We have a smaller four-game main NHL slate on tap tonight, so let’s lock in some GPP-oriented picks and see if we can cross those cash lines tonight!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 17, 2021
C – Dylan Larkin (DET) – $6,400 vs. CHI
The Red Wings are certainly not as high-octane offense as they will enter this one ranked 30th with just 2.06 goals per game on the heels of a 2019-20 season that saw them produce an even 2.00 goals per game.
That being said, there’s plenty to like about Larkin here from a personal and matchup angle.
Personally, he’s ice-cold at the moment. Larkin has a decent four goals and nine points across 17 games on the season, but he’s also put 57 shots on goal to place him eighth in the league in that department.
However, with just four goals on those 57 shots, Larkin is current shooting at just 7% for the season. I’ll note that figure is only 2.3% below his 9.3% career mark which is a rather low figure given the sheer volume of shots, but I’m more looking at the fact that he’s riding a seven-game goalless drought and has just one assist in seven February contests so far. He’s yet to score on his 23 shots for the month, so the speedster is certainly due.
We’ll get into the matchup with these Blackhawks soon, but there’s a real good chance we see Larkin bust out of his drought tonight.
C – Paul Stastny (WPG) – $5,200 vs. EDM
If we’re going cash games and liking the Jets tonight, you’re going to want the far pricier Mark Scheifele down the middle, but for GPPs I’ll pivot to Stastny who has a fine matchup himself this evening in Edmonton.
The Jets’ offense has bounced back in a big way this season, currently sitting in a tie for fifth — interestingly alongside these Oilers — with 3.53 goals per game while their healthy 23.4% clip on the man advantage is good for 13th league wide.
Personally, Stastny has tallied three goals and nine points in 15 games, although his 19 shots on goal in that time is certainly on the low side as he’s never been a big-time shooter but more of a distributor, especially later in his career.
The matchup here is very nice, however. The Oilers rank 24th with 3.41 goals against per game on the season, but also 25th in scoring chances against/60, 19th in high-danger chances against/60 and 24th in expected goals against/60 at 5v5, as per Natural Stat Trick.
They’ll take on Mike Smith who has turned in a 2.11 GAA and .935 Sv% after a late start to the season, but the Jets put four past him on Monday on just 11 shots, cooling off the veteran who still sports vastly unsustainable numbers at the age of 38.
So, we’ll stack up the Jets as we search for more offense from Winnipeg tonight.
W – Filip Zadina (DET) – $3,300 vs. CHI
We’ve used Larkin with Zadina a trio of times over the last week and change as I see value in the 21-year-old winger while he skates alongside the team’s best offensive player.
Zadina has shown flashes of his vast upside this season as he’s registered a goal and four points in 10 games, albeit with 14 shots on goal. Clearly, the floor is low on a weak Red Wings offense, but the goal in GPPs is to grab low-owned players who don’t jump off the research pages for the general pubic, and that’s certainly Zadina.
We rostered him when he scored his lone goal of the season at less than 6% owned last week, but he’s been held pointless in three straight with six shots on goal in that time.
As noted earlier, the matchup here is fabulous, however. For one, the Blackhawks rank dead last while averaging 34.1 shots per game on the season. While their 2.88 goals against per game ranks 17th, they also sit 28th in scoring chances against/60, and 25th in both high-danger chances against/60 and expected goals against/60 at 5v5 this season.
They’ve certainly benefited from some high-end goaltending from the breakout star Kevin Lankinen who owns a .925 Sv% on the season, but I’m skeptical he can keep up such good work and he’s regressed to a .913 mark in February, so let’s see if this top-line Red Wings duo can capitalize on their fine matchup tonight.
W – Kyle Connor (WPG) – $6,500 vs. EDM
One of the better goal-scorers in the NHL over the last few seasons, Connor’s production seems to be flying under the radar with fellow winger Nikolaj Ehlers enjoying a big season, but let’s not scoff at the 24-year-old’s production, either.
Connor will enter this one with eight goals and 15 points in as many games with 37 shots on goal in that time. Over the last three seasons and change, Connor’s 111 goals are tied for ninth in the NHL alongside Patrick Kane and one spot behind Nikita Kucherov. Not bad company I’d say. He also ranks 27th in shots on goal over that time and has easily surpassed the 200-barrier in each of his last two seasons.
Connor has notched four goals and six points across seven February contests following a slow finish to the month of January, but will see second-line ice time alongside Stastny while of course getting his top power play unit reps in where he’s notched four goals on the season, tying him for fourth-most in the league on the season.
Connor notched a goal and an assist with three shots as part of his 18:15 of ice time on Monday against the Oilers and I certainly believe similar production could be in store for a player that’s brought a very high floor to the table over the last three seasons.
D – Neal Pionk (WPG) – $4,900 vs. EDM
Completing our three-man Jets stack is Pionk who actually won’t skate on the same power play unit as Stastny and Connor, but is the team’s top offense defenseman by a notable margin.
He’s pretty much done nothing but produce since entering the league. He jumped out of the college ranks to post 14 points in 28 games in his rookie season, but really got going last season when he scored six goals with 45 points and 177 shots on goal in 71 games with the Jets following an off-season trade from the New York Rangers.
