DraftKings NHL: Thursday Breakdown

DraftKings NHL: Thursday Breakdown

This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.

Thursday's NHL slate consists of 10 games after 7:00 p.m. EDT. Below, you'll find a breakdown of the action and suggested options for crafting an effective DraftKings DFS lineup. All game lines and odds used below are pulled from DraftKings Sportsbook.

SLATE PREVIEW

Thursday's usually one of the busier days on the NHL calendar, and the first Thursday of the season is no exception, with 10 games on the docket. Two teams stand head and shoulders above the rest as heavy home favorites. Those are the Penguins (-365) against Arizona and the Golden Knights (-350) versus Chicago. Coyotes-Penguins and Blackhawks-Golden Knights both have over/unders of 6.5 goals, as does Senators-Sabres, but the game with the highest over/under is Capitals-Maple Leafs at 7.0. On the other end of the spectrum, Stars-Predators comes in with a slate-low over/under of 5.5 goals.

GOALIES

Tristan Jarry, PIT vs. ARI ($8,500): Jarry's coming off a terrific season in which he established himself as an above-average starter with a 34-18-6 record, 2.42 GAA and .919 save percentage. He should be worth paying up for against a Coyotes team that averaged a league-low 2.51 goals per game last season.

Sergei Bobrovsky, FLA at NYI ($7,900): The Islanders just snuck into the bottom 10 with 2.79 goals per game last season and proceeded to part ways with coach Barry Trotz after missing the playoffs. That move was puzzling to say the least considering Trotz's defensive system was arguably the primary reason New York's middling roster made a pair of deep recent playoff runs to begin with. Playoff success is something that has eluded Bobrovsky and the Panthers, but Florida finished atop the regular season standings last season thanks in large part to Bobrovsky's 39-7-3 record, 2.67 GAA and .913 save percentage.

Igor Shesterkin, NYR at MIN ($7,700): Shesterkin was matchup-proof last season en route to a 36-13-4 record, 2.07 GAA and.935 save percentage. Things seem no different one game into 2022-23, as he made 25 saves in a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay to open the season Tuesday. If he gets the nod Thursday, Shesterkin should hold up just fine, even on the road against a Wild offense that ranked fifth at 3.72 goals per game last season.

VALUE PLAYS/ONE-OFFS

Mikko Rantanen, COL at CGY ($7,400): The Flames were the league's third-stingiest defensive team last season, but it wouldn't be surprising if Calgary took some time to gel in 2022-23 after an offseason personnel overhaul. While the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri are learning to play with each other in Calgary, Colorado's top forwards already have built-in chemistry coming off a Stanley Cup run, and that chemistry was on full display in Wednesday's season opener. The Avalanche scored four power-play goals in a dominant 5-2 win over Chicago, and Rantanen assisted on all four man-advantage tallies.

Alex DeBrincat, OTT at BUF ($6,900): DeBrincat's one of the most prominent familiar faces in new places, as the rebuilding Blackhawks traded the 5-foot-7 winger to Ottawa coming off his second 41-goal season. It may not take long for DeBrincat to demonstrate his goal-scoring prowess on what's expected to be a much-improved Senators team against a Sabres squad that's still a step behind in its rebuild and was one of eight teams to allow at least 3.50 goals per game last season.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, WAS at TOR ($5,300): Kuznetsov's a nice value at $5,300 in what's expected to be Thursday's highest-scoring game. He's locked in as Alex Ovechkin's ($8,100) center, both at even strength and on the power play, and Kuznetsov came one point shy of averaging a point per game last season. Kuznetsov was held off the scoresheet in Wednesday's loss to Boston but compiled five shots on goal to provide some fantasy value.

James van Riemsdyk, PHI vs. NJ ($3,500): Van Riemsdyk came one goal short of scoring at least 25 for the sixth time last season. The 33-year-old power forward doesn't have much foot speed left, but his hand-eye coordination and ability to carve out space in front have allowed JVR to remain a productive goal scorer. Philadelphia's expected to finish near the bottom of the standings, but a home date with a Devils team that allowed the fourth-most goals (3.68 per game) last season should allow van Riemsdyk to start his 14th NHL campaign off on the right foot.

