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NHL DFS Picks Today: Lightning Top Power Play Turning it On at Right Time (January 24)

Michael Clifford

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NHL DFS Picks: Lightning Top Power Play Turning it On (January 24)

It is a huge 11-game slate in the NHL tonight, giving DFS players a wide array of options from which to make their picks. Many top options like Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid are not playing, and that expands the player pool for many DFS users. Let’s try to find some options outside of the super-elite tier using Stokastic tools. As always, subscribers are encouraged to check the members-only Discord for lineup/injury news.

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NHL DFS Picks, Top Stacks, Lineup Optimizer Plays

Center

Bo Horvat (VAN vs. CHI): DraftKings – $6,900 | FanDuel – $8,500

There is a new coach in Vancouver with Rick Tocchet being officially hired yesterday. How the team performs under him remains to be seen, but the team’s first practice under the new regime saw Bo Horvat skating with Brock Boeser. Going back to last season, in over 420 minutes at five-on-five, the Canucks score 3.3 goals per 60 minutes with those two forwards on the ice. That isn’t elite, but it’s very good, and the added dimension of power play correlation gives them DFS appeal.

What is particularly enticing is Chicago coming to town for this game. Their last 20 games have seen the Blackhawks with the third-most expected goals against per minute at five-on-five and fourth-most actual goals against. The penalty kill hasn’t been as awful of late as earlier in the campaign but is still 27th in goals against per minute. It is an excellent matchup at all strengths for Horvat and the Canucks, which should push ownership in their direction.

Of all centers priced under $7,000 on DraftKings tonight, Horvat has the second-highest projection. He can be used as a one-off on that site, or part of a stack.

For FanDuel users, consider Horvat’s teammate J.T. Miller ($7,300), who carries a higher projection on FanDuel at a lower price.

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Barrett Hayton (ARI vs. ANA): DraftKings – $3,700 | FanDuel – $4,000

It has been nine games since Barrett Hayton was moved to Arizona’s top line and he has 18 shots on goal in that span, scoring three times, and skating over 19 minutes a night. It is a big improvement over his 66 shots in 38 games to start the season, with just two goals in those contests, skating in excess of 15 minutes per outing. The production of late isn’t upper-end but Hayton is not being priced anywhere near a top option, or even a mid-priced option.

Special circumstances are required to recommend Arizona skaters on a slate this large, and there are such circumstances tonight with Anaheim visiting. The Ducks are giving up the second-most shots on the penalty kill over their last 20 games, with the most expected goals and actual goals against per minute at five-on-five. Anaheim is arguably the worst defensive team in the league at all strengths and it brings Hayton into play for this slate.

The issue DFS players may run into is very high ownership on Hayton and his line mates; they’re cheap and can be used with primary stacks. Individual players will need to decide if the ownership is too high but Hayton getting top line/top power play minutes means he can be used as a salary-saving one-off option.


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Winger

Jake Guentzel (PIT vs. FLA): DraftKings – $6,900 | FanDuel – $7,800

Despite some inconsistent play, Jake Guentzel is on pace to push for 40 goals and a point-per-game status this season, and that’s excellent production. The bigger concern is his ice time as Guentzel has skated under 20 minutes in four straight games, averaging 18:09 per night despite three of those four games going to overtime. It is the first time since the first four games of the season that Guentzel has failed to surpass 20 minutes in any four-game stretch. It is worth noting he has three goals and six points in those four games.

Florida visits tonight and they played last night, losing 6-2 to the New York Rangers. They had backup goalie Alex Lyon in net and either he starts a back-to-back, or Spencer Knight returns from injury for his first start in over two weeks. Regardless, Florida will also be without Sam Bennett, who was injured in that game. Finally, the Panthers are the second-most penalized team on the season and are giving up the fourth-most goals per minute when down a man over the team’s last 20 contests. All that means a good matchup for Guentzel, whose DraftKings price is tied for the second-cheapest it has been all season. He is fine as a one-off winger but is best used in a stack with his line mates for tournaments.

Taylor Hall (BOS at MTL): DraftKings – $5,300 | FanDuel – $6,000

Boston going into Montreal presents a tremendous matchup for the Bruins. The Canadiens have the most time short-handed of any team in the league in their last 20 games, giving up the second-most goals per minute when down a man, while giving up the second-most expected goals against at five-on-five. If the aforementioned Anaheim Ducks are arguably the worst defensive team in the league, Montreal is one of the few teams in the argument.

The issue is how Boston allocates ice time. They have a virtual lock on top spot in their division and conference and are a team focused on games in June, not games in January. It is why the Bruins have zero forwards averaging 19 minutes a game in the team’s last 10 games and only three over 17 minutes. Taylor Hall is between 15-16 minutes but the twist for him was being added to Boston’s top power play unit. That power play is generating 13.3 goals per 60 minutes, an elite number, and it should be able to overwhelm a weak Montreal penalty kill.

There are a lot of Bruins options in play today but with ice time concerns, paying down from the top-end options is one route DFS players can take.

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Lucas Raymond (DET vs. SJ): DraftKings – $4,300 | FanDuel – $5,700

As with many young players, and scorers in general, inconsistent production has been the case for Lucas Raymond in 2022-23. He started the season with zero goals in seven games, scored six times in the seven games after that, went goalless for nine games after, and so on. All told, he is on pace for 27 goals and over 55 points, so not a bad offensive effort thus far. His bigger problem has been a lack of shooting, but he does have 20 shots on goal in his last 10 games, which is actually an uptick for him. Hopefully he can build off that because his 1.7 shots per game before this recent stretch is unacceptable.

