It’s crunch time across the NHL as we have a little over a month’s worth of action reaming until postseason hockey returns!
Let’s get in on the action, tackle this nine-game slate with some cash picks and put some money in our pockets on this Tuesday evening!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – April 6, 2021
C – Brayden Point (TB) – $7,400 vs. CBJ
It’s actually a fairly even slate for the most part as some quality offenses in the Capitals, Panthers and Hurricanes are all playing against quality defenses. So, I’ve identified the Lighting as my top stack of the night as they take on the scuffling Columbus Blue Jackets on the road.
The lines are a bit jumbled right now in Tampa, but what I want to do is get a three-man PP1 stack in here while getting exposure to both of the club’s top two lines. Point is the team’s top center on both occasions as he has tallied 16 goals and 33 points in 38 games to go along with 95 shots on goal. The production is a little on the disappointing for a player who recorded 156 points over 145 games across the previous two seasons, but the matchup is right.
Tampa Bay is once again the league’s highest-scoring offense as they enter this one averaging 3.61 goals per game with a power play that sits third with a 26.2% clip. On the flip side, this Jackets defense has surprisingly struggled this season, ranking 24th with 3.15 goals against per game on the season, but we also want to target a subpar penalty kill that ranks 21st with a 77.2% mark on the campaign.
Certainly, there’s plenty of reasons to like the Bolts as your top cash stack of the slate tonight.
C – Tomas hertl (SJ) – $6,100 vs. ANH
We spent a ton of dough on the Lightning in this lineup, so we needed to find a mid-range stack to complement the Bolts and I believe we can get quality production tonight from the Sharks as they take on the rival Ducks on home ice.
No, San Jose isn’t exactly a high-octane offense. They’ll enter this one ranked 18th with a decent 2.70 goals per game on the season and also 23rd with a 17.8% mark on the power play. That said, they have scored at least three goals in each of their last four games and have averaged 3.50 goals per game during that time while hanging four on the defensively-stout Wild in back-to-back games in the final days of March.
At the end of the day, this has more to do with the Ducks. Anaheim ranks 28th with 3.28 goals against per game on the season and 24th with a 76.6% penalty kill. Additionally, they’ve struggled mightily to get any sort of goaltending as their .906 Sv% from John Gibson and Ryan Miller at 5v5 this season ranks them 29th league wide.
For his part, Hertl has recorded 11 goals and 24 points in 31 games with 60 shots in that time. He has a multi-point effort in two of his last three games and six-shot effort in that time.
He’s the team’s second-line center at both 5v5 on the power play, but opportunities could come in bunches in this one tonight.
W – Steven Stamkos (TB) – $7,600 vs. CBJ
I will admit that we’re paying for notoriety a bit here with Stamkos and Point who both aren’t exactly having career-years, but again, it’s the matchup we want to pay for more than anything.
In fact, Stamkos’ numbers are identical to Point’s as he too has 16 goals and 33 points on the season, although he’s played two less games with 36 on the season. He too isn’t exactly shooting the puck a ton with 86 shots on goal, but like Point, he’s made them count with a shooting rate over 18%. That’s not uncommon whatsoever as Stamkos owns a career 17% shooting rate and has shot at a whopping 20.2% once in his career.
Of course, he’s lethal on the power play. Nine of his 16 goals have come on the man advantage, which ranks him second in the league alongside Auston Matthews, Leon Draisaitl and Chris Kreider. The Lightning power play is 0 for 6 over their last two games and just 1 for 14 (7.1%) over its last five games. I’d say they’re due and this is a fine matchup to figure things out.
Add it up and there’s no way Stamkos should miss out on any Lightning exposure tonight.
W – Timo Meier (SJ) – $4,600 vs. ANH
I like the price a lot here with Meier as he comes well under the $5K mark in an elite matchup with one of the worst defenses in the league while he’ll see notable ice time alongside Hertl at both 5v5 on the club’s second power play unit, but it’s more of a 1B unit in my opinion.
The floor here is solid. Meier has collected seven goals and a solid 22 points in 35 games, but he’s also fired 103 shots on goal in that time. We’re getting later in a 56-game season, but there’s still plenty of time for Meier to get his shooting rate back towards his career norm as his current 6.8% mark is a good 3% under his career 9.8% mark. He’s been at 11.1% or better in each of his last two seasons.
I called the second power play unit the 1B group because they are more than capable of producing on the man advantage, and Meier does have nine power-play points on the campaign, albeit just one goal. Still, even a guy like Point has just 11 power-play points on that dynamic Lightning group, so don’t be surprised to see this second unit produce against a weak penalty kill tonight.
The positive goal-scoring regression is going to come, and after snapping a nine-game goal-scoring drought with a tally on eight shots on Friday, look for Meier to bring plenty of confidence into this one tonight.
D – Victor Hedman (TB) – $6,700 vs. CBJ
Completing our three-man PP1 Lightning stack is Hedman who, of course, brings a monster floor to the table as perhaps the best DFS blueliner in the NHL.
