NHL DFS Picks Today: Patrick Kane Is Value (March 26)

It is a huge 12-game DFS slate in the NHL tonight with a few key matchups in the Western Conference. Let’s go through some of those top options and then dig for value. Stokastic members are encouraged to double-check the Discord before lock for updates. Nevertheless, onto our NHL DFS picks today.

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

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Nathan MacKinnon (COL vs. MON)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Colorado had six straight road games coming out of the All-Star break. Since the end of that extended road trip, MacKinnon has posted 12 goals and 33 points in 16 games while averaging an absurd 6.1 shots per game. That preposterous shot rate resulted in him reaching the DraftKings shot bonus 11 times in those 16 appearances. On the year, he has 76 points across 34 home games and if just those home contests were counted, he would still be among the top-20 producers in the league. His 43 power play points are second among all skaters, too.

Highlighting that power play production is important for this matchup against Montreal. On the season, the Canadiens are giving up the third-most power play goals against per game and the last six weeks have seen them rank 28th by shots against per 60 minutes on the penalty kill. Colorado’s top power play unit is scoring 13.3 goals per 60 minutes this season, which is an elite rate and provides a great special team matchup for MacKinnon.

As expected, MacKinnon leads tonight’s fantasy point projections by a wide margin with a total 36.2% higher than the next-closest skater on DraftKings and 33.1% on FanDuel. He may be the highest-owned skater on the slate, but it is hard to ignore him in this particular matchup.

Wyatt Johnston (DAL at SJ)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

For our bi-daily ‘this guy is playing against the San Jose Sharks tonight’ feature, Johnston plays against the San Jose Sharks tonight. On the season, the Sharks are a distant last by both expected goals against and actual goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, and the same is true when looking at just the last six weeks. Compounding the problem is San Jose’s penalty kill allowing the most shot attempts against per 60 minutes over the last six weeks, with their goals against rate being middle-of-the-road thanks to good goaltending. In every phase of the game, this is a tremendous matchup for Johnston.

It has been 14 games since Johnston’s line mate Logan Stankoven was called up from the minor leagues. Those 14 appearances have seen our center post eight goals, seven assists, and 3.4 shots per game. He has five DK shot bonuses in those outings after posting just two across the prior 58 games of the campaign. This is a very good player whose profile has been boosted by an excellent rookie and the matchup is immaculate.

Dallas spreads out ice time among their forwards and that is keeping ownership projections low for Johnston despite the tremendous matchup as he’s coming in at 2.1% on DK and 1.8% on FD. In a great spot against the Sharks, Johnston and his line mates require some attention in DFS tournaments.


NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Patrick Kane (DET at WAS)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Kane has been very productive since the All-Star break, amassing nine goals and 23 points in his last 21 games, averaging just under 3.0 shots per game. Dylan Larkin returning to Detroit’s lineup should keep some of the shutdown matchups away from Kane, too, which helps get him some easier matchups in-game. Overall, it’s not a bad spot for the winger tonight as Washington is near the middle of the league by expected goals against per 60 minutes over the last six weeks with a goals against rate worse than teams like the Ottawa Senators and Arizona Coyotes. The penalty kill is also struggling, ranking 25th by shots against rate in that span.

The power play matchup is key for our subject. His second unit is generating more shots and goals per 60 minutes on the power play without Larkin as the center than with him. Since joining Detroit back in December, Kane leads the Red Wings in points per 60 minutes with the man advantage at 6.0, a mark that ranks in the 75th percentile of the league’s forwards.

The point-per-$1,000 value on Kane is low on both DK and FD, coming in at 1.64 and 1.80, respectively. That low value is also keeping a lot of ownership away from him as he’s projected under 1% on both sites. He can be considered in tournaments but should be avoided in cash games.

Dylan Guenther (ARI vs. CLS)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

It has been 34 games since Guenther was called up by Arizona and he has 11 goals and 11 assists in those contests. That works out to a 53-point pace over a full season, which is good work for a 20-year-old with fewer than 70 career NHL games. He has also averaged 16:46 in ice time per game since the trade deadline, adding about a minute per outing to his profile when compared to earlier in the season. He has been given more shutdown minutes over the last few weeks as his line has shown themselves to be responsible defensively, which is part of the reason why he’s been seeing some more ice time.

Playing great defense isn’t necessarily important for DFS, but what it does do for tonight is get Guenther out against Columbus’s top line. That line has struggled considerably defensively with Alex Nylander on the right side, averaging 3.4 expected goals against and 4.6 actual goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 in their time together. Guenther also has a role on the team’s top power play unit, so there are a lot of good offensive minutes available to him tonight.

Among wingers priced under $5,000 on DK and $6,000 on FD, Guenther leads fantasy point projections on both sites. A reasonable price in a good home matchup is giving him ownership projections around 10%, but he’s still perfectly acceptable as a one-off option in tournaments.

Alex Holtz (NJ at TOR)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

New Jersey has 10 games left in the season and Holtz is currently second on the team in goals at 5-on-5 this season (15). Despite his slotting on the second line, he’s still not getting much ice time as he’s skated under 12 minutes in three of his last four games and has not cracked the 14-minute mark in any of them. That lack of ice time is reflected in his price, though, and he’s much better off skating 11 minutes a game in the team’s top-6 forward mix than down on the fourth line with minor league-caliber players.