The matchup with San Jose is either good or great, depending on the goaltending. Defensively, the Sharks are near the middle of the league by expected goals against at five-on-five in their last 20 contests, which isn’t bad, but league-worst goaltending has sunk their goals against marks. Those are a couple reasons why Raymond is eighth by Stokastic NHL DFS projections among DraftKings wingers priced under $5,000, giving him good value. He is eighth among FanDuel wingers with a tag under $6,000, which is also solid. Just watch for high-ish ownership as Raymond’s line is cheap, as he is, and could draw ownership as a filler-type stack (they have negative leverage in the Top Stacks Tool).

For a cheaper winger on FanDuel, consider Brandon Saad (STL, $4,500) who is on the top line for the Blues and carries a strong value proposition for his price.

Defense

Victor Hedman (TB vs. MIN): DraftKings – $6,000 | FanDuel – $6,500

Victor Hedman has looked much more himself over his last 20 games, posting 21 points, following a very slow start to the campaign. One problem is he’s still not shooting much, with 41 shots in those 20 games, and his 2.05 shots/game on the campaign is his lowest mark in eight years. He is not being priced as a super-elite defenseman, though, and that’s part of the appeal here.

The other part of the appeal is Minnesota’s discipline problem. Over the team’s last 20 games, they are spending the third-most time short-handed per game, with only Montreal and Nashville higher. Tampa Bay’s power play is north of 10 goals/60 minutes since Dec. 1 with Hedman running it, compared to 8.4 before that point. It could be a sneaky power play spot for the Lightning and thus Hedman.

Stokastic NHL DFS projections have Hedman fourth among all blue liners tonight on both DraftKings and FanDuel, and he’s the cheapest of all those projected in the top 4 by a significant amount. He can be used as a one-off option or part of a Tampa Bay stack for tournaments.

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Damon Severson (NJ vs. VGK): DraftKings – $3,000 | FanDuel – $4,000

In the month of January, Damon Severson leads all New Jersey defensemen in ice time per game, skating over 24 minutes a night. He does not produce a lot of peripherals on a per-minute basis, but earning so much ice time has him with both 17 shots and 17 blocks in that span, which is fine peripheral production for his price on DraftKings.

Vegas is visiting without Mark Stone, easily their most impactful forward at both ends of the ice. They are also missing a couple of regular blue liners and all that, with Severson’s ice time, gives him the second-highest projection of any defenseman on DraftKings with a price tag under $3,500. He is third on FanDuel for those priced under $5,000 and the projections compared to his cost give him great value. He can be used as a cap-saving blue liner for tournaments tonight.

Goalie

Juuse Saros (NSH vs. WPG): DraftKings – $7,600 | FanDuel – $8,500

By almost any measure, Juuse Saros has been one of the top goalies in the league this season. He is second by Evolving Hockey’s Goals Saved Above Expected, sixth in overall save percentage (minimum of 25 starts), and sixth by high-danger save percentage at five-on-five. He is single-handedly keeping Nashville in the playoff race, specifically because his team is giving up the second-most shots at five-on-five over their last 20 games, with only Anaheim being worse.

The Stokastic GoalieStats NHL DFS projections have Saros fifth by expected saves for tonight and the lowest expected goals against of any net-minder in the top 5. It gives him the top projection for any DraftKings goalie priced under $7,800 so for DFS users playing on that site this evening, Saros is an option in the mid-priced range.

He is much more expensive on FanDuel, though, so DFS players on that site should look to Karel Vejmelka (ARI, $7,100) who has a very low price tag in a fantastic matchup at home to Anaheim.

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TB1: Hagel-Point-Kucherov

As mentioned in the section on Hedman, this looks to be a reasonable power play matchup for Tampa Bay, and thus a reasonable matchup for Tampa Bay’s top line — all members of the top power play unit. What’s more is that the Lightning have really turned on the offense of late; they are second in the league in expected goals per minute at five-on-five since Christmas, ranking sixth in goals per minute. That extends to this top line, which is north of 4.0 expected goals and 4.7 actual goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five in that stretch.

Stokastic’s Top Stacks Tool has this Tampa Bay trio third in leverage on both sites, with almost no ownership on FanDuel, meaning a much higher top-2 stack probability than ownership rate. They can be targeted as a primary stack for tournaments this evening.

ANA1: McTavish-Terry-Henrique

There is tremendous ownership expected on the Arizona side of this game, with the Top Stacks Tool projecting their top line to lead ownership tonight. What is being lost is that alongside Arizona’s 3.4 team total is Anaheim’s 3.0 team total, the same as Winnipeg and Minnesota, and slightly higher than Nashville and Washington. There are goals expected on both sides and Anaheim’s top line is projected for under 5% ownership on DraftKings (about 10% on FanDuel). That is considerably less than what is expected from Arizona.

The upside for this Ducks trio is the power play. All three skate on the top power play unit, and it is scoring just over 10 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-4. For reference, Pittsburgh’s top unit is at 8.8 goals per 60 with Tampa Bay’s sitting at 10.9 per 60. Arizona gives up the most power plays per game, ranking bottom 4 by both shots and goals against per minute when down a man over the team’s last 20 outings. It is a great power play matchup for the Ducks and that, combined with the comparatively lower ownership, makes them a tournament option for this slate.

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