This season, he has one goal and 12 points across 15 games so far, putting 25 shots on goal and blocking another 17 to boot. Josh Morrissey is current getting the first-unit power play reps and has averaged 3:19 of power play ice time per game over Pionk’s 1:56 mark, but at the end of the day I’m taking the superior offensive player.
He’a also been wildly consistent of late. He notched five assists in eight January games, but has recorded at least one point in six of seven February contests and is coming off a two-assist night — one on the power play — while skating 24:47 on Monday, good for the third-highest total of his season so far.
The floor here is solid, but I like the consistent production more than anything.
D – Thomas Chabot (OTT) – $4,900 vs. OTT
At this point, he’s the lone ranger in this lineup as I don’t currently have any other Senators penciled in at the moment, but there’s obviously plenty to like about the talented young defender.
Chabot will enter this one with three goals and nine points in 16 games to go along with an extremely healthy 43 shots on goal while he’s also blocked 23 shots as well. His 7% shooting rate, albeit high for a defenseman, is actually pretty much in line with his 6.3% career mark and was probably due for increased puck luck this season after shooting just 3.2% last season.
He’s once again logging big minutes at 25:27 per game, but it’s easy to note that this could be a vulnerable Leafs back end at the moment following the team’s epic collapse on Monday.
The Leafs were due to regress defensively to be sure, and after a rock-solid stretch of games, Frederik Andersen surrendered six goals on 31 shots (.806 Sv%) in Monday’s loss. Ottawa has actually scored 11 goals on just 55 shots on Andersen this season, good for a ghastly .800 Sv%.
It’s also Andersen’s 10th consecutive start, so perhaps some fatigue is setting in as we could certainly look to expand our Senators GPP exposure tonight.
UTIL – Patrick Kane (CHI) – $8,600 vs. DET
If we’re fading the big boys such as McDavid, Draisaitl, Matthews etc. tonight, there’s plenty of cake left on the table, so let’s scoop up a high-octane duo from the Blackhawks, beginning with Kane.
To be honest, this doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Detroit’s defense. Sure, their 3.73 goals against per game last season was the worst in the NHL and their 3.18 mark this season (23rd) isn’t anything to write him about, but their underlying metrics are rock-solid, so I actually see this back end being much closer to league average moving forward.
This simply has to do with the ability to afford a player of Kane’s ilk in a solid matchup. the future Hall of Famer has notched seven goals and 22 points in 15 games to go along with 62 shots on the season. His 22 points puts him fourth in the league and his 62 shots places him in a fourth-place tie with Filip Forsberg.
Clearly, the 32-year-old just continues to produce with the game’s best, but after being held off the scoresheet in his team’s 3-2 OT win over the Wings on Monday, he’s surely going to get back on the scoresheet tonight. He had been held pointless in back-to-back games just once so far this season, but I don’t see it happening again tonight.
UTIL – Alex DeBrincat (CHI) – $6,900 vs. DET
DeBrincat was one of the game’s more disappointing players last season on the heels of a 41-goal season (although his 18 goals in 70 games certainly wasn’t awful), but man has he come back with a vengeance.
He was on the NHL’s protocol list earlier in the season and missed four games as a result, but he’s tallied eight goals and 16 points in his 13 games on the season to go along with 44 shots on goal. He’s tallied three goals and six points on the power play while skating a career-high 19:55 per night this season, partially due to the team’s injuries up front.
His 18.2% shooting rate is well above his 14.6% mark, but DeBrincat shot 18.6% in his 41-goal 2018-19 season and after plummeting all the way to just 8.7% last season, he was due for major shooting-rate regression this time around.
He too was held pointless on Monday, but DeBrincat has yet to be held off the scoresheet in back-to-back games this season and was likely due for a game off following 10 points across his previous six games.
With he and Kane set to skate on the top line and top power play unit together, we should get some serious production out of this duo tonight.
G – Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) – $7,600 vs. EDM
He hasn’t had much success against the Oilers this season, but with ownerships set to be heavy on McDavid and Draisaitl on the short slate, I’ll pivot to Hellebuyck for this one tonight.
In two starts against the Oilers this season, Hellebuyck has yielded nine goals on 71 shots, good for an .873 Sv%, although he’s actually won both of those outings thanks to six goals of support in each contest.
His month of February has been a little volatile, but he’s also allowed two goals or fewer in three of six starts and owns a quality .924 Sv% for the month. That now gives him a 2.58 GAA and .917 Sv% for the season coming off a Vezina Trophy win last season.
To me, there just isn’t a ton of safety on this slate. Lankinen makes sense, but he’ll see plenty of ownership against the low-scoring Wings. You could look at Jacob Markstrom in Vancouver, but the Canucks still boast notable offensive talent. I don’t like either netminder in the Sens/Leafs game and Andersen isn’t worth the price or high ownership in this spot.
So again, with plenty of ownership likely to be on the Oilers’ big guns tonight, let’s see if Hellebuyck can bounce back with a superior effort — and another victory — in this GPP lineup tonight.