It is a huge slate of 10 games from which to draw NHL DFS picks. There may also be news, as COVID is running across the league, so checking news will be vital, and Awesemo’s Discord can help there. This Power Play article will use Awesemo’s Premium NHL Tools to help dole out the NHL DFS advice to help with building lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel tonight. The Awesemo NHL projections and ownership projections are two of the best tools to utilize when constructing stacks and making the optimal NHL DFS picks. Let us go position by position and pinpoint some of the top plays and stacks for Thursday, Dec. 16.
NHL DFS Picks, Tops Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays
Nathan MacKinnon (COL at NSH): DraftKings – $9,500 | FanDuel – $10,300
The Nashville Predators are really going through it right now when it comes to the COVID list: they have 12 people in protocols including Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, and Philip Tomasino. Add in the injury to Matt Duchene and Nashville is missing their top two centers, their top right winger, and another top-nine forward. And that is as of 9:30 ET on Thursday morning. There may be more to come during the day, and that means a greatly weakened Nashville roster.
In eight games since returning from injury, Nathan MacKinnon has 41 shots on goal and 13 points. He is also shooting under 5% in that span, so he has been absolutely rolling offensively of late and getting unlucky at the same time. That is a dangerous combination for a thinned-out Predators roster tonight.
Edmonton is on the slate, but not many other high-priced options exist outside of them, at least not for full stacks. That might draw more people to MacKinnon as he is essentially in a tier of his own tonight, but the slate is large enough that ownership is not a huge concern. Using MacKinnon as a one-off in all formats is just fine tonight, but he is also in consideration for line stacks in tournaments.
Anthony Cirelli (TB vs. OTT): DraftKings – $4,200 | FanDuel – $4,800
Coming off the heels of absolutely dismantling the Florida Panthers, there could be some attention on the Ottawa Senators here tonight. They are in the bottom five across the board defensively since their return so while the shooting binge is nice – third in the league in that span – they are also allowing a boatload of shots and scoring chances.
Anthony Cirelli has been moved all over the lineup this season as the team has endured numerous, significant injuries. He should be lining up on the top line tonight, and when he is skating with Ondrej Palat, the team controls 56% of the shot attempts and 58% of the scoring chances. Adding a top-end offensive talent like Steven Stamkos as the third man should not hurt in this matchup.
Using Cirelli tonight covers a lot of bases. He is a cheap-ish center who should see a lot of top-line minutes in a soft matchup. He is not a particularly great offensive player himself, but his price and matchup are great. He is likely best used as part of a stack in tournaments, and it is a spot to use a double center for a unique roster construction.
Viktor Arvidsson (LA at FLA): DraftKings – $5,200 | FanDuel – $6,000
Between injuries and COVID problems, the Florida Panthers are, quite literally, missing their second and third defense pairs. Both Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar are healthy and good to go, but they will be matched often against Anze Kopitar’s line, leaving Viktor Arvidsson against depth matchups from a team that is starting to get a bit depleted.
It has been a good rebound season for Arvidsson, as he is on pace for nearly 60 points, well up from the 40 or so he has averaged per 82 games the last two years. He is also bordering on four shots per game, which is not obscene; he plays on a high-paced line, is getting career-highs in TOI, and he has several seasons over three shots per game. He is legitimately a great scoring winger, and it is showing through in Los Angeles, even if he is only shooting 7.6%.
With all of Florida’s injury/COVID issues, Arvidsson should see soft matchups in-game tonight. His line literally leads all of hockey in expected goal share (minimum 75 minutes played) and Florida is not shy to play at a high pace. Arvidsson, at his price, is a target tonight in tournaments as a one-off. He is fine in a line stack, just beware of his line mates’ scoring talents, or lack thereof, as a potential problem.
Travis Konecny (PHI at MTL): DraftKings – $4,200 | FanDuel – $5,300
While it has been true that Philadelphia’s top-line numbers suffer without Claude Giroux, they have still been good without him: 66 shot attempts per 60 minutes, a 55% shot attempt share, and over three goals scored per 60 minutes. Those numbers will play just fine.
