Rejoice, hockey fans! We have 13 NHL games on the slate Saturday night. The first games start, as per usual, at 7 p.m. EDT. Here are my players to target, and to avoid, for your DFS lineups.
Jake Allen, MON at STL ($33): Allen has had to stand on his head just to keep his GAA reasonable. His .927 save percentage has yielded a 2.72 GAA. That's a concern. What is not a concern, though, is catching the Blues on the second leg of a back-to-back. St. Louis is in the bottom five in goals and shots on net per game, so their punchless offense may not threaten the franchise's former netminder too much.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Alexandar Georgiev, COL at VGK ($38): Georgiev seemed to lose a little steam after starting the first eight games of the season for the Avalanche, so he finally got a game off. The goalie has a 2.40 GAA and .915 save percentage, so his numbers are still strong. Unfortunately, he returns from his one-game respite to visit Vegas. The Golden Knights are off to a torrid start to the season, having yet to lose in regulation, and they have averaged 3.64 goals per game.
Nick Suzuki, MON at STL ($18): I mentioned the Blues are on the second leg of a back-to-back, which should benefit Allen, but also his team's top-line center. Suzuki has eight points through 10 games, even on 7.4 percent shooting to start the season. The unproven Joel Hofer will likely be in net for St. Louis. Through 10 NHL appearances he has a .903 save percentage.
CENTER TO AVOID
Tage Thompson, BUF at TOR ($30): Only one team is on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back Saturday, and that's the Sabres. Thompson has earned his hefty salary through production, but you have so many options for your lineup. I don't want to risk doling out for Thompson when his team is the only one in that unfavorable situation. Plus, he probably catches Joseph Woll in net for the Maple Leafs, and he has a career .929 save percentage.
Kevin Fiala, LOS at PHI ($24): How do you average over a point per game while also being unlucky? When you tally 11 assists but only have one goal on 25 shots on net. That's been the case for Fiala, whose 4.0 percent shooting is bound to improve. The Flyers are on the second leg of a back-to-back, and also likely won't have Carter Hart available. This likely means Cal Petersen, a veteran who was tending goal for AHL Lehigh Valley, will face his former team. Over his last two seasons with the Kings he had an .890 save percentage.
Bryan Rust, PIT at SAN ($19): Rust's puck luck has turned around from last season, which has helped him pot five goals through nine games. Of course, having Sidney Crosby as your center helps. You know what also helps? When you get to face the Sharks, who are shaping up to be one of those "so bad you remember it for years" teams. They have a 4.40 GAA and have allowed 37.8 shots on net per game, both of which are last in the NHL.
WINGS TO AVOID
Alex DeBrincat, DET vs. BOS ($23): DeBrincat got off to a torrid start for his hometown team – and I got to be there where he picked up a hat trick against the Flames, which was cool – but he doesn't have a point in his last four games. It's hard to get on track against the Bruins. Boston had the lowest GAA in the NHL last year, and has a 1.60 GAA to start this season.
Mats Zuccarello, MIN vs. NYR ($22): Zuccarello may not find much success against his former squad. He's been solid this year, though only one of his 10 points has come in his last four games, but this matchup is tough. The Rangers have a 1.90 GAA, second in the NHL, and have only allowed 26.3 shots on net per contest. They've been this good, even with Igor Shesterkin having a .913 save percentage that would be the lowest of his career.
John Carlson, WAS vs. CLM ($21): Carlson has been leaned on more than usual this year, and that's saying something. He's averaged 25:43 per game in ice time, with 4:27 of that coming with the extra man. He's responded with seven points and 20 shots on net through nine games. The Blue Jackets have a 3.20 GAA and have allowed 32.4 shots on net per contest, and have probably been a smidge lucky. Elvis Merzlikins has a 2.97 GAA and .902 save percentage, but over the prior two seasons had a 3.54 GAA and .897 save percentage.
Erik Gustafsson, NYR at MIN ($15): Adam Fox left New York's last game early (and has since landed on LT-IR), and Gustafsson suddenly saw himself getting 5:04 of power-play time. The Wild are last in penalty-kill percentage to start the year at 63.6 percent. That's unsustainably bad, but it's also enticing to attack.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Quinn Hughes, VAN vs. DAL ($26): Yeah, Hughes just had five points, two of them on the power play, but they came against the Sharks. Beating up on San Jose is like when Georgia plays Samford in football or what have you. The Stars are a different story. They've killed 93.6 percent of the power plays against them, and Jake Oettinger has an 1.95 GAA and .939 save percentage.
Noah Dobson, NYI vs. CAR ($23): Dobson has taken on a sizable role for the Islanders, and has nine points through nine games. His 9.1 percent shooting is a bit elevated, and the Hurricanes might help provide him with some regression on that front. They have allowed a mere 26.1 shots on net per contest, an Frederik Andersen seems to have found his footing. Since returning from injury he has an 1.96 GAA and .925 save percentage.