Saturdays in October are great for sports. In the mix, though, there is plenty of hockey. The NHL has nine games on the docket starting at 7:00 p.m. EDT or later. Here are some players to target, and to avoid, for your DFS lineup.
Jake Oettinger, DAL at MON ($34): Oettinger is off to a red-hot start to the season. In each of his three starts he's allowed only one goal. Montreal has been a little friskier offensively that I anticipated, but since the start of last season they've averaged 2.67 goals and 29.7 shots on net per game.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Frederik Andersen, CAR at CGY ($35): Andersen has picked up where he left off last season, but this matchup is tough. He's on the road against a Calgary team that has averaged 3.56 goals and 35.6 shots on net per contest since the start of last year. Now, I know the roster really got a revamp this offseason, but through four games this year the Flames have averaged 3.75 goals and 38.0 shots on goal per game.
Evgeni Malkin, PIT at CLM ($26): Malkin's only issue last season was health, as he had 42 points in 41 games. This year he's started the season healthy and has at least one point in all four games thus far. Things have picked up where they left off with Columbus defensively, and Elvis Merzlikins has a 3.61 GAA and .872 save percentage on the year.
CENTER TO AVOID
Brayden Point, TAM vs. NYI ($23): The Lightning are one of two teams on the second leg of a back-to-back Saturday. While they are at home, they also welcome an Islanders team with Ilya Sorokin likely in net. In his career, Sorokin has a 2.32 GAA and .924 save percentage. Point's salary is lofty based on past performance, but relatively speaking he's started this season somewhat slow.
Mason Marchment, DAL at MON ($18): Marchment broke through with 18 goals and 29 assists in 54 games for the Panthers last season, and he turned that campaign into a deal with the Stars and a larger role. So far, so good for both sides, as Marchment has six points through four games. Since the start of last season, the Canadiens are 31st in GAA, and they have the same goaltending situation this year.
Reilly Smith, VGK vs. COL ($18): Smith has been both active and unlucky to start the season. He's put 20 shots on net but has one goal. This early in the year, shooting at a 5.0 percent rate is not all that surprising, but it's very likely that heads toward the mean as time goes on. The Avalanche are the other team on the second leg of a back-to-back, and they will likely have Alexandar Georgiev in net. He has a career .908 save percentage.
WINGS TO AVOID
Valeri Nichushkin, COL at VGK ($25): Nichushkin is off to a scorching start, but he's not going to keep scoring on a third of his shots on goal. Also, with Nazem Kadri now a Flame, Nichushkin's center is J.T. Compher, a decided step down. The Avalanche are on the road for the second night of a back-to-back as I noted, and Logan Thompson has a 2.02 GAA and .938 save percentage through three starts this season.
Cole Caufield, MON vs. DAL ($19): Caufield has four goals through five games, but he has not yet shown he can sustain 20.0 percent shooting. Maybe he can! He just hasn't done it yet, as last year he had a 12.2 percent mark. Oettinger, as I noted, has allowed all of one goal in each of his first three starts. I was high on him heading into this season, and he's given me zero reason to turn away from that.
Rasmus Dahlin, BUF at VAN ($19): Owen Power is around now, but Dahlin is still the power-play point man. He's averaged 4:08 with the extra man, and in a full NHL season he has never had fewer than 20 power-play points. The Canucks have the league's worst penalty kill since the start of last season. Thatcher Demko actually played well last year all in all, but this year he has a 4.30 GAA and .861 save percentage.
Noah Dobson, NYI at TAM ($18): Dobson broke through with 51 points last season, but I also like that he put 190 shots on net. This year he's taken his shooting to a new level, with 15 pucks on net in four games. The Lightning being on the second leg of a back-to-back often leads to a rare Brian Elliott appearance in net. Over his last seven seasons he has a .905 save percentage.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Victor Hedman, TAM vs. NYI ($30): With nine games on the slate, there are enough options that it doesn't make a ton of sense to plug Hedman's salary into your lineup. After all, he is on a back-to-back, and he faces Sorokin and his career .924 save percentage. The Islanders also have the third-ranked penalty kill since the start of last season.
Zach Werenski, CLM vs. PIT ($21): Werenski always seems to have a tough matchup. I know that can't logically be true, but it always seems like I only notice when he is in a tricky situation. Like, say, when the Penguins are in town and Tristan Jarry brings his 1.68 GAA and .952 save percentage. This comes after he had a .919 save percentage last season.