Happy New Year to everyone! After a couple of dandy outdoor games over the weekend the NHL schedule will get back to normal beginning tonight with a seven-game slate. Although seven is a little bit of a low number for a Tuesday there is still money to be made so let’s take a look at tonight’s DraftKings NHL picks!
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C – Nicklas Backstrom (WAS) – $6,400
One of the most consistent point producers in the entire NHL, Backstrom once again looks like a solid play tonight against the visiting Maple Leafs. Washington has completely owned Toronto on home ice over the years and have accumulated a 16-5 record over their last 21 home games against the Leafs. Washington has scored three or more goals over their last five home games against the Maple Leafs and Backstrom has at least one point in all five of those games. He and Alex Ovechkin have destroyed the Maple Leafs over their careers and I don’t see why that won’t continue tonight.
C – Kevin Hayes (NYR) – $5,600
After a disappointing sophomore season a year ago Hayes has bounced back with authority over the first half of this season. He has tallied 28 points through 39 games and has five assists over his last three contests. Hayes is known to be a streaky producer and it’s nice to see him back producing after a 15-game stretch where he scored just once and had five points. The Rangers host the last-place Sabres tonight and New York scores 3.55 goals per game on home ice. Let’s ride Hayes will he is hot.
W – Alex Ovechkin (WAS) – $8,300
Not a difficult decision at all here. As mentioned above, the Ovechkin-Backstrom duo have killed the Maple Leafs for a long time. Ovechkin has recorded eight points over his last six games against Toronto and is a major reason why the Capitals have owned the Maple Leafs since he entered the league. He has blasted a whopping 143 pucks on net in just 36 games, however his 17 goals are a little low for the Russian superstar. I expect a bigger second half for Ovechkin than we are witnessing in the first half but his dominance against Toronto makes him a must-have tonight.
W – Adam Erne (TB) – $2,800
Here is a name you have never heard of. Thanks to a plethora of injuries up front Erne will make his NHL debut tonight for the Lightning. The 21-year old was a prolific scorer in the junior ranks and is having a nice season for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL with 18 points in 31 games. I have a lot of fire power in this lineup so Erne makes the cut as a value play for his first game in the NHL.
W – T.J. Oshie (WAS) – $5,900
The third member of the Capitals’ top line also makes his way into this lineup. After going five straight games without a point Oshie has rattled off three points over his last two games. Hopefully that signals a hot streak as Oshie is a guy who scores in bunches. He will be happy to put a five-point December behind him and enter the New Year on a high note.
D – Dustin Byfuglien (WPG) – $5,700
Byfuglien is one of the most used players in the sport. He is currently averaging over 27 minutes of ice time per game while recording 23 points in 39 games on the season. He has also taken 114 shots on goal from the blueline while blocking 65 as well. His ability to contribute both on and off the scoresheet is almost unrivaled among defenseman. The guy known as “Big Buff” takes on a Lightning team who play in their own end more than ever lately with so many injuries to offensive contributors.
D – Mirco Mueller (SJ) – $2,500
This the value plays of all value plays. Mueller is as cheap as it gets on DraftKings, however his value could skyrocket as a result. He has eight points in 25 AHL games on the season and scored at around a .50 points per game pace in his time playing junior. He has just 50 games of NHL experience under his belt but could see some consistent action this time around thanks to a couple of injuries on the back end in San Jose.
G – Cam Ward (CAR) – $7,700
Ward is somewhat of a lost man in these circles these days, however he is a real solid play at home tonight against the Devils. Ward has crafted a 1.91 goals against average and a .931 save percentage on home ice this season. That is especially good news considering the Devils are one of the worst road teams in the NHL and score just 1.91 goals per game on the road. Ward has lost just twice in 13 starts at home this season and makes for a real solid play at a nice price this evening.
UTIL – Patrick Marleau (SJ) – $5,100
Marleau’s 16 points in 37 games aren’t what we are used to seeing from the veteran winger, however he still gets the puck to the net at an elite pace. He has 91 shots on goal this season including 10 over his last three games where he three points in that stretch. Marleau still gets all of the first line minutes and all of the first unit power play minutes so don’t count the veteran out just yet.