Yahoo DFS Hockey: Thursday Breakdown

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·5 min read
Yahoo DFS Hockey: Thursday Breakdown
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The NHL fires up a 10-game slate Thursday, with Oilers-Coyotes closing out the action after six games see puck drop at 7:00 pm EDT. As such, there are plenty of top-shelf and bargain options to choose from. 

GOALIE

Elvis Merzlikins, CLS vs. NYI ($30): Merzlikins has recorded a .948 save percentage and a 1.48 GAA while winning his first two starts of the season. After posting .923 and .916 marks through his first two seasons in the league, he's proven he can keep this up in the long term. The 27-year-old draws an intriguing matchup in a game that is listed at 5.5 O/U. The Islanders have scored eight goals through three games this year. 

GOALIE TO AVOID

Juuse Saros, NSH vs. NYR ($37): The most expensive goaltender on the slate, Saros is a risky option. The 26-year-old is playing quite well with a .927 save percentage through the first three games, but he has just one win to his name because Nashville's offense has offered little support. The Rangers have some daunting skill players and are coming off back-to-back road wins against the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens. 

CENTER

Mark Scheifele, WPG vs. ANH ($24): Scheifele posted 21 goals and 42 assists through 56 games last season, and he's off to a strong start with two helpers in as many contests this year. He commands an expensive salary tonight, but the opportunity is there. John Gibson can't hold the Ducks together every night. Through four outings, the Ducks have recorded a league-high 3.38 xGA/60 at even strength, per Natural Stat Trick. Stack Scheifele with Kyle Connor ($23) if you can. 

CENTER TO AVOID

Jonathan Dahlen, SJ at OTT ($22): Dahlen was listed at $10 for the first two games of the season, but after scoring two goals in Tuesday's 5-0 win over the Canadiens, his salary has more than doubled. The 23-year-old didn't mark more than 15 minutes of ice time in either of his first two NHL games, so it's tough to depend on him, especially with the inflated salary.

WING

Clayton Keller, ARI vs. EDM ($16): Keller has produced right out of the gate with two goals and an apple through three games. He's just 23 years old but has four full NHL seasons under his belt already, and he's still getting better. Goaltender Mike Smith (leg) is on injured reserve, so either Mikko Koskinen, who recorded a 3.17 GAA last year, or Stuart Skinner, who has just one NHL start under his belt, will start for the Oilers. 

Patrik Laine, CLM vs. NYI ($16): Laine is playing quite well in the second year of his fresh start in Columbus, recording a goal and three assists through three games. The matchup is better than it looks, as the Islanders' defense isn't as airtight as it used to be. Through three games, it has recorded a 2.79 xGA/60 — the fifth-highest rate in the league. 

WINGS TO AVOID

T.J. Oshie, WAS at NJ ($21): Both of Oshie's points were in the first game of the season, and he has just five shots on net through three contests. The Devils look like an enticing matchup on paper, but they've given up just two even-strength goals through two games, so you're taking on a lot of risk at this salary. 

Brady Tkachuk, OTT at SJ ($19): Tkachuk will make his season debut after signing an eight-year extension with the Senators, so he'll be looking to justify that deal right away. However, the Sharks' defense is tougher than usual, and Adin Hill — who has a .932 save percentage thus far — is showing the potential I've long believed he had. 

DEFENSE

Dougie Hamilton, NJ vs. WAS ($29): I've highlighted mostly value plays so far in the article, but it's worth coughing up the dough for Hamilton. He averaged more than three shots per game last year, registering 10 goals and 32 assists across 55 games in the process. Aim for that upside here because he offers an appealing floor regardless.

Seth Jones, CHI vs. VAN ($19): Jones is handling the workhorse assignment in Chicago, averaging 25:07 of ice time so far while posting two assists, 14 shots on net and seven blocked shots through four games. He draws an appealing matchup against the Canucks, who rank 25th in the league with a 2.54 xGA/60 at even strength. Jones also handles PP1 duties. The Canucks have a measly 70 percent penalty-kill rate so far. 

DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID

Jakob Chychrun, ARI vs. EDM ($20): The Coyotes are turning away from past-his-prime Carter Hutton and instead affording Karel Vejmelka his second NHL start. Vejmelka was quite good in his debut, but the Coyotes have allowed 16 goals through three games nonetheless. It shows on Chychrun's stat line, as he's minus-7 without a point thus far. He could have some major defensive duties in his future, so his upside looks to be capped until further notice. 

Moritz Seider, DET vs. CGY ($18): The No. 6 pick in 2019 is legit, but he won't keep up the point-per-game pace he's at so far, especially with just three shots on goal through three games. Furthermore, we can't expect the Red Wings to average 4.7 goals per game much longer. Seider's salary makes it tough to depend on this upside continuing.