FanDuel NHL: Thursday Targets

FanDuel NHL: Thursday Targets

This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.

SLATE PREVIEW

There's 10 games on the slate Thursday with a number of teams still looking for their first win. The Flames (-136 at Wings), Jets (-200 vs. Ducks) and Blackhawks (-138 vs. Canucks) are favored, but this has been a topsy-turvy start and their three opponents are a combined 5-4-1. The Canucks-Blackhawks could be a potentially high-scoring game because both teams feature elite offensive players facing very sloppy defenses. The two teams have combined to allow 17 goals in their past two games.

The Habs will be the most hard-pressed to get their first win, who've been outscored 13-2 in their past four games while the Hurricanes (-132) have scored nine goals in two games. Perhaps shuffling the lines will spark the Habs, but the Jesperi Kotkaniemi revenge game feels a little like destiny.

GOALIES

Frederik Andersen, CAR at MON ($7,500): The Canes have a deep group of forwards as well, which negates the only advantage the Habs really had. The matchup is otherwise very lopsided; the Habs have allowed a league-worst seven power-play goals and have scored just three goals in four games, while the Canes have scored nine goals in two games while going 2-for-9 on the power play and 7-for-7 on the penalty kill.

Elvis Merzlikins, CBJ vs. NYI ($7,500): There's definitely upset potential here. The Jackets have been surprisingly good, Merzlikins is honoring his late friend Matiss Kivlenieks with a strong early-season bid for the Vezina (.948 Sv%, 1.47 GAA) and the Isles are playing their fourth straight road game in eight days. The Isles continue to have scoring woes with only eight goals through three games, half of which came against the struggling Blackhawks.

Vitek Vanecek, WSH at NJ ($8,000): Vanecek should get the start because he's been better than Ilya Samsonov to start the season, having allowed only two goals in regulation in two games. The Devils will likely be without top scorer Jack Hughes, taking a big bite out of their offense.

Connor Hellebuyck, WPG vs. ANH ($8,400): The Jets defense around Hellebuyck needs to improve, and the barrage of shots the Ducks face every night are starting to get through, having allowed six goals last game. The Jets outshot them 34-22 last game and should continue to have a big advantage, especially on home ice. It'll be the third road game in four nights for the Ducks.

VALUE PLAYS

Lucas Raymond, DET vs. CGY ($4,200): Raymond is coming off his first career multi-point game and the Flames are still trying to figure out how to grind out games. They've allowed eight goals in two games and lost in overtime to the Ducks, and Jacob Markstrom (3.43 GAA, .881 Sv%) hasn't been particularly sharp. Raymond is their best shooter and will play on the top line.

Andrew Copp, WPG vs. ANH ($4,100): Copp is a great value play as long as Blake Wheeler (COVID-19) is out. He scored three points on a line with Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor last game and the Ducks probably won't be able to keep up their surprisingly good play for long. After limiting their opponents to five goals in three games, the Ducks allowed six against the Oilers and will be playing their third road game in four nights.

Dawson Mercer, NJ vs. WSH ($4,000): If Hughes does not play, perhaps Mercer will see an increase in ice time. He opened the season as their No. 3 center and through two games has provided two goals and five shots. The former 18th overall pick led his junior team in scoring and the Devils don't have another pivot in the lineup who can provide offense like him other than Nico Hischier, who is usually used more in matchup roles.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, CAR at MON ($3,900): The Kotkaniemi revenge game can turn into a dud, but at least he's being put in a chance to succeed on the top line with Sebastian Aho. Kotkaniemi is still looking for his first point, but what better way to do it against your former team that has allowed 15 goals in four games.

William Eklund, SJ at OTT ($3,600): There's a small premium on Eklund compared to Dahlen because he's played more minutes and a little more fanfare attached to his name. Eklund is a playmaker who isn't shooting the puck right now, which may limit his fantasy output but linemate Tomas Hertl is a pretty good finisher.

