We have a nine-game NHL main slate to dive into tonight, so let’s unleash some cash-aimed picks and see if we can get on the right side of those cash lines!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – March 9, 2021
C – Sebastian Aho (CAR) – $7,100 vs. NSH
The Hurricanes have themselves a fine matchup tonight as they take on the scuffling Predators who are allowing their fair share of goals this season.
Nashville will enter this one ranked 28th with 3.35 goals against per game on the season, but I certainly also want to target a penalty kill that ranks 29th with a 70.2% mark on the season. This will be a common theme throughout this lineup, for what it’s worth.
While we’re targeting one of the league’s weakest penalty kills, we’ll be doing so with one of the league’s better power play as Carolina ranks fourth with a 29.5% clip on the power play while their offense on the whole sits third with 3.38 goals per game on the campaign.
In a cash lineup, I wanted to load up the Canes’ top power play unit with the highest shot-volume players on the team. For his part, Aho will indeed skate on that top group and ranks fifth on the team with 62 shots on goal for the season. He’s also notched nine goals and 22 points across 24 games for the season, but is hot entering this one with three goals and five points over his last four games, putting 15 shots on goal in that time, or 3.75 per game.
The team’s No. 1 center certainly has a high ceiling in this matchup tonight.
C – Nicklas Backstrom (WSH) – $6,400 vs. NJ
Same theme here as we’ll load up a talented power play with the Washington Capitals, only this time we’re targeting the very worst penalty kill in the NHL.
Indeed, the Devils have posted a ghastly 65.1% mark on the penalty kill this season, easily the worst mark in the league behind the Red Wings and their 69.9%. I’ll add that I realize a Lightning fade against the Wings tonight is risky in cash games, but for cost sake I’m going elsewhere in search of additional value across the board.
For their part, the Capitals’ man advantage is clicking at a seventh-ranked 26.2% mark on the season, but has actually gone 0 for 11 over its last six games. I suppose you could say it’s due for an explosion and this matchup is the best possible opportunity for that to take place.
Otherwise, the Caps rank eighth with 3.21 goals per game on the season while the Devils sit tied for 20th with 3.05 goals against per game.
For his part, Backstrom is having a typical Backstrom season that includes 27 points in 24 games so far. He’s actually scored 10 goals in those 24 games and while we can expect his 21.3% shooting rate to slip moving forward, he remains an elite player-maker with a massive opportunity for power play production tonight.
W – Andrei Svechnikov (CAR) – $6,100 vs. NSH
Much of the same story here with Svechnikov as it is with Aho.
I want to set my floor with plenty of shots, and Svechnikov sits second on the team with 70 shots on goal in his 24 games this season. He’s notched eight goals and 20 points in those 24 contests and his 11.4% shooting rate for the season is right in line with his 11.8% career mark.
The 20-year-old has also recorded nearly half of his points on the power play with three goals and nine man-advantage points on the campaign.
At such a young age, it’s clear we have one of the best developing young goal-scorers in the NHL. He scored 20 goals across 82 games in his rookie year and took the appropriate step forward with 24 across the shortened 68-game season last year, good for a 29-goal pace in a full 82 games. His eight goals in 24 games this season calls for a 27-goal pace in 82 games, so while he’s not on pace to set a new career-high, his pace from the last season and change puts him near 30 goals twice at the age of 20.
I like the fact that he has a goal and three points in his last two games after recording just one helper over his previous six, so let’s look for the youngster to continue his modest streak in an extremely favorable matchup tonight.
W – Alex Ovechkin (WSH) – $8,100 vs. NJ
I’m sure you saw this one coming from a mile away as perhaps the greatest goal-scorer of all-time isn’t going to be kept out of my cash lineup in this matchup.
Ovechkin missed some time after a protocol slip earlier in the season, but is once again having a fine season. His numbers aren’t outrageous — at least by his standards — with eight goals and 18 points in 20 games, good for 33 goals and 74 points in an 82-game regular season. That said, the Russian sniper has pounded 79 shots on goal in his 20 games, coming in a hair under four shots per game. It’s well under his career pace, but we’re taking that all day long in this matchup.
Also by his lofty standard, he’s fairly cold entering this one, having scored just three goals over his last 12 games, although he did get off the schneid with a tally his last time out on Sunday while he’s also put a whopping 16 shots on goal in three March games to this point.
With the Devils penalty kill being the worst in the league and their high-danger chances against/60 sitting 25th, as per Natural Stat Trick, it’s probably a good idea to get the first-ballot Hall of Famer into this lineup this evening.
D – Dougie Hamilton (CAR) – $5,500 vs. NSH
With Hamilton we get another arm of one of the league’s best power play units, but also a player who shoots the puck a ton and is due to start filling the cage moving forward.
Hamilton actually leads the Hurricanes with 72 shots on goal this season, but has just a single tally to show for it. His resulting 1.4% shooting rate sits miles under his 6.2% career mark while he’s never finished an NHL season below 5.3%. In other words, pucks are going to start going in for the 27-year-old, and soon.
In addition to the high shot volume and positive goal-scoring regression on the horizon, Hamilton has racked up 16 assists in 24 games on the season and he’s also blocked nearly a shot per game to boot.
