DraftKings NHL: Friday Breakdown

DraftKings NHL: Friday Breakdown

This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.

The first Friday of the NHL season offers a modest three-game slate beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT. Below, you'll find a breakdown of the action and suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.

SLATE PREVIEW

The Devils, Flyers and Wild will each be in action for the first time this season against an opponent that debuted Wednesday. The Blackhawks suffered a 4-2 season-opening loss in Colorado and will look to bounce back in a much less daunting matchup in New Jersey, the Canucks head to Philadelphia after dropping a 3-2 shootout in Edmonton, and the Ducks will host the Wild after knocking off the visiting Jets 4-1. The Wild and Flyers are both favored in their respective games, though not by a lot, while the Devils are even smaller favorites. Wild-Ducks has an over/under of 5.5 goals while the other two games sit at 6.0. Given the low-scoring expectations for this small slate, nailing your pick in net will be key to finding success.

GOALIES

Cam Talbot, MIN at ANH ($8,300): It's possible the Ducks will shock Talbot like they did Connor Hellebuyck with four goals on just 22 shots Wednesday, but it's more likely that Anaheim's offense regresses closer to the team that scored a league-low 2.21 goals per game last season. Talbot's coming off a successful first season in Minnesota that featured a 2.63 GAA and .915 save percentage, including a 3-1 record, 1.74 GAA and .933 save percentage against the Ducks. He was dealing with a personal issue last week, and if that's not resolved prior to pick drop, Kaapo Kahkonen ($8,300) would step in for this favorable matchup.

Marc-Andre Fleury, CHI at NJ ($7,600): Fleury settled down after giving up three early goals to the Avalanche on Wednesday, but enough damage was done to ensure he ultimately lost his Blackhawks debut while allowing four goals on 36 shots. He'll continue to see plenty of volume while backstopping a Chicago team that likes to push the pace, and the Devils have much less finishing ability than Colorado – New Jersey averaged the sixth-fewest goals (2.59) and no individual skater on the team eclipsed 35 points in 2020-21. At $7,600, Fleury's a solid value here.

John Gibson, ANH vs. MIN ($7,400): Gibson's numbers have been dragged down by poor play in front of him in recent years, but he's still in the middle of his prime at age 28 and capable of carrying the Ducks on any given night. He did so Wednesday by setting aside 33 of 34 Winnipeg shots and will look to get right back in the winner's circle at home against the favored Wild. Goals are likely to come at a premium in this one, so at least one of the goalies in the Wild-Ducks game should deliver a strong performance.

VALUE PLAYS/ONE-OFFS

Joel Eriksson Ek, MIN at ANH ($6,100): Eriksson Ek broke out last season with a 19-11-30 line over 56 games. That production looks solid to begin with, but it becomes even more impressive when you consider that he spent most of the season centering the third line and saw minimal power-play time (no goals, two assists). The 24-year-old Swede is slated to open this season on the top line and No. 1 power-play unit, sharing the ice with Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov ($6,900) and Mats Zuccarello ($6,300), which means both better playmaking alongside Eriksson Ek to set him up and better finishing around him to finish off his feeds. Look for Eriksson Ek to capitalize on his increased role right away for the favored Wild.

Kirby Dach, CHI at NJ ($2,900): Dach was noticeable in the season opener against the Avalanche, even though he didn't mark the scoresheet. The third overall pick in the 2019 draft paced Chicago with five shots on goal in that one, setting a new career high in the category to suggest that he's progressing offensively. Dach will have a nice opportunity to prove himself against a Devils team with no shortage of recent high draft picks to measure up against.

Nils Hoglander, VAN at PHI ($3,900): Hoglander has assisted on both of Vancouver's goals this season, and the 20-year-old winger's ready to take a step forward offensively in his second season after holding his own with a 13-14-27 line over 56 games as a rookie. He's currently valued below eight other Canucks forwards, but that should change before long, as Hoglander's reportedly excellent work ethic coupled with his hot start all point to a player on the rise. Facing a Flyers team that allowed the most goals in the league last season also doesn't hurt.

Mason McTavish, ANH vs. MIN ($2,500): McTavish wasn't even supposed to be in the lineup originally, but the rookie third-overall pick was inserted late in place of Max Jones (illness) for the season opener, and he proceeded to rack up a goal and a power-play assist in an unforgettable debut. The 18-year-old has likely earned himself a chance to remain in the lineup, and McTavish is about as low-risk, high-reward as it gets given his immense offensive ceiling and minimal $2,500 valuation.

