NHL DFS Picks Today: Kings’ Top Line Stands Out (March 23)

There are just seven games in the NHL tonight, but there are a lot of stars on the board as Toronto hosts Edmonton, New York hosts Florida, and Los Angeles hosts Tampa Bay. Let’s go through some of the elite options and then dig for some value. As always, Stokastic members are encouraged to double-check the Discord before lock for updated roster information. Keep reading for the best NHL DFS picks today as I dish out my expert advice.

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

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Connor McDavid (EDM at TOR)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Connor McDavid is putting the finishing touches on another elite season and his offensive performance of late is exceptional: across his last 25 games, the superstar has 10 goals, 43 assists, and 3.8 shots per game. That stretch has seen him hit the three-point and shot bonuses on DK nine times each, and both bonuses in the same game twice. The curious part is that he’s shot just 10.5% in that span and though his shooting percentage this season is a career-low, his three-year average sits at 15.1%.

If he had been finishing at a higher rate recently, his production could be even higher, which is absurd considering he’s been over two points per game in those 25 appearances.

Going into Toronto presents a solid matchup for our center. The Leafs are still without winger Mitch Marner, and when their top line does not have him or William Nylander, their expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 is over 3, and the actual goals against sits at 3.1. On top of that, Toronto’s penalty kill is 28th by shots against per 60 minutes in calendar 2024 and 25th by goals against per 60 minutes.

McDavid trails Jack Eichel by fantasy point projections tonight but that stems more from Eichel’s tremendous road matchup than anything. The gap in fantasy points also leaves McDavid as a much lower-owned option as that projection is under 5% for both sites, making him a tournament target tonight.

Mika Zibanejad (NYR vs. FLA)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

That DraftKings price tag on Zibanejad is the lowest it’s been all season, and over $2,000 lower than its peak. It makes for curious pricing because since New York traded for winger Jack Roslovic, Zibanejad has four goals and six points with 3.1 shots per game in eight contests. Zibanejad’s top line with Roslovic has now skated over 80 minutes together at 5-on-5 and that time has seen the line’s shot attempt rate rise nearly 19% compared to the time spent without Roslovic on the wing. He also faces a Florida team taking the second-most minor penalties per game since the All-Star break, and most of any team on tonight’s slate.

Facing Florida is often a brutal 5-on-5 matchup. However, the Panthers remain without defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who has the lowest expected goals and actual goals-against rates on Florida’s blue line. On top of that, star two-way center Aleksander Barkov is on track to miss tonight’s game, too. That makes Florida a highly penalized team likely to be without their two top defensive skaters at their respective positions. A tough matchup gets a lot easier for those reasons.

As with McDavid, Zibanejad’s fantasy point projection is fine, but not great, for his price. Also like McDavid, Zibanejad is carrying a low ownership projection at 6.5% on DK and under 1% on FD. The center and his linemates are all in consideration for DFS tournaments.


NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Jonathan Marchessault (VGK vs. CLS)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Despite Vegas missing some top stars for lengthy stretches over the last couple of months, Marchessault has been outstanding for the Golden Knights with 20 goals and 30 points in his last 25 games, averaging over three shots per game. That pace has persisted since the return of Jack Eichel as our winger has six goals and 25 shots in eight games since their top center was taken off the injury list. What is more impressive is that 28 of those 30 points amassed by Marchessault have been at even strength as Vegas’s power play has not been very productive for a few months now. Marchessault could have been much more productive with just a league-average power play.

Having Columbus in town is a good matchup at all strengths for this winger. The Blue Jackets are 30th by expected goals against at 5-on-5 since the All-Star break and 23rd by actual goals against. On the penalty kill, the shots against are league average, but the goals against per 60 minutes ranks 26th. Regardless, there are no real matchup concerns for Marchessault tonight, which gives him a very good opportunity to keep this hot streak going.

Marchessault’s points-per-$1,000 fantasy projection is over two on DK tonight and just a shade under two on FD. He is the better value on the former because of his shot volume and lower price, but the great matchup makes him an option in all formats tonight.

Timo Meier (NJ vs OTT)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

On the topic of hot streaks, Meier looks like the player New Jersey was hoping to get for several weeks now. Over the last month, Meier has scored 12 goals and 19 points in 14 games while averaging four shots per outing. The key is that it’s not just beating up on bad teams playing out the stretch; those 14 games saw goals against Florida, Los Angeles, and Carolina, and multi-point games against Winnipeg and Dallas.

His top line has just 95 minutes together at 5-on-5, but those minutes have been fantastic offensively with 36 shots, 4.2 expected goals, and 3.8 actual goals per 60 minutes. He has also averaged 19:10 in ice time each night over his last 10 games compared to just 16:44 before that, so he’s being rewarded with a larger role, too.

New Jersey hosts Ottawa and the road team is 23rd by expected goals against at 5-on-5 since the All-Star break and 24th by actual goals against. The penalty kill hasn’t been bad by shots against measures, but their goaltending has been awful, and it’s resulted in the team giving up the second-most goals against per 60 minutes on the PK since the break. Poor defense has generally been an issue, but so has poor goaltending, and that’s great news for Meier and the Devils.

For his price range – under $6,000 on DK and $7,000 or less on FD – Meier’s fantasy point projection exceeds the next-closest option by 16.8% on DK and 14.8% on FD. That is a huge gap, and it’s pushing heavy ownership his way. He is a cash-game target but tournament players will have to decide if ownership rates between 20-25% is too high.  

Pius Suter (VAN vs. CGY)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Suter has made an impact defensively on JT Miller’s line since his move to that trio, but that line has also made an impact on Suter offensively: in nearly 190 minutes with Miller as his center, Suter’s points rate at 5-on-5 has increased by 32.2% and his shot attempt rate has increased nearly 49%. The difference between Suter’s point and shot rates with Miller as his center has been that of a low-end top-line/high-end second-line winger or a middle-of-the-league performance.

