Last night’s optimal lineup was our best of the season so far as we benefited from production up and down the lineup while only one player — Morgan Rielly — failed to register a point.
Rielly’s teammates did, however, as Auston MAtthews and Mitch Marner combined for two goals (both Marner’s) and an assist with eight shots and a block.
Our Blues stack was key as the trio of Tyler Bozak, Mike Hoffman and Colton Parayko delivered at low ownership. Hoffman scored a goal, Bozak tallied an assist and Parayko notched a pair of helpers and three shots on goal.
Our Flames mini-stack also did damage at tiny ownership. Johnny Gaudreau notched a goal and an assist while Josh Leivo tallied an assist and two shots at less than 1% ownership.
He didn’t get the win, but Cam Talbot was sharp in allowing just one goal on 26 shots. The problem was Ducks netminder John Gibson who posted a shutout at the other end of the ice.
The lineup was excellent and even finished first in some multipliers, so let’s keep up the good work on this eight-game main slate!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – January 19, 2021
C – Aleksander Barkov (FLA) – $7,100 vs. CHI
The Panthers’ offense is set to regress this season with the departures of Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov, but they get an excellent matchup tonight against what I believe is the league’s worst defensive team in the Chicago Blackhawks.
It hasn’t been a pretty start for Chicago as they allowed 10 goals in their season-opening two-game set with the defending Cup champion Lightning and allowed five more goals against these Panthers their last time out on Sunday. Both Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia have struggled in the early going, and while we don’t know who will get the nod quite yet for this one, this is just an easy team to target at this juncture.
Barkov tallied an assist in the team’s opener on Sunday with three shots on goal and skated nearly 22 minutes in that one. He’s not on a line with Jonathan Huberdeau as the team looks to spread out what wealth they have left up front, but this remains one of the more talented pivots in the league and is coming ofd a 62-point campaign across 66 games a season ago.
We’ll simply plug him into this lineup and look for the big center to take advantage of a weak Blackhawks back end in this one.
C – Ryan Strome (NYR) – $5,200 vs. NJ
We used Strome a few days back in a matchup with the Islanders, and while he didn’t deliver, we’ll show some more faith in the center in a far superior matchup tonight with the Devils.
New Jersey allowed just three goals in their season-opening two-game set with the Bruins, but I think they’ll have a tougher time in what I believe is a deeper and more talented Rangers offense that ranked fifth in the league last season.
It was a coming out party for Strome a season ago as the former fifth overall pick notched 18 goals and a career-high 59 points in 70 games with 154 shots and 17 power play points to his credit as well. He logged nearly 20 minutes of ice time a season ago as well.
So far this season, Strome has been centering the team’s second line, but it’s a line that also includes 2020 Hart Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin. While Panarin is off to a hot start, Strome remains pointless after two games with just three shots on goal, but has averaged 20:36 of ice time so far. So long as he’s skating with Panarin, I don’t see him staying quiet much longer.
A matchup with the Devils should cure what has ailed the 28-year-old to this point, so let’s be there for his breakout game this evening.
W – Anthony Duclair (FLA) – $4,300 vs. CHI
Duclair was a late addition to the Panthers this offseason in an effort to maintain their top 10 offense from a season ago, and he’s been entrusted with top-line duties alongside Barkov, but he’s going to skate on the team’s second power play unit. It’s not the worst thing in the world to have exposure to both groups.
An All-Star last season, it was at least mildly surprising that the 25-year-old wasn’t retained by the Ottawa Senators after he notched 23 goals and 40 points across 66 games with one of the league’s weaker offenses last season. His production cratered late in the season, but that’s a quality campaign regardless as he also put 184 shots on goal.
He’s already on his sixth NHL team, but playing with a center of Barkov’s ilk can certainly help. Barkov puts up big numbers and shoots the puck a fair amount, but he’s a play-maker by trade and someone who can help Duclair regain last season’s first-half form. The 2013 third rounder has been a fairly consistent goal scorer despite his journeyman status, and we’ll look for that to continue in the best matchup on the slate tonight.
W – Artemi Panarin (NYR) – $8,200 vs. NJ
Panarin signed with the Rangers prior to last season as the top free agent on the market and promptly posted 32 goals and a whopping 95 points in just 69 games to go along with 209 shots on goal. This season, he’s wasted little time with two goals in as many games, both of which came his last time out when we rostered him on Saturday. One of those goals came on the man advantage.
Since entering the league, this guy has done nothing but produce. His 417 points since entering the league for the 2015-16 season ranks him sixth in the league, behind Connor McDavid, Patrick Kane, Nikita Kucherov, Brad Marchand and Leon Draisaitl. Not bad company at all there.
As noted, this Devils defense has enjoyed a strong start, as has goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood who should get the nod for this one. Blackwood has surpassed any and all expectations over the last two seasons, but this Rangers offense is going to test him tonight and I’m not a fan of this Devils defense corps in the least.
He’ll see some ownership tonight, but I’m confident in paying up for Panarin’s services in this matchup.
D – Aaron Ekblad (FLA) – $5,200 vs. CHI
It’s interesting that Ekblad continues to fly under the radar across the league despite being one of the league’s better goal-scoring defensemen.
