It was another frustrating night with our GPP-aimed FanDuel NHL DFS Picks as a late game cost us in a big way.
We got off to a nice start with a goal and an assist with five shots and a pair of blocks between Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, although that came at 12% and 17% owned, as expected.
Our three-man Red Wings stack also did their part, at least two of the three. Defenseman Filip Hronek had a monster night at less than 6% owned as he notched a goal, two assists and two shots while Dylan Larkin tallied a pair of helpers and a pair of shots on goal at less than 4% owned. Unfortunately, Anthony Mantha missed the scoresheet and offered just two shots and a block.
Once again, our Sabres stack killed us. All three players came at less than 2% owned, but Taylor Hall, Victor Olofsson and Rasmus Dahlin all missed the scoresheet on the Sabres’ two goals and Hall missed some time after taking a shot to the face in that one. A calculated risk fell short.
We also nailed the goaltending pick as Dan Vladar enjoyed a big NHL debut. The 23-year-old made 34 saves on 35 shots, and thanks to a third-period Bruins tally was able to pull out the win as Boston downed the Pens 2-1. I had Vladar at just over 1% owned.
The Avalanche and Lightning getting late production from the chalk in Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen absolutely crushed us, as did that three-man Sabres stack for the second straight night.
We have six games going on this St. Patrick’s Day slate, so we’ll try out our GPP luck again and see if we can shake off this cold streak.
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – March 17, 2021
C – Anze Kopitar (LA) – $7,600 vs. STL
The Kings have a sneaky-good matchup tonight on home ice and there would appear to be an avenue for the home side here to do some damage at both even strength and on the power play, but it’s the latter that will be my main focus.
The Kings’ advanced metrics tell us they don’t generate much in terms of scoring chances at even strength, and they’ve more or less been fortunate to score as much as they have at 5v5 this season with their 2.07 goals/60 at 5v5 sitting above their 1.93 expected mark, though they’re hardly the only NHL club scoring above their heads this season.
However, let’s keep in mind this Kings power play ranks 10th with a 25.3% clip on the season and with top-1o 5v4 peripherals on the power play, we should probably see that unit remain productive moving forward.
The matchup here is far better than it might seem on the surface. The Blues rank 24th with 3.21 goals against per game on the season while their penalty kill sits 25th with a 74.2% mark. The Kings’ man advantage is 0 for 8 over their last two games, but the Blues’ penalty kill has allowed a goal in four of their last five games.
The Blues have also surrendered five goals in each of their last two games, so let’s see if the Kings can get their offense and man advantage going in this one tonight.
C – Nick Suzuki (MON) – $5,300 vs. WPG
I wanted some Canadiens exposure here as their offense got back on track with a four-goal effort in Monday’s win over the Jets after scoring just two goals over their previous two games.
Targeting the Jets is a rather easy things to do. Sure, they rank 15th with 2.98 goals against per game on the season, but they also sit 18th with a 76.8% mark on the penalty kill with some of the worst peripherals in the league. At 5v5, the Jets rank 30th in scoring chances against/60, dead last in high-danger chances against/60 and 30th again in expected goals against/60, as per Natural Stat Trick. Their 2.41 goals against/60 on the season is still a little below their 2/52 expected mark, so they have indeed been one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL this season, but have been bailed out by Connor Hellebuyck on many occasions once again this season.
For his part, Suzuki has tallied five goals and 18 points in 28 games to go along with 45 shots on goal. That said, he’s due to get back on the scoreboard as he’s gone eight straight without a goal and has just one point over his last five games. Rostering ice-cold players isn’t ideal, but if we’re targeting low ownership in an excellent matchup, Suzuki would appear to be the right call on this slate tonight.
W – Adrian Kempe (LA) – $5,900 vs. STL
Dustin Brown missed Sunday’s matchup in Colorado with an upper-body injury, and while he’s listed as day-to-day at the moment, I’ll throw Kempe in here for now as he replaced Brown to the right of Kopitar at 5v5 in that game three nights back.
It’s been a real nice season for Kempe as he makes his mark as a key building block for the Kings moving forward. Still just 24-year-old despite nearly 300 games under his belt, Kempe has tallied 11 goals and 19 points in 27 games, but he’s also fired 74 shots on goal.
Furthermore, if we’re targeting special teams in this matchup, Kempe is a must-have as he’s notched four goals and 11 of his 19 points on the man advantage this season. I’m actually glad that he’s been held off the scoresheet in back-to-back games entering this one as he scored six goals over a three-game span prior to the mini-drought, giving him some time to cool off after an unsustainable stretch.
While his 14.9% shooting rate is well above his 10.6% career mark, it’s certainly not an astronomical number, especially for a player entering the prime years of his career.
His 11 goals in 27 games matches his total from 69 contests last season, so let’s see if Kempe can team up with Kopitar for some production at 5v5 and on that dangerous Kings power play unit tonight.
W – Jonathan Drouin (MON) – $5,100 vs. WPG
We’ll conclude our Habs exposure here with Drouin who should go down as a very low-owned player due to his utter lack of goal-scoring this season.
Drouin enters this one with just two tallies in 28 games this season, and while he doesn’t shoot the puck a ton with just 44 shots on the campaign, he sports a 4.5% shooting rate that is nearly 5% below his 9.4% career mark. Unfortunately, he has also shot at 5.3% from his rookie season in Tampa Bay in the 2014-15 campaign, and while his rates have been all over the place in his career, we can probably all agree that 4.5% is certainly on the low side.
