If you asked most NHL fans outside of Manitoba who the best Connor in the NHL is, there wouldn’t be many differing opinions. As I said in this space before, a certain Oiler is on pace for some pretty eye-popping numbers this season. 

But what if I said there’s a skater that is almost as skilled as Mr. McDavid, and has been so ‘under the radar’ this season that even our friends at DraftKings haven’t boosted his salary yet? Yep. I’m talking about Kyle ‘The Other’ Connor. Kyle Connor (DK: $8,000) has been as productive a winger as any in the NHL this season, but has consistently been priced around $1,000 lower than his elite peers. Connor has 55 PTS in 46 GP and is second on his team in goals scored (23) to only Mark Scheifele. He has missed the scoresheet just once in the Jets’ last 12 games. Now, I will admit that he won’t chip in many blocked shots, but that’s not what we’re looking for here. If you can ‘catch’ this Connor, you’re getting an elite winger at a less than elite price.

As for the rest of our schedule tonight, the main slate has 11 games starting at 7:00 PM ET or later, and this is where we’ll build our $50,000 lineup for today. Some of those offensive juggernauts are either off today (Boston) or playing an early game (Buffalo), so we’ll have to dig a bit deeper to uncover some of those value plays.

Let’s get to it!

C – Jonathan Toews, DK: $4,200 – Viz wrote up the Toews (both Devon and Jonathan) on Thursday. Like Viz said, Toews is an easy pass in season long leagues. But at this price for DFS lineups, he’s a tempting add today. He has six points in his last 4 games, so it’s a case of ‘ride the hot hand’ now for DFS while we can. Hopefully he keeps putting up points and boosts his trade value for you Hawks fans out there.

C – Nicklas Backstrom, DK: $3,500 – Backstrom is definitely not 20 years old anymore. But after returning from a hip injury, Backstrom has 3 points in six games. He’s relinquished the top center job to Evgeny Kuznetsov/Dylan Strome, so the even strength Ovechkin assist train has dried up a bit. The good news is he’s still getting PP1 time. Not a bad pickup at $3,500 today.

W – Patrik Laine, DK: $6,900 – I was all set with a Nikita Kucherov write up here, but apparently didn’t even notice that Tampa is off today. The easy pivot is to Patrik Laine and his 23 points in 30 games. He’s been shut out the last couple of matches, but a home game against San Jose at a price tag under $7,000 is a worthy risk. He’s one of the few at this price point that could net us a few extra FPTS with a hat trick like he did last Friday.

W – Nikolaj Ehlers, DK: $7,500 – Nicklas, Nikita, Nikolai…sounds like the European version of lions and tigers and bears…oh my! This Nik is in a similar boat to Backstrom in that he’s coming back from a lengthy injury absence (abdomen) and finds himself on the second line with PP1 time. He’s played in eight games since his return and has missed the scoresheet just twice. Not a bad gamble today at this price.

D – Morgan Reilly, DK: $4,900 – This one was a bit of a surprise when I saw the pricing on Thursday night. No matter how much you want to give the Leafs (and more likely their fans) the gears, they’re a potent offensive team and the #1 D-man on that squad should warrant a healthy price tag. They’re in Montreal tonight, with that big ‘Hockey Day in Canada’ Saturday night spotlight, but at $4,900 we can lock Reilly in for a lot of minutes on the first pairing and PP1. He should be good for a bit of counting stats and some second assists on that PP.

D – Marc-Edouard Vlasic, DK: $2,600 – Nothing says busy like tripping over two picks in my pre-weekend prep work. I had Damon Severson all queued up for our D2 today, then saw that New Jersey is off until Sunday. After I realized that, I waited on this spot to fill in with whatever we had left of our $50,000 cap. “Pickles” isn’t going to win a scoring title anytime soon, but he’s still a reliable defenseman that could chip in a healthy amount of blocked shots and a hit or two so we can avoid a goose-egg here. The opponent (Columbus) isn’t exactly a top tier defensive team either.

UTIL – Daniel Sprong, DK: $3,700 – I can relate if any of you read this name and respond with a hearty…”WHO?” I was pretty surprised to see Sprong’s point totals when I opened up the Kraken stats page. 28 points in 38 games is pretty impressive from any forward in the league, but when you add in that Sprong is getting 4th line regular minutes, it’s even more of an eye opener. He’s riding PP1, and has 10 of his points with the man advantage, so I’d run with him until that changes. And as a side note…there might not be a greater injustice in NHL rinks this season if Seattle isn’t blaring Sisqo every time this guy scores.

G – Jake Oettinger, DK: $7,200 – With apologies to Connor Hellebyuck and Linus Ullmark, the scramble towards a Vezina victory isn’t exactly a two man race. Oettinger’s numbers may not be as sexy as Ullmark’s, but a 20-7-3 record with three shutouts puts one in the conversation. Consider the 2.26 GAA and .924 SV% and we’ve got ourselves a contender. For today, the biggest boon is the opponent – Arizona. Lock this one in.

With all of the late night edits, I managed to get us in right at $50,000 today. Feel free to switch some names up and even stack some of the middle six names from our favorites below!

Here’s the three moneyline picks for the week too…

The Sea Bass : (Favorite)

The first instinct today is to go with Dallas (-340) as our top favorite of the day. They play a very underwhelming Arizona team at home at 7:30 PM ET. You can go that route, or if you want a better moneyline number, let’s head to Buffalo for the (-250) Sabres hosting the Ducks at 12:30 PM ET.

The Happy Gilmore : (Underdog)

There are a few underdogs that look like tempting plays tonight, but the one that is most likely to hit is Philly (+125) at Detroit (-145). The Flyers are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games and have been getting production out of Kevin Hayes after a well publicized healthy scratch / Tortorella verbal jousting match just before Christmas.

The Claude Lemieux : (Turtle/Flop)

This isn’t exactly a bold call. Both teams are listed with a favorable moneyline number, and Colorado (-105) is playing their second game in two nights. They also face a strong Seattle team on the road. Similar to the Leafs at Habs, I’d avoid this one and head elsewhere to something that is more of a sure thing.

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below or give me a shout @MarmosDad.

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