This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
The featured contests at DraftKings consist of Monday's two games. The Capitals host the Ducks, and the Kings visit the Coyotes. All for teams are rested having last played Saturday. In shallow player pools with clear-cut favorites, it's important to walk the line of rostering top talent while also differentiating your lineups.
Even with consecutive losses on home ice, Washington boasts an impressive 15-3-4 active record and sit atop of the NHL with 34 points. Additionally, The Caps 3.82 goals per 60 minutes during their current surge also pace the league. Anaheim is obviously in a difficult spot, and the Ducks' active 4-7-2 record and 3.16 expected goals against per hour during the skid justify Washington being a sizeable home favorite.
Arizona is also a home favorite over Los Angeles. The Coyotes have quietly played well this season and have won three of their past four to climb to second place in the Pacific Division. Most notable, Arizona has surrendered the fewest goals per hour at five-on-five in the league. Making matters worse for the Kings, their two road wins are tied for fewest in the league.
Darcy Kuemper's ($8,000) shutout win over the Flames on Saturday has him sporting a league-low 1.85 GAA and second-ranked .937 save percentage. He's allowed two goals or fewer in 11 of 14 starts and boasts high-end 2.35 and .924 marks through 79 games over the past three seasons with the Coyotes.
While it's hard to look past Kuemper as a starting point for lineup assembly, Braden Holtby ($8,200) has also been rock solid. The veteran has rolled off six consecutive wins with an impressive .929 save percentage and 2.09 GAA, and the Ducks rank second last in expected goals per 60 minutes on the road.
There's a notable discount when starting either John Gibson ($7,200) or Jonathan Quick ($7,000), but you'll want to be confident in the skaters you're spending up for. Albeit, don't forget about the 35-save bonus, which could help both netminders to value. Gibson, in particular, has reached the noted bonus in five of 16 starts.
With just a single goal and a 2.9 shooting percentage through his past 15 games, this checks out as a potential buy-low spot for Phil Kessel ($5,500). The veteran recorded an 11.9 mark over the previous three seasons. Additionally, Kessel skating in a third-line role at five-on-five should present some favorable on-ice matchups, and he's still locked into his role on the No. 1 power-play unit.
While his numbers have never jumped off the page, Nick Ritchie ($3,700) is projected to skate in a top-line role and his current 1.75 points per hour and 5.4 shooting percentage trail last season's 2.07 and 9.4 marks despite his shot attempts climbing from 11.8 per 60 minutes to 15.71 this season.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Both of Washington's top lines continue to produce excellent numbers. Nicklas Backstrom ($6,300), Alex Ovechkin ($8,300) and T.J. Oshie ($6,000) have clicked for 5.79 goals and 17.16 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes this season, whereas Evgeny Kuznetsov ($6,700), Tom Wilson ($5,200) and Jakub Vrana ($5,700) have combined for 6.79 and 14.26 marks. It's worth noting that it'll be important to find a few low-priced contributors after loading up either of Washington's top lines.
Arizona's new-look top line has combined for a respectable 3.48 goals while driving possession with a 56.7 Corsi For percentage at five-on-five this season. With Los Angeles struggling on the road this season, Nick Schmaltz ($4,500), Christian Dvorak ($3,900) and Conor Garland ($4,700) are priced to reward.
Anaheim's Adam Henrique ($5,300), Rickard Rakell ($5,600) and Jakob Silfverberg ($5,300) are a contrarian, mid-priced line to consider. They've combined for a respectable 3.9 goals and 54.0 Corsi For percentage at five-on-five and have clicked for a respectable five goals and 10 assists through the past five games. It's worth adding that the three Ducks are projected to skate together on the power play, too.
Loading up John Carlson ($7,700) might be more of a luxury than necessity Monday, but he might also be lower owned than he should be because of his high cost. There's no debating his performance, though. Carlson has a goal, eight assists, 24 shots and nine blocks during his active six-game point streak, after all.
With just two assists and no power-play points through his past 10 contests, Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($4,500) is down to an unsustainably low 1.04 points per hour this season. Considering he's posted a 1.34 mark over the previous two years and lands in the noted favorable matchup, the Swede's positioned for statistical correction.
Two other Arizona defensemen are also worth a look. Jakob Chychrun ($5,000) and Alex Goligoski ($4,200) have both played well this season and provided cross-category coverage. Chychrun has seven points, 49 shots and 28 blocks, whereas Goligoski has collected 11 points, 37 shots and 40 blocks.
With two tallies, four helpers, 21 shots, 14 blocks and an average of 27:00 of ice time (3:19 on the power play) through his past eight outings, Drew Doughty ($5,500) has been a reliable fantasy contributor of late. He's averaged 12.6 DraftKings points per contest during that span and could provide contrarian appeal with Los Angeles significant underdogs Monday – especially with the manageable salary.
Despite sliding in and out, and up and down the lineup this season, Michael Del Zotto ($2,700) has flashed modest upside relative to his low salary. He's reached double-digit DraftKings points three times and has collected 20 blocks through 15 outings. He's projected to log big minutes against Washington on Monday, too.