Gabriel Vilardi, LAK vs. SEA ($2,600): Vilardi hasn't lived up to his lofty draft billing since being selected 11th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, but the game appears to finally be slowing down for him. The affordable winger opened the season Tuesday with a goal and an assist against Vegas, showcasing the scoring touch that helped him post a 15-23-38 line in 39 appearances at the AHL level last season. If you need a cheap lineup filler, Vilardi's an enticing option against a Kraken team that allowed five goals in its season opener after giving up 3.46 per game last year.

FORWARD LINE STACKS

Penguins vs. Coyotes 

Sidney Crosby (C - $7,000), Jake Guentzel (W - $7,800), Rickard Rakell (W - $5,300)

Crosby and Guentzel make up one of the league's most formidable forward duos. Crosby has averaged over a point per game in every season since the Penguins tanked to get him first overall in 2005, and he just posted a 31-53-84 line over 69 games last season. Guentzel tied Crosby's point total in 2021-22 while notching his second 40-goal season in the last four. Rakell makes for an intriguing value play here, as Pittsburgh appears set to try him out on the top line after deploying Rakell in a middle-six role last season following his arrival from Anaheim at the trade deadline. A Coyotes team that allowed 3.77 goals per game last season should have no answer for this line.

Golden Knights vs. Blackhawks 

Jack Eichel (C - $6,300), Reilly Smith (W - $4,200), Phil Kessel (W - $3,900)

This trio combined for 16 shots in Vegas' season-opening win over the Kings on Tuesday, while the rebuilding Blackhawks were utterly dominated Wednesday by the Avalanche. Eichel scored a goal on seven shots in LA and has the skills to dominate against a Blackhawks team that's expected to be noticeably worse than the 2021-22 version that allowed 3.52 goals per game. Smith had an assist and six shots against the Kings and Kessel chipped in three shots. Both wingers should provide strong bang for the buck while flanking Eichel against the Blackhawks, who were out-shot 35-17 in a 5-2 loss to Colorado on Wednesday.

Devils at Flyers

Jack Hughes (C - $6,600), Ondrej Palat (W - $4,400), Dawson Mercer (W - $4,100)

The Flyers allowed 3.59 goals per game last season and are not expected to improve much if at all in 2022-23, so the Devils' top scorers are poised for a productive game here. Hughes should be one of the league's most productive players while healthy, as the 2019 first overall pick racked up a 26-30-56 line in only 49 games last season. Palat excelled at playing alongside skilled playmakers in Tampa Bay and can carry those concepts over to New Jersey, even if Hughes is no Nikita Kucherov. Mercer's coming off a promising rookie season in which he posted a 17-25-42 line.

DEFENSEMEN

Alex Pietrangelo, VGK vs. CHI ($5,500): Pietrangelo's well-rounded game gives him a high floor, and facing the lowly Blackhawks substantially raises his ceiling. He dished out two assists Tuesday, including one on the power play, and Pietrangelo should continue to bolster his stat line with solid totals in shots and blocks.

Tony DeAngelo, PHI vs. NJD ($5,100): DeAngelo's from Sewell, New Jersey, so he grew up on the border of Flyers and Devils country. He joined his hometown team in the offseason and has always produced against the team from his home state, albeit with better supporting casts around DeAngelo in the past. Still, it's hard to ignore the fiery blueliner's 6-8-14 line in 13 career games against the Devils.

Ryan McDonagh, NSH vs. DAL ($4,500): McDonagh was the most underrated member of the Lightning's dynasty, which could well come crumbling down following the blueliner's offseason departure. He was an elite shutdown defenseman in Tampa Bay and didn't focus much on offense, but a Nashville team with less talent up front will ask McDonagh to join the rush more. McDonagh has opened his Predators tenure with a two-game point streak and should continue to supplement his stat line with plenty of blocked shots in his own end.

Owen Power, BUF vs. OTT ($3,900): Drafted first overall in 2021, Power didn't join the Sabres until late in the season but managed to light the lamp twice in his eight games. While some growing pains are expected for the 19-year-old blueliner as he settles into life as a full-time NHLer, he has plenty of upside at $3,900. If things click for Power right away, his valuation could climb in a hurry. 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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