NHL DFS Picks Today: The Zach Hyman Wave (January 23)

There are nine games in the NHL for tonight’s DFS slate, but a lot of the top stars like Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews, David Pastrnak, and Roman Josi all have the night off. That means it’s a night of a lot of mid-range options, so let’s go through those, our NHL DFS picks today, and touch on the few high-end options on the board.

As always, Stoakstic members are encouraged to check the Discord before lock for roster updates.

NHL DFS Picks Today, Top Stacks, Lineup Optimizer Plays

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Roope Hintz (DAL at DET): DraftKings – $6,200 | FanDuel – $7,600

Though he’s not skating heavy minutes – 17:08 per night since December 1st – that span of games has seen Hintz post 12 goals and 12 assists in 24 games. Adding Wyatt Johnston to his line has been a boon for our center at 5-on-5 as Dallas is outshooting the opposition 37-16 and outscoring them 4-1 in the duo’s 49 minutes together. It is a small sample to work with, but Johnston has a 68% expected goal share in his 202 minutes away from the third line this season, so he’s genuinely helping the top two lines when he’s moved up, and across in a much larger sample.

Going into Detroit is a great matchup for Hintz at 5-on-5. The Red Wings’ top line is giving up 34.7 shots and 4.6 goals against per 60 minutes while controlling just 35.5% of the expected goal share. The home team’s penalty kill has improved of late, but a lot of that is due to a .913 team save percentage while short-handed over their last 20 games. That is a number that will regress, and Hintz’s top power play unit is still very efficient with their scoring.

Hintz isn’t a volume shooter and that is something that keeps his fantasy point projections depressed. But that is also what keeps his ownership projections low, coming in around 5% on DK and under 2% on FD. He can be used as part of a stack for tournaments.

Dylan Cozens (BUF at ANH): DraftKings – $4,700 | FanDuel – $5,200

More than anything, Cozens’s appeal in DFS tonight is Anaheim’s undisciplined play. The home team has been the most penalized roster in the league this season by a wide margin and are taking 4.8 minor penalties per game over the last seven weeks alone. That mark is 13% higher than the next-closest team and 42% higher than the league average. Buffalo’s top power play unit is generating 28% more shot attempts with Cozens as the fourth forward, as he will be tonight. Though the Sabres’ power play has struggled this season, there isn’t a better special team matchup for them.

The other part of the matchup is at 5-on-5 where this is also good news for Cozens. He will largely avoid the Leo Carlsson line from Anaheim, which is the shutdown matchup from the Ducks. Cozens will have Jordan Greenway next to him, and that duo has helped Buffalo create 3.1 expected goals and actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 over the last two seasons. They are able to get close to the net for their shots and it’s helping them convert at a well-above-average rate.

Of the centers priced under $5,000 on DK and $6,000 on FD, Cozens ranks sixth and fifth, respectively, by fantasy point projections. That gives him solid point-per-dollar value, so he can be used as a one-off in tournaments, or part of some sort of Buffalo stack.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Zach Hyman (EDM vs. CLS): DraftKings – $8,400 | FanDuel – $9,700

Hyman has seen a downturn in his shots per game of late, posting 3.8 per contest over his last 10 games (it had been 4.5 per game over his previous 20 outings). That he’s still shooting that much in what is a slowdown for him speaks to how involved he is offensively, and how much ice time he usually gets. His top line hasn’t been scoring as much at 5-on-5 recently, tallying just 2.3 goals/60 in those 10 contests, but they are creating 3.8 expected goals and 36.2 shots/60 in that span. The offensive creation remains at an elite level, but percentages go hot and cold, and that they’re still creating so many chances is more important.

Over their last 20 games, Columbus is giving up the fifth-most expected goals against, and fourth-most actual goals, per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. Their top-line duo of Johnny Gaudreau and Cole Sillinger have been even worse defensively than those team averages, and that is a matchup that heavily favors Hyman’s side. Columbus recently got some healthy forwards back, so maybe their penalty kill improves, but that 20-game stretch saw them with the worst shots and goals against/60 penalty kill rates of any team in the league.

Hyman carries a strong fantasy point projection tonight, ranking fourth among all wingers on DK and fifth on FD. The great matchup with Columbus is driving ownership his way – top-5 among wingers on the DraftKings side – but it’s hard to ignore the opportunity ahead of him tonight.

Drake Batherson (OTT at MON): DraftKings – $5,700 | FanDuel – $6,900

Ottawa going into Montreal gives Batherson a lot of good matchups to exploit. He will avoid Montreal’s top line, and the home team has allowed nearly 30% more expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5 over their last 20 games with that line off the ice. That stretch of games also saw the Canadiens give up the 10th-most shots and sixth-most goals/60 on the penalty kill. Batherson is a fixture of Ottawa’s top power play unit, and that’s a positive for tonight.

The big news for Batherson is skating on the second line with Tim Stützle. When he has that particular center next to him at 5-on-5, our winger’s on-ice expected goals-for rate increases nearly 32% as opposed to when he skates on the top line, and the actual goals-for rate increases by 47%. Not only does the 25-year-old get good matchups by avoiding the opposition’s top line, but he’s skating with the center that provides him with the best offensive boost of any in the lineup. Ice time can be an issue – he has a realistic range of anywhere from 15-20 minutes on any given night – but he’s not priced as if 20 minutes a night is a requirement.

