It was another fine night with my optimal FanDuel NHL DFS picks last night as we got some production from some low-owned assets while our goaltender stood tall.
The high-priced trio of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog did some damage, mostly on Rantanen’s part. Rantanen scored two of the three Avalanche goals on the night and added three shots while MacKinnon notched an assist, four shots and a block. Landeskog was held pointless while offering a shot and a block
My three-man Canadiens stack produced solid results as we didn’t score any of the three Canadiens goals but Max Domi tallied a pair of assists and a shot on goal while Shea Weber notched one assist himself to go along with two shots and two blocks. Joel Armia was held off the scoresheet, but delivered strong peripherals with four shots and three blocks to boot.
Our Bruins mini-stack did a decent job, mostly on the part of Charlie McAvoy who notched an assist, a shot and three blocks while Brett Ritchie couldn’t bring value to the table with just one shot on goal.
Finally, Cayden Primeau has a shutout going into the third period of last night’s game against the Senators, however the Sens scored a pair of late goals to send the game into overtime. However, the Habs scored the OT winner and Primeau earned the win by turning aside 35 of 37 shots (.946 Sv%) and delivered excellent value at his small $7,200 price.
It was a profitable night again and we’ll look to keep rolling on tonight’s much bigger 12-game main slate!
C – Mark Scheifele (WPG) – $7,800 vs. DET
Once again I am going to spin this lineup as an optimal lineup that can fit in double ups, head-to-heads and GPPs as it will contain some high-owned players that should provide a good base but will also have some lower-owned players that I believe are in spots to succeed tonight. The lineup kicks off with Scheifele who we rostered just two days ago and he rewarded us with a goal on home ice. Now the Jets hit to the road to take on possible the worst team of the salary cap era. The Red Wings are both the worst offense and the worse defense by a mile this season, but we’ll target the defense that ranks last with 4.00 goals against per game on the season and last on home ice with 3.75 goals against per game. The Jets, meanwhile, own some interesting home/road splits. Contrary to years past, the Jets have struggled to score on home ice where they’ve usually dominated offensively, however they’ll enter this one ranked eighth with 3.19 goals per game on the road this season. Scheifele is the team’s top-line center at 5v5 and on the power play, so there should be a real solid floor here as he’ll enter this one with 14 goals and 30 points in 31 games on the campaign.
C – Derek Stepan (ARI) – $4,600 vs. CHI
The Arizona Coyotes will play host to the Chicago Blackhawks tongiht on home ice and I think we’ll be able to get the ‘Yotes at reasonable ownership against a Blackhawks team that allows plenty of shots on goal and has relied heavily on goaltending to keep them afloat at the defensive end. The Blackhawks rank 18th with 3.21 goals against per game on the road this season despite tying for sixth with a solid .915 Sv% from Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford away from home this season. The Blackhawks were dominated in a 5-1 home loss to the Golden Knights on Tuesday while being outshot by a 37-29 margin, which is nothing new for this team. The Blackhawks rank dead last with 37.9 shots against per game on the road this season, so we should get a nice floor from this Coyotes stack, especially considering the Blackhawks are beat up on the blueline with Olli Maatta and Duncan Keith out of the lineup at the moment. Enter Stepan who is skating as the team’s second-line center, although I’d consider his line the Coyotes’ best. He hasn’t had the best season in which he has just five goals and 11 points in 33 games, although he’s due to score more as his 7.1% shooting percentage is well under his 9.7% career mark. He does have seven points in 15 home games so let’s see if he can bring some value to this lineup tonight
W – Patrik Laine (WPG) – $7,900 vs. DET
Next man up in our three-man Jets stack will be Laine who also delivered us a goal when we rostered him on Tuesday. If you read that piece a couple of days ago, you would have notched I was big on Laine’s positive goal-scoring regression as judged by his shooting percentage this season. While his goal the other night was a beauty while splitting the defensemen and deeking out the goaltender, Laine has made a living in his NHL career with his quick-strike ability thanks to one of the deadliest one-timer in the game. As a result, he’s managed a very high career shooting percentage of 15.3% thanks to his plethora of high-percentage shots, however even after scoring five goals over his last 10 games, Laine’s current 10.1% shooting percentage this season is still over 5% under his career mark. As a result, I am still expecting him to rack up the goals moving forward as we’ve seen this guy go on some historic goal-scoring binges so far in his young NHL career. He’s skating with Scheifele on the top line and top power play unit at the moment where I’m expecting more goals for him as he’s scored just two man advantage goals this season after scoring 35 over the last two years.
W – Kyle Connor (WPG) – $6,500 vs. DET
Like Laine, Connor is going to skate alongside Scheifele on the team’s top line and top power play unit. Also like Laine, Connor is due to regress positively in the goal-scoring department. This is a guy that has scored at least 31 goals in each of the last two seasons, and his 11 goals in 31 games this season puts him just shy of that total in a full 82-game campaign. However, Connor is putting more shots on goal this season than ever before as he’s racked up 102 shots across his 31 games this season, good for a 269-shot pace which would shatter his career-high of 227 posted just last season in a full 82 games. As a result, his solid 11 goals on those 102 shots this season results in a 10.8% shooting percentage that is falling well under his 14.3% mark for his career. I’m not saying that shooting percentages can’t notably dip from year-to-year and perhaps he’s taking less high-percentage shots this season, however this matchup tonight offers a wonderful opportunity for Connor’s perceived positive goal-scoring regress to take effect. He’s logging more than 20 minutes per game on average and a ton of power play usage, so there’s both a high floor and a sky-high ceiling with the 23-year-old in this one tonight.
