This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Saturday is a busy day in the NHL, as there are a whopping 13 games on the slate. However, the four games in the afternoon have been set aside for their own set of contests. The remaining nine evening games, meanwhile, comprise the main docket. That's what I will be tackling today with these recommendations.
Antti Raanta, ARI vs. BUF ($7,400): Raanta was outstanding last year, posting a 2.24 GAA and .930 save percentage in his first season as a starter. Since his rookie year, he's actually never had a GAA higher than 2.26. Meanwhile, the Sabres only scored 2.41 goals per game last year, lowest in the NHL.
Ryan O'Reilly, STL at CHI ($6,200): O'Reilly's first season with the Blues is going well so far, as he has four assists in three games, including two on the power play. He's gotten a ton of time with the extra man, and he never had less than 23 power-play points in his three years with the Sabres. With Corey Crawford out, Cam Ward is likely to start for the Blackhawks, and he has a career .909 save percentage.
Ryan Johansen, NAS vs. NYI ($4,800): Johansen had 39 assists last season, his first time with fewer than 45 helpers since 2013-14. However, he did have 15 goals, although he only scored one on the power play despite averaging 3:03 per game with the extra man. The Islanders had the league's worst penalty kill last year, and also a league-high 3.57 GAA.
Mikko Rantanen, COL vs. CGY ($6,000): Rantanen broke out in a major way last season, tallying 29 goals and 55 assists. That includes a whopping 35 points with the extra man. The 21-year-old has pretty much proven that wasn't a fluke, as he already has seven points in four games this year. Mike Smith started to struggle down the stretch last season with the Flames, and that seems to have carried over. He has a 3.56 GAA and .881 save percentage.
Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA vs. VAN ($5,800): Huberdeau managed personal bests across the board last year. We're talking 27 goals on 204 shots, 42 assists, and 19 power-play points. The 25-year-old was helped by an increase in minutes, especially on the power play (3:23 per game). Last season, the Canucks had a 3.16 GAA, sixth worst in the NHL, and had a .902 save percentage as a team.
Brett Connolly, WAS vs. TOR ($4,300): With Tom Wilson out, Connolly is skating on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. That's likely to pay off, and he does have three assists to start the year. While he's not an elite forward, he does have 15 goals in each of his last two years, and opportunity is a big part of putting up numbers. The Maple Leafs allowed 33.9 shots on net per game last year, which could pay off for Connolly.
Jeff Petry, MON vs. PIT ($5,000): Last year, partially thanks to the absence of Shea Weber, Petry managed 42 points, including 23 on the power play. With Weber still out, Petry is quarterbacking the Habs' power play, and he's averaged 4:04 per game with the extra man to start the year. The Penguins had a 3.37 GAA in away games last season, and on top of that Matt Murray is currently dealing with a concussion.
Tyson Barrie, COL vs. CGY ($4,300): Barrie has had double-digit power-play points in each of his last five seasons, including a whopping 30 last year. In fact, last year was pretty great all around for the 27-year-old, as he had 14 goals and 43 assists in 68 games. As previously noted, Smith has a 3.56 GAA and .881 save percentage to start the season.