NHL DFS Picks Today: Ride With the Lightning Tonight (March 7)

There is a monster 12-game slate in the NHL tonight, and with the trade deadline tomorrow, there are a lot of moving pieces everywhere. More than usual, Stokastic members should really pay attention to the Discord for lineup news throughout the day as there is sure to be a lot of it. Without further ado, let’s dive into our top NHL DFS picks for today’s slate by using Stokastic’s NHL DFS projections and top stacks tool.

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

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Connor McDavid (EDM at CLS)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

It has been another tremendous power play season for McDavid with 32 points in 58 games on the man advantage. His points per 60 minutes at that strength ranks second in the league – behind only Nikita Kucherov – and he leads Oilers forwards in goal participation with the opponent in the penalty box. That is great news for tonight as Columbus has had a porous penalty kill for months now, giving up the most goals against per 60 since the Christmas break and the most goals against per 60 since top center Boone Jenner returned from injury.

Beyond the power play matchup, Edmonton has been stacking their top line of late, and McDavid’s new top trio has 3.7 expected goals per 60 with 5.1 actual goals per 60 at 5-on-5 in over 207 minutes together. The last eight weeks have seen Columbus rank 25th by expected goals against per 60 at 5-on-5 and 21st by actual goals against per 60. McDavid sits at 99 points on the season and has good matchups all over the ice to get over 100 points tonight.

On DraftKings, McDavid grades out as the top center by fantasy point projections tonight, sliding down to second on FanDuel. It is passable value on both sites, and the tremendous matchup with Columbus puts him in play in all formats.  

Jean-Gabriel Pageau (NYI at SJ)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

This is our obligatory “this guy plays against the San Jose Sharks tonight” offering. Pageau has been skating on New York’s second line of late, and when he’s had Anders Lee as a linemate this season, the Islanders are creating 2.9 expected goals per 60 and 2.6 actual goals per 60 at 5-on-5. Those aren’t tremendous numbers, but they are above average, and not much more is necessary against this San Jose roster – their last 20 games have seen them rank last by shots against per 60 at 5-on-5, last by expected goals against per 60 and 29th by actual goals against per 60.

Pageau isn’t much of an NHL DFS option in general, but he is averaging 16:36 over his last five games as the Islanders re-shuffled their lineup, an improvement over the 15:53 he earned before that. He has three points in those last five games but just five shots, so the peripherals haven’t flourished. All the same, this is the best 5-on-5 matchup in the league, and Pageau is cheap enough that he doesn’t need a huge offensive night to pay off his salary.

Among centers priced under $3,500 on DK or $4,000 or less on FD, Pageau ranks fourth and sixth by fantasy point projections. He is likely to carry heavy ownership in this matchup, as all Islanders will, but he is a cheap one-off option to consider to help fit in the more elite, expensive options tonight.


NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Kirill Kaprizov (MIN at ARI)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

There are so many elite players across the league that it’s easy to overlook the hot streak Kaprizov has been on for nearly three months now; his last 26 games have produced 21 goals, 20 assists, four shots per game and three hat tricks. A lot of that time has been spent with Joel Eriksson Ek and Matt Boldy, a trio that has 3.6 expected goals per 60, 5.4 actual goals per 60 and a 62.8% expected goal share in 243 minutes together under new coach John Hynes. They have been utterly dominant, and it’s led to a huge resurgence for Kaprizov offensively.

Going into Arizona is a great power-play matchup for the winger, too. Over the last eight weeks, the Coyotes have taken the second-most minor penalties per game in the league whereas Minnesota has drawn the second-most minor penalties per game. In that time, Arizona is last by shots against per 60 on the penalty kill and 29th by goals against per 60. All this has led to 22 power-play goals against in their last 22 games. Kaprizov has 17 power-play points during his 26-game hot streak and should get plenty of good opportunities to keep that going here.

Kaprizov ranks sixth and fourth on DK and FD, respectively, by fantasy point projections tonight. He is a better relative value on the latter than the former, but this is a great power-play spot for the elite winger, so he and his linemates warrant consideration in all formats tonight.

Jordan Kyrou (STL at NJ)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Numbers can deceive, and Kyrou is a good case study of how that happens. His 13 games since the All-Star break have seen him post 8.7 shots per 60 at all strengths, third among St. Louis forwards. However, his 20.6 shot attempts per 60 lead the team by more than 30%. He has been landing just 42% of his attempts on goal, a number that is over 53% across his last two seasons.

A more normal attempt-to-shot ratio in those 13 games would add 2.3 shots per 60 to his current total – about nine shots over those 13 games – and boost him from 2.6 shots per game to 3.3. He has six goals and 11 points in that span regardless, but he has been getting shortchanged some shots in a small sample, and those shots are vital to his fantasy value.

Beyond the shot regression, this is a very good matchup for Kyrou tonight.  New Jersey is 28th in the league by expected goals against per 60 at 5-on-5 over the last eight weeks and 24th since the All-Star break with their lineup mostly healthy. Kyrou has averaged over 20 minutes a game across his last five appearances and all that ice time in a matchup like this offers a lot of DFS upside.

Kyrou’s fantasy point projections on DK and FD rank fourth and third, respectively, of all flanks priced $6,000 or less on the former and $7,000 or less on the latter. The correlation with his linemates means a line stack in tournaments is the preferred route, but he is fine to use in all DFS formats.

