NHL DFS Picks Today: Zach Hyman Forever (March 19)

It is a monster 13-game slate in the NHL tonight that features several lopsided matchups. Sifting through those lopsided matchups is vital, so we’ll spend a lot of time on those in this article. Before we get to our NHL DFS picks today, Stokastic members should always check the Discord before lock for updated roster information.

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

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Leon Draisaitl (EDM vs. MON)

DraftKings Salary
$8,500
FanDuel Salary
$9,200

One issue with Draisaitl in DFS this year has often been a lack of shooting; his 2.7 shots per game through his first 52 games would have been his lowest mark in six years. However, since Edmonton returned home from an extended road trip a month ago, the superstar has 42 shots in 13 games and a big portion of that total (18/42) has come on the power play. With Montreal in town, Edmonton hosts a team that is taking the sixth-most minor penalties per game since the All-Star break, and fourth-most on this slate. That is a good matchup for our center’s power play prowess to show through.

Draisaitl’s second line has also been very productive. Skating with Warren Foegele and Ryan McLeod, Edmonton has produced 4.1 expected goals per 60 minutes and 6.0 actual goals per 60 minutes in that trio’s 127 minutes at 5-on-5. In a much larger sample of just Draisaitl and Foegele together (over 300 minutes), the team is creating 3.8 expected goals per 60 and 3.9 actual goals per 60. This has been a great source of secondary scoring for the Oilers and helps Draisaitl have productive minutes at all strengths.

Draisaitl is ranked fifth and sixth among all centers by fantasy point projections on DraftKings and FanDuel tonight, respectively, so the relative value is fine. He is expected to carry less ownership than Connor McDavid, and that is good news for tournament players.


Casey Mittelstadt (COL at STL)

DraftKings Salary
$3,500
FanDuel Salary
$4,800

Mittelstadt has fit in very well since getting to Colorado, posting one goal and two assists in four games. As the Avalanche roster has gotten healthy, he’s lost his top power play role, but just eight of Mittelstadt’s 50 point this season have been on the man advantage anyway. St. Louis has also not been a heavily penalized team this season, so Colorado’s elevated team total isn’t reflective of a tremendous special team matchup. That high team total is largely in part of Colorado’s great matchup at even strength – St. Louis is 31st in the league by expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 since the All-Star break. Were it not for great goaltending, this team would have had a lot more blowout losses on their résumé of late.

This center is not a volume shooter, but that’s also factored into his price. What is important to note is that he’s earned more ice time for the Avalanche as he’s acclimated to the team, averaging 18:56 over his two recent outings compared to 14:18 in his first two games. He also is skating with two talented wingers in Artturi Lehkonen and Jonathan Drouin and will avoid the Robert Thomas shutdown matchup from the Blues.  

Mittelstadt is third by DK fantasy point projections for centers priced $3,500 or less, but is a much worse value on FD where his price is considerably higher. Users on that site looking for a cheaper, higher-projected center should look to Max Domi (TOR, $4,100).



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NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

David Pastrňák (BOS vs. OTT)

DraftKings Salary
$9,500
FanDuel Salary
$10,000

In what would qualify as a cold streak for Pastrňák, he has just eight goals in 20 games since the All-Star break, though he has 24 total points, so the assists have picked up some slack. It hasn’t been for lack of trying to score as the winger has 83 shots in those 20 contests, registering seven DraftKings shot bonuses along the way. A big part of the drop in goal scoring is shooting percentage and posting just one power play goal in those 20 appearances. The good news is he faces an Ottawa team that is 21st by shot attempts allowed per 60 minutes on the penalty kill since the All-Star break, ranking 29th by goals against/60.

Pastrňák has formed a solid scoring duo with Pavel Zacha as the Bruins are creating 3.0 expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 with them on the ice this season, and 3.6 actual goals per 60. In fact, when Pastrňák has had Zacha as a line mate, the winger has produced over 3.1 points per 60 minutes, compared to under 2.5 without Zacha. That second number would still be very good, but over 3.1 points per 60 minutes is hyper-elite and shows the upside he has every night.

