Friday's NHL slate is a light one, with just three games on the schedule starting at 7:00 PM Eastern time. Despite the small size of this slate, thereís still plenty of value to be found if you know where to look. Unfortunately for owners hoping to use Vegasí Vadim Shipachyov, Alex Tuch or Shea Theodore, their temporary move to the AHL leaves them unavailable here even though the trio will likely suit up for the big club in Dallas. Even with those options off the table, the guys below are strong building blocks for lineups regardless of contest format.
Sergei Bobrovsky, CLS vs. NYI ($39): Bobrovsky's worth his lofty valuation here, especially given the lack of quality alternatives. The Russian's coming off a fabulous campaign in which he led the league with a 2.06 GAA and .931 save percentage while topping 40 wins. Expect Bobrovsky to pick up right where he left off against an Islanders team that he beat the only time they faced off in Columbus last season.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Ben Bishop, DAL vs. VGK ($34): Poor goaltending played a part, but plenty of the blame for Dallas' 3.17 goals allowed per game and league-worst 73.9 percent penalty kill should go elsewhere. There's only so much Bishop can control and he's coming off a pedestrian 2.54 GAA and .910 save percentage, so don't be surprised if he's hung out to dry in this one.
Jonathan Marchessault, VGK at DAL ($18): Marchessault thrived with the extra man in Florida last year, logging 18 of his 51 points on the power play. The 30-goal scorer is also capable of putting the puck in the net at even strength and will be given every opportunity to do so while skating on the first line and top power-play unit with his new club. His combination of skill set and role gives Marchessault a great chance of getting on the board given Dallas' aforementioned struggles on the penalty kill.
CENTER TO AVOID
Brock Nelson, NYI at CLS ($16): Nelson looks destined to open the season on the third line with John Tavares ($27) and Matthew Barzal ($10) both ahead of him on the depth chart at center. That depleted role coupled with an unfavorable matchup against Bobrovsky and the defensively-proficient Blue Jackets makes Nelson tough to trust at $16, especially with Barzal available for much less.
Oliver Bjorkstrand, CLS vs. NYI ($14): With all eyes on newcomer Artemi Panarin, Bjorkstrand has been flying under the radar. The 22-year-old Dane skated just over 14 minutes per game last year, but still recorded six goals and seven assists in 26 appearances while launching over two shots per contest. With a strong preseason in his back pocket and a top-six role awaiting him once the games start counting, Bjorkstrand is in position to get off to a hot start.
Evgeny Dadonov, FLA at TB ($16): Dadonov has returned from Russia and will be suiting up for his first NHL game since late 2011 in his teamís opener here. The 28-year-old winger is coming off a 30-goal, 66-point season in 57 games with the KHLís SKA St. Petersburg and has shown enough skill in preseason to earn a spot on the top line alongside Jonathan Huberdeau ($21) and Aleksander Barkov ($20). As the cheapest member of the talented trio, Dadonov makes for the best value play.
WINGS TO AVOID
Nick Foligno, CLS vs. NYI ($21): Foligno will open the season playing out of position at center, and the extra defensive responsibilities that come with that role could lead to him generating fewer chances in the offensive zone. The captainís slated to skate alongside a couple of inexperienced linemates in Bjorkstrand and Sonny Milano ($10), so living up to a $21 price wonít be easy.
Antoine Roussel, DAL vs. VGK ($17): Rousselís overpriced for a bottom-six winger who brings more physicality than he does skill. He still hasnít cracked 30 points in a season and isnít projected to see any power-play time, either.
John Klingberg, DAL vs. VGK ($18): Klingbergís 13 goals and 49 points last season both rank second only to $26 Lightning stalwart Victor Hedman among defensemen available in this slate, making him perfect for owners that are looking for scoring upside without breaking the bank on the blue line. He also easily cracked triple-digits in both shots and blocks while finishing with a positive rating despite Dallasí inability to keep the puck out of its own net. With the Stars upgrading their forwards and goaltending without altering Klingbergís defensive pairing alongside Esa Lindell, the 25-year-old Swede is primed for an even better campaign starting with the opener.
Jake Dotchin, TB vs. FLA ($12): Dotchin skated on the top pairing with Victor Hedman in his only preseason appearance, so donít be surprised if thatís where he starts the regular season. The 23-year-old blueliner excelled with 11 assists and a plus-10 rating in 35 games as a rookie and should pick up some cheap contributions in both categories while playing alongside one of the best two-way players at his position. You canít ask for much more at just $2 above the minimum.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Dan Girardi, TB vs. FLA ($14): Expect Lightning fans to learn quickly what Rangers fans have known for a long time. Girardi plays with a lot of heart and isnít afraid to put his body on the line, but the veteran blueliner doesnít bring much offensive skill and is one of the slowest skaters in the NHL. The downgrade in role and partner from first pairing with Ryan McDonagh to bottom pairing with Braydon Coburn should be enough to erase what little value Girardi had at the tail end of his New York tenure.
Johnny Boychuk, NYI at CLS ($18): Declining stay-at-home defensemen donít tend to be big fantasy contributors. The 33-year-old Boychuk has seen his point total drop from 35 to 25 to 23 in his three seasons with the Islanders and few would be shocked to see that trend continue. Heíll have some value in the right matchups assuming his price drops later in the year, but paying $18 for Boychuk against Columbus makes little sense.