DraftKings NHL: Wednesday Breakdown

DraftKings NHL: Wednesday Breakdown

This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.

Wednesday brings the largest slate of the young NHL season, with 12 teams seeing their first action of the 2022-23 campaign after 7:00 p.m. EDT. This column is geared towards DraftKings Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) contests, and all betting lines are pulled from DraftKings Sportsbook.

SLATE PREVIEW

The obvious team to build your lineup around Wednesday is Colorado. The Avalanche will be raising their Stanley Cup championship banner at home, then proceed to take on a Blackhawks team that had the sixth-fewest points in the league last season and could be even worse this year following an offseason sell-off. Colorado's a massive -425 favorite and the game has an over/under of 6.5 goals. The Maple Leafs (-260) in Montreal and Hurricanes (-250) vs. Columbus are the secondary favorites in this star-studded slate, and Toronto's game is tied with Blackhawks-Avalanche and Canucks-Oilers for the highest over/under at 6.5 goals.

GOALIES

Frederik Andersen, CAR vs. CLS ($8,400): Of the three heavy favorites mentioned above, Carolina's the only one returning its starting goalie from last season. Given what we saw from Alexandar Georgiev ($8,700) and Matt Murray ($8,500) in 2021-22, it's fair to hold off on paying top dollar for them despite the strong groups of skaters they're backstopping. Even against a Blue Jackets team that made an offseason splash by signing Johnny Gaudreau, Andersen's the most reliable goaltending option coming off a season in which he went 35-14-3 with a 2.17 GAA and .922 save percentage.

Jeremy Swayman, BOS at WAS ($7,800): The Swayman-Linus Ullmark ($7,800) pairing had an even split of playing time in the Boston net last season, but the former has a higher ceiling. Still only 23 years old, Swayman enters the season with a career 2.23 GAA and .920 save percentage behind a defensively sound Bruins team. This will likely be a physical game with less open ice and fewer scoring chances than the rest of this slate, and such games are ripe for goalie success. 

Anthony Stolarz, ANH vs. SEA ($7,600): John Gibson ($7,600) would also be an appealing option if Saturday's early exit from preseason action due to an upper-body injury turns out to be precautionary, but Stolarz was actually the more effective Ducks goaltender last season, posting a 12-8-3 record, 2.67 GAA and .917 save percentage. Both of these teams are looking to improve on forgettable 2021-22 seasons, but the Ducks are in better position to do so given the young talent they have accumulated. Seattle's likely a couple years away from contending after averaging 2.60 goals per game (fourth-fewest) and allowing 3.46 (ninth-most) in the franchise's first season.

VALUE PLAYS/ONE-OFFS

Connor McDavid, EDM vs. VAN ($7,900): It's rare that McDavid isn't the priciest skater in a slate, but he checks in at No. 3 here behind Auston Matthews ($8,400) and Nathan MacKinnon ($8,200). McDavid's reputation as the best player in the world is well-deserved, as his mix of speed, size and skill helped him post a league-leading 123 points last season before adding a whopping 33 points in 16 playoff games.

Matty Beniers, SEA at ANH ($5,900): Beniers showed serious promise in a small sample size last season, as the second overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft posted a 3-6-9 line in 10 games for Seattle. Still considered a rookie this year, Beniers will open the season centering the top line and No. 1 power-play unit, and the 19-year-old American already has the skills to produce like a true No. 1 center.

Cole Caufield, MON vs. TOR ($5,800): When Montreal turned to former diminutive winger Martin St. Louis behind the bench in the middle of last season, that move unlocked a new gear in Caufield, who is one of the league's most dangerous goal scorers despite a St. Louis-like 5-foot-7 frame. Caufield potted 22 goals in his last 37 games last year, and he'll look to pick up where he left off at home against a Toronto team that's starting Matt Murray in net. Murray posted a 3.23 GAA and .899 save percentage over the past two seasons for Ottawa.

Yegor Chinakhov, CLS at CAR ($3,300): It's no secret team-wide preseason success usually isn't an indicator of how things will unfold when the games start to count, but individual preseason scoring binges can be more indicative of a productive year to come. Chinakhov raised his stock as much as anybody this preseason, scoring a league-leading six goals in the exhibition slate to earn himself a top-six role. He's a low-risk, high-reward option at just $3,300. 

