This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
Welcome back for another round of FanDuel bargain bin values that come every Tuesday here on RotoWire.
It is a jam-packed week for the NHL as there are at least six games every day for the rest of the week except for Wednesday, with Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday all having double-digit games. With the Christmas break just around the corner, there will be a lot of hockey played in the next week.
As always, there will be one skater listed per FanDuel position that will have a cost of $4,000 or less. There will also be a couple of cheap goalies to use at the end of the article.
Tomas Hertl (San Jose) - $3,900
With a reinjury to Logan Couture, the Sharks have had to reshuffle their lines again. Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski have been split up, with the latter moving to the second line alongside Patrick Marleau. At time of writing, the third wheel on that second line is Tomas Hertl.
After a down sophomore season, Hertl's point per game and shot per game totals have increased from a year ago. Not only that, but since moving to that second line, Hertl has played at least 18 minutes in each game, and that includes second unit power play duties.
Hertl is also due for a goal-scoring rebound. He is currently shooting 4.3% on the year, which is a drastic drop from the 11.5% he had in his NHL career before this season. He's not just shooting from everywhere, either, as his 58 individual scoring chances are tied for second among Sharks forwards, trailing only Pavelski.
The Sharks are on an Eastern Conference trip, and have games in Toronto and Ottawa before going back to Chicago. Using Hertl against either the Leafs or Senators is ideal for salary relief, especially considering his new role.
Paul Byron (Montreal) - $3,800
Brendan Gallagher has begun skating, indicating a return could come in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, the right winger shuffle continues for the Canadiens. Of late, the top duo of Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec has been reunited, and their right winger is Paul Byron.
For those unfamiliar with Byron, he is a player who may be on the less talented side, but one thing he does possess is elite speed. This is a player who can get in very quickly on the forecheck in order to disrupt the opposition, and that should be good for the playmaking of Plekanec and Pacioretty. It is easy to envision Byron getting an easy secondary assist doing exactly this.
Montreal hosts the Sharks on Tuesday night, and with Thornton/Pavelski being split up, I think that weakens their top line significantly. The preference would be using Byron for cap relief in a tournament, but considering his plush top line role for now, he can be used for cash games as well.
Jujhar Khaira (Edmonton) - $3,000
It should be said out of the gate that Khaira has never really shown flashes of great offensive talent. He had 43 points in his only 59 Major Junior games, and 17 points in 73 American Hockey League games to date. In that sense, this isn't someone like Leon Draisaitl getting the call.
However, he is in a good spot to produce now that he is with the Oilers. He has been lining up on the second line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, and after their performance in Boston on Monday night, it seems that line is starting to finally click.
Edmonton has a game Tuesday in New York against the Rangers, though that's not really a great spot, even with their defensive woes. Facing Henrik Lundqvist, while playing back-to-back games on the road, seems to be a schedule loss for this team. The Oilers, however, are going into Colorado on Saturday night. The assumption is that the top line for the Avalanche will be matched against the Draisaitl/Taylor Hall line, and that should free up Edmonton's second line against the poor depth of the Avalanche. Khaira is very solid for a min-price against Colorado in both cash games and tournaments provided he stays on that line.
Nate Schmidt (Washington) - $3,700
Curiously though, Schmidt is starting to see a lot more ice time for the Caps. In the month of October, Schmidt was averaging 13:15 of ice time per game. So far in the month of December – excluding Monday night's game – Schmidt was averaging 20:54. That is a huge disparity, and though it hasn't translated to the score sheet yet, it should eventually with that many minutes.
Washington has a home game Wednesday night against the Ottawa Senators. As mentioned in this column before, the Senators' possession numbers without their top line on the ice have been abysmal. Assuming Schmidt doesn't see the Kyle Turris line – and he shouldn't – that should save him from a potential minus rating, and reasonable offensive upside against a poor defensive team.
Anders Nilsson (Edmonton) - $6,300
With Cam Talbot getting the game on Monday night in Boston, it's safe to assume Nilsson will be getting the second game of the back-to-back in New York on Tuesday night.
This is where a bit of game theory comes in. The assumption here is that a good chunk of the public will be on the Rangers skaters Tuesday, and it is a good spot for the team with the Oilers playing back-to-back on the road. That would be the perfect time to use Nilsson in a tournament lineup, because if he can come up big – and he has six wins in eight games where he has made at least 30 saves – it could give a huge leg up on a chunk of the field.
Curtis McElhinney (Columbus) - $6,600
Columbus has a game on the road Thursday in Arizona, and Saturday at home against Philadelphia. With Sergei Bobrovsky out of action for the rest of the month, McElhinney should get a fair amount of the goaltending duties. Those are two good matchups for the Jackets, and considering his price, he should be considered for tournaments on those two nights.