This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
It's time for the first Saturday of the NHL season! Are you excited? If not, what if I told you that there are 11 games Saturday night? If you want to spice up your hockey watching with some daily fantasy, here are some recommendations for your lineup.
Antti Raanta, ARI vs. ANA ($7,300): Raanta was outstanding when healthy last season, and he posted a 2.24 GAA and .930 save percentage. That's in line with the numbers he put up as a backup with the Rangers. The Ducks scored 2.82 goals per game last year, but at the moment they are without both Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry.
Nazem Kadri, TOR vs. OTT ($5,500): Sure, you may be thinking, Kadri had 32 goals in each of his last two seasons, but he's Toronto's third-line center now. Well, he still managed two points in the Maple Leafs' opener, and he played 3:19 on the power play. There's still a role for him in this offense. As for the Senators, they had a 3.46 GAA last year, and Craig Anderson (.898 save percentage) is a year older, and thus a year further past his prime.
Mikael Backlund, CGY vs. VAN ($4,800): Backlund only had 14 goals last year, failing to hit the 20-goal mark after doing it the two seasons prior, but he put a personal-best 214 shots on net. He had a 6.5 shooting percentage, which was well below his career average. Meanwhile, the Canucks had a 3.16 GAA last year, and Jacob Markstrom had a .912 save percentage.
Jake Guentzel, PIT vs. MON ($7,000): Guentzel is still skating on Sidney Crosby's wing, which still bodes well for his fantasy potential. Case in point, he scored two goals in Pittsburgh's opener, including one on the power play. Even though Carey Price will likely be better this year, the Canadiens had a 3.54 road GAA last year, and their penalty kill ranked 30th.
Gabriel Landeskog, COL vs. PHI ($5,600): Landeskog got overlooked because his two linemates were Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, but the Swede still managed 25 goals and 62 points last season. He also played 3:35 per game on the power play and notched 17 points with the extra man. Related to that, the Flyers had the 29th-ranked penalty kill last year.
Craig Smith, NAS at NYI ($5,400): Smith started 60.8 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone last season, which tied him for third most on the Predators. It paid off for all parties involved, as he scored 25 goals on 229 shots. The Islanders had a league-worst 3.57 GAA last year, and allowed 35.6 shots on net. Barry Trotz is around now, but the team still allowed 46 shots in their season opener.
Morgan Rielly, TOR vs. OTT ($5,800): Rielly is far from the biggest name on the Maple Leafs, but anybody who dishes out 46 assists from the blue line deserves your attention. On top of that, 24 of those came on the power play. The Senators had the 28th-ranked penalty kill last season, not to mention a 3.46 GAA and .895 save percentage as a team.
Ryan Ellis, NAS at NYI ($5,200): It's also easy to overlook Ellis, but he managed nine goals and 32 points in only 44 games last year. Despite all the talent on Nashville's blue line, he also averaged 23:21 in ice time, and played 22:42 in the season opener this season. As previously noted, the Islanders were last in the league in GAA and shots allowed per game last year.