He recorded just five goals in his 67 games last season, but that came in a season where his shooting rate plummeted to 3.4%, almost half of his career 6.6% mark. He scored in the opener on Sunday, giving him 72 goals in six-plus seasons in the NHL, tying him with Alex Pietrangelo , Kris Letang and Erik Karlsson for 10th-most among defensemen since he entered the league in the 2014-15 season. Again, not bad company there.
Of course, with plenty of goals comes plenty of shots as he ranks 13th in shots by defensemen since he entered the league and he put four shots on goal on Sunday as part of his 25:46 of ice time in that one. With Keith Yandle’s role slipping, I expect Ekblad’s role to increase as he is still somehow just 24 years of age despite already having 459 regular-season NHL games under his belt.
At the end of the day, we’ll his big-time upside with pleasure in this matchup.
D – Seth Jones (CBJ) – $5,300 vs. DET
The Jackets and Red Wings renew hostilities tonight after yesterday’s game ended with a line brawl.
It was a game in which the Red Wings led before the Jackets took over and won 3-2, and while I believe this Red Wings team is already far superior to the historically-bad team that we witnessed last season, I am looking for this Blue Jackets mini-stack to do some damage in this one.
This guy is due. He’s been held off the scoresheet in the team’s first three games of the season, and despite nine shots and 25:43 of average ice time in that time, the 26-year-old has far more to offer at the offensive end of the ice.
Last season wasn’t his best as he notched 30 points in 56 games, a 0.54 points-per-game pace that fell well short of his 0.67 mark that he posted across the previous two seasons.
That said, this guy is a cross-category beast. He’s blocked five shots in his three games this season and his 123 blocked shots from last season ranked him 18th in the league. He was a shot-blocking machine in the Jackets’ qualifying-round upset of the Maple Leafs as well.
The Wings still won’t be a quality defensive team, so look for Jones to hit the scoresheet for the first time in this one tonight.
UTIL – Alexis Lafreniere (NYR) – $4,600 vs. NJ
All rookies take their lumps in this league and Lafreniere is no exception despite his billing as perhaps the most highly-touted prospect to enter the league since Sidney Crosby back in the 2005-06 season.
The 2020 first overall pick has yet to record a point in his two NHL games so far and has just four shots to his credit in that time. The shots on goal aren’t a problem, but we’ll certainly look for him to record his first NHL point sooner than later.
After all, it took all of one game for Lafreniere to be moved onto a line with Panarin and Strome after he played his first NHL game on the team’s third group. The result was a three-minute increase in ice time and despite the Rangers hanging five goals on the Islanders with two of those coming from linemate Panarin, he was held off the scoresheet again.
There’s no doubt his first NHL point is imminent. He recorded 112 points in just 52 games with the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic last season (interesting the same team that produced Crosby) and posted 105 points in 61 games as a 17-year-old two seasons back. He was also named the World Juniors MVP last season after posting 10 points in five games.
Now that he’s in the show, let’s look for him to break out in this one tonight.
UTIL – Cam Atkinson (CBJ) – $6,500 vs. DET
Atkinson should certainly be able to team up with Jones for some offense tonight against these Red Wings
Like Jones, Atkinson has yet to hit the scoresheet in three games, however, despite putting seven shots on goal in that time. His ice time is also down this season so far, averaging just 15:38 in the early going after a 17:51 mark last season and 19:23 the season before.
The 31-year-old is a little bit of a mystery. He scored 41 goals two seasons back without a major jump in shooting rate, but plummeted all the way to 12 goals last season, albeit in just 44 games. Still, the goals per game cratered. He’s probably more of a mid-20 goal-scorer, but this is also a guy that shoots the puck a lot, posting at least 212 shots on goal over his last six healthy seasons. He recorded 148 shots in just 44 games last season.
Atkinson will of course see time with Jones at 5v5, but also on the team’s top power play unit. He’s never been a big power play contributor given the Jackets’ low-scoring offense over the years, but it’s a nice spot to be nonetheless.
Let’s see if Jones and Atkinson can team up for some offense in this one at what I believe will be reasonable ownership.
G – Philipp Grubauer (COL) – $8,300 vs. LA
With this lineup, we can afford any goaltender we want and I’m going to roll with Grubauer as the Avalanche take on the Kings tonight in L.A.
This will mark the third start of the season for the former Capital as he’s gone 1-1-0 with a 2.02 GAA and .925 Sv% over the first two starts of the season, both against the Blues. He shut the Blues out in an 8-0 romp his last time out after taking a 4-1 loss in the opener.
The 29-year-old dealt with some injuries last season, but overall was solid in working to a 2.63 GAA and .916 Sv% in 36 games. Furthermore, he’s the owner of a 2.43 GAA and .920 Sv% across 176 career regular-season appearances, so this is a guy that’s been very good in his career despite the general lack of recognition.
The matchup is a good one as well. The Kings ranked 30th on offense last season, but also fourth in shots per game. They were obviously unable to finish, but at least the high shot volume could give Grubauer the opportunity to make plenty of saves without much scoring touch up front these days for Los Angeles.
With the Avalanche listed as heavy -225 moneyline favorites in this one — by far the biggest favorite on the slate — Grubauer should provide a high level of safety in the first of many against the Kings this season.