FORWARD LINE STACKS

Avalanche vs. Blackhawks

Nathan MacKinnon (C- $8,200), Mikko Rantanen (W - $6,700), Artturi Lehkonen (W - $4,800)

Colorado won't have Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) to open the season, giving Lehkonen a chance to play alongside two of the league's best players on the top line. MacKinnon had a 32-56-88 line in only 65 appearances last season, scoring at least 88 points for the fourth time in the past five years, while Rantanen needed just 75 games to rack up careers highs in both goals (36) and points (92). Lehkonen was a key contributor during Colorado's run to the Stanley Cup with an 8-6-14 line over 20 playoff games. A Chicago team that's starting Petr Mrazek -- whom the Leafs had to add a first-round pick to just to get rid of him via trade -- in net is unlikely to have an answer for the Avalanche's stellar top line.

Maple Leafs at Canadiens

John Tavares (C- $6,300), William Nylander (W - $6,300), Denis Malgin (W - $3,500)

You can't fit all the stars in your lineup at once, so if you go with McDavid or MacKinnon, that likely means leaving Auston Matthews ($8,400) on the bench. There's still value to be found in Toronto, though, and this second line's poised to provide strong bang for the buck against a Canadiens team that allowed a league-high 3.87 goals per game last season. Tavares has recovered from an oblique injury fast enough to suit up for the season opener, and he'll be looking to reach the 30-goal mark for the sixth time in 2022-23. Nylander's overshadowed by Toronto's other big names but is coming off a tremendous season in which he posted a 34-46-80 line. The affordable Malgin has earned a top-six role out of the gate with a productive preseason that included four goals and four assists in six games.

Ducks vs. Kraken

Ryan Strome (C - $3,700), Troy Terry (W - $3,700), Mason McTavish (W - $3,600)

Speaking of affordable players poised for success, Anaheim's second line offers three of those against a Seattle team that allowed the ninth-most goals last season and had the second-worst penalty kill (74.9 percent). Terry's a remarkable value at just $3,700 coming off a season in which he posted a 37-30-67 line. Strome won't have Artemi Panarin to set him up after coming over from the Rangers in free agency, but he's capable of holding his own after averaging 54 points over the past three seasons. McTavish was picked third overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and is ready to jump into a full-time top-six role after getting a nine-game cup of coffee last season.

DEFENSEMEN

Cale Makar, COL vs. CHI ($7,800): If you're stacking the Avalanche against Chicago, don't forget to include Makar. He led all defensemen with 28 goals and ranked second behind Roman Josi with 86 points last season. Makar should pick up where he left off against a Blackhawks team that allowed 3.52 goals per game last season, and it's likely that Makar's best hockey has yet to come considering he's still only 23.

Brent Burns, CAR vs. CLS ($5,900): Columbus made the biggest headlines by signing Gaudreau, but Carolina also had one of the offseason's most notable moves, trading for Burns from San Jose. While Burns' days of flirting with a point per game are almost certainly over at age 37, he mustered 54 points on a rebuilding Sharks team last season, so he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. With Tony DeAngelo now in Philadelphia, Burns will quarterback the Hurricanes' top power-play unit and is a reliable source of blocks and shots in addition to his point production.

Mark Giordano, TOR at MON ($3,900): Like Burns, Giordano's an aging blueliner whose well-rounded game gives him a high floor. Giordano won't score as much as Burns, but at just $3,900, his consistent contributions in secondary stats and ability to pick up cheap points with headman passes to Toronto's highly skilled forwards make the 39-year-old former Flames captain a nice value.

Tyson Barrie, EDM vs. VAN ($3,700): Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill last season, posting a bottom-three penalty killing rate at 74.9 percent. Barrie's impact at even strength is limited, but this is the perfect situation to deploy the power-play specialist. Barrie has topped 20 power-play points in each of the past two seasons with the Oilers, and his 44 power-play points are sixth in the league among blueliners over that stretch.

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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