NHL DFS Picks Today: Jumping On Jack Eichel (April 22)

It is the first main four-game DFS slate of the NHL playoffs and there is a big contest on DraftKings because of it. There is some key injury news in Toronto that won’t be known until warmups, so Stokastic members should double-check the Discord before lock for roster updates. Onto our NHL DFS picks today.

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

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Jack Eichel (VGK at DAL)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

The health status of key Golden Knights skaters has been the top story from this team, but Eichel’s production should not be discounted. After returning from injury on March 4th, he finished the regular season with 12 goals, 12 assists, and 105 shots in 21 appearances. He hit the DraftKings shot bonus 13 times in that span, and had a 15-game stretch where he skated at least 20 minutes on 12 separate occasions (and one where he didn’t he was ejected from the game halfway through). He even had a couple of heavy-minute games after Tomáš Hertl returned from his own injury, so Eichel was heavily relied upon when the team was securing a playoff spot.

One of the Vegas skaters returning is Mark Stone. That is important for Eichel because the Golden Knights scored 8.3 goals per 60 minutes on the power play over the last two seasons with them on the ice, a rate that falls to 6.1 when Eichel is on the ice without the star winger. A scoring increase of 36.5% is crucial to Eichel’s upside as he was a 95th percentile point producer at even strength this season, but 71st on the power play. If he can be more productive in that area, along with his high shot volume, he is an elite DFS option.

Eichel ranks third by fantasy point projections on Stokastic tonight, regardless of the site. On DraftKings in particular, his point-per-dollar value is higher than either of the options above him, and he’s projected outside the top-10 highest-owned centers. With good value for his price, and relatively low ownership levels, he is a one-off target for tournaments.

Wyatt Johnston (DAL vs. VGK)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Much like Eichel was for Vegas, Johnston was a monster offensive performer down the stretch for Dallas. After line mate Logan Stankoven was recalled on February 24th, Johnston had 14 goals, 12 assists, and 78 shots across 24 appearances. That included multi-point games against top teams like Colorado, Edmonton, and Florida, so he wasn’t just beating up on bad rosters playing out the season. That stretch saw him second among all Dallas forwards in ice time per game and when looking across the league, Johnston was in the 94th percentile in shots per minute. Dallas is a team that likes to spread its ice time, but if any center on the roster gets heavy usage, it’s likely to be this one.  

Johnston’s line was elite offensively after Stankoven’s recall by creating 38.2 shots and 4.1 expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, scoring 4.0 goals per 60 minutes. Importantly, they did not fall off down the stretch as their final 10 games of the season saw the trio create 5.2 expected goals and score 4.1 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. Hosting Vegas brings a tough matchup for Dallas, but they’re all tough matchups in the Western Conference, and Johnston’s line is among the best on the attack.  

Among centers priced under $6,000 on DK and $8,000 on FD, Johnston is third and fourth, respectively, by fantasy point projections. He is in play both as a one-off option or part of a line stack given how well his trio has produced.


NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Zach Hyman (EDM vs. LAK)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Posting a 54-goal season after scoring 63 goals in his first two years with Edmonton highlights just how good Hyman was this season. Importantly, he also landed a career-high 3.6 shots per game, so while his shooting percentage was high (18.6%), it wasn’t even a career-high (19.8%), and the volume backs up the goal scoring. That number gets even better when looking just at Hyman’s 67 games played under new coach Kris Knoblauch, as the winger managed 3.8 shots per contest and registered 20 DK shot bonuses. Skating next to potential MVP Connor McDavid at all offensive strengths is about the best slotting any forward can hope for, and Hyman made the best of it.

One strength Los Angeles had most of the season was their penalty kill, but it did slide down the stretch. Their final 20 games of the season saw them rank 23rd by shots against per minute while short-handed, and 11th by goals against per minute. That goal rate was a good margin behind the top-10 teams, though, so they were closer to non-playoff rosters like Detroit or St. Louis than playoff teams like Florida or Dallas. Hyman had 15 power play goals skating on one of the top power play units in the NHL, and the matchup tonight isn’t that bad.

Hyman’s fantasy point projection is low for his price on both sites, but that is keeping him with very low ownership projections, too: under 7% on DK and under 2% on FD. Given his goal-scoring upside, he can be used as a one-off winger, but is just fine in a line stack.  

Andrei Svechnikov (CAR vs. NYI)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Though he was kept off the scoresheet in Game 1, Svechnikov was very involved offensively as he had 13 shot attempts, which led Carolina skaters and was as many as the next two shot-happiest forwards combined. Though he played just 15:16 in that contest, no forward outside the top line skated more than 16:30, so unless DFS players roster that top line, there can’t be an expectation of heavy ice time. His power play unit even scored in that game and though he’s on the second unit, that quintet earned over 40% of the available special team time. This is a franchise focused on nothing but a Stanley Cup so if that unit keeps playing well, they will keep getting good usage for a secondary PP unit.

A big DFS issue for Svechnikov this season was a lack of shot volume as his 16.3 shot attempts per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 was a three-year low, and over 16% lower than the 2022-23 campaign. However, he has been lining up next to Jordan Staal for a few weeks, and Svechnikov’s shot attempt rate next to the checking center was 24.1 per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. It is a gigantic increase over what he did in minutes elsewhere on the roster, so even with an ice time drop, his shots per game rose from 2.3 earlier in the year to 2.8 across his final 20 games of the regular season.

Of all wingers priced under $6,000 on DK and $7,000 on FD, Svechnikov ranks fourth and second, respectively, by fantasy point projections. His power play status and rising shot rate makes him a one-off target in the mid-price range tonight.

