A few players from the bargain bin – and top shelf – to use on DraftKings tonight. 

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The usual caveats apply for the bargain bin options with regards to daily fantasy hockey. These aren’t guys that are to be looked upon with the intention of being some sort of building block of a lineup. Rather, these guys are used in the instance of several viable expensive options. It helps give the salary relief necessary, and on a slate with the Penguins, Stars, Blackhawks, Predators, etc. it isn’t a bad idea to give consideration to at least one of them.

Bargain Bin Players ($3000 or less)

Alex Wennberg (Columbus – Centre) – $3000

The much-maligned Columbus Blue Jackets are winless to start the year, haven’t even managed a point, are a distant last by goal differential, and just fired their coach (welcome back, Torts!).

The samples are still too small to make definitive determinations, but at the very least, there are no plus/minus concerns on DraftKings, so goal differential doesn’t matter a whole lot. As far as generating shots goes, the duo of Scott Hartnell and Brandon Saad are about 10-percent better than their team average. Their new centre is Alex Wennberg.

Columbus goes to Minnesota, and the Wild top pairing has been tough to crack. I would think the Wennberg line does not see much of them, though. With very good wingers flanking him, Wennberg has a reasonable chance for an assist, and it won’t take much more than that to reach value.

Jiri Tlusty (New Jersey – Winger) – $3000

As far as offence goes, it doesn’t get much worse than New Jersey. They don’t generate a lot offensively shots-wise, and they don’t allow much, either. Thankfully for them, they are going into Ottawa, which is a team that has been known to take, and give up, a lot of shots. It doesn’t appear as though Marc Methot will be back for the Senators, and that’s a huge blow defensively to a team that doesn’t have much depth past the top pairing to begin with.

Tlusty is playing pretty steadily in New Jersey’s top-six, but what’s more is he is getting steady power play time. The Senators have been short-handed a staggering 27 times in just six games, and even without a stout offensive team, the Devils should get their fair share of chances with the man advantage.

There are not many (or any) good bargain bin options on the wing today. I think Tlusty is the best of them. Keep in mind that Andrew Hammond is starting for the Senators, not Craig Anderson. Whatever he did last year is irrelevant now; Hammond has to prove he belongs.

Mattias Ekholm (Nashville – Defence) – $2600

The Nashville Predators may or may not get injured defenceman Ryan Ellis back today. I will offer Mattias Ekholm with the caveat that if Ellis plays, I would not play Ekholm. We should know more once the team takes their game day skate, so if Ellis is indeed in the lineup, I will edit this portion of the article.

With Ellis out of the lineup on Tuesday, Ekholm stepped into a power play role alongside Roman Josi. In fact, they had more ice time with the man advantage than the pairing of Shea Weber and Seth Jones. He played well over 22 minutes in total.

Nashville is at home to the Ducks, and Anaheim has not been very good defensively so far this year. They look like a team still trying to find their groove at both ends of the ice. If Ellis is indeed out of the lineup, Ekholm’s situation makes him nearly a must-play at his price.

Update: Ryan Ellis was on the ice for an optional morning skate. That doesn’t indicate, though, whether he is in the lineup or not. When more is found out, I will update again.

Expensive Players

Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh – Centre) – $7900

With three points in Pittsburgh’s most recent game, Crosby ended his pointless skid to start the year. The notion of chasing the last game’s points is something that’s very real. Just because Crosby had three points on Tuesday doesn’t mean he’s putting up 10 points in four games or something.

With the above statement out of the way, one thing that the top pairing for the Stars has done is allow shots. They aren’t among the league’s worst or anything, but John Klingberg and Alex Goligoski are the worst on their team. I would assume that pairing sees a lot of the Crosby line, and that’s good for Crosby and company.

The biggest concern is that Dallas hasn’t been taking many penalties and Antti Niemi has been good to start the year. In the opening game of the season between these two teams though, which was in Dallas, the Penguins managed 37 shots and drew three penalties. If they can do something similar, I would wager Crosby factors into the (likely) scoring.

Rick Nash (NY Rangers – Winger) – $6800

The concern can be there about some players scoring their fair share of goals; maybe they aren’t getting shots, chances, are seeing a hugely reduced role, and so on. Well, Nash is managing nearly 3.5 shots per game so far this year (3.43, to be exact), and trails only Kevin Hayes for most scoring chances on the team. He is getting his chances, even if he is playing about a minute less per game than last year.

Obviously, the biggest reason to like Nash today is that the Arizona Coyotes are in town. That, in and of itself, will make Nash a highly-owned player. That team being a mess defensively, combined with Nash’s discounted price, makes him a player that should be in a lot of cash lineups.

There are other decent expensive wingers tonight – kind of looking at Zach Parise in particular – but Nash looks to be a guy that should be able to get in the goal column tonight. Even if he’s 50-percent owned, he should be worth it.

Brent Burns (San Jose – Defence) – $5900

The Sharks have had some time off, which is a good thing considering they’re coming home from the East. Waiting for them, though, is Los Angeles, and a team that is looking to get on track after a rough start to the year.

As a whole, I don’t really like the expensive options on the point tonight. Despite all the assists, Erik Karlsson hasn’t been his usual shot-happy self, Vancouver isn’t taking many penalties and that hurts John Carlson’s upside, and the Nashville Weber-Josi duo isn’t appealing if Ellis is out and Ekholm is playing over 20 minutes again. In that sense, Burns is the best of a non-appealing lot.

Burns seems to like playing the Kings; in his last six games against them, he’s managed six points and 17 shots on goal. The shots are nothing special compared to his usual average, but against a good defensive team like the Kings, it is impressive. On top of that, Burns is playing nearly 26 minutes a game so far this year, a monster total for any defenceman. With so much ice time, and a good track record against this team, Burns would be the expensive defenceman I look at tonight.

*Stats taken from War On Ice and Hockey Reference