NHL DFS Picks Today: Saturday Value! (March 9)

It is an eight-game slate, and it’s a fascinating slate, at that: Chicago and San Jose are on the board, the two worst teams in the league; each of Dallas, Winnipeg, and Detroit played last night, so it’s a back-to-back; it’s the day after the Trade Deadline. There will be moving parts to many rosters, so it’s especially important for Stokastic members to double-check the Discord for lineup news through the day. Nevertheless, onto our NHL DFS picks today!

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

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Jack Eichel (VGK vs. DET)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

In just two games since returning from injury, Eichel has yet to register a point, but he does have 11 shots on goal, managing a DraftKings shot bonus in each appearance. On the season, he has 15 such shot bonuses in 44 games, and sits eighth in the league by shots per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. His 82-game scoring pace is for 35-36 goals, and that’s with a three-year low shooting percentage overall. He has skated 19:55 and 22:13 in those recent two appearances which averages out to over 21 minutes per night. Even with a small drop in shooting percentage, he has been a point-per-game player, he is shooting a lot, and he’s being leaned on heavily right now.

The matchup with Detroit in town is a very good one for Eichel. Detroit played (and lost) last night and are without top center Dylan Larkin due to his own injury. The road team’s last 20 games have seen them rank 24th by expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5, and 22nd by actual goals against/60. Alex Lyon, the Red Wings’ starting goalie, played last night so he won’t be in net tonight and that’s more good news for Eichel and the Golden Knights.

Eichel is second among centers by fantasy point projections for both DK and FD tonight, but his lower price than Auston Matthews makes Eichel the better point-per-dollar value. The expected ownership rate is much lower on FD (7.4%) than DK (13.3%), but even 13-14% on an eight-game slate in this matchup is just fine for our center.

Connor McMichael (WSH vs. CHI)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

On February 13th, McMichael skated a season-low 9:28. Since then, he has averaged 17:17 per game in ice time across nine appearances while never falling below 14 minutes. That he averaged 15:13 in the first 50 games of the season tells us the team is relying on him more now, and the result has been four goals and two assists in those nine games. In Washington’s first game after trading Anthony Mantha, McMichael skated 18:22 and that included just over four minutes of power play time. It isn’t necessarily a great power play spot against Chicago – the Blackhawks have given up the fewest power play goals against of any team in their last 25 games – but some power play time is better than none.

Chicago is in town and over the last eight weeks, the Blackhawks are 31st by expected goals against at 5-on-5 and dead last by actual goals against/60. The tracking website AllThreeZones has McMichael as a player that loves to create off the rush, and that is a good thing against such a porous defensive team. He isn’t a heavy volume shooter, but he’s not priced as if he needs to be, either.

Of all DraftKings centers priced under $4,000 tonight, McMichael ranks fourth by fantasy point projections, but he has a slightly higher point-per-dollar value than two of the three names above him. He is fine as a cheap one-off option or part of a Washington tournament stack.

FanDuel hasn’t updated their player positions since ‘Game of Thrones’ ended so McMichael is listed as a winger on that site. For a cheap pivot, consider his teammate Aliaksei Protas ($3,700) who grades out as a tremendous point-per-dollar value.


NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Brady Tkachuk (OTT at SJ)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Injuries and trades from Ottawa’s forward group has pushed Tkachuk’s ice time upwards as he’s earned at least 18 minutes in four straight games for the first time since December. Though he has just one point in those four appearances (a goal), he did register 15 shots in those games, so he’s stayed involved offensively. He has formed a very productive top-line duo with Shane Pinto as the team creates 44.8 shots/60, 4.3 expected goals/60, and 4.4 actual goals/60 at 5-on-5 with them on the ice. Since Pinto’s return to the lineup, Tkachuk has managed 2.9 points/60 minutes at 5-on-5 with that center next to him and 2.0 points/60 without.

