This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
A new NHL season has begun! That brings a lot of excitement, but also a lot of mystery. For DFS purposes, that can be tricky. Any stats we have are from last season. Players have changed teams, gotten new coaches, or will have a different role than last year. However, the best we can do is use the numbers that we have at our disposal to come up with some answers for your DFS hockey questions. There are eight games on the NHL slate. Here are some players to target, and to avoid, for your lineups Thursday.
John Gibson, ANA vs. ARI ($33): Gibson did the best he could last year facing an onslaught of shots in net for the Ducks. He was a Vezina candidate early in the year, before his workload started to wear on him. Even so, he still had a .917 save percentage. The Coyotes added Phil Kessel this offseason, but they also only scored 2.55 goals per game last year.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Sergei Bobrovsky, FLA at TAM ($35): Bobrovsky had a 2.58 GAA last season, but with a .913 save percentage. Now he's out from behind Columbus' sturdy defense and behind a Florida defense that has more question marks. On top of that, the Lightning scored 3.89 goals per contest last season, and their lineup is still loaded.
Mika Zibanejad, NYR vs. WPG ($24): Zibanejad had a breakout year in 2017-18, scoring 27 goals and notching 21 power-play points. Then, he took things to the next level last season, tallying 30 goals but also adding 44 assists. The Jets allowed 33.4 shots on net per game last year, and they will also be without four of their top defensemen from last season. Good luck, Josh Morrissey!
CENTER TO AVOID
Patrice Bergeron, BOS at DAL ($33): Nobody can knock Bergeron's tremendous skills, which is why he's the second-priciest center Thursday. However, he'll have trouble earning that salary in a tough matchup. The Stars had a 2.24 GAA at home last year, the lowest in the NHL. Ben Bishop had a 1.98 GAA and .934 save percentage, and Dallas has basically all the same pieces in place from last year's squad.
Kyle Connor, WPG at NYR ($21): It's easy to see why the Jets just gave Connor a new deal. He has gotten over the 30-goal threshold in each of his two NHL seasons. He also saw his minutes, and power-play time, shoot up, and that should remain the case this year. The Rangers made a lot of changes this offseason, but one position that has been steady is goaltender. That means Henrik Lundqvist, who had a .907 save percentage last season, will still be in goal.
Patric Hornqvist, PIT vs. BUF ($17): Last year was an off campaign for Hornqvist, who failed to notch 20 goals or 200 shots on net for the first time during a season in which he played over 28 games. However, he was held to 69 games to be fair, and also he still finds himself in a great position. The Swede is expected to skate with Sidney Crosby on Pittsburgh's top line. As for the Sabres, they had a 3.27 GAA last year.
WINGS TO AVOID
Alexander Radulov, DAL vs. BOS ($28): Radulov had a great campaign last year on a line with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. However, it's a new year, and now Joe Pavelski has joined the Stars. As of this moment, Radulov is slotted to now be the second-line right wing, meaning he's now playing alongside Roope Hintz and Jason Dickinson. That could hurt Radulov's numbers. So could the fact the Bruins had a 2.59 GAA last year.
Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA at TAM ($24): Huberdeau was a whole new player last year, notching 92 points, including 34 on the power play. Starting the season in Tampa is tricky for the 26-year-old, though. The Lightning had the league's best penalty kill last year, and they still have Andrei Vasilevskiy in net. The reigning Vezina winner had a 2.40 GAA and .925 save percentage last year.
Josh Morrissey, WPG at NYR ($18): This is a bit of projection, but it's sound projection. The Jets have lost Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba from last season, and Dustin Byfuglien is suspended at the moment. Morrissey is suddenly the top defenseman on the team, which should mean more minutes, especially on the power play. He gets his first opportunity as the top dog against a Rangers team that allowed 33.8 shots on net per game last season, and again Henrik Lundqvist had a .907 save percentage.
Ryan McDonagh, TAM vs. FLA ($17): McDonagh didn't play on the power play much last year, but he still managed nine goals and 37 assists. He also blocked 161 shots, contributing heavily in the defensive zone. The Panthers have a new goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky, so their GAA from last season doesn't mean a ton, but I still like McDonagh at this price.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Shea Weber, MON at CAR ($23): Weber dealt with injuries last year, but even when he played his power-play production was down. He averaged 2:33 per game with the extra man, a new personal low, and only had six points. The Hurricanes have been one of the best teams at shot suppression for a few years, and they only gave up 28.6 shots on net per contest last season. Now that they've swapped out Justin Faulk for Jake Gardiner, they may be even better.
Cale Makar, COL vs. CGY ($19): Look, I'm excited for Makar too. I think he's going to be a finalist for the Calder. However, he hasn't played a single regular-season NHL game yet. We may be getting a little too excited about him, especially here in the season opener. After all, the Flames only allowed 28.1 shots on net per game last year. That was lowest in the NHL. They've also finally given up on Mike Smith, handing the reins in net to David Rittich.