This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
We're onto Day 3 of the NHL season, and we have our largest slate yet with nine games firing up. Seven teams will be playing their second game of the season while another 11 will lace up the skates for their season openers. The Lightning (-260) are the largest favorites of the night in a road clash against the Red Wings, according to BetMGM.
Petr Mrazek, TOR at OTT ($34): Mrazek was outstanding in Carolina last season with a .923 save percentage, a 6-2-3 record and a pair of shutouts, though it's a small sample due to injury. Still, he earned an $11.4 million contract with the Maple Leafs as a result, and he'll serve as the 1B behind Jack Campbell, who started last night against the Canadiens. He'll face the Senators, who averaged 2.77 goals per game last year (18th in the league).
GOALIE TO AVOID
Alex Nedeljkovic, DET vs. TB ($32): The Hurricanes made a huge mistake trading Nedeljkovic to the Red Wings, but that's beside the point. He'll make his Detroit debut against the defending champs, who already have one game under their belt after scoring 3.21 goals per game last year (sixth). It's best to fade Nedeljkovic until there's a better understanding of who the Wings are this season.
Aleksander Barkov, FLA vs. PIT ($31): Tristan Jarry got off to a strong start Tuesday, allowing just two goals to the Lightning on 28 shots. Still, do we remember how flaky he was last season? It's tough to count on those performances happening nightly. Meanwhile, Barkov is coming off a 26-goal, 32-assist season (50 games), and he'll center Sam Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe tonight.
CENTER TO AVOID
Vincent Trocheck, CAR vs. NYI ($21): Trocheck is slated to center the Hurricanes' second line Thursday. His placement in the avoid column is more about the matchup than his talent, as the Islanders are an excellent defensive squad that will likely roll out Ilya Sorokin in the crease after he registered a .918 save percentage and a 2.17 GAA as a rookie.
Jonathan Marchessault, VGK at LA ($21): If it wasn't for the COVID-shortened season, Marchessault would've reached the 22-goal mark for a fifth straight year, as he registered 18 scores in 55 games. The 30-year-old got off to a hot start with a goal on four shots in the season opener against Seattle. This matchup against the Kings should be favorable, as they gave up 3.02 goals per game last season (20th).
Kaapo Kakko, NYR vs. DAL ($10): Kakko has been the subject of plenty of scrutiny after producing just 40 points through his first two NHL seasons despite being the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft. However, he has shown improvement, and he started on the second line with the second power-play unit during Wednesday's game against the Capitals, directing five shots on net in the process. He's getting involved in the offense early, and he could prove to be a major value at this salary.
WINGS TO AVOID
Roope Hintz, DAL at NYR ($22): Hintz mostly plays center, but he's listed as a winger anyway. He scored at a high rate last season with 43 points through 41 games, and it'll likely be sustainable considering his 16.3 percent shooting was barely above his rate from 2019-20. However, facing off against Igor Shesterkin is daunting. Shesterkin posted a 2.62 GAA and a .916 save percentage last year, and the Rangers' defense is mostly in good shape if you overlook last night's letdown.
Oliver Wahlstrom, NYI at CAR ($18): Wahlstrom was a sneaky play when he was in the lineup last season, posting 12 goals on 94 shots (12.8 percent) and nine assists across 44 games. However, there were rumors he would be sent down to the AHL to start the year. He's sticking with the big club for now, though he'll likely begin on the third line. That won't open up many opportunities to score against the rock-solid Hurricanes.
Jakob Chychrun, ARI at CLS ($22): Chychrun enjoyed a breakout last year to the tune of 18 goals and 23 assists through 56 games, including 14 power-play points. He adds a nightly floor by means of shots (176 last season) and blocked shots (89) as well. The Blue Jackets allowed 3.29 goals per game last season (sixth worst in the league), and they lost top defender Seth Jones during the offseason. The ceiling is high for Chychrun at a bargain salary.
John Klingberg, DAL at NYR ($16): I touched earlier on how this matchup against the Rangers v with Shesterkin in net, but it could be worth taking the risk to save some salary here. Klingberg is a high-end defenseman who accumulated seven goals and 36 points – 17 on the power play – across 53 games last season.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Mark Giordano, SEA at NSH ($21): Giordano's still handling plenty of ice time – he logged 23:20 in the Kraken's opener – but his offensive game has taken a step back over the last two seasons, as he posted 14 goals and 43 assists across 116 games. His ceiling is certainly hampered against the Predators, as Juuse Saros still has an excellent defense in front of him after recording a .927 save percentage and a 2.28 GAA last season.
Gustav Forsling, FLA vs. PIT ($18): Forsling showed some potential last season with 17 points through 43 games, but he's probably not worth this salary until he gets on the power play with consistency. He doesn't provide much of a floor with just 42 blocked shots last year in addition to 94 shots on net.