The first round of the NHL Playoffs continues on Wednesday, with the second wave of teams getting set for Game 1 in each of their respective series. There are a few key injuries to monitor for some important players, so today we’ll look at how the rosters could be shaken up to get you ready for the start of the NHL DraftKings DFS slate at 3:00 p.m. ET.
John Carlson ($6,400), Lars Eller ($3,400)
John Carlson missed all three of the Capitals’ round robin games after getting hurt the prior week in exhibition play, and he’s officially a game-time decision for today’s Game 1 matchup with the New York Islanders. Carlson is a pivotal player for the Caps and is one of the rare NHL defenseman who possesses elite scoring capabilities, and his absence clearly showed in the three games while he was out. Washington only managed five goals in the three round robin games, and they’ll be counting on Carlson to return to solidify their chances against the Islanders. If he’s out, look for Dmitry Orlov ($4,400) to continue to fill in on the top power play unit.
He’s a much less recognizable name, but Lars Eller will miss Game 1 after leaving the bubble for the birth of his child, and this is a significant problem that most people probably won’t be aware of. Eller is just a 3rd line center, but he’s one of the Capitals’ best two-way players and plays a key role at both ends of the ice. In addition to being an offensive contributor, with 16 goals and 23 assists this season, Eller is also the team’s go-to center for penalty kill situations and it’ll be a tough take to make up for the versatility that he brings to the lineup. Nic Dowd ($2,500) and Travis Boyd ($2,500) should be the biggest beneficiaries in terms of ice time.
Philipp Grubauer ($8,300), Pavel Francouz ($8,100)
The Avalanche have yet to name a starting goaltender for Game 1 against the Arizona Coyotes, but they have two good choices and simply don’t want to tip their hand to their opponents. Grubauer and Francouz were both among the best goalies in the NHL this season, ranking near the top of the league in save percentage, goals saved above average, and of course winning percentage, as the Avalanche were one of the best teams in hockey this year.
Although Grubauer is widely considered to be the team’s number one, Francouz actually posted better numbers than him in the regular season. Francouz’s save percentage exceeds Grubauer’s (92.1% to 91.5%) and his goals saved above average metric is higher as well (11.4 to 5.4). Francouz may in fact be the better goalie, but either way, whichever guy starts will be a good option for DFS players for this 5:30 p.m. ET start time.
Jakub Voracek ($5,400), Joel Farabee ($3,500)
The Flyers finished last week’s round robin games without Jakub Voracek, who was listed as day-to-day ahead of their final game against the Tampa Bay Lightning and ultimately wound up sitting. Voracek is expected to be a game-time decision for Wednesday’s Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens, but he was on the ice for practice yesterday, which bodes well for his chances of playing today.
Voracek is a key player for the Flyers, leading the team in assists this season with 44, and finishing third in points with 56. His absence would hurt the scoring potential for his teammates, who are benefited greatly by his passing skills, and would help opposing goaltender Carey Price ($7,700) due to the diminished scoring potential. If Voracek does sit, it would likely result in rookie Joel Farabee taking his spot on the top line, which is what the Flyers did in their last game on Saturday.
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