This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
We have a small three-game slate Monday night, which means options are limited. These can be tough days to play from a tournament perspective: The obvious plays are obvious for a reason, and there aren't a lot of choices for going against the grain. It's usually recommended to back off volume players on such a small slate.
Remember to check RotoWire's depth charts for updated rosters.
David Krejci, BOS vs. BUF ($5,100): A hot starter last season, Krejci hasn't opened nearly so productively this time around. Through 11 games this year, he has zero goals and four assists. By contrast, Krejci had seven goals and eight assists through his first 11 games last year. Curiously, he's doing very well by non-production measures. Per Corsica Hockey, his rate of individual scoring chances per 60 minutes (3.95) at this point of the year is considerably higher than any of his full seasons (previous high of 3.18 in 2008-09). His average shot distance (23.77 feet) is also the lowest of his career. Even though he doesn't shoot much, being goalless this long is an anomaly. Meanwhile, Monday's DFS players will likely be on Patrice Bergeron rather than Krejci.
Sam Reinhart, BUF at BOS ($5,000): As has been the case for years now, Patrice Bergeron is a defensive beast for the Boston Bruins. Per Natural Stattrick, when he's on the ice at five-on-five, the Bruins give up 11.35 scoring chances per 60 minutes. The only other Boston forward on the ice for fewer than 15.4 scoring chances against per 60 minutes is Noel Acciari. This is important because Boston's at home with the last line change, so Bergeron should match up frequently against the top line for Buffalo, including Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo. That means Reinhart's line shouldn't see much of Bergeron in this game. Reinhart also plays on the top power-play unit for the Sabres; Boston's penalty kill isn't bad, allowing the 12th-most shot attempts while shorthanded, but the Bruins are giving up a bit more than four power plays a game (48 times shorthanded in 11 games).
Cal Clutterbuck, NYI vs. VAN ($3,700): The lack of scoring from the Islanders' top line, and thus John Tavares, has been an ongoing concern. Free agent Andrew Ladd hasn't been working out; he's been bumped down the lineup. Anders Lee hasn't succeeded with Tavares as he has in years previous. This has caused the Islanders to look even deeper into their lineup, which led to Clutterbuck finding his way to the Tavares line in their last game. Clutterbuck ended up with an assist and more than 19 minutes of ice time. Anyone skating big minutes like those (including power-play time) alongside Tavares carries a lot of appeal.
Vladislav Namestnikov, TAM at FLA ($3,300): After a couple games dropped down further in the lineup, Namestnikov returned to the top line for Tampa Bay, skating alongside Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. That also includes power-play time with the same duo. It shouldn't be much of a surprise, but over the Russian's first two years with the Lightning, they generated considerably more offense (per Hockey Analysis) when Namestnikov was skating with Stamkos (62.41 shot attempts per 60 minutes at five-on-five) than when Namestnikov was on the ice with him (51.29), per Hockey Analysis – that's nearly 18 percent more shots, a considerable margin.
Reilly Smith, FLA vs. TB ($4,900): Per Corsica Hockey, Smith's line with Colton Sceviour and Vincent Trocheck is generating the NHL's most shots at five-on-five per 60 minutes (minimum 50 minutes together). Their expected goals per 60 minutes (3.23) is higher than the Joe Thornton line in San Jose (2.98), the Mark Scheifele line in Winnipeg (2.95), and the Tyler Seguin line in Dallas (2.62). It's still early in the season, but this line has been dynamite for the Panthers. The injuries that Florida is currently enduring has put even more importance on this second line, as evidenced by Smith's ice time, which is currently a career-high 19:32 per game.
David Pastrnak, BOS vs. BUF ($5,300): Using Pastrnak on Monday is more about price than anything, as he's easily $1,000 too cheap, if not more. In his NHL career, Pastrnak has played a little more than 1,303 minutes at five-on-five, managing 53 points, or 2.44 points per 60 minutes. For reference, among players with at least 1,300 minutes since the start of the 2014-15 season, that points-per-60-minutes rate ranks sixth among all forwards, trailing only Sidney Crosby, Vladimir Tarasenko, Patrick Kane, Jamie Benn and Rick Nash. While the sample size isn't big, it's enough that Pastrnak shouldn't be cheaper than the likes of Alex Killorn.
Torey Krug, BOS vs. BUF ($5,300): Another Bruin off to a rough start, Krug has zero goals and one assist in 11 games – a pace dramatically short of his 41-point average over the past three seasons. The silver lining is that his peripheral stats give him a pretty solid floor in DFS. With 35 shots on goal and 12 blocked shots, Krug is averaging better than three shots on goal and slightly more than a blocked shot per game – just about the same as last season. That gives the 25-year-old a floor of about six FanDuel points, which helps make rostering him more palatable.
Philip Larsen, VAN at NYI ($3,300): It's not often that a defenseman running a top power-play unit is available for nearly the minimum on FanDuel, but that's Larsen's situation. Vancouver has had trouble scoring goals of late, but the Canucks also get an Islanders team with a poor penalty kill. The Islanders have allowed the NHL's fourth-most shot attempts per minute in shorthanded situations, per Natural Stattrick. They're also giving nearly four power plays per game to the opposition this year. For those looking to Vancouver for a stack Monday, Larsen should be included.
Tuukka Rask, BOS vs. BUF ($9,200): The most expensive option on Monday's board also seems like the most logical option. Assuming that the Bergeron line can shut down Buffalo's top line, the Sabres are going to find it hard to muster much offense. With so many cheap-ish options available at forward and defense, it's not hard to save up for a pricy goalie Monday. The Bruins are allowing more than 32 shots per 60 minutes, which is good for Rask in FanDuel, as that helps inflate his save total.