NHL DFS Picks Today: Jack Eichel Soaking Up Power Play Opportunities (October 30)

There are nine games for Monday’s NHL DFS slate, but most of the top stars are getting the night off; there are no centers priced $8,000 or higher on DraftKings and none above $9,000 on FanDuel. A lot of non-elite options means a wide-open slate, so let’s dig into some of the top matchups and best values.

As always, Stokastic members are strongly encouraged to check in with the Discord at warmups for new injury and roster information.

NHL DFS Picks Today, Top Stacks, Lineup Optimizer Plays

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Jack Eichel (VGK vs. MTL): DraftKings – $7,500 | FanDuel – $8,600

With 9 points and 41 shots in nine games, it has been a stellar first few weeks of the season for Eichel. Notably, he’s earning more ice time per game this year (20:12) than he ever has in his Vegas tenure, and that’s good for his fantasy value. He is also getting 76% of the team’s power play time, a number that was 62.5% last year and 66% the year before. That additional power play time is basically his entire overall time rise, and those are the best minutes for a player to add to their fantasy profile.

Vegas hosts Montreal tonight, and the visiting team is tied for the league lead in power play opportunities given per game to the opponent (5.13). That, on top of a poor penalty kill giving up the fifth-most shot attempts per minute, has resulted in 10 power play goals allowed in eight games. It is a great spot for Eichel and his new-found power play usage to excel.

The star’s ice time and power play role in this matchup is giving him by far the highest Stokastic center projection tonight, clearing the next-closest pivot by nearly 16% on DraftKings and 14% on FanDuel. That will also lead to a lot of ownership, so tournament players have a decision to make, but Eichel needs to be considered in all formats.

Wyatt Johnston (DAL vs. CBJ): DraftKings – $3,500 | FanDuel – $4,800

The first-round pick from 2021 has already shown small improvements on his stellar rookie season a year ago. Johnston has started the year with two goals and 5 points in six games, averaging two shots per game while adding nearly two full minutes per game of ice time. He is stuck on the team’s second power play unit, but he’s earning a larger share of the team’s power play time (41.6%) than his rookie year (33.1%). At Johnston’s price, adding more special team play, even on a second unit, adds value.

It is a great offensive matchup for Johnston and the Stars tonight. Columbus is in town, and the team is giving up the fourth-most shot attempts and fifth-most expected goals against per 60 minutes. Things have been generally worse defensively for the road team with its top line off the ice, and Johnston will avoid that top-line faceoff for the most part. It gives him a very favorable matchup within a favorable matchup.

Of all the skaters at this position for tonight’s slate, Johnston’s NHL DFS projections are third among those priced under $4,000 on DraftKings, which gives him great value. He doesn’t rate as strongly on FanDuel where he’s priced in a range with a few first-line centers, but he’s still acceptable in tournament formats with his linemates.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Clayton Keller (ARI vs. CHI): DraftKings – $7,700 | FanDuel – $7,400

One last piece to Keller ascending to a high-end fantasy player was power play production as he averaged just 16.4 power play points per 82 games from 2020-2023; top players are often over 25 power play points, if not 30. That power play production has shown up for this winger in 2023-24 with three such points in seven games. He is earning a higher share of the team’s man-advantage time than recent seasons which has led to more power play ice and, subsequently, a career-high power play points rate. Overall, he has four goals, 8 points and 25 shots in his seven contests.

Chicago has had a successful penalty kill so far in 2023-24, but its five-on-five play has left a lot to be desired; the team is giving up the most shots per minute at that strength in the league. For his part, Keller is averaging a career-best 9.3 shots per 60 minutes at five-on-five so far this year, but a career-low 6.7% shooting has kept his goal rate lower than it should be. With that said, this is a good matchup for him at even strength regardless of shooting percentage.

Keller’s reasonable price on FanDuel gives him a point-per-$1,000 projection of nearly 2.2, which is second among all wingers priced over $7,000. The value is less strong on DraftKings where he’s (relatively) much more expensive, so he’s less of a consideration for cash games but still an option for tournaments.

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Kyle Palmieri (NYI vs. DET): DraftKings – $4,900 | FanDuel – $5,800

It has been a successful start for the Islanders right winger, with three goals, 7 points and 18 shots in seven games. He is earning the most ice time per game of any New York forward not named Bo Horvat, sitting with a five-year high of 17:57 per appearance. His line picked up where it left off last year by generating 42 shots, 4.2 expected goals and 4.2 actual goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five. Those are superb offensive rates that speak to its ability to create nearly at will.

Detroit is visiting New York, and that presents a solid matchup for Palmieri and his linemates. They don’t often go out against top lines when they’re at home, and Detroit controls 55.1% of the expected goals at five-on-five with the top line on the ice but just 44.2% with them off the ice. Palmieri’s line is over 64% for the season, which is a dominant number. It should be able to get the run of play against the Red Wings. Even if it does see some of Detroit’s top line, it has been trading chances back and forth all season.

There are many viable wingers in the mid-priced range, but Palmieri has a top-5 projection for those priced under $5,000 on DraftKings tonight, giving him fine value. His price on FanDuel is passable, but for anyone looking for a cheaper, similarly projected option, look to Jordan Eberle (SEA, $4,500) who is carrying a very good point-per-dollar value.