The matchup tonight is what is appealing. Having just added Christian Dvorak to the injured list, Montreal is now missing at least eight players that should be on their starting roster, or about 40% of the team. That is, uh, a lot of injuries, and this was not a deep team to begin with. It is starting to wear on them, as the team is at or near the bottom of the league across the board defensively. They just cannot sustain this level of injury and be successful most nights.
It has been a tough season for Travis Konecny but he has five points in his last five games, averaging two shots a game and nearly 17:30 a night. Getting top-line minutes against a poor defensive team, regardless of season’s performance, will be of interest.
Frederick Gaudreau (MIN vs. BUF): DraftKings – $2,700 | FanDuel – $3,900
Like with ownership when Buffalo is in town elsewhere, the Wild should be popular tonight. Over the last three years, Frederick Gaudreau has been above-average across the board in play driving. He is good both defensively and offensively. That skill plays out in his line’s numbers, as they control 50% of the shot attempts without him, and 47% of the expected goals, against 57% and 58% with him. Against the depth Buffalo lines, that will play very well.
He has lost his power-play minutes, so that is a hit to his overall value. But he is skating with a very good line, and they are priced down in a very good spot. Gaudreau can be used as a punt one-off in tournaments tonight, or as part of some two-man stack with his line mates.
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Roman Josi (NSH vs. COL): DraftKings – $7,600 | FanDuel – $7,200
As mentioned earlier in the section on MacKinnon, the Predators will be short-handed here tonight. That will put a lot of pressure on the remaining stars, notably Roman Josi and goalie Juuse Saros. If the team hopes to escape with a win against a Cup contender, they need these guys to really show out.
Of course, if any defenseman can win a game for his team, it is Josi. The guy has 60 points in his last 76 games, averaging over three shots and 1.5 blocks per game. If this guy has to do it all himself, he is a threat for all the bonuses on DraftKings.
At his price with the injured players, it is unlikely Josi is very highly owned. He is a great one-off option for tournaments tonight given his skillset and matchup.
Lucas Carlsson (FLA vs. LA): DraftKings – $2,500
This is strictly a price play. As mentioned, the Florida Panthers are missing a lot of defensemen and Ekblad also skipped morning skate. There could be a lot of bodies missing on the Florida blue line, and that means a lot of minutes for Lucas Carlsson. He played over 15 minutes in their last game missing a couple of defensemen, now they are missing more. He is in play as a punt option at home tonight. Unfortunately, FanDuel does not have him the player pool, so Weegar may be fine instead as he is priced reasonably cheap.
Alex Nedeljkovic (DET at CAR): DraftKings – $7,600 | FanDuel – $6,800
Over the last two seasons, Alex Nedeljkovic leads all goalies in high danger save percentage, a good indicator of goalie talent. He faces a Carolina team that will be skating without, at least, Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis, leaving them with 10 forwards. They may be missing more as the day wears on. Nedeljkovic is one of the highest shot-volume goalies tonight and he is very reasonably priced on FanDuel in particular.
Top NHL DFS Stacks
Buffalo is in town, and they are a bottom-10 team across the board defensively over their last few weeks. Conversely, the Minnesota top line is controlling 56% of the shot attempts and are perfectly correlated on the power play. They will probably carry a lot of ownership tonight, but it is a great spot, and it is a large slate.
Los Angeles’s second line is scoring nearly four goals per 60 minutes while also controlling 65% of the shot attempts. They are an elite line facing a great Florida team that is just going through too many injuries. The Kings’ second line is a nice filler stack tonight.
*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick
Thanks for reading to the end of this article! If you appreciate this free content and want to see more of it every day, you can help us out by sharing this article on social media!The NHL fantasy rankings today for fantasy points and value are derived directly from Alex's own best NHL DFS projections. Initial daily fantasy hockey ownership projections for main slates will be posted daily by 4 p.m. Find more DFS NHL stats and NHL DFS picks DraftKings as well as the best NHL DFS picks. The NHL DFS projections DraftKings model was created and is maintained by Alex Baker and Jake Hari.
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