Last night’s FanDuel NHL DFS Picks got some solid production within, however our mini-stack had a terrible night and dragged down our production.
For starters, I personally changed my Oilers stack to include Sam Gagner over Zack Kassian as Gagner was moved into Kassian’s spot on the top line. For such updates, make sure follow me on Twitter @BKemp17.
With Gagner, that Oilers stack did quite well as he scored the first goal of the game for them and McDavid scored the second. That duo also combined for 10 shots on goal – five apiece – but unfortunately Josh Archibald was held off the scoresheet and has just one shot and two blocks.
Our Avalanche stack also performed well, although the big boys didn’t quite live up to what I hoped they would bring.
Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen both tallied an assist, but combined for just one shots. The stack was led, however, by Cale Makar who tallied a goal, an assist, three shots and two blocks as part of a big night. MacKinnon has just two assists as part of the Avs’ last 13 goals.
Our Flyers mini-stack was a tough pill to swallow. The Flyers were inexplicably blown out of the water by the visiting Devils by a 5-0 score, a rare egg laid at home by Philly. That said, I also noted on Twitter that it would be Michael Raffl and Matt Niskanen in my Flyers mini-stack as Joel Farabee was ruled out with an illness and Travis Sanheim was removed from the second power play unit with Shayne Gostisbehere returning to the lineup.
That said, it really didn’t matter as Raffl recorded just one shot despite a promotion to the second line while Niskanen recorded three shots and a block.
Finally, Thomas Greiss didn’t have the best night in goal, turning aside just 22 shots and allowing three goals, but at least his teammates rallied back and got him the win in a 5-3 victory over the lowly Kings.
The mini-stack and goaltending hurt an otherwise productive lineup.
Now let’s turn our attention to this four-game Friday night slate!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks & Breakdowns
C – Mika Zibanejad (NYR) – $8,100 vs. BUF
This lineup is going to get started with that will surely be a high-owned stack as the high-scoring Rangers take on a Buffalo Sabres team that is among the worst in hockey right now and are playing their second game in as many nights after dropping a 4-3 shootout decision at home to the lowly Red Wings last night.
The Sabres enter this one ranked 22nd with 3.35 goals against per game on the road this season, but it’s going to be difficult to lower that number in the second half of a back-to-back tongiht with Carter Hutton in goal. Hutton enters this one sporting a 3.30 GAA and .891 Sv% on the season, but has been blasted to the tune of a 3.91 GAA and .883 Sv% across his nine road starts on the season.
For their part, the Rangers are a real strong offense and check into this one tonight ranked fifth with 3.54 goals per game at home this season where their power play sits seventh with a 26% clip. That power play was 0 for 2 against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, but also went 12 for 28 (42.9%) over their previous nine games, so they know how to score and should get a great opportunity to do so against the Sabres and their 30th-ranked road penalty kill of 70.4%.
Enter Zibanejad who has tallied 21 goals and 45 points in 39 games to go along with 138 shots on goal. He’s posted nine goals and 16 points on the power play this season and also 26 points in 21 home games after scoring a goal and an assist on Wednesday against the Maple Leafs. Add it all up and Zibanejad and the Rangers have quite the high ceiling in this matchup tonight.
C – Boone Jenner (CBJ) – $3,700 vs. DET
There’s some serious value upside here with Jenner who will skate on the Blue Jackets’ second line and top power play unit for Jackets against a brutal Red Wings road defense that is also playing their second game in as many nights.
The Blue Jackets are by no means a high-octane offense as they sit 26th with just 2.75 goals per game at home this season, but the Red Wings are just god-awful defensively as they rank last with a whopping 4.19 goals against per game on the road while their penalty kill checks in at 29th on the road with a 72.3% mark, so there’s going to be opportunities for this Blue Jackets offense tonight and Jenner brings a ton of value potential to the lineup as a result.
Jenner enters this one with just eight goals and 17 points in 54 games on the season to go along with 128 shots on goal. He’s actually seen a lot of ice time with 18:01 of average ice time per game, but the production just hasn’t been there. That said, he’s getting a top-six opportunity with Alexander Wennberg sidelined at the moment.
I like that the 26-year-old has notched six goals and 13 points in 28 home games compared to just two goals and four points in 26 road contests, so the splits are certainly in our favor here. Now, Jenner has gone his last 12 games without recording a point, but he skated 19:45 and put six shots on goal his last time out against the Panthers on Tuesday, so he’s on the cusp and I’ll look for him to break through in this super-favorable home matchup.
