This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
After 26 teams hit the ice Saturday, there are only three games Sunday. While differentiating your lineups can be the difference when there's a shallow player pool, it's also important to make sure you're doing so strategically. It's also worth noting there aren't any significant favorites or underdogs - DraftKings Sportsbook has Dallas (-148) as the most likely to win. With that in mind, here's a primer full of suggested skaters, goalies and potential stacks to target.
Tampa Bay visits Carolina in the first game of the day after both clubs played Saturday. The Lightning lost 4-3 on the road against Florida, while the Hurricanes topped Washington on the road 3-2 in overtime. Both teams are off to slow offensive starts, combining for just seven goals at five-on-five through four games. However, Carolina's scoring depth and Tampa Bay's star power could be the perfect combination for a high-scoring affair.
Dallas and Detroit are also both on the second leg of a back-to-back set and will also be traveling for this contest. The Stars lost 3-2 in St. Louis, and the Red Wings upset Nashville 5-3 at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. Detroit is in for a ripe letdown spot in their home opener, and Dallas will sit 0-3 without a road win Sunday.
In a mismatch of styles, the run-and-gun Jets face the low-event Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. There have been 18 total goals through Winnipeg's first two games, and the Islanders picked up where they left off from last year in their season opener. Dating back to 2018-19, New York is allowing just 2.3 goals per 60 minutes after surrendering two tallies to Washington on Friday.
Look for backup Anton Khudobin ($7,900) to receive the starting nod against Detroit. The Russian quietly posted a .923 save percentage with a high-end 16.04 goals saved above average last year, and as noted Dallas is eyeing an 0-3 start if they lose Sunday.
Connor Hellebuyck ($7,500) allowed five goals on 31 shots in his 2019-20 debut, and his struggles actually date back to last year when he finished with a mediocre .913 save percentage. There's also a number of question marks surrounding Winnipeg's defense corps. Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot won't be in the lineup after significant tenures with the organization. Still, the Islanders are a low-scoring team with limited offensive firepower. Hellebuyck could reward on his modest price.
The asking price for Petr Mrazek ($7,200) is reasonable for an against-the-grain flyer. Tampa Bay has attempted 51.5 shots per 60 minutes through its first two games, and the Czech netminder has proven capable of rising to the challenge in the past. Additionally, the collection of skaters in front of Mrazek represents the best group he's played with during his career. Just don't ignore the risk of locking in a netminder against the Bolts.
Heading into this season, Tyler Seguin ($7,300) had recorded at least 25 goals, 70 points and 25 power-play points in six consecutive campaigns. He's off to a slow start without a scoresheet appearance through the first two contests despite being on the ice for 11.7 high-danger scoring chances and attempting 10 shots. With the Stars facing the possibility of losing their first three contests, look for their best scorer to lead the way offensively.
Expectations are high for Anthony Mantha ($4,900) after recording 13 goals and 15 assists through 31 games following last year's All-Star break, and he kickstarted 2019-20 in style by collecting three points and attempting 10 shots. His price could skyrocket in the coming weeks.
A streaky scorer, Nino Niederreiter ($4,300) has failed to register a point through two games despite slotting into a top-six role with power-play looks. He's attempted six shots and owns an unsustainably low 0.94 PDO, so there's statistical correction ahead for the Swiss native. Remember that he piled up 14 tallies, 16 helpers and 103 shots through 36 games with Carolina last year.
While his even-strength assignment on the fourth line isn't encouraging, Patrick Maroon ($2,900) is locked in as the net-front presence with the No. 1 power-play unit and recorded at least 10.0 DraftKings points in consecutive games to open the season. Interestingly, he's yet to find the scoresheet with the man advantage, as both his points have come at five-on-five.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Winnipeg's top line has long-standing chemistry, as Blake Wheeler ($6,900), Mark Scheifele ($7,200) and Nikolaj Ehlers ($5,900) have clicked for 3.99 goals per 60 minutes while driving possession with a 53.4 Corsi For percentage over the past three years. The trio has also scored four times and generated 13 high-danger scoring chances through the first two games of this season. So while it's theoretically a tough matchup, Wheeler, Scheifele and Ehlers project to have multiple opportunities to score.
An inexpensive stack likely to be scarcely owned, Erik Haula ($4,000), Martin Necas ($2,800) and Ryan Dzingel ($3,900) have generated 14.1 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes and owned possession with a 54.2 Corsi For percentage at five-on-five through two games. And while they're penciled in as the third line on paper, all three appear on the man-advantage and provide exposure to both of Carolina's power-play units.
While Victor Hedman ($6,500) has recorded an assist in consecutive games, he's registered just a single shot, only two blocks, and he hasn't collected a power-play point. It's easier to justify spending up for defensemen in a shallower player pool, and Hedman is the clear-cut top option considering his elite 1.97 points per 60 minutes dating back to the 2017-18 campaign.
Unlike his countryman, John Klingberg ($5,600) has registered eight shots and been on the ice for a respectable 14.7 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes without finding the scoresheet. His 1.87 points per hour over the past three years also makes for an impressive mark, and it's only a matter of time before he checks the points column considering how dangerous Klingberg has been.
Through two games with Carolina, Jake Gardiner ($3,500) has begun 66.7 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone and averaged 3:19 of power-play time. He scored the overtime winner against Washington on Saturday and has recorded four shots and four blocks through his first two games of the campaign. There's obvious value here.