Of all wingers on the board tonight, Boston’s top scorer ranks second on both sites, so his price and projections are fine for this matchup. His ownership projections are around 10-11% on the two sites, which is high for a 13-game slate but perfectly acceptable for the potential of high-level production tonight.  


Kevin Fiala (LA vs. CHI)

DraftKings Salary
$5,900
FanDuel Salary
$7,100

Among some changes Los Angeles has made to their lineup, they have been using Fiala’s line more in shutdown roles of late. That means facing star rookie Connor Bedard tonight, and that is a great matchup for Fiala: at 5-on-5, Chicago has given up 3.4 expected goals against and 4.2 actual goals against per 60 minutes with Bedard on the ice this season. Those numbers have been even worse in the 15 games since he returned from injury, too. Fiala’s line, conversely, has created 3.1 expected goals per 60 minutes since the All-Star break, and controlled nearly 60% of the expected goal share. They are dominant and should often tilt the ice in Los Angeles’s favor in this matchup.

Fiala has also picked up his shooting and scoring a lot recently with 10 goals and 3.2 shots per appearance in his last 20 games; his first 47 games of the season produced just 12 goals and 2.6 shots per contest. He has also managed six DK shot bonuses in that recent stretch compared to just five bonuses in the prior 47 outings, so the DFS value has jumped a lot, and he gets a great matchup to keep the good times rolling.

Stokastic’s fantasy point projections have Fiala carrying a point-per-$1,000 value over 2.0 on DK tonight, and over 2.1 on FD. He is a better value on the former than the latter, but carries solid projections across the board. Given his role on the top power play unit, he can be used as a one-off option or as part of a line stack.


Luke Evangelista (NSH vs. SJ)

DraftKings Salary
$3,600
FanDuel Salary
$4,200

One big change to Evangelista’s DFS value of late has been his top power play role. The fourth forward spot on Nashville’s premiere PP quintet has often rotated this season, but it’s Evangelista right now, and that is great news for his fantasy upside. What is also good news is that he has been shooting a lot more of late with 16.6 shot attempts per 60 minutes in 16 games since the All-Star break; he had averaged just 13.1 shot attempts per 60 minutes leading up to the break, and it’s helped him average 2.5 shots per outing since being moved out of a fourth-line role.

The matchup against San Jose is the big appeal for Evangelista tonight. The Sharks are dead last by expected goals and actual goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 since the All-Star break, while also ranking 30th by shot attempts against per 60 minutes on the penalty kill. Our winger’s line has created 3.4 expected goals and 3.9 actual goals per 60 at 5-on-5 in that span, so they should be able to create a lot of offence in their modest ice time tonight.

Evangelista ranks fourth by DK and FD fantasy point projections tonight for wingers priced under $4,000 and $4,500, respectively. His ownership projections are between the 5-7% mark tonight, so there isn’t much ownership expected despite a strong projection for his price.


NHL DFS Picks Today: Defender

Brock Faber (MIN at ANH)

DraftKings Salary
$5,000
FanDuel Salary
$5,800

There are few better power play matchups in the league than facing Anaheim. The Ducks are the most penalized team in the league this season, giving up over 4.0 power plays per game this campaign (no other team is over 3.5). Since the All-Star break alone, the Ducks have taken 4.9 minor penalties per game, again the most in the league, while Minnesota has drawn 4.0 minor penalties per game in that span, the most of any team on this slate. Of Faber’s 26 points since assuming the top power play role in December, 10 of them have been with the man advantage, so he has a very good opportunity to add to that ratio tonight.

Faber is eighth among defensemen priced under $6,000 by DK fantasy point projections tonight, and third on FD for those in the same price range. Like Evangelista above, ownership looks to be moderate and considering the tremendous power play matchup, Faber should be considered for tournaments.  


