This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
The Canucks will host the Senators on Monday evening, marking the first of nine meetings between the two North Division teams this season. It's the only game of the night, so all DraftKings contests will be in the showdown format. Therefore, there will be one captain spot, which receives a 1.5x multiplier, along with five flex spots. Goalies are available but not required.
There weren't high expectations for the Senators this season, but the Canucks' 2-5-0 start is a surprise and a disappointment. The Canucks' offense has been fine, as it ranks seventh in the league with 3.40 GF/GP, and they're converting on 27.7 percent of power-play opportunities. However, their defense is a sore subject, ranking 31st with 4.80 GA/GP and 25th with a 67.6 penalty-kill percentage.
On the other hand, the Senators sit at 1-3-1, having produced just 2.80 GF/GP and a 15 percent power-play rate, ranking 22nd in the league in both categories. They've scored three goals in three of five games so far, but they've struggled in the blue paint much like the Canucks, ranking 30th with 4.0 GA/GP.
This game shapes up as a high-scoring bout, and the Canucks likely will be rostered more than the Senators. In turn, targeting the underdog is a wise move in tournament settings.
Advanced stats are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.
Matt Murray ($15,300) and Braden Holtby ($16,800) have both allowed at least three goals in each start this season. The Senators have posted 2.3 xGA/60 so far compared to Vancouver's league-high 2.82 xGA/60. The Canucks' offense is undoubtedly the better bunch. But both defensive systems are highly suspect, so it's a risky play to plug either netminder into the captain spot. The Senators' marginally better defense may be enough to give Murray the edge as a contrarian play in tournaments.
Evgenii Dadonov, OTT at VAN ($6,900): Dadonov's off to a slow start with just a goal and an assist through five games, but he's fired 11 shots on goal, rounding out to a 9.1 percent shooting rate. In each of the previous three seasons, Dadonov converted on at least 14.4 percent of his shots, so he's bound for some upward regression soon. His work on the first power-play unit boosts his chances.
Nils Hoglander, VAN vs. OTT ($8,400): The 2019 second-round pick has made an immediate impact with the Canucks, registering three points and 11 shots on net through seven games. Hoglander's getting plenty of time in the middle six, and he's averaged nearly three minutes of power-play time per game.
The trio has combined for 11 points and 46 shots on net over five games. They rang up four of those points on the man advantage, so this is an intriguing way to target the Canucks' abysmal penalty kill, considering they all operate on the first power-play unit. Tkachuk and Batherson's high shot counts are an excellent way to reach DraftKings' volume bonuses, too.
Quinn Hughes, VAN vs. OTT ($12,900): Hughes picked up where he left off, recording six assists – three on the power play – through seven games. Add 21 shots on net to the equation, and he's a high-floor play, something that's appealing at this salary range.
Nikita Zaitsev, OTT at VAN ($11,400): Zaitsev has enjoying impressive production to start the year, putting up five assists and nine blocked shots. The 29-year-old hasn't posted more than 36 points in a season, so this rate won't keep up all years, but he carries a 53.0 Corsi For percentage this season, proving he's generating enough chances to be useful for DFS purposes.