This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Amidst a swath of college football conference title games (and also a makeup game between Cal and USC), the NHL is giving us nine games on Saturday night. The first weekend of December is here, and here are some picks for your DFS lineup…
There is an unusual lack of teams on a back-to-back Saturday. In fact, only one team is, and that's the Rangers. However, the Rangers are at home against the Blackhawks after being at home Friday as well. Of course, that still means the stellar Igor Shesterkin will likely be on the bench while Alexandar Georgiev (4.08 GAA, .858 save percentage) will be in net. That, more than a back-to-back, sticks out to me.
Juuse Saros, NAS vs. MON ($8,200): Saros has a 2.34 GAA and .923 save percentage after having a 2.28 GAA and .927 save percentage. He's proven himself a worthy heir to Pekka Rinne's throne. As for the Canadiens, they have scored a mere 2.24 goals per game.
Alex Nedeljkovic, DET vs. NYI ($7,700): Nedeljkovic has been so good that his overall numbers belie the fact he gave up seven goals in the season opener to the Lightning. Nobody would complain about a 2.58 GAA and .923 save percentage, but remove that Lightning loss (rightly or wrongly) and he has a 2.25 GAA and .931 save percentage since. The Islanders, meanwhile, have an offense that could be described as "Coyotes-esque." They've only scored 1.83 goals per game.
Justus Annunen, COL at OTT ($8,200): OK, for this recommendation to pay off a couple things admittedly have to happen. First, Darcy Kuemper has to still be out. Two, the Avalanche have to decide to go with Annunen in his NHL debut over Jonas Johansson. I can see them doing it, as the 21-year-old was the AHL's Goaltender of the Month in November. This would be an easy matchup to ease into. The Senators have scored 2.43 goals and averaged 28.4 shots on net per contest. Plus, I like the odds of Annunen getting the goal support to get the win.
Filip Forsberg, NAS vs. MON ($6,600): Forsberg is bat in a big way. Since returning to action he has six goals and two assists in five contests, including a four-goal game. Now, his 28.6 shooting percentage will regress, but nevertheless he's red hot and facing a Habs squad with a 3.56 GAA.
Alex DeBrincat, CHI at NYR ($5,800): I think it's fair to call DeBrincat an elite shooter. His 19.1 shooting percentage would seem totally unsustainable on other players, but this is a guy who has already had two seasons with a shooting percentage of 18.6 or better. He's put 68 shots on net in 22 games and already tallied 13 goals. DeBrincat can pick a corner and he gets to face the only team on a back-to-back Saturday.
Martin Necas, CAR vs. BUF ($4,400): Necas' 12 points aren't remarkable, but that's in 20 games because he missed a couple outings. Since he's returning he's put up six points in nine games, and that's with a 5.6 shooting percentage in those contests. Some more shooting luck should come Necas' way, and the Sabres have a 3.65 GAA and have allowed 34.0 shots on net per contest.
LINE STACKS TO CONSIDER
All three of these guys aren't just on Pittsburgh's top line. They are also on the top power-play unit. That's what really intrigues me, as the Canucks have the league's worst penalty kill. This potential here should be obvious now. It took a second for Crosby to get back in the swing of things, but he has a four-game point streak going, including two power-play points. You know what's better than a four-game point streak? An 11-game point streak, and that's what Guentzel has. In fact, he has at least one point in 14 of his last 15 contests. Rodrigues has moved up to the top line for the Penguins with Bryan Rust out. He has five points in his last six games, and notably he's also put 27 shots on contest in that time.
Sure, Colorado's top line gets all the love, but it also gets a lot of the DFS salary. Here's a fine option that won't break your bank in the same matchup. The Senators are last in GAA (3.86) and shots allowed per game (35.0), so you don't need to be Nathan MacKinnon to excel in this one.
Although, this season Kadri has been positively MacKinnon-esque. He's tallied 30 points in 20 games, and his 14.1 shooting percentage is totally sustainable. Additionally, he gets the help of playing with the first-line guys on the power play, as Kadri has 11 power-play points. Unsurprisingly, the Senators have a bottom-five penalty kill. Burakovsky is benefiting from how hot Kadri has been, as he has 11 points in 11 games himself. Nichushkin has also been scorching since returning from injury with 10 points in 10 contests. Is this possibly the hottest line in the NHL right now?
Cale Makar, COL at OTT ($8,100): Hey, with all the talk about the Avalanche power play, what about one of the point men from that top unit? Last season, Makar played a robust 4:11 per game with the extra man and tallied 22 power-play points in 44 games. Well this year he's averaged 4:17 per contest on the power play and has eight points in 18 games. Makar is an elite talent in an elite group, and the Senators are definitely not elite on the penalty kill.
Thomas Chabot, OTT vs. COL ($5,300): The Avalanche do have a 3.25 GAA. It's possible Annunen won't play, and it's also possible a 21-year-old won't exactly wow in his NHL debut. Ottawa's offense is bad, but Chabot is doing his level best as always. He's averaged 27:10 in ice time (3:39 on the power play) and racked up eight points, 51 shots on goal, and 36 blocked shots. Chabot takes care of business, even when his teammates don't.
Jaccob Slavin, CAR vs. BUF ($5,100): Slavin doesn't score a lot of goals or play much on the power play, but he's picked up 11 assists in 22 games. He's also shooting more than usual, with 47 shots on net already. The Sabres allow plenty of shots, 34 of them get on net per game on average, and their porous goaltending has yielded a 3.65 GAA.