NHL DFS Picks Today: Insane Thursday Value (April 4)

There are nine games in the NHL tonight but just one of those games – Boston and Carolina – features two teams likely headed to the playoffs. There are a lot of underperforming teams on this slate, and that can leave some spots overlooked. Let’s get to our NHL DFS picks today column.

But first, as always, Stokastic members should double-check the Discord before lock for roster updates.

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

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Mark Scheifele (WPG vs. CGY)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Scheifele has had winger Kyle Connor next to him for man years, but Connor has been removed from that line recently and it may be to Scheifele’s benefit: in 365 minutes at 5-on-5 with Scheifele on the ice without Connor, the Jets create 13% more expected goals and 32% more actual goals per 60 minutes. This pivot is also more productive individually, too, with his points rate increasing by 12%. A lot of those minutes without Connor on his wing are with Nikolaj Ehlers instead, and the team is even more productive in those minutes than the overall increase alone. All this means that splitting the Scheifele/Connor duo has been very beneficial offensively for Scheifele.

Calgary has been struggling defensively for a while now as they rank 23rd by expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 over the last six weeks, and 30th by actual goals against per 60. That stretch of games has also seen the Flames come in 24th by goals against per minute while short-handed as the penalty kill has withered since trading several key pieces away over the last couple of months.

This center doesn’t shoot much, which keeps his fantasy point projections more moderate than similar options in his price range. However, his ownership projections for both DraftKings and FanDuel are 10% or less, so he and his line mates won’t be heavily targeted in tournaments.

Dmitri Voronkov (CLS vs. NYI)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Very quietly, Voronkov has put together an excellent rookie season. His goals per 60 minutes of 1.1 is the highest of any rookie with at least 600 minutes played this season and is around the 74th percentile of all forwards in the league, or a borderline top-line rate. The reason for his very productive scoring is his 1.4 individual expected goals per 60 minutes, which is in the 93rd percentile of all forwards. That indicates to us he’s generating a lot of quality by getting to the net, which is where many high-percentage shots come from. The key is he’s done all this even though he’s eighth among Columbus forwards in power play ice time per game. He has not been a top PP fixture, but still has five PP goals and great shot quality.

Noting that power play time shows us how well he’s done at other strengths but is also key for tonight’s matchup. Voronkov has been moved to Columbus’s top power play unit in the absence of Boone Jenner, and the New York Islanders are in town. The Islanders’ penalty kill continues to struggle, ranking 21st by shots against and 23rd by goals against per 60 minutes over the last six weeks.

On DraftKings, Voronkov ranks second by fantasy point projections among all centers priced under $4,000. He can be used as a one-off option or as part of a Columbus stack in tournaments.

Voronkov is listed as a winger on FanDuel, so DFS users on that site should consider his teammate Cole Sillinger ($4,700) instead.



NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Nikita Kucherov (TB at MON)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Tampa Bay is on their second game of a back-to-back, which isn’t ideal, but the power play matchup is too good to not mention. Over the last six weeks, Montreal is taking 4.1 minor penalties per game, and that’s third-most in the league (second-most on this slate). That stretch has seen Montreal goaltending post a .925 save percentage while short-handed, which is masking their defensive issues of allowing the sixth-most shots per minute on the PK. That save percentage is wildly unsustainable as the team leader this season – Los Angeles – is at .905, and it’s the only team above .885. Montreal’s PK has been awful all season, and Kucherov leads the league with 47 power play points.

Anthony Duclair was added to Kucherov’s line after being acquired and that line has been extremely productive at 5-on-5 with 38.5 shots, 4.4 expected goals, and 5.5 actual goals per 60 minutes. Despite playing last night, this is a tremendous power play matchup for the league points leader, a very good 5-on-5 matchup, and he’s doing so on a line that has been one of the most productive in the league over the last four weeks.

As expected, Kucherov leads fantasy point projections among wingers on both sites tonight. However, his ownership projections sit at 9% on DK and 6.2% on FD. Despite a great projection and a great matchup, he is not being heavily targeted for DFS purposes, and that’s music to the ears of tournament players.

Viktor Arvidsson (LA at SJ)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Today’s edition of ‘This guy is playing against the San Jose Sharks’ belongs to Arvidsson, who is playing against the San Jose Sharks tonight. Los Angeles played last night, but the Sharks continue to get blown up on a near-nightly basis – over their last 21 games, or about a quarter of the season, they have allowed at least three goals 19 times and at least four goals in 16 of the 21 contests. That stretch has seen them rank 31st and dead last by expected goals against and actual goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, respectively, and dead last by shots allowed per minute on the penalty kill. It is a tremendous matchup across the board for Arvidsson even if his team played last night.

Arvidsson has been skating on Los Angeles’s top power play unit since his return and also has 34 shots in just 11 games on the campaign. He has reached the DraftKings shot bonus four times in those 11 outings and produced eight points. Things could be even better, too, as he’s shooting just 5.9%. He is not usually a high-percentage shooter, but that mark would be his lowest since his rookie season. He has an excellent opportunity in this matchup to get in the goal column while skating on the second line with top power play time.  

This winger leads fantasy point projections for DK wingers priced under $6,000 and FD wingers priced under $7,000, and it’s a large gap as he’s exceeding the next-closest option by 19% on DK and 18% on FD. He can be used as a one-off option or part of a tournament stack, but the Kings will be heavily targeted in this great matchup by DFS players.