Tye Kartye (SEA at TB): DraftKings – $3,600 | FanDuel – $3,600

It has been three games since Kartye was moved to Seattle’s top line. In those three games, he’s skated an average of 15:52 per outing, having managed just 10:34 in his first five appearances. That additional ice time is a big benefit for this player because of his shot volume: Kartye’s 23.2 attempts per 60 minutes at five-on-five lead the Kraken and is in the 97th percentile of the league. It is one reason why he has 13 shots in the three games since being moved up the lineup.

Tampa Bay has struggled defensively to start the year, posting an expected goals against rate of 2.91 per 60 minutes at five-on-five, tied with the aforementioned Columbus Blue Jackets. The worst offenders have been the top two lines for the home side, and those are the matchups that Kartye should see a lot of tonight. It gives him a reasonable road matchup for this faceoff.

A lack of real NHL sample is depressing Kartye’s NHL DFS projections, so teammate Oliver Bjorkstrand ($3,500) is rated higher tonight on both DraftKings and FanDuel. All the same, Kartye led the minor leagues in points a year ago so there very well could be a productive winger whose price hasn’t caught up to him yet. He is fine as a salary-saving option for tonight.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Defense

Erik Karlsson (PIT vs. ANA): DraftKings – $6,300 | FanDuel – $7,000

The reigning Norris Trophy winner (as defenseman of the year) has not had the ideal start with his new Pittsburgh team, posting just 4 points in eight games. The big problem is the team’s top power play unit is shooting 6.5%, leading to just two goals scored thus far. Last year, the top man-advantage quintet shot 16.5% and no team in the league shot under 10%. There is positive regression to come, perhaps a lot of it, and the Penguins are hosting an Anaheim Ducks team that is tied for the most power plays given per game this season (5.13 alongside Montreal).

Karlsson is carrying the second-highest fantasy projection for any blueliner on FanDuel, giving him a good point-per-dollar value for his price. He has the third-highest total at his position on DraftKings tonight so while the value isn’t as good, it’s still perfectly fine for the matchup. He should be at-or-near the top of DFS players’ lists tonight for rearguards in tournaments.

Kaiden Guhle (MTL at VGK): DraftKings – $3,300 | FanDuel – $4,100

Montreal’s top defenseman Mike Matheson was injured in his last game and is not expected to play tonight in Vegas. In the game he was injured, it was Guhle who was the biggest beneficiary as he skated 25:08 overall. That is the second-most time on ice for him in any game of his career, and he will be leaned on as long as Matheson is out of the lineup. For his part, Guhle has 3 points, 11 shots and 11 blocks in four games. In his 48-game career, he has 88 blocks in 48 games, and that’s while averaging 20:18. More ice time means more chances to juice those blocked-shot rates.

There are dozens of defenders priced under $3,500 on DraftKings tonight but Guhle is second by Stokastic point projections, trailing only Pittsburgh’s Marcus Pettersson. His value is fine over on FanDuel as well, so he can be used across the industry as a cheap defenseman in tournaments.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Linus Ullmark (BOS vs. FLA): DraftKings – $8,000 | FanDuel – $8,600

The Panthers are visiting the Bruins, and the road team is first in the league in shots per minute at five-on-five. That leads to Ullmark being projected for the second-most saves tonight, per the Stokastic GoalieStats section. On top of that, he has the second-lowest goals against projection among the top-6 goalies by expected saves. That mix of high save volume/low goal volume makes him the top goaltending value on DraftKings. He is less of a value on FanDuel where he’s the most expensive goalie on the slate, but he still rates among the top-5 netminders. He should be given consideration in all NHL DFS formats tonight.

Top NHL DFS Stacks Today

DET1: Alex DeBrincat – Dylan Larkin – Lucas Raymond

Going into New York to face the Islanders has typically been an awful matchup, but that has not been the case so far in 2023-24. They have given up 17 goals in five home games, and overall the team is giving up the sixth-most shots per minute at five-on-five. What’s more is it is giving up 3.9 power plays per game against a league average of 3.6 per game. Poor discipline and spotty defense from certain players are leading to many more goals against than they usually allow.

That is what makes Detroit’s top line an intriguing target. It has been dynamite together, generating 3.3 expected goals and 38.8 shots per 60 minutes at five-on-five. Stokastic’s Top Stacks Tool has this trio with 1% ownership on DraftKings and even lower on FanDuel. It might be a stretch to roster it in single-entry tournaments, but any NHL DFS players entering several lineups needs to consider this very low owned top line.

ANA1: Troy Terry – Leo Carlsson – Trevor Zegras 

Pittsburgh has started to use its top line more as a shutdown line, and that is good news for Anaheim’s top trio tonight. The premier Penguins line is allowing 35.1 shots and 3.2 expected goals against per 60 minutes at five-on-five, and those are poor defensive numbers. It has resulted in eight goals against in 101 minutes of ice time, or roughly one per game. In over 90 minutes together, the duo of Terry and Zegras has created 3.2 expected goals per 60 minutes, which is a very good offensive total and shows their upside when the pucks start going in.

Per Stokastic’s Top Stacks Tool, this line is expected to be over-owned on DraftKings and under-owned on FanDuel, largely because of pricing differences. Either way, this is a top line being priced moderately in a matchup that isn’t overly difficult. It should be considered regardless of the NHL DFS tournament contest tonight.

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*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick and Frozen Tools

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Michael Clifford
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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