NHL Plays: Thursday

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Corey Abbott
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NHL Plays will highlight the best and the most underrated daily fantasy options among forwards, defensemen and goaltenders.

Please note, these players were chosen early in the day, so make sure to check NBC Sports EDGE's player news for any lineup changes, injuries and potential changes in the crease for starting goaltenders.

Additionally, it is worth reminding everyone that FanDuel allows you to roster nine players (2C, 2W, 2D, 2UTIL 1G) with a salary cap of $55,000, while DraftKings has a cap of $50,000 for nine players (2C, 3W, 2D, 1G, 1UTIL) and Yahoo has a $200 budget for nine players (2C, 3W, 2D, 2G).

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out NBC Sports EDGE's Player News, and follow @NBCSEdgeHK and @CoreAbbott on Twitter.

Thursday has 10 games on the schedule.

Forwards:

Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton) - W - $8,000 (FanDuel), C - $8,400 (DraftKings), $33 (Yahoo)

Draisaitl and Connor McDavid have had very productive years, but they have both been particularly successful against Ottawa. Draisaitl has 10 goals and 21 points in just eight games versus the Senators this year. He has scored a hat trick in two of his last three appearances against Ottawa, including on Wednesday as part of a four-point performance.

Nikolaj Ehlers (Winnipeg) - W - $6,500 (FanDuel), $6,900 (DraftKings), $26 (Yahoo)

Ehlers hasn’t scored a goal in his last 10 outings, but he is long overdue for a breakout. He has seven assists, including three on the power play, and 31 shots on target during that span. Ehlers is set to play alongside Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele on Thursday night. That combination should get plenty of prime opportunities versus a tired Montreal team that played the night before. Additionally, Ehlers also has two goals and six points in six previous matches against the Canadiens this year.

Vincent Trocheck (Carolina) - C - $6,300 (FanDuel), $6,700 (DraftKings), $23 (Yahoo)

Trocheck has picked up at least one point in each of his past 11 appearances. That includes two goals and five assists in five games since he returned from an upper-body injury. Trocheck has been all over the scoresheet this season with 15 markers and 31 points in 29 contests. That includes five goals, one assist and 17 shots in five outings against his former Florida teammates.

Jesper Bratt (New Jersey) - W - $5,000 (FanDuel), $4,700 (DraftKings), $17 (Yahoo)

Bratt has amassed 11 points, including seven assists, in the past 12 games. He is coming off a two-point performance against Buffalo on Tuesday when he notched one goal and one helper. That gives him two goals and seven points in seven matches versus the Sabres this season. Bratt has plenty of bang for the buck upside on Thursday night.

Jared McCann (Pittsburgh) - C - $4,400 (FanDuel), $4,700 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo)

McCann has provided five goals and three assists in his last seven matches. He has potted four goals on the power play and he has one helper on the man advantage as well during that stretch. McCann has been taking full advantage of his time on Pittsburgh’s top power-play unit.

Craig Smith (Boston) - W - $4,300 (FanDuel), $4,000 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo)

Smith has collected two goals and six assists in the last nine games. He also has 23 shots on target during that span. Smith has playing alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on Boston’s top line, which gives him plenty of bang for the buck upside and stack potential.

Bargain Bin: Casey Mittelstadt (BUF) - C - $3,500 (FanDuel), $2,900 (DraftKings), $10 (Yahoo), Andrew Copp (WPG) - $3,900 (FanDuel), $4,200 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo), Josh Bailey (NYI) - W - $ (FanDuel), $3,800 (DraftKings), $17 (Yahoo), Eeli Tolvanen (NSH) - W - $ (FanDuel), $ (DraftKings), $ (Yahoo)

Defensemen:

Adam Fox (New York Rangers) - $6,200 (FanDuel), $6,700 (DraftKings), $26 (Yahoo)

Fox has compiled three goals and 18 assists during an 11-game point spree. He has racked up 11 helpers on the power play over that span. Fox has reached another gear offensively in his sophomore season and he has generated seven points (two goals, five assists) in seven previous contests against Pittsburgh.

Rasmus Dahlin (Buffalo) - $3,600 (FanDuel), $3,500 (DraftKings), $10 (Yahoo)

Dahlin has registered points in bunches this campaign, including one goal and two assists in his past three outings. One team he hasn’t struggled against is New Jersey, while supplying two goals and five helpers in seven appearances. His past success against the Devils and his low salary cap hits across the board provide him plenty of appeal for Thursday night’s slate.

Bargain Bin: Zach Werenski (CBJ) - $5,300 (FanDuel), $4,400 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo), Thomas Chabot (OTT) - $4,800 (FanDuel), $5,300 (DraftKings), $16 (Yahoo), Ivan Provorov (PHI) - $5,100 (FanDuel), $18 (Yahoo), Mike Matheson (PIT) - $3,800 (FanDuel), $3,400 (DraftKings), $15 (Yahoo)

Goaltenders:

Mike Smith (Edmonton) - $7,200 (FanDuel), $8,300 (DraftKings), $33 (Yahoo)

Smith has been superb this season, while posting a 13-3-2 record with a 2.41 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 20 games played. The Oilers will probably turn to him after Mikko Koskinen played in Wednesday’s win over Ottawa. Smith has a mark of 3-0-0 versus the Senators in 2020-21 with a 1.33 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.

Juuse Saros (Nashville) - $7,600 (FanDuel), $8,100 (DraftKings), $35 (Yahoo)

Saros has posted seven wins over his last nine appearances. He has stopped 293 of 304 shots during that span, while posting two shutouts and a .964 save percentage. Saros is coming off a 3-2 shootout win over Detroit on Tuesday when he blocked 25 shots. In four appearances versus the Red Wings this year, he has a 3-0-0 record with a 1.18 goals-against average and .953 save percentage.

Bargain Bin: Linus Ullmark (BUF) - $6,700 (FanDuel), $7,600 (DraftKings), $31 (Yahoo), Elvis Merzlikins (CBJ) - $7,200 (FanDuel), $6,900 (DraftKings), $28 (Yahoo)