Luke Evangelista (NSH vs. STL)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

It has been a fine rookie season for Evangelista as he has 15 goals and 18 assists in 73 games. The key for him is that 12 of those goals have come at 5-on-5, which is second among Nashville forwards. It is key because in the Predators’ last game, he was moved to the team’s top power play unit, which is more productive than their second unit, and typically earns at least an extra minute more per game. St. Louis ranks 22nd by shots allowed on the penalty kill over the last six weeks and as has been the case all season, great goaltending has saved them from the goals against being even worse than they are.

Evangelista’s 5-on-5 line has also been very good offensively. In nearly 160 minutes together, they have created 40.1 shots, 3.5 expected goals, and 3.5 actual goals per 60 minutes. As a depth forward, Evangelista typically doesn’t get a lot of ice time, but he’s averaged 15:05 over his last 10 games against a season average of 13:37 up to that point. With the additional power play time, he could easily add a minute or two to his per-game total, and that’s good news for a goal scorer like him.

Of all wingers priced under $3,000 on DK and $4,500 on FD, Evangelista ranks third and fifth, respectively, by fantasy point projections. Because he was moved to the top PP unit late in the team’s last game, there is no confirmation on that role, but he is in line for a big profile boost at a cheap price. That makes him a salary-saving option at his position.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Defender

Ryan Pulock (NYI at CLS)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

A big part of Pulock’s DFS value is through his blocked shots as he’s averaged 2.6 per game on the season, reaching the DK block bonus in 22 of his 51 outings. Though he has played just 51 games, but already has as many goals (5) as he did in a full season last year, even if his assist rate is down. The good news for him is that the Islanders recently split their power play units and he’ll be on the ‘second’ unit for this game. Over the last six weeks, Columbus is 26th in the league by shots allowed on the penalty kill, so this is a good opportunity for Pulock to not only rack up the peripherals but get on the scoresheet via the man advantage.

Pulock’s blocked-shot prevalence makes him more valuable on DK than FD, which bears out when seeing his points-per-$1,000 higher on the former than the latter. However, an improved power play situation and a good matchup makes him a medium-priced target on this slate regardless of site.

Declan Chisholm (MIN vs. COL)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Chisholm was recently moved to the team’s top power play unit and that is a huge boost to his fantasy profile; the Wild’s top PP forwards have produced 12.5 goals/60 minutes since hiring their new coach at the end of November. For reference, the Tampa Bay power play mentioned earlier this article is at 9.8 goals/60 in that same span. The wet blanket is that Colorado is a team taking fewer penalties of late, averaging just 2.9 minor penalties per game over the last six weeks, and that makes them one of the eight most disciplined teams in that span. Regardless, getting top PP time for Chisholm is much better than getting none, even in a matchup where he may only get two or three opportunities.

Despite the improved power play role, Chisholm still isn’t earning a lot of ice time and that’s keeping his fantasy point projections low. However, there are few top power play defensemen ever priced in this range, and that makes him a cheap blue liner to consider tonight.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Daniil Tarasov (CLS vs. NYI)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Tarasov ruined a lot of DFS nights with his recent performance, saving 45 of 46 shots against Colorado. He had been playing very well long before that point, though, with a .923 save percentage in 12 games (11 starts) going back to the All-Star break. On the season, he has faced 34.5 shots per 60 minutes, the second-most of any regular starting or backup goalie in the league. He also faces an Islanders team that is 18th in the league by goals per 60 minutes since hiring their new coach (a span of 30 games). He has a good chance to see good volume from a team that has had trouble scoring, and that’s what DFS players should look for, particularly on DraftKings.

Of all goalies expected to start tonight priced under $7,500, Tarasov’s fantasy points projection is first on DraftKings and second on FanDuel. It is not a bad matchup, he’s at home, and the point-per-dollar value is fine for his cost. For DFS players looking towards a cheap netminder, he’s one to keep in mind.

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NHL DFS Top Stacks Today

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

A streak like Nashville went on is a team effort, but this top line has been very productive since the All-Star break: their last 24 games together at 5-on-5 have produced 40.2 shots, 3.3 expected goals, and 3.7 actual goals per 60 minutes. Both Forsberg and Nyquist managed at least 30 points in that span while O’Reilly leads the team in power play goals this season (14). Each member of the line brings skills that makes the trio great offensively, and the matchup against St. Louis is a good one as the Blues are giving up more shots per minute at 5-on-5 than any team not named Columbus over the last six weeks.

There are five lines that the Stokastic Top Stacks tool has projected for double-digit top-2 stack probability on DraftKings tonight, and six on FanDuel. This Nashville line is expected to have lower ownership than that top-2 percentage, so there is good leverage on a line that is both very productive and not overly expensive.

WPG1: Nikolaj Ehlers – Mark Scheifele – Gabriel Vilardi

As mentioned in the section on Scheifele, this line has been much more productive offensively with Ehlers on the wing than with Connor. In fact, in their 183 minutes together at 5-on-5, they have produced 36 shots, 3.7 expected goals, and 4.9 actual goals per 60 minutes, all numbers considerably higher with Ehlers than without. Though Ehlers doesn’t skate on the team’s top power play unit, he does lead the team in both points and shots at 5-on-5, so he is very productive even with that top PP billing.

Of all lines that are priced under $16,500 on DraftKings tonight, this Winnipeg trio is one of five that has a top-2 stack probability over 4%. Of those five lines, they are expected to have the second-lowest ownership rate. There is a bit of negative leverage on both DK and FD for this trio, but neither is extreme, and they are priced in a range that allows for a good secondary stack or high-priced defensemen.

*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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