The matchup tonight in San Jose is the clear appeal. The only team giving up more expected goals against/60 over the last eight weeks than the Sharks is the aforementioned Blackhawks, and San Jose isn’t much better than Chicago by actual goals against/60. Making matters worse is San Jose is taking a lot more penalties than they usually do, averaging 3.8 minor penalties per game over the last eight weeks, the third-most of the 16 teams on tonight’s slate.

Among wingers on the board tonight, Tkachuk is second by fantasy point projections, but is outside the top-5 wingers by salary and that gives him good relative value. The matchup and value is driving a lot of ownership his way – he will likely be the highest-owned winger in all formats tonight – but he still warrants consideration in all formats.

Jack Roslovic (NYR vs. STL)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

In what was a showcase heading to the Trade Deadline, Roslovic had 13 points in 12 games with Columbus, skating 18:53 per night on their top line. What is notable is that he landed 44 shots on target in that span, and shots usually aren’t part of his DFS profile. What is part of his profile is he’s a very good playmaker who is good in transition and can elevate the production of his line mates; he led Columbus in assists/60 minutes at 5-on-5 over the last two seasons, and his 1.47 assists/60 was in the 92nd percentile of the league. If he can maintain even 60% of that recent shot rate, there is a very productive fantasy player here.

Over the last eight weeks, the only teams that have given up more shots against/60 and expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5 than St. Louis are those Chicago and San Jose rosters. The difference for St. Louis has been great goaltending, and even that is starting to falter as the team has given up at least four goals in six of their last 10 contests. Poor defending teams can’t rely on goaltending every night, and the matchup is a very good one for Roslovic as he gets acclimated in New York skating on a line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.

On DraftKings, Roslovic’s points-per-$1,000 projection is over 2.0, which is solid for his profile and this matchup. He can be used as a cheap one-off winger but is also viable as part of a Rangers stack.

On FanDuel, Roslovic is listed as a center so DFS players on that site looking for a cheap winger should consider Filip Zadina (SJ, $3,800) who grades out as a tremendous value in his matchup.

Bobby McMann (TOR at MON)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

It has been 11 games since McMann was elevated to the team’s third line. Those 11 games have seen him skate an average of 13:14 per contest, a huge jump from the 9:21 per game he was averaging on the fourth line. McMann has produced four goals and three assists in those recent 11 appearances, but he has now gone without a point in seven straight outings. What is key for DFS is that his offense hasn’t disappeared – in those seven games, the winger has 27 shots on goal, and that actually leads the team. Despite the third-line minutes, he has registered two DK shot bonuses in those seven point-less games, so he’s doing very well even without officially getting on the scoresheet.

Toronto is in Montreal and the Canadiens are another team on the board with poor defensive numbers, ranking 27th by both expected goals against/60 and actual goals against/60 at 5-on-5 over the last eight weeks. There are not many matchup concerns on the Montreal side, McMann has found a home firing the puck on Toronto’s third line, and that is what makes him appealing for DFS.  

In the same price range as Roslovic, McMann’s fantasy point projection is second for DK wingers priced under $4,000, and fourth among wingers priced under $5,000 on FD. He is likely to carry higher ownership than Roslovic, but he’s also more of a shooting threat, and that is the trade-off tonight.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Defender

Seth Jones (CHI at WSH)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

For all the problems Chicago has scoring, Jones has not had problems being a productive fantasy player. That is thanks to two things: his ice time and his peripheral contributions. In the 10 games since super-rookie Connor Bedard returned to the lineup, Jones has averaged 16.3 shot attempts/60. That is a top-10 rate across the league in that time among defensemen, but he’s also averaging nearly 27 minutes a night in that span, so it’s led to 35 shots on goal and two DK shot bonuses. He also has two DK block bonuses in those 10 outings, totaling 18 blocks along the way. He has just four points – it’s still a poor offensive roster, even with Bedard – but very high levels of ice time are leading to a lot of very good DFS performances thanks to the increased shot volume.

The lower price on FanDuel makes Jones a better value on that site than on DraftKings, but that trade-off is ownership – Jones is expected over 10% on FD but is projected between 6-7% on DK. DFS players looking to avoid the chalkier, expensive blue liners in tournaments should consider Jones.