Though Batherson doesn’t carry a high fantasy point projection, he also isn’t carrying much ownership, coming in under 4% on DraftKings and 3% on FanDuel. He can be used by his lonesome in DFS tournaments, or as part of an Ottawa stack.

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TJ Oshie (WSH at MIN): DraftKings – $4,000 | FanDuel – $5,100

It was a terrible start to the season for Oshie as he had just two points and 37 total shots across his first 17 games. In 10 games since returning from an injury, though, he has been greatly improved with six goals, eight points, and 3.0 shots per outing. The return of Max Pacioretty from his own injury has helped Oshie as those two have carried over 53% of the shot attempt share in their limited 54 minutes together. That isn’t enough of a sample to draw firm conclusions, but Pacioretty has generally been a great offensive play-driver for his career, so that he’s helping Oshie regain some productivity makes sense.

Targeting the Washington power play isn’t usually recommended, but this is a special case. Minnesota has been among the worst penalty-killing teams in the league this season and their ‘improvements’ over their last 15 games has still seen them give up the 26th-most shot attempts and 27th-most goals against/60 while short-handed. They are also taking the fourth-most minor penalties per game over the last seven weeks as their discipline has been lacking.

Oshie, and his line mates, are all carrying low ownership for this matchup, and this winger in particular is projecting around 1% or less on both sites. At his price and with his current line mate improvement, he can be considered as a one-off for tournament formats.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Defense

Mike Matheson (MON vs. OTT): DraftKings – $6,300 | FanDuel – $7,500

In 16 games since Ottawa hired their new coach, the team is giving up the third-most expected goals against at 5-on-5, and most actual goals against. They are also 25th by goals against/60 while short-handed in that span, neck-and-neck with the Canadiens. Though Matheson can excel with peripheral production alone – 59 shots and 41 blocks in his last 20 games – this is also a good opportunity for him to find the scoresheet. He has been over 26 minutes per outing over the last couple of weeks as his usage is very heavy.

Matheson is carrying the second-highest point projection of any blue liner on the docket, and that is providing excellent point-per-dollar value on DK and good value on FD. He is likely to be one of the highest owned defenders tonight, but that value and his projection bring him into play in all formats.

Jackson LaCombe (ANH vs. BUF): DraftKings – $3,000 | FanDuel – $3,900

LaCombe finds himself in this column for the second slate in a row and it’s for various reasons. First, the team is without Pavel Mintyukov due to injury and they traded Jamie Drysdale a couple of weeks ago. That has pushed LaCombe to the team’s top power play unit and he’s earned 2:19 per night in power play time since those events. Secondly, a recent injury to Ilya Lyubushkin could push LaCombe’s ice time even higher tonight as the team is starting to run out of defensemen. For a blue liner averaging over 1.7 blocks per game as it is, extra ice time is always welcome.

Anaheim is a bad team, but LaCombe is in a position to succeed offensively. His ownership projections are under 3% for both sites, and that makes him a cheap target to consider for tournaments tonight.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Ilya Sorokin (NYI vs. VGK): DraftKings – $7,800 | FanDuel – $7,900

What kind of difference New York’s new coach can make remains to be seen, but of the 30 goalies with at least 1300 minutes this season, Sorokin has faced the most shots against per 60 minutes. That has led to him averaging 32 saves every 60 minutes, which is a lot of volume for DFS purposes. Vegas is in town tonight and they played last night, which gives Sorokin and the Islanders the rest advantage. With Vegas missing Jack Eichel, a lot of offensive punch has been taken out of this team, and that’s good news for our goalie.

Unsurprisingly, Sorokin leads Stokastic’s GoalieStats section by expected saves tonight, but his expected goals against ranks in the bottom-5 netminders. That discrepancy gives him a lot of DFS upside tonight, but he also could be the highest owned goalie on the board, too.

Top NHL DFS Stacks Today

NYR2: Artemi Panarin – Vincent Trocheck – Alexis Lafrenière

This Rangers trio just isn’t slowing down as they’ve been productive at 5-on-5 since being assembled, and their recent 10 games have seen them post over 3.0 expected goals/60 and nearly 3.8 actual goals/60, both being excellent marks. Visiting a San Jose side that played last night gives them the rest advantage, but it’s the power play matchup that is a big part of the draw here – San Jose is giving up the most power play goals against per game this season, while the last six weeks alone has them 28th by goals against/60 on the penalty kill.

Stokastic’s Top Stacks tool has this Rangers line with the fourth-highest top-2 stack probability on DraftKings tonight, but with ownership projected under 5%. The top-2 probability is lower on FanDuel, but so is the ownership. It gives them tremendous leverage in a tremendous matchup, so they need to be considered as a tournament trio.

PHI1: Owen Tippett – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny

This will depend on Tippett’s health. He missed Philadelphia’s game on Sunday, but was skating in practice prior to the game, so whatever is ailing him doesn’t seem severe. This is why we say to check the Discord before lock for updates.

Assuming this trio is together, they have been tremendous together this season by outshooting the opposition 47-25 in their 5-on-5 time together. It is not a large sample – about 76 minutes – but Couturier and Tippett have been nearly as prolific offensively in a 180-minute sample together, so there is history of these skaters having success together.

Until we get updates on Philadelphia’s lines, their top-2 stack probability is uncertain. However, that uncertainty could benefit DFS players that are paying attention to the news because a late announcement on the team’s lineup is possible. The top line is in play regardless if it’s Tippett or not, so be sure to check the Discord for updates.

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!

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*Additional best NHL DFS picks today stats 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.

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