That’s not to say he hasn’t been productive, however, as Drouin has recorded 17 assists on the season and his 19 points in 28 games isn’t all too shabby after all. I like that he continues to get power play reps where he will skate on the same unit as Suzuki. He won’t line up with Suzuki on at 5v5 it doesn’t appear, but he’ll skate with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Josh Anderson on the team’s second line which certainly isn’t a bad spot to be.
This matchup features one of the best possession and scoring-chance teams in the NHL against one of the worst defensive teams in the league, so I’m happy with this Canadiens exposure this evening.
D – Drew Doughty (LA) – $6,100 vs. STL
I believe we can get the Kings at low ownership tonight, but it might not be super low with Doughty just based on the season he’s having as his all-round production continues to impress.
For 31-year-old enters this one with six goals and 22 points in 27 games, but he’s also put 46 shots on goal and blocked another 40 to boot. Yes, his 13% shooting rate is more than double his 6.1% career mark, and while he’s actually had a season in which he finished at 11.3% (2009-10), we can certainly expect to see goal-scoring regression moving forward.
However, if we’re targeting the Kings’ top power play unit, Doughty is a lay up for this lineup. He’s tallied four goals and 14 points on the power play this season, the latter ranking him second among NHL defensemen behind Tampa’s Victor Hedman and his 17 man-advantage points.
I feel good about this stack against a defense that is not only missing a couple of key defenders in Colton Parayko and Carl Gunnarsson, but one that has posted some iffy numbers to boot.
D – Thomas Chabot (OTT) – $5,400 vs. VAN
Everyone knows that the Senators have struggled defensively this season, but let’s not forget that the Canucks are about just as bad, if not worse.
For the season, the Canucks rank 21st with 3.19 goals against per game on the season and are tied for 10th with an 80.9% mark on the penalty kill. That’s all well and good, and while I’m not targeting the special teams in this matchup, their surface goals against number is a major reflection of the white-hot goaltending they have received from Thatcher Demko of late.
Targeting a hot goaltender also isn’t ideal, but let’s get real. Demko owns a 1.69 GAA and .953 Sv% in seven March outings after posting some weak numbers across the first six weeks of the season. At 25, he’s emerging as the goaltender the Canucks hoped he would be, but he’s going to be cooled off at some point here soon, and the Sens pepped him with 46 shots two nights back.
At 5v5, the Canucks rank dead last in scoring chances against/60, 30th in high-danger chances against/60 and dead last again in expected goals against/60. So while he’s hot, those March numbers are extremely unsustainable behind this defense.
For his part, Chabot has tallied four goals and 20 points in 29 games while putting 69 shots on goal and blocking another 35 shots as well. He’s logging the third-most average ice time per game in the league at 25:54 (Doughty is second at 26:29), so let’s look for him to put those minutes to good use in an extremely favorable matchup tonight.
UTIL – Brady Tkachuk (OTT) – $6,500 vs. VAN
Here’s a player that brings a monstrous floor to the table but also a sky-high ceiling given the matchup on tap.
With Tkachuk we get the NHL’s shots leader with 138 shots on the season, a good 16 shots ahead of the second-place Connor McDavid, but also 26 shots clear of Auston Matthews and Max Pacioretty who are tied for third.
The one thing that Tkachuk doesn’t have in common with those names is a low shooting rate. Tkachuk’s 8% shooting rate is only slightly below his career 8.8% career mark (that can happen when you throw everything on net) but here’s a guy with two goals and four points over his last three games with 14 shots in that time, so we have him on a little bit of a heater entering this one.
For the season, Tkachuk has tallied 11 goals and 22 points in 32 games on top of those 138 shots on goal, a stat line you have to like against not only one of the worst defenses in the league, but one that ranks 30th with 33.8 shots against per game on the season.
UTIL – Tim Stuetzle (OTT) – $4,600 vs. VAN
Completing our three-man Senators stack here is Stuetzle who is enjoying himself quite the rookie season as he might have even been a bargain at third overall behind Alexis Lafreniere and Quinton Byfield in the 2020 draft.
For the season, the 18-year-old has tallied six goals and 18 points in 29 games t0 go along with 65 shots on goal. He had added two goals and six points on the power play in that time, including a magnificent back-hand pass to Drake Batherson for a tally on Sunday night against the Maple Leafs.
Stuetzle also tallied a helper in a losing effort on Monday, but has a three-game point streak going with a goal and four points over his last five games with 12 shots in that time.
It appears Stuetzle has been moved up to the team’s top line alongside Tkachuk, and he also skates on the Sens’ top power play unit alongside both Tkachuk and Chabot, so while we have a three-man PP1 stack, I’m probably more excited about what this group can accomplish at 5v5 given the Canucks’ propensity to allow plenty of shots — and goals — at even-strength play this season.
G – Carey Price (MON) – $8,000 vs. WPG
He’s facing a quality offense tonight in Winnipeg, but Price has been stellar of late and the Habs are one of the better defensive clubs in the NHL. Additionally, I’m not seeing many “safe” options on the slate outside of the Vegas/San Jose matchup, so we’ll go with Price and see if he can stay hot in this one tonight.
In the month of March, Price has worked to a 1.50 GAA and .950 Sv% across six outings, and while I would suggest that is quite unsustainable as Demko’s March numbers are, these Canadiens don’t give up chances anywhere near the rate of Vancouver.
At 5v5, the Habs rank in the league’s top eight in all of scoring chances against/60, high-danger chances against/60 and expected goals against/60 on the season. They rank third in the latter, so they’ve indeed been one of the best defensive groups in the NHL this season, and when Price is on, this is a tough team to score goals against.
He might see some ownership given his recent body of work, but I’ll ride the Price train for another night tonight.