It was an extremely disappointing effort from the Dallas Stars that sank our DraftKings NHL DFS Picks from last night.
I couldn’t have been more confident in the Stars’ ability to pump the visiting Blackhawks in a matchup ripe for the taking, however they managed just two goals. We did get involved in both of those goals, however, as Tyler Seguin scored one and Alexander Radulov assisted on the other. Still, it was a very disappointing overall performance.
We snuck some value out of Nazem Kadri as he notched a goal and an assist in the Maple Leafs’ 6-1 win over the visiting Florida Panthers, although fading the top guns didn’t pay off as Matthews, Tavares, Marner and Morgan Rielly all had huge nights. William Nylander missed the scoresheet.
Our three-man Blue Jackets stack also stunk the joint out, combining for a total of zero points.
Finally, Ben Bishop did not fare well in allowing three goals in 27 shots in the eventual 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks.
It was certainly a night to forget, so let’s move onto tonight’s three-game Friday night slate!
*Tonight’s lineup is aimed at GPPs as I am fading some of the high-floor players on a small slate.
C – Travis Zajac (NJ) – $3,900 vs. OTT
The Devils host the Senators tonight and I believe this will be a goal-filled game featuring the league’s worst road offense and a team in the Devils that has struggled to keep the puck out of their net as of late. I will kick the lineup off with Zajac, a player I believe holds a ton of value upside as he is set to skate alongside Taylor Hall at both even strength and on the Devils’ top power play unit. That’s certainly a favorable position to be in, and one that stems from Zajac’s solid output so far this season. The 33-year-old veteran has notched 10 goals and 19 points in 33 games this year, putting him on pace for a solid 47-point season over a full 82 games which would be his highest mark since posting 48 points in the 2013-14 season. Zajac is still logging a ton of ice time for the Devils at 18:37 per game and along with Hall, should be able to take advantage of the Senators and their league-worse 4.75 goals against per game on the road.
C – J.T. Compher (COL) – $4,200 vs. CHI
We loaded up on the Stars against the Blackhawks last night to not much avail, however the Blackhawks face an extremely difficult task in Colorado tonight in their second game in as many night. Despite the solid performance last night, the Blackhawks still rank 29th with 4.11 goals against per game away from home. Therefore, I want some Avalanche exposure, beginning here with Compher who will skate on the team’s second line, but more importantly on the team’s top power play unit alongside their star-studded top line that has shredded the rest of the league this season. Compher is a sneaky play tonight as he is actually producing heavily to the tune of eight goals and 12 points in 19 games along with 36 shots on goal. The 22.2% shooting percentage isn’t likely to last, but for tonight the matchup is excellent at this cost. He has two goals and five points in the power play and actually has two short-handed goals as well, so perhaps some bonus short-handed points could be in the works tonight.
W – Taylor Hall (NJ) – $7,100 vs. OTT
One of the highest-floor players on the slate is Hall, but we are fading the Capitals’ big guns, the Sabres’ big guns and a couple of the Avalanche big guns, so there’s no reason to believe you can’t use Hall in a GPP lineup tonight in an extremely favorable matchup against the Sens. Hall has fallen off the pace of his MVP-performance from last season when he tallied 93 points in just 76 games, but he still has nine goals and 33 points in 31 contests this time around. Keep in mind Hall is shooting at just 8.8% this season, well under his 10.8% career mark. He brings a nice foundation to the lineup with his 102 shots on the season while he has two goals and five helpers across seven games in the month of December. Logging almost 20 minutes per game should get Hall plenty of opportunities to get his name on the scoresheet against by far the league’s worst road defense tonight.
W – Mark Stone (OTT) – $6,000 vs. NJ
The Senators are brutal defensively, but the Devils have been pretty poor themselves in that department. Despite allowing two goals in two of their last three, the Devils allowed seven goals to the Maple Leafs on Tuesday and have allowed 4.40 goals against per game over their last 10. Furthermore, they have allowed an average of five goals against per game over their last four at home. I think that’s a recipe for some Ottawa offense tonight and I will stick with their best offensive weapon in 26-year-old Mark Stone. The free agent to be is having a nice contract year with 16 goals and 39 points in 35 games on a surprisingly potent Senators offensive attack. He has added 82 shots on goal and 29 blocks to his resume as well. He enters this one sporting a hot hand with a goal and three helpers over his last three games while he has five goals and six assists across nine games for the month of December.