Šimon Nemec (NJ vs. PIT)

DraftKings Salary
$3,700
FanDuel Salary
$4,500

Since the All-Star break, Nemec has managed 41 blocks in 20 games, a solid jump over the 43 blocks he registered in his first 26 games of his campaign. He has also seen his ice time rise lately after a month-long lull by skating at least 21 minutes in five straight games, averaging 22:24 in that time. He has 17 blocks in those five appearances, so the added blocks have come along with the additional ice time. His New Jersey Devils are favored in a home matchup with Pittsburgh tonight and carry a very solid team total. There should be plenty of opportunity for Nemec to rack up the peripherals, and hopefully get on the scoresheet.

Nemec ranks first on DK by fantasy point projections for defensemen priced under $4,000, and third on FD for those priced under $5,000. He is likely to be much higher owned on DK than FD because of those blocks, but he is acceptable on all sites in any tournament format.  

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Connor Hellebuyck (WPG at NYR)

DraftKings Salary
$7,300
FanDuel Salary
$8,800

One thing that makes Hellebuyck a valuable DFS goalie is that he very rarely gets blown up. In fact, he has not posted a negative DraftKings performance since the third game of the season, a span of over five months. His team has also been taking very few penalties, averaging the third-lowest minor penalties per game since the All-Star break, and that means more time to rack up saves at 5-on-5. That is great news for him as the average 5-on-5 shot that Hellebuyck faces is from 37.1 feet, the second-furthest distance of any regular starter in the league this season. Avoiding time on the penalty kill and being able to pile up saves from a distance is great news for his DFS value.

Stokastic’s GoalieStats section has Hellebuyck in the middle of the pack by expected saves tonight but with the 10th-lowest projected goals allowed mark. Of all goalies on DK tonight priced $7,500 or less, Hellebuyck leads by fantasy point projections and point-per-dollar value. For DFS players looking to save in goal tonight, Hellebuyck is a strong option.

Hellebuyck is considerably more expensive on FanDuel tonight, so those users looking for a cheap goalie, consider Jake Allen (NJD, $6,900).

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NHL DFS Top Stacks Today

EDM1: Zach Hyman – Connor McDavid – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Edmonton has gone back to a top line that has been exceptional for them as their 400-plus minutes together at 5-on-5 have resulted in 4.5 expected goals and 5.0 actual goals per 60 per 60 minutes. This is a huge boon for Nugent-Hopkins in particular as his individual points per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 with McDavid as his center is 2.6, a number that craters to 1.2 without him. All three members of this line skate on the team’s top power play unit and, as mentioned in the section on Draisaitl, Montreal is an undisciplined team that typically struggles to kill the plethora of penalties they do take. It gives this trio very good matchups at all strengths while hosting a team that could be headed for the Draft Lottery.

Stokastic’s Top Stacks tool has this trio with the third-highest top-2 stack probability on DK tonight, and second on FD. A high cost is keeping a lot of ownership off them, and that’s giving them a lot of positive leverage in a very good home matchup.

   


PHI1: Owen Tippett – Morgan Frost – Travis Konecny

Regardless of which center they’ve had, the duo of Konecny and Tippett has been tremendous together offensively at 5-on-5 this season: 41.7 shots, 3.1 expected goals, and 5.3 actual goals per 60 minutes. With Toronto in town, they will likely avoid the Auston Matthews line for a lot of their 5-on-5 time, and that gives this Philadelphia trio depth matchups. Though Philadelphia’s power play has struggled all season, all three members of this line were on the team’s top power play unit in their last game, and Toronto is a bottom-10 team by shots against and goals against per minute on the penalty kill in calendar 2024.

There is slightly negative leverage on this Flyers trio, per the Top Stacks DK projections, and slightly positive leverage for FD projections. Either way, they are in a solid matchup at home and have shown a lot of offensive upside this season.

*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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