Calle Järnkrok (TOR at BOS)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Before being injured in mid-March, Järnkrok had a per-game ice time rate of 15:11 across his prior 20 outings. In Game 1 of this series, our winger jumped to 17:23 thanks to being slotted on the team’s top power play unit in place of the injured William Nylander. Nylander’s status is still up in the air, but this is the first game on tonight’s DFS slate so we’ll know before lock whether he’s in or out, and that will help clarify Järnkrok’s role. If Nylander misses this game, it gives this cheap winger a prime slot on a top PP unit that scored 12.2 goals per 60 minutes this season, which is an elite rate.

Järnkrok formed a solid depth scoring duo with Nick Robertson as the Leafs created 34.8 shots and 3.5 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 with them on the ice. Their line had five shots in just eight minutes of ice time in Game 1, so they kept up their offensive play even if they failed to find the back of the net. If they can keep creating at that rate, the goals should come, and Järnkrok’s top PP status gives him an extra boost to his DFS profile.

Among all wingers with a salary lower than $3,000 on DK and $4,000 on FD, Järnkrok ranks second by fantasy point projections on both sites. As long as Nylander remains out of the lineup, this winger is a salary-saving target for DFS lineups.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Defender

Charlie McAvoy (BOS vs. TOR)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

McAvoy skated 25:40 in Game 1 and though he failed to register a shot, he did manage two assists, partly thanks to facing a weak Toronto penalty kill; over the final six weeks of the regular season, the Leafs were 16th by shots against per minute on the PK, falling all the way to 26th by goals against per minute. Though McAvoy has technically been moved to the second power play unit, he skated 39% of the team’s power play time, so there is still good usage there. Add that to his heavy even-strength ice time totals, and there is offensive upside to go with his blocked-shot upside as he averaged nearly 2.2 blocks per game in the regular season.

By fantasy point projections, McAvoy is third on both DK and FD tonight, per Stokastic’s outlook. His value is much better on the former than the latter, but he is acceptable on both sites given that points projection.

Adam Pelech (NYI at CAR)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

In Game 1, Pelech was fourth among the team’s defensemen by total ice time, but there were just 50 seconds separating him from the ice-time leader, so he got just about as much usage as anyone. The key for his DFS value, particularly on DraftKings, is that he’s one of their top defensemen by ice time on the penalty kill. Following the Trade Deadline, Carolina averaged the eighth-most shot attempts in the league while on the power play, and most shot attempts overall. That gives Pelech plenty of opportunities to rack up blocked shots considering he led the team in shots blocked per minute on the penalty kill this season.

Finding low-owned players on a four-game slate, especially those not buried on the depth chart, is always difficult, but Pelech’s ownership projection is under 3% for both DK and FD tonight. It makes him a low-cost target regardless of the site he’s rostered, though the value is better on DK where blocked shots carry more value.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Adin Hill (VGK at DAL)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Facing the Dallas Stars means facing one of the top offensive teams in the league, and that’s never a great matchup. However, the flipside of that goal scoring is plenty of shot volume as Dallas was third by shot attempts per minute after the Trade Deadline, landing fifth by shots per minute. One thing Vegas doesn’t do is take a lot of penalties as they finished the season giving up the fewest power play opportunities per game to the opponent. That discipline could limit Dallas’s chances at scoring with the man advantage, and more shots at 5-on-5 gives the chance for Hill to rack up easier saves than high-percentage power play shots.

The expected shot volume shows up in Stokastic’s GoalieStats section as Hill is projected to make the third-most saves on any goalie on this slate. There is a commensurate expectation of goals against, but that is the nature of relying on such heavy volume against a good offensive team. He won’t carry much ownership and that volume brings him into play in tournament formats.

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NHL DFS Top Stacks Today | NHL DFS Picks Today

EDM1: Adam Henrique – Connor McDavid – Zach Hyman

The one concern about rostering this top line is there isn’t much of a sample to work with as Henrique was a Trade Deadline acquisition and spent little time on the top line. However, the duo of McDavid and Hyman had 626 minutes together at 5-on-5 without superstar Leon Draisaitl next to them, and those 626 minutes resulted in 4.2 expected goals and 4.7 actual goals per 60 minutes. They had elite offensive numbers even with a rotating cast of left wingers, so all Henrique has to do is not play so poorly that he gets replaced. Otherwise, this should be an elite scoring line, and both McDavid and Hyman skate on the team’s elite power play unit.

This Edmonton trio has the highest top-2 stack probability on FD tonight, per the Top Stacks tool, and ranks second on DK. They are expected to have much lower ownership than the one line projected higher, though, so they are a pivot away from what should be a very chalky Boston roster.

DAL2: Mason Marchment – Tyler Seguin – Matt Duchene

One of the big surprises of the entire regular season was just how good this line was offensively. Their 3.8 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 in 660 minutes together was a goal rate higher than the top lines from the New York Rangers and Nashville Predators, to give a sense of how productive they were. Though the top power play unit for Dallas tends to get more usage, the split was roughly 60%-40% over the final month of the season, and this Dallas trio is perfectly correlated with the second unit. Vegas takes few penalties, but perfect correlation is better than none, and this is still a very productive 5-on-5 line otherwise.

Of all lines priced under $13,000 on DK or $17,000 on FD, this trio ranks second and first by top-2 stack probability tonight. For DFS players looking for a low-cost stack that has good upside for their price, this Dallas unit should be considered.  

*Additional stats used for our NHL DFS picks today column 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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