Monday night’s NHL slate is just a seven-gamer, but it has plenty of elite options to choose from. The schedule is headlined by another matchup between the Leafs and Oilers, which means a head-to-head battle between the two likely favorites for MVP in Connor McDavid ($9,200) and Auston Matthews ($9,100). The Avalanche are also playing tonight and have plenty of scoring upside for their home game against the Ducks, while the Flyers will look to take advantage of their matchup against the Sabres after finally getting a win against the Rangers. There’s a lot to analyze for this slate, which locks at 7:00 p.m. ET on DraftKings.
Top Line Stacks
Nathan MacKinnon ($8,800) - Gabriel Landeskog ($6,600) - Mikko Rantanen ($7,500)
The Avalanche are among the biggest favorites of the 2021 season for their game tonight against the Ducks, and it’s as sure of a spot as we’ve seen for arguably the best team in the NHL. The Ducks have struggled defensively all year and their best chance to limit opponents is usually from goaltender John Gibson, but he’s currently dealing with an injury and won’t be in net tonight. This is also the second night of a back-to-back for Anaheim, so it’ll be even more likely that MacKinnon and Co. can find the scoresheet a few times. This figures to be a very popular stack, but it’s clearly the most likely to come through of any on the slate.
Sean Couturier ($6,300) - James van Riemsdyk ($6,100) - Travis Konecny ($4,900)
The Flyers’ top line should be a popular option as well because of this matchup against Buffalo, but also because of the diminished prices with Konecny on the first line. The Flyers were harder to afford when Joel Farabee ($5,600) was playing alongside Couturier and van Riemsdyk, and having Konecny there instead makes them a bit more affordable. It’s been a rough month for the Flyers, but that mostly has to do with their defense and there’s no reason to expect this line to struggle offensively against the Sabres. The Sabres should also be even weaker defensively too after trading Eric Staal to the Canadiens last week.
Stars to Build Around
Nathan MacKinnon ($8,800)
As mentioned above, the Avalanche are in a prime spot against the Ducks, and MacKinnon in particular should be able to take advantage. MacKinnon could very well be the highest-owned player on the slate, but there’s a chance his ownership drops more than it should with three single-digit fantasy games in his past four. The one exception was a game where he did notch 39.1 DKFP, but the Avs' last handful of games have all been far tougher matchups than the one tonight.
Max Pacioretty ($7,900)
Pacioretty could go just a bit overlooked on this slate due to the opponents that the Avs and Flyers are facing, and he’s also a little cheaper than some of the other stars as well. It’s been a strong season for the Knights’ leading goal scorer, and he’s been especially good of late, scoring six goals in his past six games. Pacioretty is also as likely as any player in hockey to pick up the shots on goal bonus, as he’s tied for the league lead (with Brady Tkachuk) at 4.2 shots per game.
Value on Offense
Jason Zucker ($2,500)
Zucker is expected to return from an injury layoff for the Penguins tonight, and he’s down to the pricing floor as a result of the missed action. This makes him by far the most appealing value play on the slate, especially with centers like McDavid, Matthews and MacKinnon being hard to afford. Zucker is going to be an extremely popular choice if he suits up, but he’s a top-six forward who has no business being anywhere near this salary range under normal circumstances. Zucker was hovering around $3.5-$4K pre-injury, but even that was likely too cheap for the caliber of player that he is.
Kevin Fiala ($5,000)
The price tag on Fiala has dropped after a run of scoreless games, and he’s become a strong value option for this slate as a result of the six-game goal-scoring drought. Fiala has just nine goals this season, but he leads the Minnesota Wild in shots on goal for the year and it’s seemingly inevitable that his scoring will pick up. The cost isn’t on the same level as Zucker, but Fiala is also unlikely to be a popular choice tonight and he makes for a good combination of cost-effectiveness and low ownership.
Brian Elliott ($8,300)
The Flyers have had major difficulties keeping pucks out of their net, but that has a lot to do with the poor play of Carter Hart and Elliot is in prime position to pick up a win tonight against the Sabres. The price tag is relatively high and Elliott may not be an overly popular choice due to the recent run of high-scoring games against the Flyers, so this could make him the most appealing GPP option at the high end of the salary range.
Value on Defense
Brent Burns ($5,600)
Burns has reached his lowest cost of the season, and while the matchup against the Wild isn’t a particularly good one, it’s hard not to like someone as active as Burns when his price drops below $6K. Burns is still playing big minutes, and his salary was as high as $7K just a few weeks ago. However, he hasn’t scored a goal since then, and it’s caused his salary to fall. Burns shoots enough that he figures to score pretty soon, and this may be the last opportunity to play him at such an unusually low cost.
Cale Makar ($5,400)
Makar benefits from the same matchup as MacKinnon and the rest of the Avalanche, and he’s been reinstated as the PP1 point-man since returning from injury a few games ago. Makar has quickly turned into an elite defenseman and is one of the favorites for this year’s Norris Trophy, and his price is simply too cheap especially given the matchup against the Ducks. Makar is going to be highly owned on this slate, but it’s hard to argue against it with such an affordable salary and a great matchup.
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