Last night’s DraftKings lineups picks were solid, although we didn’t get much from the lower-owned Hanzal/Shore combination. We got plenty from the four-man Lightning stack while Jimmy Howard stopped 33 of 35 shots and won his third consecutive decision of the young season. While it was a good night and good enough to cash in some cash games, let’s make tonight’s lineup an even better one on the five-game slate!
C – Alexander Wennberg (CLS) – $6,200 vs. NYR
Wennberg’s price is a little elevated on DraftKings considering he is not a shoot-first player, but with that said, he plays with two reliable goal scorers in Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson at both even strength and with the man advantage. Therefore, his assist total should be among the best in the game and I am happy to pay the price as part of a Blue Jackets’ pairing (see below). The Rangers have had issues in goal this season as they have yielded 3.75 goals per game (T-24) and Henrik Lundqvist, tonight’s confirmed starter, sports an .898 save percentage through four starts this season.
C – Nico Hischier (NJ) – $4,300 vs. WAS
Hischier enters this play as a one-off option, but a high-upside one nonetheless as he takes on the Capitals and possibly backup goaltender Philip Grubauer. Hischier’s speed and creativity have been on full display for a Devils team that has been lighting the lamp at a 5.33 goals per game pace through three games this season. Interestingly, Hischier has managed just one assist on the Devils’ 16 goals so far this season, but he does have eight shots on goal. He gets second unit power play minutes as well and his first NHL goal should not be far off with the way he has played this season.
W – Cam Atkinson (CLS) – $6,300 vs. NYR
After tallying a career-high 35 goals last season on 240 shots, Atkinson should be primed for another big season this time around. He plays with the aforementioned Wennberg in all situations, and this line should start to dominate any time now. Columbus scored 3.01 goals per game last season (6th) and that number increased to 3.15 on home ice where they went 28-12-1 last season. Atkinson has incrementally increased his goal total, point total and shot total every season since the ‘13/’14 season and it wouldn’t shock me for that trend to continue this season.
W – Corey Perry (ANH) – $6,100 vs. COL
Perry has frequented this lineup three times already this season, but as I’ve said before, I truly believe he is due for a big rebound season after uncharacteristically scoring just 19 goals a season ago despite posting 215 shots on goal. Perry has averaged three shots on goal per game through four contests this season while averaging just short of 20 minutes of ice time per game. The Ducks power play has yet to strike this season, but once this unit begins to inevitably click the goals will start to come in bunches, and tonight is a good time to start against a poor penalty kill and a backup goaltender in Jonathan Bernier.
W – Patrick Eaves (ANH) – $5,500 vs. COL
Eaves made his season debut in the Ducks’ win over the Islanders on Wednesday, scoring a goal while recording two shots on goal in over 17 minutes of ice time. He lines up next to Ryan Getzlaf and Perry on the Ducks’ top line while he resumes his spot on the team’s top power play unit as well. Eaves was a trade deadline acquisition by the Ducks last season, a season in which he scored a career-high 32 goals on 154 shots on goal. That makes for a high 21% shooting percentage, but given his opportunity on the Ducks’ top lines this season it’s reasonable to expect another 25+ goal season from the veteran.
D – Cam Fowler (ANH) – $5,600 vs. COL
Fowler completes the three-man Ducks’ stack and should be in for a big time role tonight in Colorado. With Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen sidelined, Fowler is playing big minutes on the Ducks’ blueline, averaging 26:15 of ice time per game, the third highest mark in all of hockey. Fowler is clearly the quarterback of the Ducks’ top power play unit and has been seeing an average of 4:13 per game on the man advantage as well. I feel very confident in the blueliner’s ability to get on the scoresheet tonight for the second time in as many games.
D – Christian Djoos (WAS) – $3,000 vs. NJ
If Djoos continues to play like he did in his NHL debut Wednesday against Pittsburgh we won’t be able to steal him at low prices any longer. While he skated just over 13 minutes against the Penguins, Djoos made his presence felt with a goal and assist on two shots on goal. Djoos didn’t see a single second of power play ice time in that contest, but if he continues to produce I don’t see any reason why Barry Trotz wouldn’t bolster the second unit with the offensive skills of Djoos after he scored 13 goals and 58 points in the AHL last season.
G – Mike Smith (CGY) – $8,200 vs. OTT
With Smith we have a “don’t fix what isn’t broken” mantra going. Smith enters play tonight with a sparkling .950 save percentage while leading the NHL with 152 saves on the season. The Flames have a stout top four defensive group, but somehow that have allowed plenty of shots, 40.3 per game to be exact, which is the highest mark in the league. That said, plenty of shots against and a hot goaltender is the perfect combination for DFS. Smith takes on a Senators team missing their best player in Erik Karlsson and a team that has scored only seven goals across three games (2.33/game) on home ice tonight.
UTIL – David Perron (VGK) – $4,800 vs. DET
The Red Wings have not been a poor defensive team by any means, however they are playing in the second half of back-to-back games tonight and will likely start backup goalie Petr Mrazek in goal. Perron has two assists through three games for Vegas, however he has also fired five shots on goal in two of those three games while skating on the team’s top line and top power play unit. He scored 18 goals and 46 points last season so he is certainly a capable scorer on a team that will need it as the season progresses.