W – Brady Tkachuk (OTT) – $5,000 vs. NJ
Like I did earlier in the week, I like the upside Tkachuk brings at this price and in this matchup tonight. He rewarded my faith with a goal in a GPP-aimed lineup on Monday against the Predators, his second point in as many games after going eight straight games without a point. He already has 10 goals and 18 points in 24 games, certainly some healthy stats for a 19-year-old rookie. Tkachuk has done so on 63 shots and a reasonable 15.9% shooting percentage, so I’m not worried about a whole lot of regression in the goal column with the kid. I actually like his upside given he broke out of a lengthy slump with two points over his last two games, and there’s certainly room for more against this struggling Devils defense tonight in New Jersey.
D – Thomas Chabot (OTT) – $5,600 vs. NJ
The NHL’s second-leading point-getter among defensemen, Chabot brings an excellent floor to this lineup tonight at the Prudential Center. It’s been a wonderful second season for the young blueliner as he’s tallied 10 goals and 36 points in 35 games with that point total sitting second to the Maple Leafs’ Morgan Rielly and his 40 points. Chabot not only hits the scoresheet on the regular, but he’s also delivering in the peripherals as well with 94 shots and 64 blocks so far on the campaign. With some of their recent work on the back end, the Devils have slipped to 22nd in home defense this season, allowing 3.07 goals per game on home ice. The Sens’ 2.94 goals per game on the road this season is in a three-way tie for 10th, so there is certainly room for some Sens offense tonight. Chabot completes a three-man stack at even strength as well as on the Senators’ top power play unit.
D – Will Butcher (NJ) – $3,200 vs. OTT
Butcher is a low-floor player which is a given at this price, but the value upside is immense in a home date with the Sens. Butcher completes a three-man stack at even strength and on the top power play unit, the latter of which holds immense value in my mind. Being the lone defenseman on the Devils’ top power play unit is a nice place to be tonight considering the Senators not only rank as the league’s worst road defense, but also the 24th-ranked road penalty kill and 30th-ranked overall penalty kill. Butcher enjoyed a big rookie season last year with 44 points in 81 games, 23 of which came on the power play. This season, he has just two goals and 10 points in 32 games, but seven of those 10 points have come with the man advantage. For tonight, I’m looking for Butcher to add to his totals in a fantastic matchup alongside Hall and Zajac on that power play.
G – Philipp Grubauer (COL) – $8,200 vs. CHI
He’s the highest-priced goaltender on the slate, but there’s no reason to dislike Grubauer and his matchup with the Blackhawks tonight. Chicago’s road offense ranks in the middle of the pack, however the Avalanche are the slate’s heaviest-priced favorite at -240 to win this one tonight. Keep in mind Chicago is playing their second game in as many nights. Grubauer’s surface 3.05 GAA and .904 Sv% are certainly mediocre figures, however he’s coming off one of the best performances of his season as he turned aside 35 of 36 shots in a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. He’s made just four starts and five appearances at home this season, but he’s an encouraging 3-1-1 in those outings. There is a safety element to Grubauer that I’m not seeing with any other netminder on the slate, so sign me up for the German netminder tonight.
UTIL – Gabriel Landeskog (COL) – $6,700 vs. CHI
We get one more slice of the Avalanche pie tonight with Landeskog as he forms a mini-stack with Compher on that Avalanche top power play unit. No, it’s not the insanely high floor that the MacKinnon/Rantanen duo brings to the table, but if the Avalanche do damage on the power play tonight, I feel comfortable with this exposure in a GPP lineup. Landeskog is having himself a season with 23 goals and 42 points in 35 games on the campaign to go along with 108 shots on goal. He’s white-hot entering this one with four goals over his last three games and eight goals across nine December contests. He’s also averaged five shots on goal over his last five games. The Avs should certainly produce some offense tonight, and in a risky move, I am looking for that offense to come from the Landeskog/Compher duo, most likely on the power play.