Last night’s lineup started off with a bang, but ended up out of the money. The Islanders and Rangers combined to score six goals in regulation, which was actually somewhat of a disappointing figure considering three of them were scored within the first six minutes of the game. John Tavares and Mike Zibanejad had disappointing nights down the middle while Mike Smith couldn’t get the win despite only surrendering two goals. We have a solid six-game slate this Friday evening so let’s get to it!
C – Jack Eichel (BUF) – $7,800 vs. VAN
Eichel and his Sabres will welcome the Canucks to town tonight, a team that yielded six goals last night and will likely be a vulnerable team again this evening. Eichel has enjoyed a quality start to the season while recording nine points through his first seven games to go along with 19 shots on goal. This kid is a shot on goal machine as he fired 249 shots on goal in only 61 games last season, good for just over four shots per game which would be 334 over the course of a full 82-game season. While they are off to a so-so start at 18.5% this season, Buffalo had the NHL’s top power play last season and should be able to get some tallies tonight against the Canucks and their weak 77.8% penalty kill.
C – Brian Little (WPG) – $5,200 vs. MIN
Little is a stark contrast to Eichel where he doesn’t shoot the puck much with just nine shots through six games, but this guy plays with a couple of the top offensive players in the league right now in Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers. Little is usually good for 17-19 minutes per game and is one of the most underrated producers in the league. Last season, Little put up 21 goals and 47 points in just 59 games after 17 goals and 42 points in 57 games the prior season. This guy can put up points with some of the best pivots in the league and I will take him at a lovely price considering his upside tonight against the Wild.
W – Patrik Laine (WPG) – $7,500 vs. MIN
Laine hasn’t quite got it going with just two goals through six games, but this guy has 40-goal upside and the goals will begin to come in bunches for a player with one of the top few shots in the league. Laine can expose you in many ways, one of which is on the power play. While the Jets power play has clicked at only 10% this season, they are a very dangerous group and like the Sabres, the Jets are up against a penalty kill that sits at 77.8% entering play tonight. The Wild have also been uncharacteristically porous defensively with 3.75 goals against per game (25th).
W – Nikolaj Ehlers (WPG) – $6,700 vs. MIN
Ehlers is enjoying an impressive start to his season as he has notched five goals and added a couple of assists to go along with a whopping 25 shots through just six games. Ehlers lines up on the team’s second line with Laine and Little while also skating with Little on the team’s second power play unit. Hit release has become one of the best in the game and the former first round pick is making good on his pre-NHL hype again this season.
W – Evander Kane (BUF) – $6,500 vs. VAN
Another player that has come out of the gates hot is Sabres’ winger Evander Kane. Kane has been a headline for all the wrong reasons over the last few seasons, but this year it is his production that garners the attention. Kane has five goals and ten points to go along with an incredible 39 shots through just seven contests on the season. He lines up with Eichel on the team’s top line while he skates on Buffalo’s second power play unit as well. It’s somewhat of a mystery why he wouldn’t be on the team’s top grouping, but I will take his solid floor and high ceiling tonight against a vulnerable Canucks squad.
W – Kyle Connor (WPG) – $3,500 vs. MIN
I didn’t quite want to go with a full four-man Jets stack, but Connor’s opportunity combined with his extremely low price is too hard to pass up on. Connor will again skate on the Jets’ top line next to Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler while he will also get second unit power play time next to Little and Ehlers as well. He scored a goal while skating over 17 minutes in his first game since being recalled from the AHL and given his spot in the lineup I don’t see the offensive production coming to a halt any time soon.
D – Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF) – $5,300 vs. VAN
Ristolainen is one of my favorite defensemen to use in all of DFS. The future Norris Trophy winner plays in all situations for the Sabres while averaging an NHL-leading 26:58 of ice time on the season. He is a cross-category producer with three points, 15 shots and ten blocks through seven games, but last season he tallied 45 points and 186 shots on goal. He also had really nice home splits last season where he recorded 27 points in 39 home games compared to 18 points in 40 games on the road. Lock this guy in tonight in a favorable matchup.
D – Jared Spurgeon (MIN) – $4,200 vs. WPG
There’s a lot of bang for your buck with Spurgeon. First, Spurgeon plays a ton while ranking 19th in the league with his 24:26 average time on ice per game, and he is also part of a productive power play group. Spurgeon and Ryan Suter play on the team’s top power play unit, a group that has clicked at 28.6% this season which is third best in the league. Like Ristolainen, Spurgeon is a cross-category producer with three points on eight shots and ten blocks through four games this season. Very nice value here with the Wild defender.
G – John Gibson (ANH) – $8,300 vs. MON
Until Montreal shows that they can score I will continue to target them with goaltending. It worked well with Jonathan Quick on Wednesday night and tonight I will go ahead and use Gibson against the NHL’s lowest scoring team at just 1.43 goals per game. Hopefully the Ducks offense can give Gibson some support in this one as they have the league’s second worst offense at just 2.00 goals per game, but nonetheless I will take Gibson’s .924 save percentage and run in this matchup tonight.