FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 25, 2021

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Last night was about the worst DFS results I’ve ever incurred.

Indeed, our only player to record a point on the evening was William Nylander who broke out of his slump with a two-goal effort in a win over the Calgary Flames.

We had out players at excellent GPP ownerships, but it was one of those nights where just about nobody delivered while the 4.8 FanDuel points from Sean Monahan and John Tavares tied for the second-best night on the squad behind Nylander’s 33.6.

Just a brutal night, so let’s get right back at it and bounce back in a hurry on this big 10-game main slate!

FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 25, 2021

C – Sebastian Aho (CAR) – $7,500 vs. TB

In the first pick of a GPP-aimed lineup, I’ll go with Hurricanes No. 1 center Sebastian Aho despite a difficult matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In addition to the low ownership we’ll get him at, there’s some factors that tilt this one in the Hurricanes’ favor tonight, most notably the fact that Lightning backup Curtis McElhinney will get the starting nod in this one after Andrei Vasilevskiy posted a shutout in last night’s 3-0 Tampa Bay victory.

It will mark just his third start of the season, but the last time he saw action came on Feb. 15, a game in which he was shelled for six goals on just 21 shots in a 6-4 loss to the Florida Panthers. McElhinney was excellent in turning aside 23 of 24 shots in a win over the Predators his first time out, but with so much time off between starts it has to be difficult staying sharp, and this is a very good Hurricanes offensive attack.

The ‘Canes are in a three-way tie for fifth with 3.39 goals per game on the season and sit seventh with a 28.1% power play clip. For his part, Aho has notched six goals and 16 points in 18 games to go along with 44 shots on goal. He’s the top center at 5v5 and on the top power play unit, and while it’s a balanced attack, I’ll look for the 23-year-old to get back on the scoresheet in this one.

C – Jack Eichel (BUF) – $7,300 vs. NJ

Man let’s get these Sabres stars going.

We’ll kick off a three-man Sabres stack here with Eichel as the American pivot looks to get some positive goal-scoring regression kicked in tonight. Eichel has scored just two goals on 50 shots in 16 games this season, good for a minuscule 4% shooting rate that is far less than half of his 10.6% career mark. He hasn’t scored a goal in his last eight games and while he continues to rack up the assists with 12 of them on the season, the goals are going to come in bunches for the superstar center moving forward.

Also, let’s go ahead and target special teams here. The Sabres’ 33.3% clip on the power play is tied with Chicago for the best mark in the NHL, but let’s also marvel at the fact it will be up against by far the league’s worst penalty kill as the Devils sport an unsightly 59.1% mark on the PK this season. It’s a number that is sure to improve, but this is a real nice time to use some underowned and scuffling Sabres stars on special teams tonight.

I’ll go ahead and say I’d be surprised if Eichel does not score a goal — or two — in this one tonight.

W – Taylor Hall (BUF) – $6,600 vs. NJ

Hall’s struggles with the Sabres have been well documented.

After scoring a power play marker in his first game as a Sabre, Hall has now gone a whopping 15 games without a goal despite putting 41 shots on goal during the drought. The former MVP now has a whopping 2.3% shooting rate that is so far under his 10.2% career mark that it’s not even funny.

Hall won’t skate with Eichel at 5v5 much tonight, but he will line up on that top power play unit that should absolutely have success in this one. Eichel has nine points on the power play this season and while Hall is at five, this is just a phenomenal opportunity for the duo to connect on the man advantage tonight. The Sabres have scored a power-play goal in each of their last four, so it’s pretty amazing that Eichel and Hall have not been a goal-scorer for such a long stretch.

The Devils are tied for 15th with 2.79 goals agaisnt per game on the season, but also sit 28th in expected goals against/60 at 5v5. Their actual 1.60 goals against/60 at 5v5 this season is miles under their 2.39 expected mark, so while I absolutely am targeting the power play here, there also appears to be significant even-strength regression on defense for this Devils team.

I feel pretty excited about this matchup for a duo that is well overdue at the moment.

W – Victor Olofsson (BUF) – $6,400 vs. NJ

Olofsson has been the Sabres’ best power play goal-scorer this season, so it makes a lot of sense to go with him over either Sam Reinhart or defenseman Rasmus Dahlin in this lineup.

After bagging 20 goals in just 54 games as a rookie last season, the Swede has seven goals and 14 points in 16 games this season. An overwhelming amount of that production has come on the power play, however, with Olofsson’s six power play goals tying for the second-most in the league while his 12 power play points sits third behind a couple of gentleman called Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

In other words, Olofsson has been among the very best power-play producers in the league this season, so it would seem to be a silly idea to leave him out of a three-man sabres PP1 stack agaisnt the league’s worst penalty kill by a wide margin.

With low expected ownership, I feel as if this three-man stack could be a home run in GPPs tonight.

D – Dougie Hamilton (CAR) – $5,300 vs. TB

Our Hurricanes exposure will end here with Hamilton as he will form a mini-stack with Aho at 5v5, but perhaps more importantly on that lethal top power play unit.

A common theme in this lineup has been positive goal-scoring regression, and we have that on the horizon here with the defenseman Hamilton as well.