Jonathan Dahlen, SJ at OTT ($3,000): If Dahlen keeps this pace up, he won't be a bargain for long. The talented Swedish winger scored his first two NHL goals last game and the Sharks offense has been humming without Evander Kane. Matt Murray is expected to make his season debut after going 10-13-1 last season with a .893 Sv% and 3.38 GAA.

Yegor Chinakhov, CBJ vs. NYI ($3,000): Chinakhov will play his second career game following his latest call-up and was bumped on to a line with Jack Roslovic and Gustav Nyquist at Wednesday's practice. That will pair Chinakhov with their best playmaking center and Nyquist is off to a pretty good start after missing all of last season, and all three should feature on PP2.

LINE STACKS

Avalanche at Panthers

Nathan MacKinnon (C - $8,600), Gabriel Landeskog (W - $7,100), Mikko Rantanen (W - $8,200)

Barring any kind of last-minute changes, this is the first time this season the Avs will have their top line. MacKinnon is healthy and Landeskog returns from his two-game suspension. This game has one of the highest over/under at 6.5, and it has all the making of a high-scoring game with two very good offenses shooting on shaky goalies.

Panthers vs. Avalanche

Aleksander Barkov (C - $8,100), Carter Verhaeghe (W - $5,300), Anthony Duclair (W - $5,100)

Despite all the fresh new faces, Joel Quenneville has returned to his top line from last season. The rank 1-2-3 in team scoring with a combined 12 points and already represent three of the Panthers' five forwards who have already scored a goal.

Flames at Red Wings

Elias Lindholm (C - $6,600), Johnny Gaudreau (W - $6,500), Matthew Tkachuk (W - $6,700)

This has been a very good line despite their modest total of five points. Darryl Sutter leans on them the most, and they're all averaging over 20 minutes per game. The Flames are on the road but they've had two days' rest and should be hungry for their first win despite outshooting their opponents in both of their games so far.

Canucks at Blackhawks

Elias Pettersson (C - $7,200), Brock Boeser (W - $6,800), Nils Hoglander (W - $4,600)

Both Boeser and Pettersson nearly scored goals in their last game and offense is really the least of the Canucks' worries right now. Hoglander keeps the cost of this line stack relatively low for a very talented top line going up against one of the worst defenses in the league so far. Their past five matchups have averaged eight goals per game.

Oilers at Coyotes

Connor McDavid (C - $9,300), Leon Draisaitl (W - $9,000), Jesse Puljujarvi (W - $5,700)

This will be a very popular line stack and Karel Vejmelka will be making just his third NHL start. The matchup skews too much towards the Oilers and it has to be a blowout win to justify this line stack, so I would rather shy away and find something that could provide more surplus value.

DEFENSEMEN

Cale Makar, COL at FLA ($6,700): Plenty of elite defensemen to choose from, but the Avs-Panthers matchup seems to be the one that will produce the most scoring chances and goals. Makar has one assist and nine shots through three games and has yet to really hit his stride.

Roman Josi, NSH vs. NYR ($6,200): Josi continues to be a shooting machine with 13 shots in three games. The Preds have essentially loaded all their big-money players on their top line and it seems to be working well with a 64.81 CF% at 5-on-5, according to naturalstattrick.com, and Josi's on the ice whenever they are.

Tyson Barrie, EDM at ARI ($5,600): A slow start for Barrie with zero points in three games, but the Oilers have scored plenty of goals and he continues to share the ice with McDavid and Draisaitl, so the points should come sooner than later. Barrie could be a great value play in a game the Oilers should dominate and score a lot of goals.

Jamie Drysdale, ANH at WPG ($4,300): Just in case the Jets haven't figured out their defense, Drysdale is the best offensive defenseman on the Ducks to exploit that. He's playing sheltered minutes but still averaging roughly 20 minutes per game and already has two helpers with eight shots on goal.

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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Chen
Jason won the 2021 FSWA Hockey Writer of the Year award, and was also a finalist on 2019. He joined RotoWire in 2013. Jason has also written for Yahoo Sports, CBS Sports, The Hockey News, The Hockey Hall of Fame's Legends Magazine, and Centre Ice Magazine.
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