At last, the NHL is back tonight with a nice slate featuring four good matchups, including the Connor McDavid-led Edmonton Oilers hosting the Calgary Flames and the Pittsburgh Penguins, led by Sidney Crosby, raising their Stanley Cup Championship banner at home against the St. Louis Blues. Here are some players to consider when building your FanDuel lineups tonight.
Cam Talbot, EDM vs CGY ($8,300): Talbot was tremendous for the Oilers last season and showed that he can handle the task of being a starting goaltender in the NHL. He started off fast last season, going 7-2 in his first nine games with a .936 save percentage and a 2.04 goals against average. Talbot was good at home all season long with 23 wins in 38 games in Edmonton with a .923 save percentage and a 2.32 goals against average. In three games against the Flames, Talbot went 3-0 with a .921 save percentage and a 2.60 goals against. I love his salary and the upside he brings tonight.
Martin Jones, SJ vs PHI ($8,600): The Sharks have a very solid goaltender in Jones as he's won 37 and 35 games in the last two seasons. He was rock solid at home last year, winning 19 games and allowing just 2.16 goals per game. Jones saw almost 27 shots per game and produced a .912 save percentage. At home, he's a safe option to consider.
Auston Matthews, TOR at WPG ($7,600): Last year Matthews burst onto the scene with a tremendous rookie campaign, one that saw him bury 40 goals and dish out 29 assists. The young center ice man was a force this preseason, scoring five goals (which tied him for the league lead) and adding two assists. Expect Matthews to skate on the top line alongside familiar linemates Zach Hyman and William Nylander from last season, as well as seeing crucial minutes on the first power play unit.
Connor McDavid, EDM vs CGY ($8,700): There isn't much that needs to be said in support of McDavid. The reigning Hart Trophy Winner for league MVP is coming off a 30-goal, 70-assist season and is just 20 years of age. In four games last year against the Flames, the Oilers captain totaled seven points (four goals, three assists). Don't overthink this play; there is literally nothing bad I can say about rostering McDavid.
Bryan Little, WPG vs TOR ($5,300): Little comes in as a great value play for a Jets team that was in the top 10 in goals scored last season. The Maple Leafs allowed 234 goals against last year, which was ninth most in the NHL. Winnipeg scored with regularity at home and Little finds himself skating on a good second line between wingers Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers. In 59 games last season, Little lit the lamp 21 times and chipped in with 26 assists. He was also a known threat on the power play, scoring six goals and dishing out six assists with the man advantage.
Patrik Laine, WPG vs TOR ($7,300): Laine was another rookie that made his presence felt early and often last season and did so in convincing fashion. As an 18-year-old, Laine scored 36 goals last season and added 28 assists in 73 games played. On the power play, Laine scored nine goals and dished out five assists last season and will be at the forefront of a dangerous man advantage unit for the Jets this season. Laine was at his best at home last season, scoring 20 of his 36 goals at Bell MTS Place. His high volume of shots (around 2.80 per game last season) and hot preseason (five goals, tied for the league lead) reinforce Laine as a top wing option tonight. Look for him to skate on the second line with Little and Ehlers and to see time on the top power play unit.
Vladimir Tarasenko, STL at PIT ($7,600): Tarasenko has been a force offensively over the last three seasons, and this season will be no different. The sniping winger is coming off a season in which he played all 82 games and scored 39 goals while adding 36 assists. He was deadly on the power play with nine goals and 13 assists. Tarasenko's high volume of shots (286 last season, or 3.48 per game) provide a solid floor and massive upside in this matchup against the Penguins tonight.
Jake Guentzel, PIT vs STL ($6,400): Guentzel is expected to skate on the top line with Sidney Crosby, which automatically boosts his upside. For that reason alone, Guentzel is a great value at the wing position tonight. Guentzel was a man on a mission in the preseason, scoring a total of nine points (three goals, six assists) in four games.
Jakub Voracek, PHI at SJ ($6,100): Voracek quietly had a solid season last year with 20 goals and 41 assists, the third time in the last four seasons that he has reached the 60-point plateau. Voracek is penciled in to skate on the top line and top power play unit. He is a great value play and one to consider tonight.
Brent Burns, SJ vs PHI ($7,200): Burns, the reigning Norris Trophy Winner, is one of the best if not the best defenseman in the league. He's basically a forward playing the defense position. In 82 games last season, Burns scored 29 goals and added 47 assists. He's a huge difference maker on the power play, and overall he lead the league in shots on goal (320) last year, which is wild to think about coming from a defenseman. Burns provides an extremely high floor, usually high ownership, and he's usually expensive. Get him now before his salary reaches the 8K-plus range, or pay for him then as well. Either way, you'll be happy you rostered him more often than not.
Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI at SJ ($5,000): Gostisbehere is going to try and quickly forget that last season ever happened. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong and he was often a "Ghost." For the man they call Ghost, last season is over and the young talented defenseman will be looking to repeat his rookie season from two years ago, a season in which he scored 17 goals, added 29 assists, was a force on the power play, finishing as runner-up for the Calder Trophy. Gostisbehere figures to see time on the second defense pairing and the top power play unit and will look to build off a productive preseason. The puck-moving blueliner comes in a little banged up, making his availability a question mark tonight. If he's unable to go, consider his teammate Ivan Provorov ($4,300) as an adequate pivot.
Oscar Klefbom, EDM vs CGY ($4900): With 12 goals and 25 assists in 82 games last season, Klefbom looks to be the real deal on the blue line for the Oilers. With three goals and 13 assists on the power play last year, 2.45 shots per game, and 1.78 blocked shots per game, Klefbom is a nice value option that has a solid floor in this matchup against the Flames.