The Fix always has a full breakdown of significant NHL slates for our Front Office subscribers, but now we’re also going to be highlighting a few value plays for everyone on most days with big NHL slates. Below you’ll find three or four players who are cheap and undervalued in today’s DraftKings contests.
If you’d like to read our full breakdown of tonight’s slate, complete with player rankings, you can become a Front Office member or purchase today’s breakdown individually right here.
Kyle Palmieri – RW – $4,100 – New Jersey Devils
Palmieri and the Devils will be in Calgary tonight to take on the Flames. If you’ve read any of our NHL breakdowns this year, you know that Calgary is a great matchup for opposing skaters. The Flames are essentially tied with the Avalanche for most shots allowed per 60 (even strength, score-adjusted), and the Flames rank dead last in team save percentage. Their top defensive pair of Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie does a good job of suppressing offense, but the rest of the team really struggles in that regard. Giordano and Brodie always matchup up with the opposition’s top line, so tonight they’ll almost surely match up with the trio of Adam Henrique, Lee Stempniak and Mike Cammalleri.
As a result, the second line is the New Jersey line you want to target. Of that trio, Palmieri is the best option. He trails only Cammalleri in points per 60 minutes among New Jersey’s top six forwards. And at only $4,100, he provides excellent salary relief. If you’re looking for a mini-stack partner with Palmieri, second line center Travis Zajac is your man.
David Backes – C – $4,600 – St. Louis Blues
Backes had a big night on Monday scoring two goals and adding an assist to boot. Backes was moved back up to the top line to play with Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko. He had been playing with Scottie Upshall and Robby Fabbri, so the upgrade in linemates is enormous. Because prices for tonight’s contests were made available prior to the conclusion of Monday’s games, Backes’ salary remains far too low. As a result, he once again provides value potential in an above average matchup against Columbus. The only thing not to like about Backes is that there is a chance he’s a very popular play tonight given his outburst last night. If you’re looking to be contrarian, Backes may be someone to fade.
Alec Martinez – D – $3,200 – Los Angeles Kings
I probably recommend Martinez too much given that he’s not an overly offensive defenseman. But he continues to see power play time with the Jeff Carter/Tyler Toffoli/Milan Lucic line, which is the ninth highest scoring trio so far this season. The Kings have a solidly above average matchup in Philadelphia tonight, and Carter and Toffoli remain accessible price-wise. So if you’re leaning toward that line, it’s hard to pass up the salary relief that Martinez provides as part of a stack.
Antti Niemi – G – $6,800 – Dallas Stars
Dallas will be in Buffalo tonight to take on the Sabres, and Vegas has the Stars as the second biggest favorite of the night at -149. That moneyline translates to about a 60 percent chance of winning, so Niemi has a good shot to pick up the three points awarded for a win. The matchup might not have the most upside given that Buffalo ranks only 19th in shot attempts per 60. But they rank only seventh in goals per 60, so they’re definitely an above average matchup for goalies. Niemi will likely be popular with Dallas being such a big favorite, and, like I said, he may lack upside. For that reason, he may be best suited for cash games as opposed to GPPs. But he’s very reasonably priced, which should allow you to pay up for some skaters.