This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Wednesday's five-game NHL slate will begin at 7:00 p.m. EDT. Below, you'll find a breakdown of the action and suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
Though less than a third of the league will be in action, this slate includes some of the NHL's most dominant lines, with the likes of Edmonton, Boston, Washington and Toronto in action. Of course, clearing enough cap space to pursue some of these pricey stars will mean cutting costs elsewhere with inexpensive yet effective bargains. Flyers-Oilers has a slate-high over/under of 6.5 goals, while Capitals-Red Wings, Bruins-Panthers and Maple Leafs-Blackhawks all come in at 6.0, so there should be plenty of offense on display Wednesday. Golden Knights-Stars is supposed to be this slate's lone defensive struggle, with an over/under of 5.5 goals. The Capitals and Maple Leafs are both substantial favorites in their respective games.
Braden Holtby, DAL vs. VGK ($7,700): It's been an all-around struggle for the Golden Knights, who have been outscored 20-13 through six games. Meanwhile, Holtby has a 2.04 GAA and .939 save percentage four games into his Stars tenure. Vegas is coming off an upset win over Colorado, but summoning that level of performance for a second consecutive night will be a tall order for the injury-riddled Golden Knights.
Vitek Vanecek, WAS vs. DET ($8,300): Be it Vanecek or the identically priced Ilya Samsonov, Washington's netminder of choice will likely be worth paying up for. The young Red Wings have been up and down offensively, which is an improvement after there was no "up" to be found over the past couple years, but Detroit has two games with one or no goals in its last three. A Washington team that's outscoring opponents 4.33 to 2.67 on average and is yet to suffer a regulation loss through six games will put its goalie in position to pick up another win here.
Marc-Andre Fleury, CHI vs. TOR ($7,400): Both of these teams have struggled early on, and while Chicago has been worse overall, Toronto has actually been a more favorable fantasy opponent for goalies due to the Maple Leafs' high number of shots (33.6 per game) and few resulting goals (1.86 per game). While it's becoming more and more evident that a large part of Fleury's success over the years has been due to playing exclusively on elite teams up to this point, he's probably not quite as terrible as he's shown so far this season (5.75 GAA and .839 save percentage) and is bound to post a respectable performance eventually.
Laurent Brossoit, VGK at DAL ($7,700): Brossoit will have some against-the-grain appeal in what will likely be the first start of his Vegas tenure after Robin Lehner presided over Tuesday's 3-1 win against the Avalanche. A quick glance at Brossoit's season numbers will give you a jump scare that makes you feel like Halloween came early, but a closer look reveals that his 6.00 GAA and .875 save percentage were accrued over just one period of action. Scoring will remain tough for Vegas, but the team's defense is better than it has shown thus far, so Brossoit should find success against a Stars offense that's plodding along at 1.83 goals per game.
Leon Draisaitl, EDM vs. PHI ($8,200): Even if they're separated at even strength, Draisaitl and Connor McDavid will still share the ice on the power play, and the German's capable of carrying his own line at even strength. With a 4-7-11 line through five games, Draisaitl trails only McDavid and Alex Ovechkin in points, which is familiar territory after he finished second to McDavid last season and led the league the year before.
Lucas Raymond, DET at WSH ($4,600): Raymond has showcased the high-end skill that prompted Detroit to draft him fourth overall in 2020, with a 4-3-7 line through his first six NHL appearances. He's coming off a hat trick plus an assist when the Red Wings last played Sunday against Chicago, and one of the early Calder Trophy frontrunners could see his valuation climb substantially moving forward if Raymond can maintain this hot start.
Joel Farabee, PHI at EDM ($4,700): Four games into the Flyers' season, Farabee holds sole possession of the team points lead with a 3-3-6 line. Already an established top-six winger at just 21 years of age and coming off a 20-18-38 line over 55 games, Farabee could be on the verge of becoming a consistent 30-goal scorer. He's a nice value at $4,700, especially in what should be an exciting affair between two teams that like to push the pace.
