This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
The NHL season is hitting stride with an eight-game slate Friday. The Stars are making their season debut, and the Capitals are set to play without key cogs Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov. Colorado and Vegas are the biggest favorites on the docket, and three highest over/under totals are the Rangers-Penguins, Oilers-Maple Leafs and Red Wings-Blackhawks tilts.
Philipp Grubauer, COL at ANH ($37): Rarely will the goalie with the highest salary be the recommendation in this space, but with a deep player pool, there are oodles of value skaters to build around Grubauer. Colorado is once again the largest favorite on the docket, and the German netminder has stopped 44 of 46 shots in his back-to-back wins. Additionally, the Avalanche are coming off a disappointing 4-2 loss to the Kings, and Anaheim has only scored six times through four games.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Igor Shesterkin, NYR at PIT ($35): The Rangers have surrendered eight goals in their two losses and shutout the Islanders in their lone win. Shesterkin entered in relief and stopped all eight shots he faced during Tuesday's loss to New Jersey, but he also surrendered four goals to the Islanders in the season opener. A road date against Pittsburgh probably isn't the matchup to lock in a high-priced netminder considering there have been 31 total goals through the Pens first four games.
Jack Eichel, BUF at WAS ($27): The superstar center was held off the scoresheet for the first time all season last time out, but of more interest, Eichel has also now gone four games, 11 shots and 23 attempts without a goal. He's a proven goal scorer, and even if last season's 15.9 shooting percentage might be tough to match, Eichel has also never had a puck distributor like Taylor Hall ($23) alongside him in all situations. With Washington's COVID-19 protocol ineligibles, Eichel's positioned to have a solid showing Friday.
CENTER TO AVOID
Logan Couture, SJ at MIN ($22): Minnesota has surrendered just nine goals through four games while allowing a pedestrian 5.79 high-danger scoring chances per hour, so this isn't a favorable road matchup for San Jose. Additionally, the Wild's strong defensive play isn't a new trend. Minnesota also allowed the fewest five-on-five high-danger scoring chances in the league last season. It's also important to note that Couture's game log shows disappointment in three of four games to start the year.
Anthony Mantha, DET at CHI ($17): The 26-year-old winger has found the scoresheet in three consecutive games while skating atop the depth chart in all offensive situations. However, while he clicked with linemates Dylan Larkin ($18) and Tyler Bertuzzi ($17) to generate a rock-solid 13.76 high-danger scoring chances per hour, Mantha is projected to skate with Michael Rasmussen ($13) and Bobby Ryan ($17) on Friday. With Chicago allowing 20 goals through its first four games, the lineup swap shouldn't sway DFS players from targeting Mantha's reasonable salary. Plus, Chicago could soon prove to be the worst team in the league.
Kasperi Kapanen, PIT vs. NYR ($11): The first-year Pen collected an assist in his season debut Tuesday and is projected to continue skating on the No. 1 line with Sidney Crosby ($34) and Jake Guentzel ($26). Considering Crosby and Guentzel have clicked for a respectable 4.05 goals while generating 15.51 high-danger scoring chances per hour over the past two seasons, it's a ripe opportunity for Kapanen to land in. Additionally, his salary offers significant cap relief.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jamie Benn, DAL vs. NSH ($21): The veteran winger is coming off the worst offensive season of his career, and long-time linemate Tyler Seguin ($10) is on injured reserve with a hip injury. This is Dallas' first game of the year, whereas Nashville has played well through three games and allowed just seven total goals. Simply put, there are better options in Benn's salary range.
T.J. Oshie, WAS vs. BUF ($20): As noted, the Capitals are missing four key players due to the COVID-19 protocol, so the entire team carries a heightened plus-minus risk. Oshie should receive top minutes, but his shot volume is down this season with just 11 attempts through four games. Buffalo hasn't been a walkover, either. The Sabres have surrendered 12 goals on just 20 high-danger scoring chances through four contests to start the year.
Rasmus Dahlin, BUF at WAS ($14): Look for the offensive production to come for Dahlin soon. The third-year defenseman has yet to find the scoresheet despite logging 21:05 of ice time per game with 3:31 on the power play, and he posted an eighth-ranked 2.11 points per 60 minutes among all regular defensemen as a sophomore last year. The track record is there, and he's a bargain at his salary.
Adam Boqvist, CHI vs. DET ($11): There's plenty of ROI potential with Boqvist. He's quickly developing into an excellent power-play contributor with two of his three helpers this season coming with the man advantage. The 20-year-old defensemen is also starting 63.3 percent of his five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone, which mitigates his plus-minus risk. It's also worth noting that while Detroit has only surrendered 10 goals through its first four games, there could be negative regression ahead. The Red Wings allowed the most goals per game in the league last season while also posting the worst penalty-kill percentage.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Morgan Rielly, TOR vs. EDM ($19): The Oilers have generated the most high-danger scoring chances in the league this season, and Rielly projects to spend most of his minutes lined up opposite Connor McDavid ($35) and Leon Draisaitl ($34) on Friday. The veteran Maple Leafs is fully capable of rewarding on his salary because of go-to role, which includes quarterbacking the No. 1 power-play unit. However, there are likely better matchups to pinpoint.
Jakob Chychrun, ARI vs. VGK ($17): The emerging blueliner has found the scoresheet in four straight games to open the season, and Chychrun is also logging top minutes with an average of 22:08 of ice time per game (3:38 on the power play). While well on his way to the best season of his young career, it's not out of the question to fade Chychrun in the tough matchup against Vegas. The Golden Knights have allowed just 1.61 goals and 9.03 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes at five-on-five to start the year, so offensive opportunities will likely be rare again for the Coyotes on Friday.