From a production standpoint, he’s been hot despite having not scored since Feb. 7 with six assists over his last five games and 15 shots on goal in that time.
Of course, we’re targeting the power play here, so getting the PP1 quarterback with 10 of his 17 points for the season via the man advantage is something we should be seriously considering tonight against a very subpar PK.
D – John Carlson (WSH) – $6,300 vs. NJ
We’ll complete our second three-man stack of the night as well as our second PP1 stack of the night here with Carlson against the Devils.
It’s been a ho-hum season for Carlson as he just continues to produce, tallying five goals and 20 points in 24 games to go along with 60 shots on goal and another 29 shots as well. Seven of those 20 points have come on the power play, but three of his five goals have also come on the man advantage.
He too has been quiet of late with just one point — an assist — over his last four games following a torrid stretch, but that helper came his last time out on Sunday, so perhaps another hot stretch has begun.
Perhaps some goal-scoring regression is to be had here as Carlson’s 8.3% shooting rate is not only well above his 6.1% career mark but would also go down as a career-high figure if the season ended today. Still, we have another power play anchor here, a player skating in excess of 24 minutes a night on one of the NHL’s best offensive clubs against a subpar defense and brutal penalty kill.
T.J. Oshie makes sense in this lineup as well, but Carlson is the one with the higher floor so I’ll put him on my fine-looking blueline in this lineup.
UTIL – Alexander Kerfoot (TOR) – $4,100 vs. WPG
This is where the power play theme comes to a conclusion as Kerfoot isn’t currently scheduled for any power play time tonight, and while that’s subject to change, I love the opportunity at 5v5 for the speedster.
No, the floor isn’t a big one with just 28 shots in 26 games while he’s scored four goals and 12 points in those 26 contests. However, skating in a top-six role one of the best offenses in the league against one of the worst 5v5 defenses makes big-time sense here.
Kerfoot will skate on the Leafs’ second line alongside John Tavares and William Nylander for this one tonight, two players who have caught fire of late despite Kerfoot registering just one assist over his last seven games.
The Maple Leafs rank second with 3.46 goals per game on the season, and while the Jets are tied for 12th with 2.83 goals against per game, they also rank 29th in scoring chances against/60, dead last in high-danger scoring chances against/60 and 30th in expected goals against/60 at 5v5 this season. Meanwhile, the Leafs are third in scoring chances for/60, 10th in high-danger chances for/60 and sixth in expected goals for/6o at 5v5 this season.
It’s a weak Jets defense and a dynamite Maple Leafs offense, and with his top-six role, I’ll give Kerfoot a shot tonight.
UTIL – Ilya Mikheyev (TOR) – $3,900 vs. WPG
It’s not exactly a mini-stack as Mikheyev skates on the Maple Leafs’ third line and also gets no power play time, but this could be one of the sneakier plays on the slate.
First thing to note here is the elite speed this guy has. Here’s a good example as he wins a fascinating one-on-one footrace with Connor McDavid last week in Edmonton, eventually winning the puck as well.
— NHL (@NHL) March 4, 2021
He’s used that speed to generate plenty of chances this season, but has capitalized for just three goals on 52 shots. His resulting 5.8% shooting rate is a tiny one while only six of the 107 players to record at least 52 shots have an inferior shooting rate.
Given his speed and the havoc he wreaks on opposing defenders, I love the matchup here against this weak Jets blueline. They give up plenty of chances, Mikheyev generates plenty of chances and is one of the most dangerous penalty killers in the league.
I’m not in search of low ownership here in a cash lineup, but here’s a guy that shoots the puck a good amount with speed to burn, and I’m willing to bet on his positive goal-scoring regression in a fine matchup tonight.
G – Sergei Bobrovsky (FLA) – $7,600 vs. CBJ
I’m fully aware of the risk of rostering the inconsistent Bobrovsky in a cash lineup. However, we simply could not have afforded Andrei Vasilevskiy against the Wings tonight, and honestly I don’t see a whole lot of high-end options other than Bobrovsky’s countryman, so I’m going to rely on the numbers in this one.
For starters, the Panthers are tied for 12th with 2.83 goals against per game while the Blue Jackets rank 26th while averaging 2.62 goals per game. Good start.
Secondly, however, are the advanced metrics that are at opposite ends of the spectrum. For the Panthers, they rank first in scoring chances against/60, first in high-danger chances against/60 and fourth in expected goals against/60 at 5v5. It appears they are protecting their goaltenders in a big way.
For the Jackets, they rank last in scoring chances for/60, last in high-danger chances for/60 and 30th in expected goals for/60 at 5v5. It appears as if they are struggling mightily to generate much of anything offensively.
That’s a heck of a start, but Bobrovsky still needs to hold up his end of the bargain. He’s been wildly inconsistent for the second straight season in Florida, turning in a 3.02 GAA and .900 Sv% that rivals his 3.23 GAA and .900 Sv% from last season, his first in Sunrise.
However, I like the fact he’s coming off a winning effort that included 28 saves on 30 shots (.933 Sv%) while he’s posted a .926 mark or better in three of his last five starts and a .909 mark or better in four of his last five.
Given the general lack of safety behind Vasilevskiy, I’ll roll with Bobrovsky as the numbers tell us this is a major mismatch in favor of the Panthers.