sabres' first three games. He has yet to score a goal but has as good a matchup as any Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are allowing the most points to opposing defensemen in DraftKings. The Sabres offense has struggled, but they are on a three-game winning streak, and the Maple Leafs are allowing 3.60 goals per game. There are safer bets than Ristolainen at defenseman, but if he breaks out Thursday at his salary he would pay huge dividends as a low-ownership target.
D - David Schlemko, SJS vs. CGY ($3,300)
Schlemko and the San Jose Sharks have a strong matchup against the Calgary Flames, who have failed to kill penalties (72.3 percent). Schlemko plays on the Sharks' second power-play unit and has three assists (two PPP) in his past three games. The Flames have allowed at least four goals five times, and the Sharks have scored seven goals in their past two games at home. If this game gets out of hand, it wouldn't be hard for Schlemko to find the scoresheet.
G - Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT at LA ($8,000)
With Matt Murray making his season debut for the Penguins on Wednesday, Fleury has been confirmed as the starter against the Kings, who have been shut out in three straight games. Los Angeles has scored more than three goals in regulation once, and Fleury will be playing on four day's rest; he was 11-2-0 on at least three day's rest last season. The Penguins may be playing the second of a back-to-back but have enough depth to get by a snakebitten Kings offense.
G - Cory Schneider, NJD at FLA ($7,700)
Schneider's price continues to be affordable though he has four wins and incredible peripherals in seven starts (1.86 goals-against average, .941 save percentage). He hasn't allowed more than three goals in a game, and the New Jersey Devils are beginning to provide him with goal support; they've scored 10 goals in the past three games. The Florida Panthers have scored 10 goals and are 1-4-0 in their past five games. Schneider will face a high volume of shots; the Panthers are tied for seventh with 31.3 SOG per game.
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