W – Clayton Keller (ARI) – $5,600 vs. CHI
The Coyotes enter this one ranked just 2.67 goals per game on home ice this season which ranks them 28th in the league, however they also scored three goals on these Blackhawks in Chicago on Sunday and with how depleted and vulnerable the Blackhawks looked two nights later against Vegas, I’m looking for the rare Coyotes offensive explosion in this one tonight. It’s been a solid season so far for the 21-year-old considering his age and the fact that the Coyotes simply haven’t score much this season as he’s tallied five goals and 21 points across 33 games. However, he’s also taken a healthy 90 shots on goal and his resulting 5.6% shooting percentage is both a tiny number and one that sits well under his 8.4% career mark, so add him to the list of players in this lineup that should score more goals moving forward. It is a little bit concerning, however, that he does own such a low career shooting percentage after posting a small 7% mark last season while he has scored just two power play goals over his last 115 games. The Coyotes home power play actually hasn’t been bad at all with their 21.7% mark tied for 14th, however Keller just hasn’t been scoring the goals, but rather setting them up with 10 power play assists this season after posting 18 a season ago. At the end of the day, I want his goal-scoring regression to edge back towards his career mean tonight.
W – Barclay Goodrow (SJ) – $3,800 vs. NYR
It’s time to dig for some value here as there are some high-priced players in this lineup, however Goodrow has a path to production in this home matchup against the Rangers tonight. For one, Goodrow is set to skate to the right of Logan Couture on the team’s top line that also includes Evander Kane. Secondly, the Rangers enter this one ranked 30th with 36.6 shots against per game on the season on the road, so there’s a strong chance Goodrow could get a few shots on goal in this one tonight while skating with the best offensive players the Sharks have to offer. Finally, the Sharks fired head coach Peter DeBoer on Wednesday night, so I expect this team to come out hungry now a chance has been made as they should be desperate to get points and move their way back up the Western Conference standings. After all, it’s not like we’re getting a guy who hasn’t produced offensively this season as Goodrow has tallied six goals and 13 points in 33 games this season while he carries solid peripherals in the form of 47 shots but also 30 blocked shots as well, the latter a high number for a forward. He’s also seeing one tick under 15 minutes per game on average, a good number for a player who doesn’t see power play time. I think there’s significant value upside in this play tonight.
D – Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ARI) – $4,900 vs. CHI
Completing our three-man Coyotes stack is Ekman-Larsson who will form a stack with Stepan and Keller at 5v5 but also on the Coyotes’ top power play unit, a good one as just noted above in the Keller spot. The 28-year-old Ekman-Larsson isn’t exactly enjoying his best offensive season as he’s tallied just two goals and 11 points in 33 games on the season, but he’s also put a solid 66 shots on goal and blocked another 38 himself. Keep in mind this is a guy that has scored at least 12 goals in each of the last seven non-lockout seasons and exactly 14 in each of the last two seasons. As a result, he’s been able to maintain a high shooting percentage – for a defenseman – in his career with a mark of 7.5%. However, his two goals on 66 shots this season represents a 3% shooting percentage, much less than half of his career mark. So, you guessed it, Ekman-Larsson is yet another player in this lineup that appears due to score at a higher clip moving forward. Of course, the low-scoring Coyotes have plenty of players shooting below career norms and maybe not all of them regress positively, but this matchup against a team that allowed a ton of shots on goal presents a wonderful opportunity for this three-man stack to break out of their shooting percentage slumps.
D – Brent Burns (SJ) – $6,100 vs. NYR
Man, imagine that Burns was a player that was over $8,000 at times over the last few seasons, so getting him at this bargain price of $6,100 seems like a steal. Of course, he’s not producing as much as he has in the past as the Sharks’ offense has regressed on the whole this season, but Burns indeed remains a productive defenseman and one that still puts plenty of pucks on goal. Add in the fact that tonight’s opponent allowed more shots than any other team on the road this season and we could have something to work with in terms of the floor and possible sky-high ceiling that Burns can bring to the table. He’ll enter this one with five goals and 21 points across 33 games this season to go along with 90 shots on goal and another 38 blocked shots as well. From an offensive standpoint, that’s excellent production for a defenseman even if it is lower than we are used to. For what it’s worth, we won’t talk about his god-awful -21 in this piece. His shooting percentage of 5.6% this season is under his 6.9% mark for his career, but Burns has seen his shooting percentage decline over the last couple of seasons anyways. I’m not so much looking for positive goal-scoring regression but plenty of shots on goal, perhaps a block or two and some offensive production against a team sporting the worst road peripherals in the league.
G – John Gibson (ANA) – $7,800 vs. LA
Completing this lineup in goal will be Anaheim’s John Gibson as he lines up for a home matchup with the rival L.A. Kings tonight. The Ducks MVP each and every season has seen his numbers regress a little bit this season as he’ll enter this one sporting a 2.82 GAA and .910 S% on the season, solid numbers but under his 2.46 GAA and .920 Sv% for his brilliant career to this point. Given his workload and the fact that the Ducks are outplayed far more often than not these days, it’s understandable why Gibson isn’t posting Vezina-type numbers this time around. However, the matchup tonight is right. The Kings enter this one sporting the NHL’s 30th-ranked offense with just 2.00 goals per game, however they also rank second with 34.2 shots per game on the road. It’s an interesting combination of stats, but what they do is provide him the opportunity to both prevent goals while racking up plenty of saves – an ideal combination for an DFS goaltender. There’s also the fact that the Kings are an awful 2-12-1 on the road this season and the Ducks are -140 moneyline favorites in this one, so the win upside is there as well. Finally, with his 2.55 GAA and .920 S% at home, I’m not going to hesitate to use him at an attractive price in an appealing matchup tonight.