NHL DFS Picks Today: All The Value Madness! (March 21)

It is a monster 13-game slate in the NHL tonight that features several lopsided matchups. Sifting through those lopsided matchups is vital, so we’ll spend a lot of time on those in this article. Before we get to our NHL DFS picks today, Stokastic members should always check the Discord before lock for updated roster information.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Lineup Decisions, Expert Advice & More

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

JT Miller (VAN vs. MON)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Miller is not a forward who typically piles up shots; his 2.75 shots/game last season were a career-high, and he sits at 2.35 per game this season. However, he is a player that finishes at a very high rate as he’s assuredly going to finish with at least 12% shooting for the ninth season in a row and at least 16% in five of them. For that reason, his 20.4% shooting this season is high, but not extreme. Even the shot rate has been much better recently with 62 shots across 20 games since the All-Star break. A big part of that surge has been his line’s excellent play with Pius Suter on the wing: 32.9 shots, 3.9 expected goals, and 5.0 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 in their 110 minutes together since the break.

Hosting Montreal means Miller will be matched up against the Canadiens’ top line and they’ve been below-average defensively since the All-Star break with 2.8 expected goals and actual goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. In that time, Montreal has averaged the fourth-most minor penalties taken per game in the league, so Miller not only gets a good even strength matchup, but he should see plenty of power play time.

A large slate and moderate fantasy projection is keeping a lot of ownership away from Miller as he’s coming in under 8% on DK and around 2% on FD. Vancouver has the second-highest total on the slate and we can’t ask for much more than single-digit ownership for tournaments.

Nick Paul (TB at SJ)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Since February 1st, San Jose is last in the league by expected goals against (3.1) and actual goals against (4.2) per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. What is compounding the problem for the Sharks is that their penalty kill is giving up the third-most shot attempts and fifth-most shots in that span as well, and very good goaltending is the only reason their goals against rate ranks 19th rather than 29th (or worse). The last point about the penalty kill is key for Paul as he was added back to the team’s top power play unit last game and 8/18 goals that Paul has scored this season has been with the man advantage.

Though Paul has seen his role diminish over the last 15 games, his third line has found offensive success together with 59 shot attempts, 28 shots, and 2.8 goals scored per 60 minutes together. That is not high-end production or anything, but this is a very bad Sharks team and Paul doesn’t need a high-end line to find success, especially with his vastly improved power play role.

Like Miller, Paul’s fantasy point projections are fine-but-not-great due to not being a big shot volume threat. Also like Miller, though, Paul’s ownership projections are very friendly to tournament players with his number coming in at 3.3% on DK and 4.2% on FD. He is an option as a cheap, one-off center.


NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Troy Terry (ANA vs. CHI)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

In a battle of the basement, Terry’s Ducks are at home to the Blackhawks tonight. A big boost for the winger was getting center Leo Carlsson back over the weekend. Their 5-on-5 line has been one of very few that have been able to drive the play for Anaheim with 2.7 expected goals for and 2.2 expected goals against per 60 minutes in nearly 210 minutes together. A poor shooting percentage of 4.6% has kept them from being more productive, but that they’re creating chances, and outchancing the opponent, is a good sign for this matchup.

Speaking of the matchup, though Chicago hasn’t been quite San Jose-levels of bad, they are 30th by expected goals against and 31st by actual goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 since the All-Star break. Terry has seen a lot more usage of late, too, by averaging 19:43 in ice time over his last five appearances, reaching at least 18 minutes in each outing. His line has been good, the matchup is better, and his minutes are up over the last 10 days. Those are all good signs for him tonight.

Among all wingers priced under $6,000 on DK and $7,000 on FD, Terry leads the way in fantasy point projections. His ownership projection is very high on FD (around 15%) but is much lower on DK at 6%. It brings him and his line mates into play in one of the few matchups Anaheim will be favored in for the rest of the season.  

Evander Kane (EDM vs. BUF)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Kane was moved up to Connor McDavid’s line in a surprise at warmups on Tuesday, and he remained on that line until the final five minutes as Edmonton pushed for a goal. Unsurprisingly, Edmonton has been very productive offensively with Kane next to McDavid by creating 3.5 expected goals and 3.9 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. Individually, Kane takes over 20% more shot attempts per minute with McDavid as his center than without, and having the all-world playmaker as his pivot has resulted in his goal rate doubling. In a shock to no one, Kane is much more productive with McDavid than without.

Buffalo is in town and they are playing their third road game in four nights, and fourth road game in six nights. Though the team has been fine defensively – middle of the league by expected goals against at 5-on-5 since the All-Star break – their low goals against has been due to elite goaltending, not elite defense. McDavid and Kane have been more than good enough offensively to find success in this matchup, especially if Buffalo’s goaltending is anything but elite.

Kane’s fantasy point projections are coming in lower than Terry’s because the matchup is more difficult, but it’s also keeping ownership lower as he’s projected at 1.6% on DK and 4% on FD. He can be used as a one-off because of his penchant for shooting but is fine in an Edmonton tournament stack as well.  

Brayden Schenn (STL at OTT)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Like Miller earlier, Schenn is not someone who typically puts up a lot of shots; his 1.9 shots per game this season are actually a three-year high. However, he has seen his role improve significantly of late as he was moved to the top line alongside Robert Thomas as well as the top power play unit. That has resulted in 20:02 per game in average ice time over his last four games compared to 16:22 per game in his four appearances before that. He has two goals, three points, and 12 shots in those recent outings, so there has been more production and more shots to go along with all that extra ice time.