Despite sitting tied with Tyson Barrie for third among defensemen with 57 shots on goal this season, Hamilton has just one goal to his credit and the resulting 1.8% shooting rate sits miles under his 6.2% career rate. He’s shot at at least 7% in reach of the last two seasons, so perhaps he was due for some decreased puck luck this season, but with a career-low of 5.3% we know this guy is going to score some goals moving forward. He’s also fired 29 shots on goal over his last seven games — good for 4.1 shots per game — so it would be surprising if this goalless drought lasted much longer.

Like with the Devils, the Lightning are also due for some 5v5 defensive regression as their 1.81 goals against/60 at 5v5 sits fourth in the league despite their 2.19 expected mark sitting 18th.

Let’s get all sorts of regression going in this matchup tonight.

D – Thomas Chabot (OTT) – $4,900 vs. CGY

Chalk me up for a three-man Senators stack here as they welcome the Calgary Flames into the Canadian Tire Centre tonight.

Not only are the Flames on a back-to-back after a tough 2-1 OT loss to the Maple Leafs last night, but goaltender David Rittich will make his second start in as many nights and his third over the last four nights in this one with No. 1 option Jacob Markstrom nursing an upper-body injury.

Now, Rittich was brilliant in his two starts against the Leafs this week, turning aside 71 of 73 shots (.973 Sv%) in that time against one of the very best offenses in the NHL. However, given his track record of inconsistency and a career 2.79 GAA and .909 SV% in 122 games, along with the back-to-back situation, I believe these Sens will generate offense tonight.

For his part, Chabot has notched three goals and 10 points in 18 games on the season to go along with 47 shots on goal and another 24 blocked shots to boot. That type of cross-category production is something we want in this lineup and at a sub-$5K price I believe we’re getting him at a bargain given the situation with Rittich.

At 25:42 of ice time per game, let’s get Chabot going again as he’s tallied three assists over his last three games following a five-game pointless drought.

UTIL – Tim Stuetzle (OTT) – $4,000 vs. CGY

Brady Tkachuk is the first Sens player that comes to mind these days given his prominence as a rising star and a guy who shoots the puck a ton, but I am going to get myself a 5v5 and PP1 stack here with Stuetzle and our second utility player in this lineup alongside Chabot.

Speaking of rising stars, it shouldn’t belong before we’re looking at Stuetzle in that regard. He’s put his name in the Calder Trophy hat thanks to five goals and 10 points in 18 games, all at the ripe old age of 18 years old. The German has been seeing a major increase in ice tie this month, skating in excess of 17 minutes a night more often than not after sitting in the 12-15 range in the month of January.

Stuetzle will skate as the third-line left winger on top of his power play duties where he has scored twice with three points on the season. He’s fast and has shown a high level of skill early in his NHL career and if we’re betting against Rittich there is plenty of value in the budding youngster in this one tonight.

UTIL – Brake Batherson (OTT) – $3,900 vs. CGY

After displaying some elite potential in the American Hockey League over the last couple of seasons, Batherson is another young Senator showing plenty of promise at the NHL level.

The 22-year-old recorded a whopping 116 points across just 103 AHL games over the last two seasons while mixing in 19 points across 43 NHL games in that time. This season, the Indiana native has notched five goals and 12 points in 21 games with a healthy 48 shots on goal in that time.

The advanced data tells us the Senators should absolutely be scoring more at even strength. Batherson’s vision allows him to excel on the power play, but with Ottawa sitting 28th with 2.43 goals per game on the season, let’s keep in mind they also rank sixth in scoring chances for/60, eighth in high-danger chances for/60 and all the way up to third in expected goals for/6 at 5v5 this season. Their 2.13 actual goals/60 at 5v5 sits a little under their 2.39 expected mark, but the underlying metrics tells us they are generating chances with the best of em’ this season.

With Batherson set to skate on that same third line as Stuetzle as well as the top power play unit that also includes Chabot, I’m pumped to see what this Sens stack can produce with Calgary a vulnerable back end in this matchup tonight.

G – Jaroslav Halak (BOS) – $8,500 vs. NYI

We still have $600 left on the table in this lineup, so perhaps you’d want to eat up some more of that money, but I’ll simply plug in a high-priced netminder into a favorable matchup tonight.

Halak enters this one sporting a 1.66 GAA and .928 Sv% on the season across six starts, going 4-1-1 in that time. The Bruins, of course, are one of the best defensive clubs in the NHL as they sit third with 2.25 goals against per game on the season after finishing last season first with a 2.39 mark.

However, we’re also targeting an anemic Islanders offense that is tied for 26th with 2.44 goals per game on the season despite a power play that sits in share of 12th with a 23.1% clip. The advanced metrics are more favorable to the Islanders’ offense, but their 2.04 goals/60 at 5v5 this season is nearly identical to their 2.08 mark, as per Natural Stat Trick, so it would appear they deserve their even-strength offensive output to this point.

This one has the makings of a low-scoring affair, but let’s see if the Bruins can support their netminder with a few goals in this one and get us into the win column with Halak.

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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.