This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Thursday's NHL slate begins at 7:00 PM Eastern time and features nine games. Below, you'll find an overview of the matchups and suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
While the Lightning-Bruins matchup will draw the most headlines, the best fantasy value lies elsewhere. There are plenty of vulnerable teams to exploit, as three of the squads in action still haven't notched two wins this season. Those teams are the Devils, Wild and Senators, against whom the Rangers, Canadiens and Golden Knights, respectively, are likely to find success. Outside of those obvious matchups, a couple of prominent Flames are set up for success against the visiting Red Wings, and there are some intriguing sources of offense to be found in other games as well.
The two most expensive goalies in this slate both have pedigree and matchup on their side.
Marc-Andre Fleury ($8,400) is 4-2-0 with a 2.56 GAA and .922 save percentage heading into a home meeting with a Senators team that's scored 12 goals in five games, winning only one.
Carey Price ($8,300) is off to a rough start, with a 3.33 GAA and .896 save percentage through five starts. He gets a golden opportunity to turn things around, however, as the visiting Wild have mustered just 14 goals in six games, also winning just one.
Pekka Rinne ($8,000) is undefeated through four starts, and his Nashville club draws a road assignment against a Coyotes team that's scored only 11 goals through five games.
If you're looking to go a bit cheaper in net, Rangers backup Alexandar Georgiev ($7,700) stopped 31 of 32 shots to win his season debut against the Senators and now draws a similarly bad team in New Jersey.
Mark Stone ($7,700) doesn't skate on the top line, but he's Vegas' most expensive forward for good reason, with five goals and five assists already through seven games. He should be worth paying up for against his former team, which gave up more goals than anybody en route to a last-place finish last season and looks like a bottom of the barrel club again in 2019-20.
Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau ($6,600) is another high-profile winger worth paying up for. He's on a point-per-game pace (3-4-7) through seven, and Johnny Hockey's capable of even more after notching 99 points last season. Look for him to pick up the pace against a Red Wings team that's been outscored 10-3 in its last two games.
Islanders center Mathew Barzal ($5,300) got off to a slow start, but the fleet-footed skater is coming alive with three points in his last two games. He also had an assist in New York's 4-1 win over the Jets earlier this season, and the career .88-point per game scorer is primed for success in this rematch with a Winnipeg club that's allowing 3.75 goals per game. Don't expect Barzal to be available for $5,300 once he gets going.
This is the first of what figures to be many meetings between the first two selections from the 2019 draft, so both Devils center Jack Hughes ($4,100) and Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko ($5,200) figure to have a little extra motivation here. Kakko has looked like the more NHL-ready prospect thus far, having scored his first NHL goal in his third game last time out. Hughes is still in search of his first point but has nine shots in his last three games.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Rangers at Devils
New York has only played three games so far, yet this line has already combined for six goals and 14 points. Zibanejad has four goals and four assists, Panarin has two goals and two assists, and Buchnevich has chipped in two helpers. Look for this trio to keep rolling against the only NHL club that's yet to win a game. Not only are the Devils 0-4-2 through six games, but they've also been outscored 29-13 en route to that record.
Golden Knights vs. Senators
Vegas' top line has been fine to start the season, but this unit is capable of finding another gear, and that could well happen against a Senators team that's been outscored 19–12 in a 1-4-0 start. Karlsson has seven assists in as many games, but he's still looking for his first goal after potting 67 in the previous two seasons. Smith has had no problems lighting the lamp, as he's been carrying the mail for this line with five goals already. Marchessault is off to the slowest start of the bunch, with just a goal and three assists. The diminutive winger has already put 23 pucks on net, and his career 10.8 shooting percentage suggests Marchessault is getting unlucky, so expect him to start converting at a higher rate after potting at least 25 goals in each of the past three seasons.
Blues vs. Canucks
There's a good chance Canucks starting goalie Jacob Markstrom will still be on a leave of absence for this one, and there's plenty of skepticism about Vancouver's hot start defensively, with or without Markstrom. This line thus offers some nice against-the-grain value. O'Reilly has seven points through six games, Blais is breaking out at age 23 with three goals and two assists, and Perron has matched Blais' stat line.
Mark Giordano ($6,500) is the most expensive defenseman in this slate for good reason. Calgary's captain has laid out a high floor for himself with 20 shots and 18 blocks through seven games, and Giordano also has four points after recording 74 last season.
Jeff Petry ($5,500) is off to a hot start on the Canadiens' blue line, with two goals and two assists through six games. All of that production save for one assist has come on the power play, and Petry ranks second on the team with 22 shots. His productive start should continue against the lowly Wild.
Josh Morrissey ($4,600) missed his team's first meeting with the Islanders after getting hurt in pregame warmups, but Winnipeg's best blueliner could help swing the rematch in his team's favor. Morrissey has six helpers in six games played to go with 16 shots, and he benefits tremendously from sharing the ice with the Jets' highly skilled forwards.
Torey Krug ($4,900) already has a pair of multi-point games under his belt this season, and the diminutive Bruins defenseman is primed for another one, as the visiting Lightning are allowing 3.00 goals per game through six.