Thursday’s Daily Fantasy Hockey Picks
The National Hockey League regular season kicked off Wednesday, but the first 'real' day is Thursday with the first full slate of games. Four of the eight teams from Wednesday are in action for their second game already, but 20 teams will be making their 2014-15 season debut.
(DraftDay.com salaries in parentheses) (all times ET)
Ben Bishop, G, Tampa Bay ($19550 vs FLA): Bishop will cost you a pretty penny, but he is worth it if you can squeeze him in under the cap. He had 37 wins last season, and three of those victories came in three starts against Tampa's cross-state rivals. Bishop posted a 3-0 record with a 2.23 Goals-Against Average (GAA) and .909 save percentage against Florida last season, and he just stopped 36 of 37 shots in a preseason win against the Panthers in his final tune-up this past week.
Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay ($14250 vs FLA): Stamkos is an obvious Fantasy must-start most times, but in DFS he can be quite expensive, so you have to pick and choose your spots wisely. When he faces the Florida Panthers, he often exceeds even his lofty salary expectations. In just three games against the Panthers in 2013-14, Stamkos popped in five goals while assisting on three other goals. He finished with a plus-5 rating and 10 shots on goal (SOG) for eye-popping Fantasy stats vs. Florida.
John Carlson, D, Washington ($9050 vs MTL): Carlson is a DFS dream, as he is not only an above-average rearguard, as far as offensive production is concerned, but he ranks in the Top 10 in blocked shots, too. That is an often underrated Fantasy category. He can do it all, and still comes with a relatively reasonable price tag.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Arizona ($10450 vs WPG): OEL is a gifted offensive defenseman, and he really turns it up in front of the home crowd. The Swede buried six goals with 19 assists and a plus-4 rating at home last season, as opposed to 19 points and a minus-8 rating on the road. And, he lit the lamp twice (including a power-play marker) with 11 SOG in three meetings with the Jets last season.
Patric Hornqvist, RW, Pittsburgh ($10700 vs ANH): It appears as if Evgeni Malkin will be able to play in Thursday's opener, and that is good news for Hornqvist. He is expected to be the replacement for James Neal, who was traded in the offseason. Whether Hornqvist is skating with Sidney Crosby or Malkin, it is a huge upgrade to anything he has seen in the past. Hornqvist could be in line for a career season if he sticks as a top-six forward in the Steel City, and as a mid-level salary option early on, he could be quite the DFS steal.
David Legwand, C, Ottawa ($9100 at NSH): Legwand spent 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators before his departure to Detroit in a deadline deal last spring. He signed with the Ottawa Senators in the offseason, and, as luck has it, his first game of the 2014-15 season is back in the Music City against his old squad. Look for Legwand to play with a little extra giddyup in his return to Nashville.
Dustin Tokarski, G, Montreal ($10000 at WAS): If you don't want to spend a ton of money on goaltending, Tokarski is your play. He showed well in the playoffs last season when Carey Price went down to injury. This time, Price isn't injured, but he is being rested after winning Wednesday's opener in Toronto. Tokarski is a good value who could shine in D.C. Thursday.
Ryan Spooner, C, Boston ($7150 at DET): Spooner, Milan Lucic and Mark Fraser skated together on a line Wednesday, and the trio still have a while to go before they are hitting on all cylinders. Still, Spooner is a cheap option with a talented linemate in Lucic. All it will take is an assist or goal to easily reach salary expectations.
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