FORWARD LINE STACKS

Canucks at Flyers

Elias Pettersson (C - $6,700), J.T. Miller (W - $5,500), Alex Chiasson (W - $4,000)

When healthy, Pettersson and Miller are two of Vancouver's three best scorers up front, along with Brock Boeser ($6,400), who's dealing with an undisclosed injury. Last season, Miller finished three points behind Boeser's team-leading total with a 15-31-46 line in 53 appearances, while Pettersson posted a 10-11-21 line in 26 games. The year before, Miller and Pettersson shared the team goals lead at 27 while posting 72 and 66 points, respectively. Meanwhile, Chiasson totaled a team-high five shots in the opener, and he should continue to see plenty of scoring opportunities as defenses focus on shutting down his highly skilled linemates. A Flyers team that allowed a league-high 3.52 goals per game last season will have a hard time keeping this trio off the scoresheet.

Devils vs. Blackhawks

Nico Hischier (C - $6,400), Pavel Zacha (W - $5,000), Jesper Bratt (W - $4,400)

New Jersey's top line should provide solid value against a Blackhawks team that allowed 36 shots Wednesday and 33.7 per game last season — tied with the Sabres for most in the league. Chicago made some personnel changes in the offseason to combat its defensive struggles, but New Jersey also beefed up its blue line and should be much better in transitioning to offense as a result. As it is, Zacha actually led the team in both goals (17) and points (35) last season despite missing six of the 56 games. Hischier has seen his production drop every season since posting a 20-32-52 line as a rookie after being selected first overall in 2017, but he's healthy going into the season and still just 22. Bratt's a solid young winger who has reached the 30-point mark in each of his first four seasons, needing just 46 appearances to do so last season (a 53-point, 82-game pace).

Flyers vs. Canucks

Derick Brassard (C - $4,400), Cam Atkinson (W - $5,600), Joel Farabee (W -$5,100)

Philadelphia's second line offers an intriguing mix of skill and value in what should be a fast-paced affair. Atkinson will be looking to make a strong first impression on his new team after coming over in an offseason trade from Columbus. Playing for a defense-first Blue Jackets team didn't stop the American winger from topping 20 goals in each of the six seasons in which Atkinson reached 60 games played, including a 41-goal campaign in 2018-19. Farabee has an even better wrist shot than Atkinson, and the 21-year-old winger will be looking to use it even more effectively after posting a solid 20-18-38 line as an NHL sophomore. Brassard's best days are behind him at age 34, but the veteran center has a career scoring rate of .56 points per game and could provide solid value while filling in for Kevin Hayes (abdomen) in a top-six role.

DEFENSEMEN

Dougie Hamilton, NJ vs. CHI ($6,700): Hamilton was arguably the biggest name available in free agency, and he should bring an instant impact both at even strength and on the power play after signing a seven-year, $63 million contract with New Jersey. In addition to posting a 10-32-42 line over 55 games, Hamilton also led all defensemen with 180 shots on goal last season. His gaudy shot total against a Blackhawks team that hemorrhages opportunities should make Hamilton a strong option here, even before considering his likely contributions on the scoresheet.

Ryan Ellis, PHI vs. VAN ($6,300): Speaking of high-profile acquisitions on the blue line, the Flyers were reportedly in the mix for Seth Jones — who ultimately wound up in Chicago — before pivoting to Ellis. Ellis has operated in Roman Josi's shadow in Nashville, but he's an offensively gifted blueliner in his own right, having scored 56 points in 84 games over the past two seasons. His career high in power-play points is just 11, due in large part to being blocked from the top unit by Josi, but Ellis should occupy the top point spot in Philly, giving him even greater upside.

Jonas Brodin, MIN at ANH ($4,800): Brodin checks in as the fourth-most expensive option on the deep Minnesota blue line, but the Swede's a rock-solid two-way performer who's capable of outplaying all of the team's other defensemen on any given night. He posted a 9-14-23 line in 53 appearances last season, which translates to 14 goals and 36 points over 82 games.

Ian Mitchell, CHI at NJ ($2,500): Mitchell saw just 8:23 of ice time in Chicago's season opener, but that role included usage on the power play, where Mitchell produced a helper. While the 22-year-old blueliner still isn't trusted to hold down a regular shift at the NHL level due to his shortcomings in how own zone, Mitchell's offensive aptitude keeps him in the lineup, as he posted a 10-22-32 line in 36 games with the University of Denver in 2019-20 before making the jump to the professional ranks. Against a Devils team that ranked last in the league on the penalty kill at 71.0 percent last season, Mitchell's role with the extra man gives him intriguing upside for a $2,500 defenseman.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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