NHL DFS Picks Today: Money Making Matthew Tkachuk (April 23)

It is a four-game NHL DFS playoff slate that features a rematch of the high-scoring Colorado-Winnipeg matchup and two high-octane offenses from the state of Florida. Let’s break down those matchups, and the others, to find some DFS options for tonight. Before we get to our NHL DFS picks today, our usual reminder and a special discount:

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

Looking to elevate your NHL DFS game during the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Use code “CUPWEEK” at checkout to save 50% on a weekly NHL data subscription or code “CUPMONTH” to save 33% on a monthly NHL data subscription.

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

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Mika Zibanejad (NYR vs. WAS)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Zibanejad skated over 20 minutes in New York’s Game 1 win, registering an assist with four shots. Those shots are what’s key here as he had 72 shots on goal after the Trade Deadline, or 3.6 per game across a span of 20 games while managing four DK shot bonuses. Up until that point of the season, he averaged 2.4 shots per game in 61 appearances, registering just six DK shot bonuses. The team traded for Jack Roslovic at the Deadline and Zibanejad’s 5-on-5 shot rate increased by nearly 35% with the talented offensive winger next to him. That increase, along with top power play time, makes him a shot volume threat that he was not for most of the campaign, and that was apparent both down the stretch and in Game 1.

Washington likes to grind the game to a halt, but their penalty kill was a weak link defensively down the stretch. Their final 20 games of the regular season saw them allow the fifth-most shot attempts and fourth-most shots per minute while short-handed and were it not for elite goaltending from Charlie Lindgren, their goals against would have been much worse than middle-of-the-road. Zibanejad’s power play unit is too good for Washington to keep doing that, and it bodes well for our center’s offensive upside.

Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon is in a tier of his own both price-wise and by fantasy point projections. After him, Zibanejad carries the second-highest fantasy point projection of any center on the slate, on either site. He can be used as a one-off option or part of a Rangers stack.  

Sean Monahan (WPG vs. COL)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Winnipeg and Colorado had the game of the postseason so far as the Jets escaped with a 7-6 win. Despite the seven goals, Monahan was held without a point. Even weirder was that his line generated 8 of Winnipeg’s 19 shots at 5-on-5, but were the only line held without a goal. Conversely, the Winnipeg third and fourth lines were on the ice for three combined shots and scored three combined goals. Those quirks can happen in any game, but the fact that Monahan’s line was generating so much of the team’s offence is what’s important. It was also just an extension of what that line did in the regular season, generating 39 shots, 3.3 expected goals, and 6.3 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 in 106 minutes together.

What separates Monahan from his wingers is his top power play billing. Winnipeg’s premiere PP unit scored 10.8 goals per 60 minutes this season, which isn’t elite but is very good. They scored once on two opportunities in the first game and Colorado had a mid-tier penalty kill over the final six weeks of the regular season. Monahan finished the regular season with 21 power play points across two different teams, so this plays into his offensive strengths, and makes him a point-production threat in this matchup.

Among centers priced under $5,000 on DK tonight, Monahan is fourth by fantasy point projection. He is fine to use as a moderately priced pivot on this slate.

Despite averaging 15.3 faceoffs taken per game in the regular season, FanDuel has Monahan listed as a winger, so users on that site may want to consider Nicholas Paul (TB, $5,200) for his top PP role.


NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Matthew Tkachuk (FLA vs. TB)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Tkachuk was one of the difference-makers in Game 1 with a goal and an assist, totaling four shots in just over 17 minutes of ice time. He has shown very good playoff performances in recent postseason runs with 16 goals and 20 assists in his last 33 appearances since becoming a top-line forward back in Calgary. Getting Carter Verhaeghe back on his left wing is very important to his upside, too, as their line scored 3.9 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 across 465 minutes of the regular season. Without Verhaeghe on Tkachuk’s wing, the team’s goal rate fell to 2.4, so Florida scored nearly 60% more with the goal-scorer next to Tkachuk.

Not only did the team score more but Tkachuk produced more points as his 5-on-5 point rate improved by more than 22% with Verhaeghe as his winger. After the Trade Deadline, Tampa Bay was 11th by expected goals against at 5-on-5, and 19th by actual goals against, so it’s a good matchup at that strength for our winger. Add that to his top power play slotting and there are a lot of positives in his fantasy profile with Tampa Bay as an opponent.

