The NHL is back.
Hockey fans everywhere are pumped to get going while DFS players have another sport to sink their teeth into in what is one of the busiest times of the year for sports.
This opening night slate gives us four games to sort through with some nice matchups on tap.
Let’s get right into our first set of DraftKings NHL DFS Picks for the season and get our hockey season started on the right note!
C – John Tavares (TOR) – $7,400 vs. MON
Why not roster the offseason’s biggest acquisition as John Tavares makes his Maple Leafs regular season debut tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. Come off posting 37 goals and 47 assists in his last season on Long Island, Tavares figures to increase those totals on what should be a lethal Maple Leafs offense this season. He is set to skate on the de facto top line alongside playmaking wiz Mitch Marner while Tavares will also be a net-front presence on the Maple Leafs’ top power play unit. Toronto tied for third in offense last season with 3.29 goals per game while their 24.9% clip on the power play was the second-best mark in hockey next to only the Penguins. After scoring five goals and adding an assists in just four preseason games, it appears Tavares is ready to go in the blue and white.
C – Sean Monahan (CGY) – $5,900 vs. VAN
Monahan and the Flames figure to be a much-improved offense this season, and they’ll get a crack one of the worst defensive teams in the league from last season tonight in Vancouver against the Canucks. Vancouver ranked 26th in team defense last season, and with essentially the same defensemen and goaltending returning this season, things don’t figure to get much better. Monahan tied a career-high with 31 goals last season and he also set a new career-high with 202 shots on goal. He is unquestionably the Flames’ top center this season while he should once again form a high-ceiling duo with Johnny Gaudreau both at even strength and on the Flames’ top power play unit. Ownership should be high, but his ceiling is as well.
W – Mitch Marner (TOR) – $6,000 vs. MON
If the preseason as any indication, Marner and Tavares have already developed some serious chemistry. Tavares scored those aforementioned five preseason goals, and Marner notched a goal and six assists across his four preseason contests. Marner’s playmaking ability and vision of the ice is second-to-none as he led the Maple Leafs with 42 assists two years ago before tying for the team lead with 47 last season. He will ride shotgun to Tavares at both five-on-five and on the Maple Leafs’ top power play unit where Marner is essentially the main cog with everything running through him on the ride side of the ice. He also potted 22 goals and took 194 shots last season, giving him plenty of cross-category upside in this one tonight.
W – Johnny Gaudreau (CGY) – $6,400 vs. VAN
Gaudreau is a layup in this lineup if you are rostering Monahan. The duo will skate next to each other in all situations tonight against what should be one of the weakest team in the Western Conference. Gaudreau set a new career-high with 84 goals last season while he was among the league leaders with 60 assists. He also potted 24 goals and took 227 shots on goal last season, so his cross-category upside is there as well. The 25-year-old could be primed to set new career-highs if he and Monahan can remain healthy all season and he certainly has a nice matchup tonight to get his season started in the right direction.
W – Brett Connolly (WAS) – $3,300 vs. BOS
The suspension stalemate with Tom Wilson is going to lead to a big-time opportunity for Capitals winger Brett Connolly. With Wilson out, Connolly will get to skate on the top line next to Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin for tonight’s matchup against the Bruins. Although he enjoyed a huge 22.4% shooting percentage last season, Connolly scored 15 goals in most third-line duties last season while averaging only 12 minutes of ice time per game. He scored those 15 goals while missing 12 games with injury, and he interestingly scored 15 the year prior in just 66 games. He doesn’t take a ton of shots at all, however his spot on the top line could have him lending an assists or two alongside the Capitals’ top offensive players, something that would have him eclipsing value at a small price.
D – Morgan Rielly (TOR) – $5,800 vs. MON
While he and Jake Gardiner tied each other with 52 points last season on the Maple Leafs blueline, Rielly is going to be the Maple Leafs’ defenseman to own this season as he will be the lone defenseman on that lethal top power play unit. The Maple Leafs are going to stack their top group with all of their best offensive players including Tavares, Marner, Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri. That’s an excellent spot to be, and although power play points don’t count on DraftKings, goals and assists certainly do. Rielly’s 52 points from last season were a career-high and this opportunity could very well have him eclipsing that 52-point mark this time around.
D – Derrick Pouliot (VAN) – $3,100 vs. CGY
We certainly have some high-priced players in this lineup tonight, so we are going to need to find some value on top of Connolly and I have identified what will be a very low-owned, cost-efficient mini-stack tonight, beginning here with Pouliot. As evidenced by his price, the Canucks’ blueliner doesn’t possess any eye-popping numbers on his NHL resume, but he posted a decent 22 points in 71 contests with the Canucks last season. He will get an opportunity to play on the team’s second power play unit, where he’s projected to reside as the lone defenseman. He has solid offensive skills and let’s hope he can put them to work tonight.
G – Frederik Andersen (TOR) – $8,400 vs. MON
Andersen and the Maple Leafs are the heaviest betting favorites at -230 tonight against the Habs, so Andersen’s win upside is certainly substantial. He gets a very favorable matchup tonight against a Canadiens club that ranked 29th in offense last season. The Maple Leafs improved greatly in terms of team defense to 12th, while Andersen came up big all season long. His 2.81 GAA and .918 Sv% aren’t super-impressive numbers, but he kept the Leafs in many games while he also faced the most shots in hockey last season. At the end of the day, he faces a weak offense at home and is a huge betting favorite. Not much hesitation to lock this guy in tonight.
UTIL – Nikolay Goldobin (VAN) – $3,300 vs. CGY
Completing our lineup and our mini-stack tonight is Goldobin who has a nice opportunity to produce tonight against the Flames. He appears set to skate alongside Elias Pettersson who is a much-anticipated rookie entering the league and should have a big rookie year. It’s certainly a nice spot to be for Goldobin while he will also skate on the second power play unit where he forms a mini-stack with the aforementioned Pouliot. He notched a solid eight goals and 14 points in 38 games with the Canucks as a 22-year-old last season, so I’m liking the sneaky upside he brings to the table at what should be very low ownership on this season-opening slate tonight.