Alex DeBrincat, CHI vs. TOR ($6,700): Chicago's bound to get into the win column at some point, and perhaps the team will play more freely now that some of the weight of the Bradley Aldrich scandal has been lifted off the organization's shoulders with the responsible parties in the front office being let go. With franchise icons Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane both in COVID-19 protocols, it will be up to DeBrincat to put the team on his back. Coming off a 32-24-56 line over 52 games last season, the 23-year-old winger should pick up the pace from his pedestrian 2-1-3 line through six games.
Anton Lundell, FLA vs. BOS ($2,600): If he's able to work his way back from an upper-body injury in time to suit up, Lundell could be one of those affordable value plays that allows you to fill your lineup with the McDavids and Ovechkins of the world. Valued just $100 above the minimum, Florida's 2020 first-round pick has hit the ground running with a 2-3-5 line through five NHL games.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Maple Leafs at Blackhawks
This will be a get-right game for somebody, and it will more likely be the 2-4-1 Maple Leafs than the 0-5-1 Blackhawks. Toronto's top players have underwhelmed thus far, especially relative to their lofty expectations, but some line shuffling and a matchup with a Chicago team that's surrendering 4.50 goals per game should help this group get its swagger back. Matthews has put 19 pucks on net through four games, but the reigning Rocket Richard Trophy winner has just one goal to show for all the rubber he's flung. In an effort to get him going, the Maple Leafs have surrounded Matthews with the only two wingers that have shown any semblance of offensive aptitude through the team's first seven games — Nylander has a 2-3-5 line and Bunting's at 2-2-4.
Capitals vs. Red Wings
The Red Wings have produced much more offense early on, but they're still subject to the same defensive lapses that have helped make Detroit one of the league's most stacked against DFS opponents in recent years, giving up 3.50 goals per game so far this season. Washington's top line has been on a roll thus far and should continue to thrive in this favorable matchup. Ovechkin leads the league with seven goals in six games, and his 12 points trail only McDavid league-wide. Kuznetsov has shown excellent chemistry with Ovie on both the top line and No. 1 power-play unit, producing a 4-5-9 line. Wilson has chipped in seven helpers, all accrued during an active five-game point streak.
Oilers vs. Flyers
No matter how high McDavid's valuation climbs, there's always a case to be made for putting the league's most productive skater in your lineup. It appears the 24-year-old phenom is yet to reach his ceiling considering McDavid's on pace for his best season yet, with a league-best 6-7-13 line through five games, including multiple points in every game. Puljujarvi has thrived on McDavid's wing, opening the season on a five-game point streak, with a 2-6-8 line. Hyman's 5-1-6 line includes four goals in the last two games, and he has a history of meshing with top talent from his Toronto days, so he's a terrific value at $5,100 given that context and the fact that Philadelphia's 3.48 per goals allowed per game since the start of last season are the most in the league over that span.
Morgan Rielly, TOR at CHI ($5,400): Rielly's off to a slow start, with just three helpers through seven games, but the offensive-minded blueliner is a key cog in Toronto's attack and should get going against the struggling Blackhawks. While the former 20-goal, 72-point scorer is yet to light the lamp on 16 shots, it feels like Rielly's due for a breakout performance.
Keith Yandle, PHI at EDM ($3,600): Yandle has been one of the league's better puck-movers from the blue line for many years, and that's still the case, as evidenced by his five helpers through Philadelphia's first four games. He has excellent offensive upside relative to his $3,600 valuation, and Ryan Ellis' (undisclosed) absence should open up more minutes for Yandle, especially on the power play.
Martin Fehervary, WAS vs. DET ($3,000): In a slate filled with top-end forward talent, finding values on the blue line will be key to constructing a successful lineup. One such value option is Fehervary, who has finally secured a full-time NHL role at age 22. He had 17 points in 24 AHL games last season and is starting to find his footing as an offensive player in the NHL, with a goal and an assist over his last two games. Fehervary's also a consistent source of blocked shots in his own zone, having totaled 13 over the past five games.
Matt Grzelcyk, BOS at FLA ($3,700): Grzelcyk has quietly established a solid floor with 12 shots and seven blocks through four games. He's still searching for his first point of the season, but Grzelcyk doesn't require a large salary commitment and has some offensive upside given his role on the Bruins' second power-play unit.