I was unable to begin my FanDuel NHL DFS Picks pieces in sync with the beginning of the 24-team playoff as I was away camping for the weekend, however I am thrilled to be back delivering picks after nearly six months off.
So let’s get right to it and deliver some picks for this three-game main NHL slate!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – August 5, 2020
C – Connor McDavid (EDM) – $9,000 vs. CHI
There’s been some high scores in the qualifying round so far, but none higher than the Chicago/Edmonton series that has produced 19 goals through just two games.
10 of those tallies belong to the Oilers while four of them belong to McDavid who led the way with a Game 2 hat trick as part of the Oilers’ 6-3 win on Monday night. That’s now four goals and six points on six shots for the superstar pivot who has been the clear-cut best player in these qualifying rounds so far and has certainly re-established himself as the best player on the planet.
Despite missing almost three weeks of action with thigh injury during the regular season, McDavid’s 97 points in 64 games were still good for second-best in the league behind teammate Leon Draisaitl’s NHL-best 110 points while McDavid put 212 shots on goal this season to boot.
As a group the Blackhawks have the worst team defense in the league and their league-worst 35.1 shots against per game are evidence of that.
While this lineup is a mixture of cash and GPP picks, any cash lineup has to begin with McDavid tonight.
C – Roope Hintz (DAL) – $5,200 vs. COL
The Stars and Avalanche get together tonight as part of the Western Conference round-robin after the Stars dropped a 5-3 decision to Vegas on Monday.
That said, Hintz was in on the scoring, assisting on a Corey Perry tally, a power play tally at that. Despite being moved to the wing and skating on what is being labelled as the third line, Hintz skated a healthy 16:10 in that one while logging a pair of shots on goal as well.
The 23-year-old skates on the second power play unit, but he’s probably a bigger offensive threat at even strength thanks to game-changing speed that helped him tally 19 goals and 33 points in 60 games this season with 120 shots on goal as part of his 14:45 of average ice time per game. He was largely the team’s second-line center throughout the season, but is being tested on the wing at this point, a test that he passed on Monday.
That Avalanche don’t provide the best matchup as they ranked sixth with 2.71 goals against per game in the regular season, but Stars ownership won’t be terribly high and I like Hintz as part of GPP/optimal lineups tonight.
W – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM) – $7,300 vs. CHI
Next man up in our Oilers stack is Nugent-Hopkins who has been riding shotgun to McDavid all season long and it’s given him a career-year.
He was on pace for 77 points this season before the shutdown and like McDavid, he’s off to a white-hot start to this season. Nugent-Hopkins has six points himself in the early going, five of which have come in assist form while he’s managed to put seven shots on goal as well.
Nugent-Hopkins is also part of the team’s top power play unit that ranked first in the league with a 29.5% clip during the regular season while it’s a group that’s off to a hot start in this series by going 4 for 9 (44.4%) to this point.
It’s a steep price to pay, but getting Nugent-Hopkins skating alongside McDavid has paid off in a big way to this point and I would expect that to remain that way moving forward.
W – Josh Archibald (EDM) – $3,400 vs. CHI
I originally had a three-man Oilers stack going in this one and required one more winger at $3,400 or less, and Archibald therefore fell right into my lineup at the exact price I needed as he too should skate with McDavid in this one tonight.
It doesn’t appear that he will get power play time tonight, but flanking McDavid at times this season helped Archibald tally 12 goals and 21 points in 62 games. The 12 goals tied a career high and the 21 points fell just one short, although he skated in six fewer games this season than when he set those previous career-highs last year in Arizona.
He’s been held off the scoresheet through the first two games of this series, but did put three shots on goal in Game 1, but more importantly saw his ice time go from 11:46 in Game 1 to 15:47 in Game 2 as he was able to get more reps with McDavid on Monday.
As evidenced by the price, he’s not going to bring a terribly high floor to the table, but as long as he’s skated with McDavid I will always see value in Archibald at this price, especially in a favorable matchup such as this one.
W – Corey Perry (DAL) – $3,800 vs. COL
We’ll continue our Stars stack here with the veteran Perry who got on the scoresheet with a power play marker two nights ago against the Golden Knights, a sign that come poor regular-season puck luck could be turning around for him.
Of course, at 35 and plenty of hockey under his belt, Perry isn’t the same offensive forced that saw him win a Hart Trophy while scoring 50 goals several years back, and that’s been evident as he scored just five times in 57 games this season and has only 11 tallies over his last 88 regular-season games.