Of all wingers priced under $8,000 on DraftKings or $9,000 on FanDuel, Tkachuk’s fantasy point projection leads the pack. He also has moderate ownership projections between 7-12% on the two sites, so he’s a target as a one-off winger or part of a Florida stack.

Brandon Hagel (TB at FLA)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Buried by Nikita Kucherov’s MVP-type season was Hagel’s performance as he managed 26 goals and 49 assists with just 7 of his 75 points coming on the power play. He was one of the top 5-on-5 producers in the league this season, finishing in the 91st percentile by points rate. He even scored in Game 1 and skated 16:23 at even strength, the most of any non-Kucherov or Brayden Point Lightning forward. He isn’t a big volume shooter, averaging 2.2 per game in the regular season, but he has shot 16.6% across his last three regular seasons so he’s emerged as a high-end finisher. It’d be much more preferable if he received top power play minutes, but he’s been a very good per-game producer even without them.  

Going into Florida is a tough matchup, but he should see less of the shutdown top line than of the second line. We talked about Tkachuk and his line’s offensive abilities earlier, but their defensive ability left something to be desired by allowing 31.9 shots, 2.4 expected goals, and 2.7 actual goals against per 60 minutes. Hagel scored against that line in Game 1 as his line generated three high-danger shot attempts at 5-on-5 in just 9:28 in total ice time together, whereas the Kucherov line generated just two despite much more ice time. Hagel is not in a bad 5-on-5 matchup, and he’s more than good enough to find the scoresheet again.

Hagel’s fantasy point projection is second among all wingers priced under $5,000 on DK tonight, ranking third on FanDuel for those under $7,000. However, his ownership projection is under 7% on DK and around 2% on FD, so there won’t be many DFS users with him in their lineups, which makes him ideal for tournaments.

Artturi Lehkonen (COL at WPG)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

An injury to winger Jonathan Drouin opened a spot on Colorado’s top power play unit for Lehkonen, and he immediately replied by scoring a power play goal in Game 1. He finished that game with 20:27 in total ice time and Colorado scored on both of their power play opportunities. If there is one weakness to Winnipeg, it’s their penalty kill as they were 19th by power play goals allowed per game despite giving up the fifth-fewest power play opportunities per game. Things did not improve much over the final six weeks of the season, as they were in the middle of the league by shots and goals against per minute, so it gives Lehkonen a good special team spot with his new PP role.  

Being on the road in Winnipeg keeps Lehkonen out of the shutdown matchup, too. Winnipeg allows a whopping 51% more goals against with their shutdown line off the ice, and that third line will be on the ice most often against Colorado’s top line, not Lehkonen. In 105 minutes with Trade Deadline acquisition Casey Mittelstadt as Lehkonen’s center, Colorado created 34.6 shots, 3.0 expected goals, and 4.0 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. That is very good production and helps give Lehkonen positive offensive opportunities at all strengths.

Lehkonen is just behind Hagel by fantasy point projections on either site, but his ownership projections are higher. Despite that, given his role and the positive power play matchup, he can be used by himself or part of a Colorado stack in tournaments.  

React App

NHL DFS Picks Today: Defender

Roman Josi (NSH at VAN)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Setting aside the point production, what makes Josi so valuable for DFS is his peripheral production. He averaged 3.3 shots and 1.8 blocks per game during the regular season, totaling 14 DK shot bonuses, 22 block bonuses, and both in the same game three times. He also did that while averaging 24:38 per game in ice time. In Game 1, Josi skated 26:51, and he will be heavily used by this team in the playoffs. Additional ice time from a player that can rack up peripherals like this is a big boost to his DFS profile, even in a matchup against a tough defensive Vancouver team.

Josi is second by salary on both sites, and Stokastic has him projected as the number-2 defenseman by fantasy points as well. However, the ownership projections have him outside the top-3 blue liners and on a short slate, that is notable, and brings him into play for tournament DFS contests.

