There are 11 games on the NHL docket tonight and with Connor McDavid still injured, alongside a couple of the top centers being on the road, there are a lot of intriguing spots to pick from in the DFS realm. Let’s sort through some of the high-priced options while digging for a bit of value.
As always, Stokastic members are encouraged to check the Discord, particularly at warmups, for updated lineup and injury news.
NHL DFS Picks, Top Stacks, Lineup Optimizer Plays
NHL DFS Picks Today: Center
Brayden Point (TB vs. SJ): DraftKings – $7,500 | FanDuel – $7,900
Despite Tampa Bay’s tough start to the season, Point has been very productive, with 9 points in seven games (though just one goal) while averaging nearly 21 minutes of ice time per night. The interesting part is he’s shooting just 5.9% against a career average of 18%, and four of his last five seasons were over 17.5%. He could easily have a couple more goals and be off to one of the best starts in the league. The shooting percentage will turn around eventually, and the 50-goal scorer will fill the net.
San Jose coming to town is the big appeal of Point and his linemates tonight. The Sharks have given up the third-most shots per minute at even strength, the same rank while on the penalty kill and the sixth-most goals per minute overall. This is a poor defensive team facing Point, and that makes him a top-of-the-list target.
Point is not a volume shooter, having never reached 3.0 shots per game for his career, so that will usually keep his DraftKings NHL DFS projections moderate for his price. He is the fifth-highest projected pivot for FanDuel points tonight, though, and that gives him solid value over there. He and his linemates should be considered in tournaments no matter the DFS site.
Adam Fantilli (CBJ at MTL): DraftKings – $3,500 | FanDuel – $4,800
The 19-year-old rookie has been tremendous to start his career with two goals and 4 points in six games, averaging 2.5 shots per game while averaging over 16 minutes a night. Those are not typical rookie numbers, especially as a true first-year player, and speak to the elite talent he’s expected to be (and sort of is, already). It is notable he’s seen his ice time rise in consecutive games, topping out at 19:15 in an overtime loss on Tuesday.
Columbus visits Montreal tonight, and one of the keys to the road team succeeding offensively is its power play. The Canadiens are giving up the second-most power play opportunities per game, and they are giving up the fifth-most shots per minute on the penalty kill. A bad penalty kill and all those penalties mean the home side has given up eight power play goals against in just six games. Fantilli has jumped to the top power play unit, and that could give him a lot of power play time tonight.
Among all centers on DraftKings with a cost under $4,000, Fantilli ranks fourth by Stokastic NHL DFS projections, and that gives him good value. He is relatively more expensive on FanDuel but still grades over 2 points per $1,000 in the same projections, which is fine value for this matchup.
NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger
David Pastrnak (BOS vs. ANA): DraftKings – $9,200 | FanDuel – $9,900
Boston is off to a perfect 6-0 start but is outside the top 10 of the league in goals per minute. It hasn’t really affected Pastrnak as the three-time 40-goal scorer has five goals, 8 points and 4.3 shots per game through the early portions. Crucially, Brad Marchand has been added to his line recently, and that puts Boston’s top three offensive weapons all on the same line both at even strength and on the power play.
Like Montreal, one of Anaheim’s big problems to start the year is discipline. It is giving the opponents 5.7 power plays per game, which leads the league and is over one power play per game more than third-place Carolina (4.6). Also like Montreal, it has led to eight power play goals against in Anaheim’s six games, and that should provide Pastrnak a lot of high-percentage shooting opportunities.
Unsurprisingly, Pastrnak carries the highest NHL DFS projections for a flank on either site, clearing the next-closest player by 17.7% on DraftKings and 5.7% on FanDuel. He can be used as a one-off in any format or part of a Boston stack for tournaments.
Owen Tippett (PHI vs. MIN): DraftKings – $4,400 | FanDuel – $5,100
It has been a slow start, of sorts, for Tippett as he has just 3 points (all assists) in six games, averaging three shots per game. This seems like a run of bad luck as Tippett is managing a career-best 1.0 individual expected goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five, which is a proxy for shot quality generated. He had 27 goals last year but had four different stretches where he failed to score in five straight games, so a bit of streakiness – both good and bad – isn’t unexpected.
Tippett’s line with Sean Couturier has been very productive to start the year, as the team is creating over 71 shot attempts, 3.6 expected goals and 3.4 actual goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five with that duo on the ice. That includes recent games against Dallas, Vegas and Edmonton, a trio of Cup contenders. It will match Minnesota’s top line, and that trio has been poor defensively by giving up nearly 64 shot attempts and 3.0 expected goals per 60.
There are 127 wingers on DraftKings listed under $5,000 (not all will play, obviously), and Tippett ranks first by expected point projection. He doesn’t rate as highly on FanDuel because shot volume – Tippett’s hallmark – isn’t as important, but he’s projected for nearly 2.5 points per $1,000. He is fine as a one-off option, or part of a stack, in contests for this slate.
Alexis Lafreniere (NYR at EDM): DraftKings – $3,400 | FanDuel – $4,200
The New York Rangers are catching Edmonton at the right time as Connor McDavid is expected to miss this game due to injury. Not that he’s a defensive stalwart, but it limits the team’s ability to create offensively and could lead to more time in the defensive zone. Regardless, Lafreniere has scored in back-to-back games and now has three tallies in six contests. His line with Artemi Panarin has been dominant at five-on-five, creating 79 shot attempts, 3.6 expected goals and 3.9 actual goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five.
