This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Wednesday's NHL slate features just two games, with the Red Wings and Rangers facing off at 8:00 PM Eastern time and the Blues battling the Oilers at 8:30. Below, you'll find an overview of the matchups and suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
The Detroit-New York showdown features two of the league's 10 most generous defenses, while the Blues and Oilers both rank stingier than average. St. Louis is finishing off a back-to-back set, while the other three teams all enjoyed a day off Tuesday.
Henrik Lundqvist ($7,500) has watched the last three games from the bench after sustaining a lower-body injury, but he'll be back in the home crease at Madison Square Garden against the league-worst Detroit offense (2.13 goals per game).
Both Mike Smith ($8,000) — 2.12 GAA, .931 save percentage — and Mikko Koskinen ($8,000) — 2.46 GAA, .917 save percentage — have played well for Edmonton. With the tired Blues coming to town, whichever one of these guys earns the start in net for the Oilers should be worth paying up for.
Kaapo Kakko ($4,300) is still getting used to life in the NHL, but New York's second overall selection in the 2019 draft is coming off his first multi-point game at the NHL level with a goal and an assist Monday against Ottawa. With a role on the top power-play unit, Kakko is well positioned to outperform his modest valuation against a Red Wings team that's allowing 3.94 goals per game and killing off 68.6 percent of penalties — second-most and third-worst in the league, respectively.
While Kakko's an enticing lineup filler, teammate Artemi Panarin ($7,200) is worth paying up for as a lineup cornerstone against the lowly Red Wings. Panarin has a five-game point streak rolling and is performing at a point-per-game pace through 12 games with six goals and six assists. The Russian winger has 332 points in 334 career games, so don't expect him to slow down.
Robert Thomas ($2,800) likely won't stay this affordable for long considering he was recently promoted to St. Louis' top line. Take advantage of this opportunity while you can and plug him in for cheap.
Edmonton's top source of offense outside of its two superstars has been James Neal ($5,200). He doesn't skate on the top line at even strength, but the veteran sniper has made the most of his time with the No. 1 power-play group, as Neal's eight power-play goals rank second in the league behind Boston's David Pastrnak.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Oilers vs. Blues
This line not only features the two best forwards in this slate, but it will also likely benefit from facing backup goalie Jake Allen (3.73 GAA, .855 save percentage) after Jordan Binnington started Tuesday for the Blues. McDavid and Draisaitl both rank in the top five league-wide in points with 7-17-24 and 13-14-27 lines, respectively, through 16 games. Chiasson's getting an opportunity to join them, taking over the fantasy-friendly spot previously occupied by Zack Kassian.
Rangers vs. Red Wings
This second-line trio is likely to stick together regardless of whether first-line center Mika Zibanejad is ready to return from his upper-body injury. Chytil went down to the AHL for some seasoning to start the year, but the 2017 first-rounder has lit the lamp twice in three games since coming back up while putting seven pucks on net. Kreider has scored only twice on 24 shots for an 8.3 percent conversion rate, but the career 13.0 percent shooter is due to pick up the pace after potting 28 goals in two of the previous three seasons. Buchnevich has been the most productive player on this line with a 2-6-8 line through 12 games. All three of these guys also see power-play time, with Kreider skating on the top unit.
Red Wings at Rangers
Detroit has lacked secondary scoring, but this top line has been the lone bright spot for the Red Wings. Mantha and Bertuzzi are tied for the team lead in points with 14 apiece through 16 games — Mantha has nine goals and Bertuzzi has six. Larkin's the only other Detroit skater with more than eight points, as he's produced a 4-8-12 line on the heels of last season's 73-point campaign. The Rangers haven't been much better than the Red Wings defensively, allowing 3.50 goals per game.
Adam Fox's ($3,400) offensive production at Harvard is starting to translate at the NHL level, as the Rangers' rookie has managed three points and 11 shots in the past five games. The affordable blueliner should provide strong bang for the buck here against Detroit.
Filip Hronek ($4,600) ranks fourth on the Red Wings with eight points, as the 2016 second-rounder is starting to come into his own at age 22. He's the player to own on this team outside of the top line.
Alex Pietrangelo ($5,500) is one of the league's most well-rounded blueliners, and he's in the midst of another productive campaign, with five goals and six assists through 16 games. If the Blues are going to emerge victorious here, Pietrangelo will need to play a major part in the result.