We are back to large Thursday slates again! With Anaheim on the final day of their bye all 30 NHL clubs have now completed their mandated bye weeks which means the NHL schedule returns to normal after two months of bye week rotation throughout the league. We have a very intriguing ten-game slate on our hands this evening and I have some matchups I’d like to exploit with today’s NHL DraftKings picks.
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C – Derick Brassard (OTT) – $5,000
You will see here that the Sens taking on the Avalanche is one matchup I aim to exploit. Brassard lines up as Ottawa’s top centerman for tonight’s home game against the NHL’s last place team. Not only do the Avalanche have the fewest points in the league, they also surrender the most goals per game at 3.31 on the season. The Avs rank 24th with their 77.9% penalty kill as well, something Brassard can take advantage of as part of a loaded Sens’ power play unit alongside Kyle Turris, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone and Erik Karlsson.
C – Jack Eichel (BUF) – $7,600
I have higher hopes for Eichel than I do anyone else in this lineup. He is a shot on goal machine with 3.98 per game on the season and that number increases to 4.29 on home ice. Eichel has 20 points in 21 home games while averaging over 20 minutes per game at the KeyBank Center. The Sabres quietly have an excellent power play this season with a 22.2% clip, good for fourth in the league. That man advantage gets better on home ice with a 24% clip, also good for fourth in the league. That power play runs through Eichel as I expect the sophomore pivot to have a huge game against a Coyotes team that surrenders 3.61 goals per game on the road.
W – Reid Boucher (VAN) – $2,800
My first of two value plays, Boucher has a solid opportunity tonight in a road tilt against the Sharks. San Jose is a stingy defensive team, however Boucher is set to skate on a line with Bo Horvat who happens to lead the Canucks in scoring. Boucher will see an increase in minutes down the stretch with the departure of Alex Burrows and that showed on Tuesday night when he scored a goal while playing over 18 minutes against the Red Wings. He will also see second unit power play duties this evening.
W – Mike Hoffman (OTT) – $6,100
While Hoffman doesn’t play with Brassard at even strength, he is too enticing to avoid given his matchup this evening. Hoffman is the Senators’ most lethal goal scorer with his elite release and shot, something that could be fun to watch against that poor Avalanche defense tonight. He has taken an average of 3.14 shots per game this season and has scored 11 of his 19 goals on home ice. He has scored just once in his past ten contests but has points in each of his last two games while taking eight shots in that stretch. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a multi-goal effort from the winger tonight.
W – Sam Reinhart (BUF) – $5,000
Reinhart is a great play tonight if you are on board with Jack Eichel. Reinhart flanks the Sabres’ best offensive player in Eichel both at five on five and with the man advantage. He shoots the puck a solid amount with 142 shots on the season and has taken 18 more shots at home despite playing in three fewer home games than road games. Since missing two games with an illness Reinhart has one goal on a solid 11 shots in three games since returning to the lineup. He and Eichel are my favorite pairing for tonight’s slate.
D – Erik Karlsson (OTT) – $7,500
There should be no fading Karlsson tonight. The two-time Norris Trophy winner has 56 points in 62 contests this season and is the heartbeat of this Ottawa team at both ends of the ice. He has 158 shots on goal to go along with 162 blocks while averaging a solid 4.6 fantasy points per game. I can’t help but think he has a chance to double that average in tonight’s comfy matchup against the Avalanche. He skates over 27 minutes per home game and is severely due to start increasing his 3.4% shooting percentage at home closer to his 7.0% mark for the season.
D – Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF) – $5,800
Ristolainen is essentially the Erik Karlsson of the Sabres. He is quite similar to the Swede in a lot of ways despite being a Fin, the arch nemesis of Sweden. Rivalries aside, Ristolainen is the best young defenseman in the game as he averages 26:54 of ice time per game, good for fourth in the league. He also has 37 points on 150 shots and 139 blocks in 63 games this season. There is plenty to like about his chances of adding to those totals as part of a Sabres team that takes on the Coyotes and their 29th-ranked defense tonight.
G – Pekka Rinne (NSH) – $7,300
I am going to need a bit of luck or good fortune when it comes to taking Rinne as tonight’s goalie. However, in order to get this high-octane lineup in place I needed to go cheaper with a goalie. That said, there is some value to be had here at this price. Rinne takes on the Canadiens tonight at the Bell Centre, a team that has had issues scoring goals lately and a team who Rinne has dominated in his career. Montreal has scored just 13 regulation or overtime goals over their last eight games, good for 1.63 per game. In nine games against the Habs, Rinne has gone 6-1-2 with a 1.30 goals against average and .954 percentage with two shutouts to boot. This could be a very sneaky play tonight, especially in GPPs.
UTIL – Joshua Ho-Sang (NYI) – $2,700
Tonight Ho-Sang makes his NHL debut in a road matchup against the Stars. The 21-year-old 2014 first round pick is having an impressive inaugural pro season with 36 points in 48 AHL games. He was an elite scorer in junior with 163 points over his final 126 games in the OHL, a 1.29 points per game pace. He is set to skate on the Islanders’ second line alongside Brock Nelson and Andrew Ladd, not a bad spot for his first NHL contest. He is also going up against the NHL’s 28th-ranked defense as the Stars surrender 3.21 goals per game. Perhaps Ho-Sang’s first NHL points come sooner than later.