This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
The Jack Campbell era is upon us. The former first-round pick turned backup tries to salvage the Maple Leafs' season as they host the Ducks, who lost 3-2 in overtime against the Habs last night. Campbell knows the Ducks well; it's the team he's faced the second most in his career.
The Sabres are likewise coming off a loss in extra time, this one in a shootout to Detroit. They'll face the Rangers, who defeated the Leafs after scoring three goals in the first period. The Rangers may be inconsistent in their own end, but they're one of the league's most consistent teams on offense, scoring 56 goals in each of the three regulation periods.
The Red Wings will try to put together a two-game win streak for just the fifth time this season. They were perfect in the shootout following a third-period comeback against the Sabres, but face a much stingier opponent in the Blue Jackets. Like him or not, no coach gets more out of less than John Tortorella, and despite having below-average offense, they've won eight of their past nine games, four of which were shutout wins.
The Wild are also playing back-to-back, coming off a 4-2 win against Vancouver sans Elias Pettersson, and move south to play the Stars. They've been a little looser of late, but the Stars remain a stingy defensive team and the Wild will be more hard-pressed to score goals.
I think Detroit got a little lucky against Buffalo and they won't have an easy time against Elvis Merzlikins ($8,800). The Latvian rookie is playing himself into the Calder race and has been nothing short of terrific since taking over for Joonas Korpisalo. The Red Wings are last in S/GP and John Tortorella demands everyone to block shots. Elvis will be a very popular pick and rightfully so.
Ben Bishop ($8,600) has a little more experience but the Stars defense has allowed has uncharacteristically allowed 17 goals in their past five games. The Wild offense has picked up a little bit in the new year, but will likely be forced to start Devan Dubnyk ($7,100) in the second half of a back-to-back with travel in between.
Igor Shesterkin ($8,200) allowed three goals against the Leafs on 30 shots and I think that's a good result against a powerhouse offense. He draws a much easier assignment against Buffalo, who blew a 3-1 lead last night in a nightmare season. He's a strong value play
Jack Campbell's ($7,600) debut will be closely watched. For the second time in history, Kyle Dubas' team will be hinging on Campbell's performance after Dubas traded for him in major junior. Even if Campbell struggles to adapt to his new team early, one thing he won't have much of an effect on is the Leafs' offense, which should provide enough goal support to win the game, making Campbell a decent value play.
Evan Rodrigues ($3,200) has struggled for most of the season, but in his past three games has scored two goals, half of his season total. He doesn't shoot a lot and he's a horribly inefficient finisher (career 6.5 S%) but the puck's been bouncing his way more often lately and the Rangers defense remains inconsistent and porous.
Jason Dickinson ($3,400) has a three-game point streak on a Stars fourth line that has some offensive pop with Denis Gurianov ($3,900). They don't get much ice time but they've also been pretty productive, and Dubnyk has struggled all season.
Sam Steel ($3,700), Max Jones ($3,200) and analytics darling Ondrej Kase ($3,600) has gotten more ice time lately as the Ducks continue to toil at the bottom of the standings. Part of Dallas Eakins' mission is to develop the young players he had previously coached in the AHL, and the trio have generated some good offense in their past three games (six points, 22 shots).
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Anaheim Ducks (TOTAL: $17,000)
Campbell's track record against the Ducks isn't great (.896 Sv%), and I'd bet against Campbell saving the Leafs' season right away. It might take a few games for him to adjust, and in the meantime, he's going to allow some goals.
New York Rangers (TOTAL: $19,300)
Even with the playoffs quite out of reach, not keeping Kreider on Broadway at this point seems criminal. He's scored five goals in his past seven games, and one of the two he didn't register a goal was a seven-minute outing that was cut short due to an injury. They beat the Sabres in October, 6-2, and Kreider and Buchnevich both registered points.
Tyson Barrie ($5,500) has been a little quiet but the Ducks are good hunting on the power play, having taken 223 penalties this season, third-most in the league. What's weird, though, is that the Leafs consistently draw very few penalties, but in the $5,000-range of defenseman he still possesses the most upside.
Anthony DeAngelo ($5,200) and Jacob Trouba ($4,800) should remain DFS favorites for what they bring. DeAngelo has four helpers in four games and become the productive offensive defenseman everyone knew he could become. Trouba's the do-it-all with the high-floor so you can't really go wrong.
Rasmus Ristolainen ($4,300) will continue to play a big role with two assists in three games. He played 26 minutes against Detroit in Dahlin's absence.
Matt Dumba is starting to pick it up with a goal and four assists in his past six games. He puts a lot of shots on net and blocks a couple every now and then, making him a good value play.