Daily Fantasy Hockey 2015: NHL DFS Must-Starts for Each Position December 31

R. Cory Smith@@RCorySmithSenior Writer IDecember 31, 2015

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks waits for play to begin during a game against the Los Angeles Kings  at Staples Center on November 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

While the rest of the country is waiting on the ball to drop, daily fantasy hockey fans are waiting for the final puck to drop in 2015. Nine games are scheduled for Thursday night with countless options for DraftKings owners to sort through with money on the line.

Before setting your lineups for the final date of the calendar year, check out these must-have players to target at each position for December 31.


Center: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks ($6,000)

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 10:  Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates with the puck during a NHL game against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on December 10, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Image
Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images

Look, there aren't a ton of great matchups on Thursday night, so we'll have to take chances at center. Luckily for DFS owners, Jonathan Toews is finally firing on all cylinders for the Chicago Blackhawks with six points in his last six games.

Normally a fantasy stalwart every season, Toews is off to an uncharacteristically slow start. But after averaging four fantasy points over the aforementioned six-game stretch, owners can expect continued success at a reasonable price for a No. 1 center.


Winger: Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets ($7,000)

ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 11:  Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets handles the puck during an NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on January 11, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

Speaking of steady players over the last few weeks, Blake Wheeler has enjoyed a solid December. Currently tied for fourth in the NHL in assists with 27, the Winnipeg Jets' points leader is coming off a 6.5-fantasy-point night in his last outing.

Along with his ability to put passes on target, Wheeler's also prone to having huge scoring nights, via Darrin Bauming of TSN 1290:

With nine helpers in his last six starts, Wheeler is certainly worth the $7,000 price point. Oh, and he faces an Arizona Coyotes defense that ranks 24th against opposing right wingers. Start Wheeler with confidence and save money on your No. 1 winger to build a balanced lineup.


Defenseman: Francois Beauchemin, Colorado Avalanche ($5,200)

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 09:  Francois Beauchemin #32 of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against David Perron #57 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at Pepsi Center on December 9, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Penguins defeated the Avalanche 4-2.  (Photo by
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Francois Beauchemin might not be scoring the puck at an alarming rate, but he's still scoring in fantasy. The defenseman recently had his first assist in four games and went for seven fantasy points. How, you might ask? By tallying nine blocked shots and a shot on goal against the San Jose Sharks.

Currently ranked second in the NHL in blocked shots with 108, Beauchemin is a consistent threat for owners even if he doesn't score a point. But with 20 points already this season and a matchup with the Blackhawks, who are ranked 24th against defensemen, Beauchemin looks like a smart start on Thursday.


Goalie: Antti Niemi, Dallas Stars ($7,000)

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 22:  Antti Niemi #31 of the Dallas Stars in goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period at American Airlines Center on December 22, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

While Antti Niemi is coming off a horrible relief appearance in his last outing, the Dallas Stars goalie was strong during the previous four. He also plays on a team that ranks first in goals per game at 3.4, so he holds a 15-6-3 record this year.

The Nashville Predators have played well this season, but Niemi has been hot recently when he's starting. After winning the Second Star of the Week in the NHL with a 2-0-1 record, 1.02 goals-against average and .966 save percentage last week, Niemi is a great target for DFS owners at a low price.

For those who like options, another sneaky-good start might be Philipp Grubauer. The Washington Capitals backup might get the spot start with Braden Holtby coming off three starts over five nights. If he does start in the second night of a back-to-back schedule, Grubauer is a bargain at $6,800 against a horrid Carolina Hurricanes offense that he held to just one goal in his last outing.


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