Henrik Lundqvist, NYR vs COL ($8,600): The Rangers come in as huge favorites against the visiting Avalanche tonight in what will be the start of Henrik Lundqvist’s 13th season on Broadway. The Avalanche are still in the midst of rebuilding their team, and with another rough season expected, the Rangers should come out on top — making Lundqvist one of the safer goaltenders on the slate.
Jack Eichel, BUF vs MTL ($7,300): Fresh off signing an 8-year, $80 million dollar contract extension Wednesday, Eichel is clearly the offensive focal point of the Sabres. The 20-year-old is a shot-generating machine, as he averaged 4.08 shots on per game last season and produced 24 goals and 33 assists for a total of 57 points in 61 games. Eichel will skate on a dynamic first line with wingers Evander Kane and veteran Jason Pominville and will see time on the top power-play unit, where he was deadly last season with 10 goals and 14 assists.
Mika Zibanajad, NYR vs COL ($5,600): Zibanajad slides in as the No. 1 center for the Rangers and this matchup bodes well for him against an Avalanche team that was one of the worst in the NHL last season defensively. In his first season with the Blueshirts last year, Zibanajad scored 14 goals and added 23 assists for a total of 37 points in 56 games. On the power play, he added four goals and seven assists. Expect Zibanajad to see time on the top power-play unit, as well.
David Pastrnak, BOS vs NSH ($6,900): 2016-2017 was a breakout year for Pastrnak, who got off to a sizzling start with 17 points (13 goals and four assists) in his first 18 games. At home last season, Pastrnak scored 19 goals and dished out 19 assists in 37 games. With Patrice Bergeron likely sitting this game out, Pastrnak is penciled in on the top line with David Krejci and Jake Debrusk. That said, he will be the go-to offensive option on this line and will see power-play time on the top unit, where he managed 24 points last year.
Brandon Saad, CHI vs PIT ($5,800): Saad returns to the Blackhawks this season and figures to play a prominent role. The popular wing play from Chicago tonight will undoubtedly be Patrick Kane, who needs no introduction. The pivot to the lower-owned Saad at a lower salary is one that I’m more than willing to make. He’ll see time on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik, and on the top power-play unit.
Filip Forsberg, NSH at BOS ($7,400): Through a 41-game stretch between December and February, Forsberg was unstoppable in scoring 24 goals on a line with center Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson. The dominant trio figures to skate together again this season as they were one of the best lines in the league last year.
Roman Josi, NSH at BOS ($6,400): In 72 games last season, Josi scored 12 goals — seven of which came on the power play — and dished out 37 assists with 11 coming with the man advantage. Playing an average of 25 minutes per game, blocking 119 shots and firing 217 shots on net (3.01 per game), Josi offers a solid floor with a great deal of upside as an offensive threat on the blue line.
Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF vs MTL ($5,500): Last season In 79 games, Ristolainen buried six goals and notched 39 assists. On the power play, he only had one goal but did add 24 assists. Perhaps the most notable stat to look at with him is his blocked shots, which climbed up to 161 last season from 137 the season before. With Ristolainen skating an average of over 26 minutes per game last year, he's in play as a good value tonight.