NHL DFS Picks Today: Banking On Bo Horvat (January 25)

There are nine games on the NHL docket tonight, but all of the Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, and Chicago Blackhawks played last night. That means there will be late-arriving lineup information in those instances, so Stokastic members are encouraged to double-check the Discord before lock to get updated roster news. Nevertheless, onto our NHL DFS picks today.

NHL DFS Picks Today, Top Stacks, Lineup Optimizer Plays

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Bo Horvat (NYI at MON): DraftKings – $7,100 | FanDuel – $8,600

Since December 1st, a span of 25 games, Horvat has 12 goals and 15 assists as his offense has come alive after a slow start to the season. That stretch has seen his top line be tremendous offensively by posting 3.7 expected goals and 4.4 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. What’s more, his top power play unit has scored 11 goals in just over 63 minutes together across 23 games (a bit of time was missed due to injury), which is very good production. Considering Montreal has allowed 16 power play goals against in their last 20 games, it is a good special team matchup.

It is also a good 5-on-5 matchup for Horvat. Montreal’s last 20 games have them allowing the second-most expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5, with only the San Jose Sharks rating worse. The home team also added Josh Anderson to their top line, and he’s the Montreal forward on the ice for the most expected goals and actual goals against relative to his teammates. That makes it an even easier matchup for Horvat.

Among all centers on the slate tonight, our center ranks sixth and eighth on DraftKings and FanDuel, respectively, by fantasy points projection. It is fine value, but not great, but the ownership is outside the top-6 centers as well, so that is a benefit for DFS players. He and his line mates are in play for tournaments tonight.

Nazem Kadri (CGY vs. CLS): DraftKings – $6,100 | FanDuel – $7,300

On the topic of slow starters, after posting just two points in his first nine games, Kadri now has 36 points (including 15 goals) in his last 38 appearances. It is not a random cutoff as in his 10th game, rookie winger Connor Zary was called up from the minor leagues. That duo has been fantastic for Calgary, creating 2.7 expected goals and 3.7 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. That 38-game stretch has seen Kadri average 3.4 shots per game, hitting the DraftKings shot bonus 12 times, or nearly one-third of his outings. He has looked much more like his usual, productive self with Zary as his winger.

Columbus is in town, and they’ve gotten a bit healthier over the last week or so. Even still, it’s worth remembering that with a (mostly) healthy lineup through the first two months of the season, they gave up the fourth-most expected goals and second-most actual goals against/60 at 5-on-5. With a good 5-on-5 line, and top power play minutes, Kadri is in a matchup to succeed offensively.

The tremendous matchup for Kadri is driving up his fantasy point projection, coming in fourth on DK and sixth on FD among all centers. He is much cheaper than the top options, so it gives him great point-per-dollar value. That is also driving a lot of ownership his way, however, so tournament DFS players will need to decide if ownership between 14-16% is too much to assume.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Nikita Kucherov (TB vs. ARI): DraftKings – $9,900| FanDuel – $10,800

Arizona played last night and that gives Tampa Bay the rest advantage. On top of that, the last 21 games for Arizona – about a quarter of the season – has seen them take 4.1 minor penalties per game, the third-highest rate in the league. They allowed 15 power play goals against in that time, and very good goaltending is the only reason they didn’t allow more. Conversely, Kucherov’s power play unit has scored 13.1 goals/60 with the power play this season; for reference, Edmonton’s elite top power play unit has scored 13.7 goals/60. Our winger has been the engine on the man advantage, totaling 36 power play points already, factoring in on 36/41 goals scored with him on the ice.

Tampa Bay has loaded their top line with Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Steven Stamkos, a trio that scored 4.6 goals/60 together at 5-on-5 in their prior two seasons. That number sits at 2.2 goals/60 this season, but that’s thanks to 6.2% shooting, a number that should regress positively. Facing an Arizona team is on a back-to-back and average-at-best defensively at 5-on-5 over their last 20 games is a great matchup.

Hosting Arizona is giving Kucherov the top fantasy point projection for both DK and FD tonight, no small feat on a slate that includes David Pastrňák. His ownership is could reach double digits in tournaments, but he likely won’t be the highest-owned winger, and that is what makes him a tournament option to consider.

Jason Robertson (DAL vs. ANH): DraftKings – $6,900 | FanDuel – $8,200

In Tuesday’s column, we discussed how Dallas’s top line has been much better over the last two seasons without Joe Pavelski on right wing: 32.2% more shot attempts, 39% more expected goals, and 34.3% more actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. In that game on Tuesday, the top line managed two goals, five assists, and 12 shots combined without Pavelski, and the line change should continue tonight. Robertson has posted 23 points and 3.5 shots per game over his last 20 games, and he failed to register a point just three times in those 20 outings. Ice time is an ongoing issue – his last 10 games have seen four games under 16:30 in TOI and just two over 19 minutes – but he isn’t tremendously expensive for DFS, either.

Anaheim visiting brings a phenomenal special team matchup for Robertson. The Ducks are taking 4.9 minor penalties per game over their last 21 games, tops in the league, and 42% more than the league average. Dallas’s power play has been elite on a per-60 basis, but they don’t usually draw many penalties. That could change tonight with an undisciplined Ducks team in town, and that’s great news for Robertson’s top power play role.

Of wingers priced under $7,000 on DK and $9,000 on FD, Robertson leads all wingers by fantasy point projection. Like Kadri, though, the tremendous matchup is driving a lot of ownership his way, and he could be the highest-owned flank on DK. He is absolutely an option to consider for cash games, but tournament players have another decision to make.