In fact, he leads this stack — and the Lightning — with 36 points in 38 games on the season with seven of those points coming in goal form. He’s blasted 101 shots on goal as well, giving him a 6.9% shooting rate that is identical to his career mark, so he’s not scoring above his head one bit here in 2021.
Not only does he lead the team in points, but also in power play with 20, a number that ranks him fourth in the NHL behind only Connor McDavid, Draisaitl and Anze Kopitar. Unbelievable production from the back end to be sure.
Hedman surprisingly went three straight games without a point to conclude his month of March, but also has a point in each of his three April games with nine shots and six blocks in that time. His 58 blocked shots for the season just adds to his enormous floor.
Again, Hedman should be a lock in any and all Lightning cash stacks tonight.
D – Brent Burns (SJ) – $6,200 vs. ANH
He may not have the same elite floor he did a couple years back, but it’s certainly plenty to work with in this matchup.
For the season, Burns has tallied a healthy five goals and 21 points in 37 games with 84 shots on goal and and 65 blocked shots to boot. Where he hasn’t been nearly as productive this season is on the power play where he has just two goals and six points, however the good news is at least he is skating on the same unit as Hertl and Meier at the moment after recently forming a two-defenseman look on the top group with Erik Karlsson.
One thing we have to love here, especially in such a favorable matchup, is the ice time he’s seeing despite being 35 years old. Burns’ whopping 26:28 of average ice time ranks second in the NHL to only Drew Doughty’s 26:49 mark. Add in Hedman’s 25:31 of average ice time per game and we have two of the top five ice time leaders in the NHL on our blueline for this slate.
He’s recorded three points over his last three games, so let’s see if the bearded wonder can keep it up in an extremely opportunistic matchup tonight.
UTIL – Craig Smith (BOS) – $4,300 vs. PHI
For the first time in a while, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has broken up his top line as David Pastrnak is projected to skate on the second line alongside David Krejci tonight. That’s big news for Smith backers on this slate as it appears he is the fortuitous one who will skate with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron at 5v5 tonight.
An increase in average ice time has certainly been a boon to his production. After going six straight without a point, Smith has tallied two goals and seven points over his last eight games, but has racked up all five of those helpers over his last four games.
For the season, the former Predators has recorded six goals and 16 points across 34 games with 82 shots on goal. He continues to shoot the puck at a solid rate, but keep in mind this is a guy that scored between 21 and 25 goals in five of his last six full seasons, obviously excluding the shortened 2019-20 season, although he was on pace for 21 more goals last season using an 82-game sample.
In other words, he’s capable and there’s a reason why he’s playing with two of the team’s best playmakers in this one. Add in the fact the Flyers rank 30th in overall defense and 29th on the penalty kill — Smith skates on the Bruins’ second unit — and we have a monstrous ceiling here with the 31-year-old Smith.
UTIL – Filip Zadina (DET) – $3,500 vs. NSH
Zadina comes at a small price but with big upside.
First off, the matchup is appetizing to be sure. The Red Wings might not be the highest scoring team in the league, but they are coming off a five-goal output over the Lightning from Sunday and take on a Predators team that ranks 17th with 2.70 goals against per game on the season. More encouraging is the fact Nashville is also the NHL’s worst penalty-killing team at 73% for the season.
The spot in the Red Wings’ lineup is more encouraging for me. Zadina is set to skate on the Wings’ top line alongside Dylan Larkin, but he’s also projected for first-unit power play reps with Larkin as well. Again, the Wings might rank 30th on offense and 29th on the power play, but at least the matchup here is quite good and Zadina’s position in the Red Wings lineup is even better.
He’s recorded four goals and 14 points in 33 games this season with 69 shots on goal, but also has a minuscule 5.8% shooting rate on the season. The 2018 sixth overall pick is going to score more moving forward, so let’s be there at an attractive cost in a favorable matchup.
G – Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB) – $8,600 vs. CBJ
Completing this lineup here is Vasilevskiy who I believe is about the only goaltender you want to use in cash games tonight as he’s bar-none the safest option on the slate.
Vasilevskiy — the current Vezina Trophy favorite — wasn’t part of that ugly 5-1 loss to the Red Wings on Sunday, but rather watched as veteran backup Curtis McElhinney had a tough go. He did get the first of two starts against the Wings over the weekend, turning aside 25 of the 26 shot he faced for the win. The outing increased his work for the season to an eye-popping 1.96 GAA and .932 Sv% with three shutouts across 29 starts. I believe his 23-5-1 record in that time is indeed something to write home about as well.
His second-to-last start came against these Jackets from last Thursday and the Russian turned aside 36 of the 38 shots he faced (.947 Sv%) in that one while he now owns a 1.50 GAA and .953 Sv% across two April starts to far.
The Bolts rank fourth in overall defense and 10th on the PK. The Jackets rank 28th in overall offense and 27th on the PP. Add in Vasilevskiy’s elite work again this season and he’s a layup for me in this cash lineup tonight.