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.

Getting better line mates is important for any skater and Holtz is no exception. In his 107 minutes next to Jack Hughes at 5-on-5, the team is creating nearly 20% more shots, 44% more high-danger shots, and 48% more expected goals than when Holtz is on the ice without the star center. Those numbers are higher for Hughes with Holtz as well, so it is a symbiotic partnership.

Low minutes keep Holtz’s fantasy point projections low, but it also keeps the ownership away from him as that projection is between 4-5% on both DK and FD. He can be used as a cheap one-off winger save salary and pay up for more expensive skaters elsewhere in tournament lineups.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Defender

Adam Fox (NYR vs. PHI)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Fox is not a player that typically racks up shots and blocks, but he does have 34 shots and 40 blocks across his last 15 games, hitting the DraftKings block bonus nine times in that span; he had the same number of bonuses in the prior 46 outings. New York also has injury issues on the blue line as all of Jacob Trouba, Erik Gustafsson, and Ryan Lindgren are set to miss this game against Philadelphia. Gustafsson was in the lineup for their most recent contest and Fox still skated nearly 29 minutes in an overtime game. He should get heavy usage again tonight and the team has their full complement of forwards available.

On DraftKings, Fox’s fantasy point projection is third among all blue liners priced under $6,000, and is tied for the highest point-per-dollar value of those in his price range. The value is worse on FanDuel, but (likely) having elevated minutes makes the price jump a bit easier to stomach.

Justin Schultz (SEA vs. ANH)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

On the topic of injured blue lines, it appears as if Seattle will be without both Vince Dunn and Ryker Evans for this game. Those two names are both options for the power play, so it will all fall on Schultz for top power play duties. That is important for this matchup as Anaheim is the most penalized team this season and lead the league by minor penalties taken per game over the last six weeks. What makes things worse for the Ducks is that span has seen them give up the most shots against per 60 minutes while short-handed, and that has led to the most goals against per 60 minutes. Seattle rarely has a good power play matchup, but this is certainly one of them.

Despite being the last man standing on Seattle’s power play blue line, and in a great power play matchup, ownership projections for Schultz are around 4% on both sites. He can be used as a salary-saving blue liner in DFS tournaments tonight.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Jeremy Swayman (BOS at FLA)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Florida may be without top center Aleksander Barkov again tonight – he looks more likely to return later this week – and that makes the matchup a bit easier for Swayman; Florida’s top power play unit generates nearly 38% more shots and 71% more goals with Barkov than without him. Boston has also been playing disciplined hockey of late, taking just 3.1 minor penalties per game across their last 20 games compared to a league average of over 3.3. Florida missing such an important player and Boston not playing into Florida’s power play strengths are key for Swayman’s DFS potential.  

Stokastic’s GoalieStats section has Swayman with the highest projected save total tonight but is 10th by expected goals allowed. That gap is great for DFS value on DraftKings, so he’s a mid-priced goalie target on that site.

FanDuel users may not want to pay that high price for a road goalie, so they should consider Jacob Markstrom (CGY, $7,900) who is cheaper and gets a much weaker opponent in Chicago.

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NHL DFS Top Stacks Today

CAR1: Jake Guentzel – Sebastian Aho – Seth Jarvis

This game marks Guentzel’s return to Pittsburgh, but it’s the matchup against Pittsburgh’s top line that is key here. In nearly 560 minutes together, Pittsburgh’s duo of Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust have averaged 3.0 expected goals against and 3.8 actual goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. They are good offensively, but trade chances back and forth, and that’s great news for Carolina’s top line. It is not a big sample (just 76 minutes) but the Guentzel-Aho duo have created 15 high-danger shots and seven goals at 5-on-5, so the offensive chemistry has been instant since Guentzel’s acquisition at the trade deadline.  

The Top Stacks tool has this Carolina trio as one of the top leverage plays of the night as their top-2 stack probability is much, much higher than their expected ownership on both sites. Tournament players looking to get a high-upside, minimally-owned line in their player mix should look in this direction.

ARI1: Clayton Keller – Nick Bjugstad – Nick Schmaltz

The DFS problem for Arizona’s top line this season is that with Barrett Hayton as their center, they were creating chances but not finishing them, scoring just 2.0 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. That has changed greatly with Bjugstad as the center as they’re pushing 3.3 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 now, and that’s a significant change.

Earlier in this article, the defensive issues with Columbus’s top line were discussed. The reality is that as bad as they are in that regard, the team’s expected goals against rate with them off the ice is virtually identical. This is a bad defensive team visiting Arizona tonight and that’s great news for Keller and co.

This Arizona unit has the highest top-2 stack probability of any line priced under $16,000 on DraftKings tonight by a wide margin; they sit at 7% and no other line is over 4.6%. They will carry double-digit ownership on DK, but are a mid-priced line to consider.

FanDuel users should see lower ownership on this trio because of a relatively higher price.

*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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