Monday night’s NHL slate features just seven games, but a lot of star power. We’ve got the highest-scoring team in the league (the Rangers), Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Nikita Kucherov, Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Kane, Connor McDavid, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns, just to name a few. With all these high-priced players, it’ll be important to save money in some spots and look for exposure to these players through their linemates.
Sam Reinhart, BUF vs. BOS ($4,900): Buffalo has had a lot of trouble scoring most of this season, but the Flames are in town after having played last night. With Ryan O’Reilly out of the lineup, Reinhart has had at least 18 minutes of ice time in four straight games – a significant increase over the 16:45 he averaged for the season’s first 14 games. The young forward is on the second line and the top power-play unit, and he gets a home game against a tired team. This is a good spot to save some money at center.
Leon Draisaitl, EDM vs. CHI ($5,000): A lot of the focus Monday will be on McDavid, as he’s coming off a hat trick against the Stars. A good way to get exposure to McDavid while avoiding his high ownership rate is through the power play, where Draisaitl plays alongside him on the top unit. The importance of that unit Monday is that their opponent, the Blackhawks, has allowed the fourth-most shot attempts per minute while shorthanded and second-most high-danger shot attempts against. (To be fair, they’ve improved since struggling mightily early on, but the overall stats still don’t look good.) For DFSers looking to get exposure to the Oilers while avoiding high ownership and high cost, Draisaitl is an intriguing avenue.
Patrick Eaves, DAL vs. MIN ($5,500): The injuries Dallas has suffered this year have pushed Eaves into a prominent role on the team, and he’s responded with 15 points in 18 games while averaging a career-high 2.56 shots per game. In fact, he’s averaging more FanDuel points per game (14.1) than superstar linemate Jamie Benn (12.5). Even with some players returning from injury, Eaves remains on the top line and top power-play unit in Dallas. He’ll probably be a popular option Monday, but for anyone looking to avoid paying high prices for guys like Benn and Tyler Seguin while still getting exposure to the Stars’ stars, Eaves is the way to do it.
Jesse Puljujarvi, EDM vs. CHI ($3,600): There are instances when DFS sites can be slow to react to a player’s current situation, and that’s the case with Puljujarvi. The talented young Swede was slotted alongside McDavid in Edmonton’s last game, and he responded with two assists. To be fair, he’s still not on the top power-play unit, but he’s still seeing man-advantage ice time with the second unit. Despite his cushy position in the lineup, the winger is cheaper than bottom-six forwards on other teams like Devante Smith-Pelly and Ryan Callahan. Until his price adjusts appropriately or his situation changes, Puljujarvi is the top punt play.
Patrick Marleau, SAN vs. NJD ($4,700): Marleau was moved to the top line alongside Pavelski and Joe Thornton at the end of the second period of the Sharks’ last game. He also plays on the top power-play quintet for the Sharks. With just five points in 18 games, the 37-year-old’s best days are clearly behind him, but given his positioning (temporary though it may be) at the top of the lineup, he’s a cheap way to get a piece of to that elite tandem.
Craig Smith, NAS vs. TAM ($5,000): Names like James Neal, Filip Forsberg and P.K. Subban dominate the headlines for Nashville, but Smith is well on his way to his fourth straight 20-goal season. That kind of consistency is not easy in the modern NHL. Slotting alongside Forsberg, the American winger should be able to avoid matchups against the top players from Tampa Bay during Monday’s game. Most of the ownership for this game should go to the top line for Nashville, which makes Smith a good option as a one-off play for tournaments.
John Klingberg, DAL vs. MIN ($4,800): The Swedish blueliner isn’t off to a great start this year, but the Stars are starting to get healthy, and they still boast a top-10 power play by shot attempts generated per 60 minutes. Klingberg runs their top power-play unit and averages nearly four minutes a game in those situations. He’s also drastically underpriced, considering what we’ve seen out of him for the past two seasons. If you’re looking to make savings on the blue line while still rostering a top-end option, Klingberg is a great choice.
Damon Severson, NJD at SJS ($4,500): This is much more of a tournament option than a cash-game choice. All the same, though the Sharks don’t have many weaknesses, their penalty kill is allowing the seventh-most shot attempts per 60 minutes this season. The Stanley Cup finalists don’t allow many power-play chances – just 46 in 18 games – but on the ones they have allowed, they’ve been porous. Although the Devils will be in tough against San Jose, if they break through, the power play looks like it’ll be their avenue, and Severson is averaging nearly three minutes a game on the man advantage.
Robin Lehner, BUF vs. CGY ($7,900): Be sure to check for confirmation that he’s starting, but Monday is a good spot for either Buffalo goaltender. The Sabres are not a high-scoring team, but as Travis Yost of TSN showeda couple of years ago, teams playing back-to-back on the road only win the second game about 41 percent of the time, compared to a 44 percent road-win expectancy overall – and that’s when they don’t have star players like Johnny Gaudreau out with injury.