This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Thursday just seems like a pretty normal day of NHL hockey, which feels nice this season. As of this writing, no games are being postponed. We're deep enough into the season that we know a bit about these teams. I looked at the 10 games on the slate for Thursday and it just felt like hockey, which was weirdly nice. What would also be nice is if these recommendations help you in your quest for DFS glory. Let's get to it!
James Reimer, CAR vs. DET ($28): Petr Mrazek doesn't seem ready to return in time to face his old team, but that means Reimer gets himself a nice matchup at home. The Wings have managed a mere 2.08 goals and 28.2 shots on net per game. Carolina isn't quite as elite at suppressing shots this year as in the past, but it has still only allowed 29.3 shots on net per contest.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Connor Hellebuyck, WPG at MON ($31): After winning the Vezina last season, Hellebuyck has been quietly reliable once again, though his save percentage has fallen from .922 to .915. This could be a busy night for the Jets netminder, though. The Canadiens have managed 33.7 shots on goal per game, second highest in the NHL. They convert a decent amount of those shots as well, as the Habs have scored 3.24 goals per game.
Elias Pettersson, VAN vs. TOR ($20): Pettersson is having another excellent campaign with 21 points in 26 games, but you might blanch at his salary against a Maple Leafs team that has actually been good at preventing goals this year. However, Toronto is the only team on the road for the second game of a back-to-back Thursday. That alone helps Pettersson, but there's more. The Leafs are dealing with injury issues in goal, and that uncertainty is a point in the Canucks' pivot's favor.
CENTER TO AVOID
Jack Eichel, BUF at NYI ($26): Taylor Hall's issues in Buffalo have been well-chronicled, but don't overlook Eichel's rough campaign either. After potting 36 goals last season he's only found the back of the net twice this year. That's remarkable, and at some point he'll probably turn things around via sheer regression. Don't bet on it against Semyon Varlamov and his .927 save percentage, though.
Andrew Mangiapane, CGY vs. OTT ($19): Mangiapane's minutes have soared this season, as he has averaged 17:44 in ice time and is playing on Calgary's second line currently. He broke out with 17 goals in 68 games last year, and this season he's tallied eight goals in 23 contests. Meanwhile, the Senators have spent most of the season with the highest GAA in the league, and they've averaged 3.80 goals allowed per game to this point.
Chris Kreider, NYR at NJD ($18): Thanks to a recent hot run of play (six goals in five games), Kreider has lit the lamp 10 times this season. That includes five goals with the extra man. The success on the power play intrigues me here, because the Devils have by far the worst penalty kill in the NHL. Even if it's only been 18 games due to COVID-19 issues, I can't overlook a 63.0 percent penalty-kill rate.
WINGS TO AVOID
Patrick Kane, CHI vs. TAM ($34): I mentioned the Devils having the worst penalty kill, but on the flip side the Lightning have the league's best penalty kill. If that isn't enough for you, the Lightning also have a 1.95 GAA, which is lowest in the NHL. Basically, Tampa is really tough to score on, and as good as Kane has been, this salary is scary in a matchup like this.
Patrik Laine, CLM at DAL ($22): Laine started his time in Columbus hot, but it was an unsustainable pace. His eight goals have come on 25.8 percent shooting. The regression may already be happening, as the Finn has been held without a goal in his last four games, even though he was facing Chicago, Nashville (twice), and Detroit. Anton Khudobin hasn't been as stellar as he was last year, but he still has a 2.55 GAA and .917 save percentage.
Dougie Hamilton, CAR vs. DET ($23): Hamilton only has one goal this season, but his 1.5 percent shooting should improve in time. Plus, he's still been active as he has 13 assists, including one in each of his last three contests. Maybe he will break his goal drought tonight, as the Red Wings have a 3.28 GAA, bottom five in the NHL.
Nick Leddy, NYI vs. BUF ($14): Speaking of assist streaks, Leddy has a helper in five straight games, and in eight of his last nine outings. Sure, like Hamilton he only has one goal, but the expectations are decidedly lower for Leddy. With Linus Ullmark out, the Sabres' top goalie is Carter Hutton, and he has a 3.18 GAA and .891 save percentage.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Roman Josi, NAS vs. FLA ($21): Josi is one of the better goal-scoring defensemen around, but he hasn't lit the lamp in his last eight games. While the Panthers have said they are starting Sergei Bobrovsky in this one… do I dare have some faith in the Russian netminder? Over his last six starts he has a 2.65 GAA and .911 save percentage. Those numbers are also skewed by a bad night against the Lightning, the top offense in the NHL. Maybe I'm buying in too much, but I don't want to pay this salary for Josi on Thursday.
Mikhail Sergachev, TAM at CHI ($18): Sergachev plays second banana to Victor Hedman quite well, and he's another defenseman with only one goal but plenty of assists. One of the differences, though, is that Sergachev has only put 35 shots on goal in 20 games. While the Blackhawks do let up a lot of shots, Kevin Lankinen has been stopping most of them. The rookie has a 2.55 GAA and .924 save percentage.