It bears out when looking at the line’s numbers offensively: 34.2 shots, 3.7 expected goals, and five actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5.

Importantly for Suter, he has also been earning top power play minutes for the Canucks. It is a heavily used top unit that adds at least a few minutes of potentially productive minutes to his profile. Vancouver is hosting Calgary and the Flames have averaged 4.2 minor penalties taken per game since the All-Star break, the third-highest rate in the league and second-highest on this slate. Suter has seen a drastic improvement in usage and linemate quality, which makes him a much different (and better) fantasy option than he was two months ago.

Partly due to low-cost options like San Jose, Vegas’s depth, and Chicago being in very good matchups, the ownership rates for Suter are low at 3.1% on DK and under 1% on FD. It makes him a cheap one-off to consider — or he could fit into a Canucks stack. Suter is listed as a center on FanDuel, so users on that site looking for a cheap winger may want to consider Andreas Athanasiou (CHI, $3,800), who is one of the best values on the board tonight.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Defender

Jakob Chychrun (OTT at NJ)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

It has been 17 games since Chychrun scored a goal, but he has still been a very productive DFS player. In that goalless stretch, the blue-liner has averaged 3.3 shots and 2.6 blocks per game. In fact, he leads the league’s defensemen by shots per 60 minutes in that span and is in the 90th percentile for blocked shots. He has three DK shot bonuses and seven DK block bonuses in that time as well.

The peripherals have been so high that despite zero goals and two assists in 17 games, his DK fantasy points per game in that stretch is 10.7, and it’s higher than the previous 51 games where he had 9 goals and 21 assists. There is a lot of upside here if the production turns around before the season finishes.  

Of all defensemen priced under $6,000 on either site tonight, Chychrun ranks fifth on DK and second on FD. The value is fine, but not great, which is keeping his projected ownership in single digits. He is an option for tournament contests tonight.

Nicolas Hague (VGK vs. CLS)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

This will depend on the health of Hague’s teammate, Alex Pietrangelo. He has missed two games due to an illness and his status for Saturday night is still up in the air. In those two games without Pietrangelo, Hague skated 19:18 and 20:08 after three straight games under 17 minutes thanks to acquisitions at the trade deadline. In the 22 games Hague has played in which he has skated at least 19 minutes, he is averaging 2.1 shots and 1.8 blocks per game.

There is some peripheral upside here as long as Pietrangelo remains out of the lineup, and there is production upside in a very good matchup that we discussed in the section on Marchessault.

Keep an eye on Pietrangelo’s status for tonight. Hague’s viability depends a lot on his teammate, which is why we say to always pay attention to the news. For anyone looking for a bit more security from a cheap defenseman before the late games, consider K’Andre Miller (NYR, DK: $3,300, FD: $4,400) as an alternative.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Igor Shesterkin (NYR vs. FLA)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

What makes the Florida Panthers a dangerous offensive team is the power play, as they have scored the third-most power play goals per game this season. However, Florida’s top power-play unit lands 17.8% more shots and scores 23.4% more goals with Barkov in the lineup than without, and if he’s missing again tonight, it hurts that special team advantage. Beyond that, the Panthers are generating the fourth-most shots per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 this season but are 25th by goals per 60 minutes as they have not been good offensively at that strength.

All the above makes it a good matchup for Shesterkin to rack up saves while facing a team likely limited offensively due to injury. The Stokastic GoalieStats section has Shesterkin leading tonight’s goalies by projected saves, but he ranks outside the top-half of the netminders by expected goals against. That gap could be conducive to DFS success, so he is a goaltender to consider in all formats for this slate.

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NHL DFS Top Stacks Today

LA1: Quinton Byfield – Anze Kopitar – Adrian Kempe

It has been just seven games since Kempe returned from injury, but the Kings’ top line has looked more like the line from the first couple months of the season as they’ve outscored the opposition 4-1 in 53 minutes at 5-on-5 in those seven games, carrying a 16-4 advantage in high-danger chances.

The resurgent offense is critical in this matchup because they have also been moved away from a shutdown role, which means a matchup against Tampa Bay’s second line. That trio for the Lightning has produced three expected goals against and 4.1 actual goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 this season. Kopitar and Kempe are also on the top power-play unit, so there is strong (but not perfect) correlation.

Stokastic’s Top Stacks tool has this Los Angeles line with a 4.2% top-2 stack probability on DK tonight and 5.4% on FD. Their projected ownership is lower than that, though, and it gives them positive leverage on a night with a few lines projected with ownership rates over 20%.   

SJ1: Klim Kostin – Mikael Granlund – Fabian Zetterlund 

There is no sample of this trio together as Kostin has just seven games with San Jose and his move to the top line is recent. All the same, it’s the matchup that is important here, as they’ll skate often against Chicago’s Connor Bedard line. As great as the rookie is on offense, his line has been atrocious on defense with an expected goals-against rate of 3.4 per 60 minutes and a goals-against rate of 4.5.

The Blackhawks have given up at least four goals 10 times in the 17 games since Bedard’s return to the lineup, and the young star has the highest even strength goals against rate of any Chicago forward in that time. It is an excellent matchup for San Jose’s top line, and that doesn’t happen very often.

Of all lines priced under $13,000 on DK tonight, or $15,000 on FD, this San Jose trio has the highest top-2 stack probability at 4.4% on the former and 4.9% on the latter. However, that cheap price is driving heavy ownership rates their way, so there will be double-digit ownership levels on both sites. They have an excellent projection for their price, but they will also be in many DFS lineups tonight because of it.

*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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