Matt Roy (LA vs. DAL)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

On the topic of additional ice time, Roy skated 26:42 in an overtime win on Thursday, his highest total of the season. In fact, four of his five highest ice-time totals have come since the All-Star break, and three of the five since the injury to teammate Mikey Anderson two weeks ago. His last five games have seen him average 22:43 per appearance against an average of 20:58 leading up to this recent stretch. For a player who is in the 87th percentile of blocked shots/60 this season, more ice time is very welcome. He also averaged 1.9 shots per game leading to this recent five-game uptick, so there is some offence to go with all those blocks, and it makes him a moderate across-the-board contributor for DFS.

Roy’s point-per-$1,000 value on both DK and FD tonight exceeds 2.0, and that makes him a solid option regardless of the site. On DK specifically, he’s the highest projected rearguard priced under $4,500, so it’s a combination of both good value and high projection. He is fine to use in all formats tonight.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Thatcher Demko (VAN vs. WPG)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Vancouver is hosting Winnipeg tonight and the Jets played last night, giving the Canucks the rest advantage. Winnipeg made a couple of good Trade Deadline acquisitions, but neither is going to play in this game as they make their way to Manitoba, and Gabriel Vilardi remains out of the lineup due to injury. With Vilardi out of the lineup, Winnipeg’s power play generates 32.7% fewer shots and 30% fewer goals, so that is a big boost for Demko. The Vancouver goalie has faced just 27.2 shots per start since the All-Star break, but Winnipeg is missing a couple of key wingers that make them much less dangerous offensively, so that offsets some of the concern about lack of shot volume.

Demko’s Stokastic point projections have him as the number-3 goalie on the board tonight, but his DK price is lower than the two names above him (he’s in the middle on FD). Though he’s just sixth by expected saves tonight of all projected goalies, Demko also has the lowest expected goals against total. For DFS players looking to avoid paying top dollar in net, the Vancouver netminder is an option to consider.  

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NHL DFS Top Stacks Today

NYR2: Artemi Panarin – Vincent Trocheck – Alexis Lafrenière

In the Roslovic section, St. Louis’s defensive woes were mentioned and that’s important for all Rangers forwards. While the hope is Roslovic fits in well on NYR1, we know that NYR2 is an incredibly productive line: in over 625 minutes together this season, this trio has produced 3.4 goals/60 minutes at 5-on-5, and since the All-Star break that number is 3.8 goals/60.

Lafrenière doesn’t skate on the top PP unit with his line mates, but he is third among Rangers forwards in even strength ice time per game since the break as this unit is the true top line now. He also has six goals, four assists, and 40 shots in those recent 13 games, so he’s been very productive even without the power play time and is not a typical third wheel.

Stokastic’s Top Stacks tool has this Rangers line fourth by top-2 stack percentage on both sites, being one of four stacks to exceed 15%. However, their elevated price leaves them with projected ownership under 5% on DK and 7% on FD, so there is very good leverage on NYR2 for this slate.     

LA2: Trevor Moore – Phillip Danault – Kevin Fiala

Over the last two weeks, each member of this line has averaged over 18:30 per game in ice time, and that’s very notable because no player on LAK2 averaged over 18 minutes a game before this recent two-week stretch (though they were all between 17-18 minutes). They have scored 12 of Los Angeles’s 21 goals in that recent span, so there’s a good reason why they’re getting more ice time. That they host a Dallas team that played last night works in their favor as well.

Going back a bit further, this line is creating 3.3 expected goals/60 at 5-on-5 since the All-Star break and though the team splits up its power play units, each of these three forwards is earning at least 35% of the team’s power play time over the last two weeks, with Fiala leading all forwards. Dallas can be a tough matchup, but this line has been phenomenal.

The Top Stacks tool for DraftKings has this line as the most likely line priced under $17,500 to be a top-2 stack, so they are a target in the mid-price range on that site. There is even higher leverage on FanDuel where they are relatively more expensive, so they’re acceptable on either site in tournaments.

*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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