Edmonton has good defensive numbers to start the year, but they can be misleading. The team’s bottom two lines are doing all the great defensive work while many of the team’s top forwards like Zach Hyman and Evander Kane have awful defensive metrics. It is all small samples but that tough start for some of the top guys, on top of goaltending ranked 31st in the league by save percentage, bring Lafreniere and his linemates into focus.
Lafreniere’s modest ice time and shot rates, like a cheaper Brayden Point, are keeping his projections tempered but there is not much ownership expected on his line tonight (2-3% on DraftKings). It makes him a good salary-saver for tournaments, though he can be used as part of a stack.
NHL DFS Picks Today: Defense
Noah Hanifin (CGY vs. STL): DraftKings – $5,200 | FanDuel – $6,400
A suspension to Calgary defenseman Rasmus Andersson has pushed Hanifin to the team’s top power play unit. The Calgary power play has struggled, but a lot of that is shooting 4.8% in a small sample. That premier power play quintet shot 14.8% last year, so Calgary’s current goal rate could easily be triple what it is now. The shots generated are roughly the same as its 2022-23 mark, so there will be positive regression to come. Over the last three seasons, Hanifin has managed 2.2 shots, 1.3 blocks and 0.53 points per game. That across-the-board production is what usually makes him an appealing option, and the added power play role puts him over the top for tonight.
There are a few good options in Hanifin’s price range on DraftKings, but he ranks second by points projection among those priced less than $5,500. It gives him very good value in this matchup.
His price on FanDuel is inflated, and that makes him a worse value on that site. He is still playable, but for a mid-priced option, DFS players should look to Zach Werenski (CBJ, $4,800) as his price is still not reflective of his talent/situation, and it’s giving him 3 points per $1,000 in his NHL DFS projections.
Marcus Pettersson (PIT vs. COL): DraftKings – $3,200 | FanDuel – $4,200
In 2022-23, Pettersson had 131 blocked shots in 68 games, averaging 1.9 blocks per game and hitting the DraftKings bonus on 19 occasions. He has done it just once this year, but Pittsburgh’s early schedule has featured a slew of teams with low shot volumes: Five of its six matchups have been against teams outside the top 20 by shot attempts per minute this season, and only one (Calgary, 8th) was inside the top 10. Tonight the Penguins host a Colorado team generating the third-most shot attempts per minute. In the road team’s most recent game, two opposing defensemen hit the DraftKings block bonus and those blueliners blocked 14 total shots. Pittsburgh is a team that is trading chances early on, and that should give Pettersson plenty of opportunity to throw himself in front of some rubber.
There are dozens of defenders on DraftKings priced under $3,500 but Pettersson ranks second by points projection. It makes him a good value for his price, and that puts him in play in any format tonight.
His value is still solid on FanDuel, but DFS players might want to look to Hampus Lindholm (BOS, $4,000) as he projects better for a lower price.
NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie
Jordan Binnington (STL at CGY): DraftKings – $7,200 | FanDuel – $6,800
After a few rough seasons, Binnington has been off to a great start this season with a .945 save percentage and just seven goals against in four starts. Stokastic’s GoalieStats projections have Binnington with the second-most saves tonight as St. Louis heads to Calgary for a matchup against a team that is top 10 by shots per minute. Calgary has struggled to score, shooting just 7.5% as a team, which is a continuation of an issue that persisted last season when it ranked last in the league by shooting percentage. A potential for a lot of volume against a team that has scoring issues is a good spot for a cheap Binnington, and he rates as the fifth-best point-per-dollar value on FanDuel, rising to fourth on DraftKings.
Top NHL DFS Stacks Today
PIT1: Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust
Colorado is in town, and it is a team in the middle of the pack by shots allowed per minute at even strength. On top of that, the Avalanche are giving up the fourth-most power plays per game to the opponent. It should be a fast-paced matchup, and that is a good offensive environment for both teams.
This Pittsburgh line is creating over 36 shots per 60 minutes at five-on-five, which is a very high offensive number. Stokastic’s Top Stacks Tool has them fifth on DraftKings by top-2 stack probability, but with ownership under 4%. Its top-2 percentage is lower on FanDuel, but even lower ownership is keeping them with good leverage. It makes them a spot that should be considered for tournament DFS players tonight.
NYR1: Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Kaapo Kakko
As mentioned in the section on Lafreniere, there is a McDavid-less team awaiting the New York Rangers tonight. Perhaps more importantly for the highlighted Rangers trio is the fact that Edmonton is 1 of 10 teams allowing at least four power plays to the opponent so far this season. While Zibanejad and co. have struggled to score at five-on-five, Kreider has already scored three power play goals in six games as the top power play unit is shredding the opponent.
At an even $16,000 on DraftKings and $18,400 on FanDuel, this is not an expensive line, so it can be used with other top lines across the slate. Ownership on both sites is projected around 3% for this trio, per Stokastic’s Top Stacks Tool, so this line should be among the targets that DFS players have on their list tonight.
*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick