This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Welcome to a new season of NHL hockey. I have been writing DFS hockey articles for several years now, but I am seeing some things this season that I have not seen before in that time. First, the NHL is no longer on NBC, having moved to ESPN and TNT. More germane to daily fantasy, the Seattle Kraken have arrived as the 32nd team in the league. Speaking of the Kraken, they will be represented in this article among the players to target and to avoid.
Robin Lehner, VGK at SEA ($37): The job in Vegas is Lehner's now. While he only had a .913 save percentage last year, he had a 2.29 GAA thanks to some strong defense in front of him. The Golden Knights changed the perception of how good an expansion team can be, but this time around the expansion draft went differently. The Kraken will be hyped for their home debut, but the roster doesn't look great on paper.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Tristan Jarry, PIT at TAM ($29): Jarry struggled to the tune of a 2.75 GAA and .909 save percentage last season. The Kraken are celebrating their first game, but the Lightning are celebrating winning a second Stanley Cup in as many seasons. Tampa scored 3.21 goals per game last year, but recall that it didn't have Nikita Kucherov all year.
Brayden Point, TAM vs. PIT ($24): Point doesn't get overlooked anymore, but it can still be hard to truly appreciate the numbers he puts up. He had 23 goals in only 56 games last season, and at one point in the playoffs he scored a goal in nine straight contests. This year Point also gets to kick things off skating with the aforementioned Kucherov on his wing.
CENTER TO AVOID
Jeff Carter, PIT at TAM ($19): With both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin injured, Carter is the first line center for the Penguins. That boosts his fantasy upside, but then we have to remember that Andrei Vasilevskiy is at the other end of the ice. The Russian is arguably the best goalie in the NHL, and last year's 2.21 GAA and .925 save percentage are further proof of that.
Jonathan Marchessault, VGK at SEA ($21): Marchessault tallied 18 goals and 44 points in 55 games last year. He also averaged 2:33 per game with the extra man, and it's expected Marchessault will be on the top power-play unit again this season. Seattle did grab a good goalie in Philipp Grubauer, but there are questions about the defense in front of him. Again, this is an expansion team.
Ondrej Palat, TAM vs. PIT ($19): I feel like last year, namely during the playoffs, I was a broken record saying, "Palat plays on Tampa's top line with Point and Kucherov." Well… Palat plays on Tampa's top line with Point and Kucherov. Don't forget about him on the power play as well. In fact, last year he averaged 3:13 per contest in power-play time and notched 20 points with the extra man.
WINGS TO AVOID
Bryan Rust, PIT at TAM ($25): Not only does Rust not have Crosby or Malkin to play center for him, Jake Guentzel might also miss this game due to COVID-19 protocols. At this salary, I'd really prefer for Rust to have more talent around him. That's especially true with Vasilevskiy in net for the Lightning.
Jordan Eberle, SEA vs. VGK ($17): Eberle has the highest salary of any Kraken player. As such, I am fading him based on my ongoing skepticism about Seattle. I want to see the team in action before I take a shot. This is the first day of the NHL season, and the DFS season. Personally, I prefer more data.
Alex Pietrangelo, VGK at SEA ($23): Pietrangelo didn't have the season many of us expected after joining the Golden Knights. However, he did average 24:26 in ice time. Also, the playoffs did go better for the former Blue. In 11 postseason games he notched nine points and 50 shots on net. Hopefully he can carry that into the new season.
Mikhail Sergachev, TAM vs.PIT ($13): Here is a chance to save some salary but maintain some upside when there are only four teams in action. Last year Sergachev had career highs in ice time (21:58) and power-play time (2:04) and ended up with 30 points. Sure, only four of those points were goals, but the Russian has said that he's spent this offseason focusing on his offensive game. Sergachev is only 23, so growth in his game would not be surprising.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Kris Letang, PIT at TAM ($24): The Lightning had the fourth-ranked penalty kill last year. That doesn't bode well for Letang, especially with a handful of his usual power-play partners out. Then of course we throw Vasilevskiy and his .925 save percentage last season into the mix. Letang will have his days, but I don't expect Tuesday to be one of them.
Mark Giordano, SEA vs. VGK ($21): Three seasons ago Giordano won a surprise Norris Trophy, but that was in his age-34 season. The defenseman is 38 now and starting over with a new team. He only had 26 points last season with the Flames. Revitalization doesn't tend to happen for 38-year-old NHL defensemen. Giordano's best days are behind him.