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Jordan Martinook (CAR vs. NJ): DraftKings – $2,900 | FanDuel – $3,900

Carolina played last night so they are playing the second game of a back-to-back, and that’s not ideal. On the bright side, Carolina hosts New Jersey and in the eight games the Devils have been without superstar Jack Hughes, they are last in the league by expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5, and 25th by actual goals against/60. In that game last night, Martinook was moved to Carolina’s top line alongside Sebastian Aho and replied by scoring the game-winning goal. In calendar 2024, Martinook is second among the team’s forwards in shots/60 at 5-on-5, and he now may have an elite center to skate with.

Not only is Hughes out for New Jersey, but so are top-pair defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Jonas Siegenthaler. They have also lost center Michael McLeod due to personal reasons, so this is a team now without their top center, their third center, and their top defense pair. For a team that ranks 31st by save percentage this season as it is, there are only so many losses they can endure.

Martinook has a top-5 fantasy point projection among all wingers priced under $3,000 on DK and $4,000 on FD. It gives him very good point-per-dollar value, but his ownership projection is between 4-7% on the two sites. That is just fine for this matchup, and it makes him a low-cost winger to target in all formats.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Defense

Evan Bouchard (EDM vs. CHI): DraftKings – $7,100 | FanDuel – $8,000

Bouchard is one of three defensemen, along with Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar, to have at least 10 goals and 30 assists this season. He also sits with 2.8 shots per game, having reached the DK shot bonus nine times. Edmonton hosts Chicago tonight and the Blackhawks played (and lost) last night, giving the Oilers the rest advantage. Even on a power play with elite forwards, Bouchard figures heavily as he’s registered a point on 64.5% of the team’s PP goals scored with him on the ice. That is in the neighborhood of other elite defensemen like Hughes (63.6%) and Roman Josi (66.8%). In other words, he’s not just a decoy; Bouchard is a big part of their power play production.

Bouchard is fourth on DK and third on FD by fantasy point projections among all blue liners tonight. However, his high cost is driving away ownership as he’s projected under 5% on DK and exactly 7% on FD. Those marks are nowhere close to the highest-owned options, so he’s a defender to look towards in tournaments.

Olen Zellweger (ANH at DAL): DraftKings – $2,500 | FanDuel – N/A

For those unfamiliar with his name, Zellweger is one of the top defense prospects in the world, at least by offensive potential. He is second in the minor leagues this season in points per game as a rookie blue liner and led his junior league in points per game among defenders last season. In his NHL debut on Tuesday night, he had a power play assist, two shots, and three blocks. Ice time will be an issue as he skated just 13:42, but Anaheim is drawing the third-most minor penalties per game over their last 21 contests. Zellweger may get a lot of power play time tonight, if not much overall ice time.

A lack of NHL time (and overall ice time) is keeping Zellweger with a low DK point projection, even at his cost. All the same, for DFS tournament players looking for a punt defenseman, he’s one to consider.

As expected, Zellweger is not in the FD player pool, so DFS users on that site should consider Chris Tanev (CGY, $3,900) for a cheap defender.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Alex Lyon (DET vs. PHI): DraftKings – $7,800 | FanDuel – $7,900

There are 46 goalies in the league with at least 750 minutes played at 5-on-5, and Lyon is third on that list in shots against/60. What is important is that the average shot distance he’s faced is 35.7 feet, which puts him in the bottom half of the league (in a positive manner); seeing a lot of shots from distance is one way to rack up easy saves. Over their last 20 games, Philadelphia is eighth in the league in shots/60 at 5-on-5 but 22nd in goals/60. Lyon could see a lot of easy shots from a team struggling to score, and that’s great news for DFS purposes.

Fantasy point projections have Lyon fourth on DK and sixth on FD for tonight. Stokastic’s GoalieStats section has him at the top of the board for projected saves, indicative of the volume he could see. He is an option in goal in all formats.

Top NHL DFS Stacks Today

DAL1: Jason Robertson – Roope Hintz – Wyatt Johnston

As mentioned in the section on Robertson, this is a tremendous power play matchup for Dallas as Anaheim is a heavily penalized team. What should also be mentioned is that the Johnston-Hintz duo has been tremendous together this season (in a small 60-minute sample) at 5-on-5 by creating 98.6 shot attempts, 5.0 expected goals, and 7.3 actual goals/60. Those are honestly power play numbers being created at 5-on-5, and though the sample is small, how well the top line has generally performed without Pavelski indicates that Johnston can be an offensive difference-maker for them at 5-on-5.

Stokastic’s Top Stacks tool has this Dallas trio fourth by top-2 stack probability on DK tonight and fifth on FD. The ownership will be high on the former, which is a concern for tournaments, but will be much lower on the latter. Regardless of the site, though, this matchup warrants consideration for Dallas.

NSH1: Filip Forsberg – Ryan O’Reilly – Gustav Nyquist

Though they’re not among the elite power play units, Nashville’s premiere PP quintet isn’t far behind by averaging 12 goals every 60 minutes. With all three members of this line on that unit, it gives them perfect DFS correlation. It is also a great matchup for that power play as Minnesota is fourth in the league by minor penalties per game over the last couple of months, a stretch that has seen the Wild give up the fifth-most shots/60 on the penalty kill. All those penalties and all those shots have led to 20 power play goals against in those 23 contests, and it’s something that benefits this Predators trio greatly.

The Top Stacks tool has Nashville eighth by top-2 stack probability on DK tonight, and 10th over on FD. The respective projected ownership levels are much lower than those top-2 probabilities, though, and this gives them positive leverage for tonight. All that makes Nashville’s top line a stack to key in on for tournaments.

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*Additional best NHL DFS picks today stats from Natural Stat Trick

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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