Michael Bunting (CAR vs. MON)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

On the topic of ice time jumps, Bunting has managed 16:36 per game across his last 10 appearances, a significant rise over the 14:49 per game he averaged in his prior 50 appearances. It has led to a jump in peripherals, too, as he has averaged 2.9 shots per game in that span, hitting the DraftKings bonus once. In typical Carolina fashion, his line has dominated the opposition with three expected goals per 60 and a 59% expected goal share, but shooting only 6.2% has kept their goals low.

Facing a Montreal team that is 24th by expected goals against per 60 and 27th by actual goals against per 60 at 5-on-5 over their last 20 games gives Bunting a good chance to create a lot against a poor defensive roster.

Our winger’s power-play role is important, too. The Canadiens are taking the sixth-most minor penalties per game over the last eight weeks, ranking 26th by shots against on the penalty kill. Bunting has been skating on Carolina’s top power-play unit for a while now, and this is a very good matchup for them — and him — to get on the scoresheet.

On both sites, Bunting ranks as one of the best point-per-$1,000 values on the board as that number sits just under 2.5 on DK and 2.7 on FD. He doesn’t have power-play correlation with his linemates, so he can be used as a cheap one-off winger for tournaments tonight.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Defender

MacKenzie Weegar (CGY at TB)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

In the two games since Calgary traded defenseman Chris Tanev, Weegar has skated 25:33 and 25:51. It is the most time he has earned since mid-January and more ice time is always welcome. That ice time is particularly important for Weegar, who is averaging 2.5 shots and 2.3 blocks per game this season while skating 22:17 per night. That is monster peripheral production that has led to eight DK shot bonuses and 24 DK block bonuses on the campaign (accomplishing both in the same game twice). More ice time for those peripherals to build up is great for his DFS upside.

Weegar grades out as one of the top values on DK for his price at his position tonight with a points-per-$1,000 projection over 2.0; no other defenseman over $5,000 sits with a value number of at least two. That value takes a hit on FD where peripherals aren’t as important, but he’s fine on either site, given his improved usage.  

Cam York (PHI at FLA)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

On the topic of improved roles, between trades and injuries, Philadelphia is missing four regular defensemen from the lineup. That has led to York skating at least 22 minutes in five straight games for the first time in two months, and the 25:45 he earned in Philadelphia’s most recent game was the most for him since mid-October. He has 10 shots on goal and 18 total blocks in those recent five appearances, and he has 30 blocked shots in his last 10 games. Facing a Florida team that generates a lot of shot volume, with more ice time, makes York a threat for the DK block bonus, and he can chip in offensively besides that.

Philadelphia doesn’t have a very good offense, and that’s keeping York’s projections muted on both sites tonight. However, he is expected to see more minutes than he usually gets, which helps his peripheral upside, and that muted projection will keep his ownership low.  

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Jordan Binnington (STL at NJ)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

New Jersey has been shooting a lot since Jack Hughes returned from injury. Over those 14 games, the Devils have averaged the most shots per 60 at 5-on-5 of any team in the league. They have had trouble finishing those shots, though, as their 2.5 goals per 60, ranking 19th across the 32 teams. The power play has also been struggling with just seven goals in that time. All that is to say there’s a good chance Binnington sees a lot of shot volume tonight, but this Devils team hasn’t been as dangerous as they were last season, and particularly early this season on the power play. A lot of volume but not a lot of goals is good for Binnington’s DFS upside.

St. Louis goalies are expected to have the fifth-highest save total of all starting goalies tonight, so there should be a lot of volume coming Binnington’s way. With that volume brings the potential of goals against, but that is the double-edged sword of DFS goalies. Binnington has a lot of upside if he doesn’t get shelled, making him a top NHL DFS pick today.

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NHL DFS Top Stacks Today

TB1: Steven Stamkos – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov

Tampa Bay hosts Calgary tonight, and while we mentioned the Flames trading Tanev, they also traded defenseman Noah Hanifin. On top of shipping out Elias Lindholm already, Calgary has lost a lot of what made this team competent defensively, especially on the penalty kill. It bodes well for this Tampa Bay line that has scored 3.7 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 in over 190 minutes together since the Christmas break. It also bodes well for Tampa Bay’s power play as all three players are on the top unit, Calgary has taken the seventh-most minor penalties per game over the last eight weeks, and the Flames have now traded their three most-used penalty-killers this season.

The high price for this trio is going to keep their ownership very low, but they are perfectly correlated on the power play and face a team whose penalty kill is going to get worse thanks to all the trades they’ve made. Among the high-priced lines, Tampa Bay should be given heavy consideration for tournament stacks.

STL1: Jordan Kyrou – Robert Thomas – Pavel Buchnevich

As noted in the section on Kyrou, this is a very good matchup for this trio. It isn’t just because of New Jersey’s porous defense, but also how good this line is together – they have scored 3.1 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 since the All-Star break. It isn’t an elite number, but they’re not priced as an elite line, and they have some strong correlation on the power play on top of all that. St. Louis’s last 10 games have seen two of the three members of the top line skate over 20 minutes a night, so there is a lot of ice time to go with the positive matchup and reasonable price.

A reasonable price and good matchup may drive some extra ownership toward St. Louis, but this is a perfectly correlated line that does a lot of the team’s scoring and is in a great matchup. As a mid-priced line, DFS players should look their way for a stack in that price range.

*Additional stats 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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