This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Wednesday's NHL slate begins at 7:00 PM Eastern time and features six games. Below, you'll find an overview of the matchups and suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
There's no shortage of star power here, with a high-profile Avalanche-Penguins matchup and the Oilers hosting a Flyers team that's playing its second game in as many nights. Figuring out which expensive stars to pay up for and which affordable options to surround them with is the key to finding success here.
Even on the second night of a back-to-back, Toronto's top skaters should thrive against a Capitals team that's battling an identity crisis in net. Most preseason predictions would have had Dallas heavily favored in this one, but some top Blue Jackets are the ones primed to capitalize on a favorable home matchup against the 1-5-1 Stars.
Carter Hutton's ($7,300) coming off a 25-save shutout of the Stars for the 5-0-1 Sabres, and he should continue his stingy ways against a Ducks team that's scored only 13 goals in six games.
It you don't believe in Buffalo's hot start, then it's an equally valid strategy to go with the other goalie in what projects to be a low-scoring matchup. John Gibson ($7,800) has been stellar to start the season for Anaheim, with a 1.82 GAA and .941 save percentage through five starts.
Philipp Grubauer ($7,500) is off to a 4-0-0 start, with a 2.51 GAA and .925 save percentage. If Colorado's dominant start continues in Pittsburgh, Grubauer shouldn't have a problem outplaying his $7,500 valuation.
The Blue Jackets lost a lot of star power last season, but they still have Cam Atkinson ($6,300). Coming off a career-best 41-goal campaign, Atkinson already has two goals through five games. That scoring pace is due to pick up further considering he's already put 25 shots on net and is a career 11.7 percent shooter.
While the Oilers will play host to a Flyers team that's finishing up a back-to-back set, they'll also have to deal with starting netminder Carter Hart. That latter bit could be enough to dissuade owners from paying up for Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl at their $8,000-plus valuations, but you can still benefit from their production for cheap by locking in linemate Zack Kassian ($4,200). Kassian has ridden their coattails to three goals and five points through six games, yet he can still be had for just over half the price of his two superstar linemates.
Nazem Kadri ($4,800) took a few games to acclimate to his new surroundings, but the former Maple Leaf is starting to thrive as Colorado's second-line center. He has two goals and two assists in his last two games and is a nice affordable alternative if you can't afford the Avalanche's expensive top line.
On the other side of the Avalanche-Penguins matchup is Sidney Crosby ($7,200), who's on pace to build on last year's 100-point campaign with three goals and seven assists through six games. With the team still battling the injury bug, Crosby should keep giving that extra little bit to carry the offense in the meantime. He could be a great against-the-grain pick here against the undefeated Avalanche.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Stars at Blue Jackets
If the slow-starting Stars are going to turn things around, this matchup against a Blue Jackets team that's been outscored 18-11 through five games is the time to do it. This line features the hot-starting Hintz mixed with a pair of buy-low candidates in Benn and Radulov. Hintz has already potted four goals on the young season after scoring nine in 58 games as a rookie. Benn recorded only 53 points last season after scoring at least 79 in four of the previous five, but he's certainly better than the two points in seven games he has mustered thus far. Radulov has delivered an identical output to Benn so far this season after consecutive 72-point campaigns, so he also has nowhere to go but up.
Sharks vs. Hurricanes
San Jose has flipped the switch after an 0-4-0 start, winning both games since adding Marleau back to the fold. Marleau's line has carried the offense in those two victories, with Couture chipping in three assists, Meier adding a goal and an assist, and Marleau himself leading the way with two goals and an assist. Couture's coming off a 70-point season and Meier posted a 30-36-66 line last year, so both guys are strong value plays at their current prices against a tired Hurricanes team that's playing its second California road game in as many nights.
Maple Leafs at Capitals
The Capitals are allowing 3.29 goals per game and have allowed two of their last three opponents to pot six, with starting goaltender Braden Holtby giving up goals on all three shots faced in his last game to balloon his GAA to 4.27. While Auston Matthews ($7,900) should get plenty of attention in this tasty matchup, Toronto's second line features two of the team's three best forwards. Both Tavares (2-4-6) and Marner (3-6-9) have been productive in Toronto's first seven games, while Kapanen only has two assists but is coming off a 44-point season.
Seth Jones' ($5,500) 14 shots rank second on the Blue Jackets behind Atkinson's 25, and the skilled blueliner already has two assists after averaging north of 48 points over the previous three campaigns. Jones should deliver more offense against the struggling Stars.
John Carlson ($6,400) has been an offensive force from the blue line with 11 points through seven games, and he's rounded out his stat line with 14 shots and 15 blocks. He doesn't come cheap but could easily outperform his price considering the visiting Maple Leafs are completing a back-to-back set and have allowed 24 goals through seven games.
Speaking of offensively gifted defensemen, Morgan Rielly ($5,900) just posted four assists Tuesday night, bringing his total to nine through seven games. Rielly (72) and Carlson (70) were two of four defensemen to score at least 70 points last season, and both have plenty of upside in their head-to-head meeting here.
It's only a matter of time until Cale Makar's ($4,600) price skyrockets. After watching the fourth overall selection from the 2017 draft record six points in 10 playoff games last season, Colorado saw enough to feel comfortable moving top offensive blueliner Tyson Barrie in an offseason trade. Makar has rewarded his team's faith in him, opening his regular-season career with six assists in five games, including at least one in each.