Ottawa has not been awful at 5-on-5 since the All-Star break; they’ve been below average but nowhere near the San Jose/Chicago tier of teams. The problems have come on the penalty kill where they rank 21st by shot attempts against per 60 minutes, and 31st by actual goals against. Since the All-Star break, St. Louis has drawn the fifth-most minor penalties per game in the league, and third-most for teams on this slate. That is great news for Schenn given his improved role.

Of all wingers priced under $4,000 on DK, Schenn leads Stokastic’s fantasy point projections so he can be considered as a cheap one-off, or as part of a St. Louis stack.

Schenn is listed as a center on FD, so DFS players on that site can pivot to his line mate Jake Neighbours ($4,800) for a low-cost winger option.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Defender

Seth Jones (CHI at ANA)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

The return of Connor Bedard was a boon for Chicago’s offense and that includes Jones. In the 16 games since the rookie made his way back from injury, Jones has 10 points, 24 blocks, and 3.5 shots per game. In the 11 prior outings without Bedard, Jones had just five points and 2.4 shots per game, so the difference has been drastic. The big change is the power play where Chicago scores 7.8 goals per 60 minutes with those two on the ice, and just 2.6 goals per 60 minutes when Jones didn’t have Bedard. Facing an Anaheim team that is taking nearly 5.0 minor penalties per game since the All-Star break gives Jones a tremendous power play matchup.

As with some of the forwards listed above, Jones isn’t carrying a high fantasy point projection for his cost. However, like those forwards, his projected ownership is under 8% on both DK and FD, and that makes him a tournament option for this slate.

Niko Mikkola (FLA vs. NSH)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

An injury to teammate Aaron Ekblad has resulted in a lot more ice time for Mikkola of late by averaging over 20 minutes a game over his last three appearances, skating at least 19 minutes in all of them. On the season, he leads Florida defensemen in shots blocked per 60 minutes with 4.7. That isn’t a high rate, but he is someone who leans into that type of game (and leans into shots) more than everyone else on their blue line.

Among defensemen priced under $3,000 on DK, Mikkola ranks fourth by fantasy point projections. He will not carry much ownership, either, so he’s a punt option on the blue line tonight.

For FD players requiring better value players in their lineups, Mike Reilly (NYI, $3,900) tops Stokastic’s fantasy point projections for rearguards priced under $4,000.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Juuse Saros (NSH at FLA)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

It has been 23 straight starts for Saros without allowing more than four goals against and more than half of them (14/23) has resulted in two goals against or fewer. The good news tonight is he faces a Florida team that has struggled to score at 5-on-5 all season: 26th by goals-for per 60 minutes since the All-Star break, and 25th on the campaign as a whole. Nashville has taken just 2.9 minor penalties per game since that break, which ranks 25th in the league, and that could mean few opportunities for a great Florda power play to break through. If Nashville can limit Florida’s power play chances, Saros could have another great game tonight.

Saros leads Stokastic’s GoalieStats section by projected saves tonight, but is tied for fifth by expected goals against. It is a tough matchup against Florida, but he should see a lot of rubber, and if his team can stay off the penalty kill, he can find success in DFS tournaments tonight.

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NHL DFS Top Stacks Today

TB1: Anthony Duclair – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov

Even if Duclair has lost his brief top power play role to Paul as earlier mentioned, this is such a good matchup against San Jose that’s not that big of a deal. The Sharks are in a fight for last place and that’s what is more important for this trio. Duclair has three goals, five points, and 10 shots in his four games with the Lightning, the team has scored 23 goals in those games (all against current playoff teams), and Tampa Bay scored six goals against San Jose in their only other matchup this season. The Lightning are scoring 4.5 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 with Point/Kucherov on the ice since the All-Star break, and they have a tremendous matchup tonight.

This Tampa Bay trio leads Stokastic’s Top Stacks tool by top-2 stack probability tonight and despite high ownership, that probability is higher than the expected ownership and that gives them good leverage. In such a matchup as this, they are perfectly fine as a focal point for tournament DFS players.   

CAR2: Andrei Svechnikov – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Martin Nečas  

Like Duclair above, Kuznetsov was a trade deadline acquisition so there’s not much of a sample to work with here. However, the duo of Svechnikov-Nečas has created a lot of opportunities in in nearly 110 minutes together this season without top-line center Sebastian Aho between them: 41 shots and 3.4 expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. It isn’t a bad matchup against Philadelphia as their blue line is still missing three regulars due to injury (and one due to a trade). The Flyers’ goaltending has been near the bottom of the league for two months now and if that goaltending isn’t significantly better tonight than it has been in that span, it can expose a blue line that is hobbled right now.

On DraftKings tonight, this Carolina trio is one of five lines priced under $15,000 but with a top-2 stack probability over 2%. Of those five lines, they are also carrying the lowest projected ownership, so they should be considered by DFS players looking for a mid-priced stack on either site.

*Additional stats used for our NHL DFS picks today column from Natural Stat Trick

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Michael has been writing about fantasy hockey for over a decade, and has been playing Daily Fantasy for just as long. He has contributed to both the Chicago Tribune and the Boston Herald, has worked for Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and is now in his fifth season with Stokastic. He lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, and can be reached on Twitter @SlimCliffy.

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