Braden Schneider (NYR vs. WAS)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

One key change that New York made to their lineup was putting Schneider on the second pair with K’Andre Miller. This was something they did at times late in the season due to injury, and they stuck with it for Game 1. It led to Schneider skating 15:49 at 5-on-5, in line with his late-season usage improvement, and a big increase from the 13:37 per game he was earning up until the Trade Deadline. For a blue liner that was in the 69th percentile of regular defencemen by shots per minute, and 87th percentile by blocks per minute, that improvement is very good for his DFS profile.

At his position, Schneider’s fantasy point projection ranks fourth by all blue liners priced under $3,000 on DK and $4,000 on FD. He should carry very low ownership in tournaments, too, and all this makes him an ideal salary-saving rearguard tonight.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Thatcher Demko (VAN vs. NSH)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

The matchup between Vancouver and Nashville is truly a contrast of styles: from the All-Star break onward, Nashville was second in the league by shots generated per 60 minutes while Vancouver was second by fewest shots allowed per 60 minutes. It could mean low shot volume at times for Demko, like Game 1 when the Predators managed just 22 shots. However, Nashville did have some big shot-volume games against good defensive teams in that post-All Star stretch with 48 shots against Winnipeg, 41 shots against the New York Islanders, and 37 shots against Florida. Vancouver won’t be able to limit Nashville to 22 shots every game, and Demko was second in the NHL this season by save percentage among regular starters.

Stokastic’s GoalieStats section has Demko fourth by projected save total tonight, but with the second-lowest expected goals allowed total. That discrepancy is good for DFS value, and makes him an option in net on either site. He may be the highest-owned goalie, though, so just be aware of that in tournaments.  

Stokastic’s NHL Premium subscription is available in either weekly or monthly packages and includes NHL DFS projections, top stacks, expert Discord and more! Join today!

NHL DFS Top Stacks Today | NHL DFS Picks Today

COL1: Zach Parise – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen

The aforementioned injury to Drouin pushed Parise to the top line, which is about the best slotting any winger can ask for. Colorado’s top line was nearly as productive this season without Drouin on the line – 4.1 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 – as they were with him (4.2). Parise was fine in a depth role for Colorado as his 5-on-5 goal rate was nearly identical to Drouin’s, and that was without much time alongside the team’s top stars. Those stars both skate on the team’s top power play, too, so it gives them a great power play matchup as outlined in the section on Lehkonen. They will continue to get very heavy usage as MacKinnon skated more than 24 minutes in Game 1, and Rantanen pushed 21 minutes. With high ice time totals and a good power play spot, this line is set up to get on the scoresheet yet again.

As expected, this Colorado trio leads Stokastic’s Top Stacks tool by top-2 stack probability on tonight’s slate, but their ownership is just a little over half that probability on both sites. That gives them positive leverage for tournaments, and makes them a target in all such formats.

FLA1: Vladimir Tarasenko – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart

On the topic of heavy usage, this Florida line got exactly that in Game 1. Barkov skated 21:46 overall, and Reinhart was even higher at 22:42. Tarasenko is without a top PP role but still skated 16:10 at even strength, the first time he cracked the 15-minute mark in a Panthers uniform, let alone the 16-minute mark.

This line scored 4.5 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 in 120 minutes through the regular season, and while that’s thanks to a very high 14.2% conversion rate, even 11% would have them at 3.5 goals per 60 minutes, which is still very good production. Barkov and Reinhart are also on the team’s top power play quintet, a unit that had a monster goal rate of 13.2 per 60 minutes in the regular season. That is Edmonton Oilers-type production, and helps give this trio high offensive upside, even if they’re not perfectly correlated.  

Though this Florida trio has a much lower top-2 stack probability than Colorado on both sites, they are also expected to have much lower ownership, too. For DFS players wanting to avoid a chalkier Avalanche trio, this Panthers line is another high-priced option to consider.

*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.

DFS Winners from the Stokastic Community

Subscribe to the Stokastic newsletter

DFS advice, exciting promos, and the best bets straight to your inbox

Stokastic.com - Daily Fantasy Sports and Sports Betting Data, Tools, & Analytics

Please play responsibly. Only customers 21 and over are permitted to play. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER.