With Halloween sitting just days away, we’re officially well into the mix of the NHL this season. As teams approach their 10th game of the season, we’re at the point now where teams will need to make decisions on some of the best young talents in the NHL, as playing in nine or more games burns the first year of their three-year rookie deal. As usual for Saturday’s, it’s a very busy day on the ice. However, with nine of the 10 games today taking place this evening and most of FanDuel’s major tournaments centering around the evening slate, these picks will do the same.
Braden Holtby – Washington Capitals - $9,500 – There are several fine options between the pipes this evening, but the 2015-16 Vezina Trophy winner lands atop my rankings this evening for cash games. While he may not see the type of shot volume you’re looking for in GPPs, he looks like the top bet to secure the 12 fantasy points that come along with getting a win. He’ll face a Vancouver team playing on the second half of a back-to-back that has posted an NHL-worst 2.00 goals per game thus far this season. Holtby rolled to easy victories in both meetings against the Canucks last season, and while he’s been a bit shaky in each of the last two outings, he’s given no reason for panic as he still owns a rock solid 2.38 GAA during his first five starts of the season.
Other Top-Tier Option: Carey Price
Top Mid-Tier Play: Martin Jones
Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche - $6,600 – The Avalanche were inexplicably shutout by the Winnipeg Jets last night, but they draw the #1 matchup on the board this evening, as they’ll square off against an Arizona team that has allowed an NHL worst 4.29 GA/G and 34.1 SA/G thus far this season. MacKinnon remains very reasonably priced, and the former #1 overall draft pick is off to a fine start with a goal and four assists through his first six games this season. MacKinnon also centers Colorado’s #1 power-play unit, where he’ll look to take advantage of an Arizona penalty kill that ranked 28th in the league last season (77.3%).
Top Overall Option: Sidney Crosby
Top Value Play: Austin Czarnik
Zach Parise – Minnesota Wild - $6,600 – Parise may not be the 45-goal scorer he once was, but he’s still very dangerous offensively, and his price tag at FanDuel just looks too good to ignore this evening. He’s scored a pair of goals and added four assists over the first eight games this season and should benefit from facing a Dallas Stars team that plays at the fastest pace in the NHL once again this season (123.70 CP60).
Brendan Gallagher – Montreal Canadiens - $6,200 – Gallagher saw his four-game point streak snapped Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the talented young wingers is still off to a very fine start, with four goals and three assists through the first eight games of the season. He has the luxury of playing alongside Max Pacioretty both on the top forward line and #1 power-play unit and looks poised to take a major step forward, as he’s now in his fifth career NHL season. He’s already unloaded 28 SOG this season and has a very fine matchup awaiting him tonight as the Toronto Maple Leafs have surrendered an ugly 3.86 goals per game this season.
Top Overall Play: Alex Ovechkin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Arizona Coyotes - $6,500 – Arizona may very well be the worst team in the NHL this season, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson is still going to put up some very impressive fantasy numbers. He’s lit the lamp three times in the last two games, and the 25-year-old has now scored five goals in just seven games this season. He’ll welcome the defensively challenged (ignore last night) Colorado Avalanche to the desert tonight, where he had far more success last season, posting 14 goals, 20 assists, and 130 SOG in just 39 home games.
Top Overall Play: Brent Burns