That said, his five goals from this season came alongside a shooting percentage of just 6.5%. As players see their skill set decline alongside a rise in age, it’s not surprising to see a drop in shooting percentage, although that’s a hefty fall from his career 12.8% mark. It’s by far the lowest mark of his career from the 8.8% figures he posted in the 2006-07 and 2016-17 seasons. Even when he scored just six times in 31 games last season, he posted a 10.2% mark;
Perry is getting 5v5 reps alongside Hintz and center Jason Dickinson while getting second-unit power play time, the latter of which paid off Monday. Let’s look for his improved puck luck to continue into this one tonight.
W – Jake Guentzel (PIT) – $7,400 vs. MON
Carey Price has been brilliant as many had expected for this series, but the more the Penguins pepper him with shots the more worn down the veteran netminder will get.
Guentzel has been a part of that Penguins attack in this series, posting a goal – albeit an empty-netter – with a pair of assists and four shots over the first time games of the series while skating in excess of 20 minutes in each contest.
Of course, that ice time comes alongside Sidney Crosby at both 5v5 and on the team’s top power play unit where Guentzel has been a big factor in the postseason before.
In a short time, Guentzel already has one impressive postseason resume going as he’s posted 25 goals and 46 points in just 43 playoff games with 101 shots on goal in that time. He’s been an efficient playoff scorer, scoring on 24.8% of his postseason shots, a number that’s likely to fall, but as long as he’s skating with Crosby he’s going to get plenty of quality looks.
Guentzel is going to be in this lineup as a one-off, but I like getting exposure to Crosby in this lineup as well as plenty of exposure to No.97 mentioned above.
D – Oscar Klefbom (EDM) – $5,600 vs. CHI
Completing this four-man Oilers stack is Klefbom who brings a wealth of cross-category upside to the table, especially in this matchup.
Offensively, he’s the lone defenseman on the top power play unit, a spot that helped him notch two goals and 18 power play points this season while he had five goals and 34 points overall across his 62 games while skating a whopping 25:25 per night.
The peripheral categories are also quite encouraging for the 27-year-old rear guard. Klefbom put 159 shots on goal during the regular season, an encouraging figure against this Blackhawks team that allows a ton of shots on goal. Furthermore, Klefbom’s 180 blocked shots from the regular season were the most in the NHL. He’s had just one this series in two games, but I would expect that number to rise moving forward.
Through two games, Klefbom has two assists and four shots to add to that block while skating at least 22:05 in both contests. The ice time is down, but he’s going to be relied on quite a bit in this contest tonight while skating in all situations for head coach Dave Tippett who jacked his ice time up significantly this season from his average of 23:59 last season.
Like with McDavid, Klefbom is an absolute must in cash lineups tonight given the cross-category upside, but a fine play in optimal lineups as well.
D – Miro Heiskanen (DAL) – $4,700 vs. COL
One of the best young players in the entire league, Heiskanen got his postseason play off to a fine start despite taking a loss on Monday.
Heiskanen assisted on all three Stars goals in their 5-3 loss to Vegas while skating 23:14 in that one. It’s an extension of a quality regular season that saw him post 35 points in 68 games while putting 163 shots on goal in that time and skating 23:46 per game. It was an excellent developmental step for the youngster who did this all at just 20 years old after posting 33 points in 82 games last season. His 0.51 points per game this season was a real nice leap from his 0.40 mark as a rookie last season.
Let’s also keep in mind that Heiskanen was a factor in the postseason at the age of 19 last season. He notched two goals and four points in 13 games, but also logged a huge 25:31 worth of ice time per game as the Stars came oh so close to moving on to the Western Conference Final.
While these games don’t mean as much as those ones did at this point for the Stars, Heiskanen is flying out of the gate again this postseason while he forms a three-man stack with Hintz and Perry on the second power play unit while logging some ice time with them at even strength to boot.
G – Matt Murray (PIT) – $8,500 vs. MON
Completing this lineup is goaltender Matt Murray whose quality work had been overshadowed by Price to this point.
Murray is the owner of a .935 Sv% through the first two games of this series after posting a .963 mark in Game 2 and narrowly missing out on a shutout in the process. Montreal’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi made it a 2-1 game with just 2:10 left to go in regulation on Monday, costing Murray the shutout, but the decorated netminder earned the win nonetheless.
Winning in the postseason is nothing new to Murray and the lone reason why he’s starting for the Penguins in this series. Murray has started 49 playoff games and appeared in 50, posting a 2.14 GAA and .922 Sv% with six shutouts in that time when the games matter the most.
There’s also the potential for Murray to see plenty of shots as the Canadiens ranked second with 34.1 shots on goal per game during the regular season, so a busy Murray would give him the opportunity to rack up saves for this lineup.
Nonetheless, with the Penguins listed as -165 favorites and the heaviest favorite on this slate, let’s look for Murray to be a quality backbone for this lineup as the top cash netminder on this slate.