W – Artemi Panarin (NYR) – $8,200 vs. BUF
He’s not going to skate on the Zibanejad line at 5v5 tonight, but Panarin is going to line up with the Swedish sniper on the team’s white-hot top power play unit and that’s good enough for me. Besides, it’s not a bad idea to get exposure to their top two lines in this matchup tonight.
Interestingly, Panarin didn’t factor in on any of the Rangers’ five goals against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, and he’s notched just one assist over his last three games with the Rangers scoring nine times in that span. That said, he also ranks third in the NHL with 71 points on the season, and you don’t get that far by being held quiet for long periods of time, so we should certainly be looking for him to get back on the scoresheet in this one tonight.
Indeed, Panarin has been more than advertised in his first year on Broadway with those 27 goals and 44 points in 51 games and he’s also put 165 shots on goal. He’s been excellent regardless of where he’s played this season, but he’s been particularly lethal at Madison Square Garden where he’s tallied 14 goals and 40 points in 27 games on the season with 91 shots to boot, good for 3.4 shots per game at home.
That power play has the potential to do some serious damage again tonight, but even if they don’t, I expect plenty of goals to get in behind Hutton tonight.
W – Chris Kreider (NYR) – $6,400 vs. BUF
Same deal here with Kreider except that he does skate with Zibanejad on the team’s top line and also on the top power play unit as well.
Like his center, Kreider also tallied a goal and an assist on Wednesday and now has 19 goals and 37 points in 51 games on the season to go along with 128 shots on goal. He too has been more productive at home, and by far as he has 15 goals and 24 points in 27 home games on the season but just four goals and 13 points in 24 road contests. Kreider has also been on an extended hot streak. He’s scored 12 goals over his last 20 games and has added eight helpers in that time for 20 points over his last 20 games. He was all over it on Wednesday in his return to the lineup after missing one game as he also put five shots on goal in that one and averages an even three shots per game at home compared to just 1.96 per game on the road.
I would look for Kreider to be extra dangerous on the power play where he’s scored six of his 15 goals at home this season, but with the way the rangers have scored at home in all situation it should just be another big all-round game for the power forward.
W – Cam Atkinson (CBJ) – $7,000 vs. DET
Next man up in our three-man Blue Jackets stack will be Atkinson who isn’t having his best season but should see some better puck luck moving forward.
The 30-year-old Atkinson has tallied 12 goals and 26 points on the season in 42 games, but also owns just an 8.8% shooting rate that is well below his 11.6% career mark. If he were to finish the season there, it would easily be a career-low and well under his previous low of 9.7%. Keep in mind that this was a guy that scored 41 goals last season but has seen a notable drop with injuries and with former linemate Panarin signing in New York.
That said, the floor is huge here as Atkinson still puts plenty of pucks on goal with 136 shots in his 42 games, good for 3.2 shots per game which is under his mark from last season but pretty much in line with previous years. He also shoots the puck far more at home where he’s averaged 3.5 shots per game compared to 2.9 at home.
Nonetheless, Atkinson will skate to the right of Jenner on the team’s second line, but we are also getting exposure to both power play units here as it appears Atkinson will skate on the second unit. Nonetheless, I expect production at 5v5 and on the power play tonight, so sign me up for Atkinson, his high floor and super-high ceiling tonight.
W – Jason Spezza (TOR) – $3,300 vs. ANH
After deploying my main stacks and my goaltender, I needed to find a low-cost mini-stack and I believe I have a good one here with the Maple Leafs and veteran Jason Spezza.
The former Senator and Star enters this one with a real solid eight goals and 20 points on the season with that goal total matching his total from each of the last two seasons with the Stars, but those came in 76 and 78 games. At this rate, Spezza is scoring at a 16-goal, 39-point pace which is a huge number for a guy that’s seeing just 10:37 of average ice time per game, mostly on the fourth line but also second unit power play minutes as well.
Playing for the high-octane Maple Leafs helps as Spezza is part of the NHL’s best offense since the end of November when Sheldon Keefe took over but also the best power play in that time too – by far – with a 32.9% clip in that time, a 31-game sample size.
The high-octane Maple Leafs get a nice matchup with a 19th-ranked Ducks defense, but also one that’s playing its second game in as many nights over dropping an OT decision last night in Montreal. Add it up and I think there’s a nice opportunity for Spezza to deliver some value to get our mini-stack started tonight.
D – Zach Werenski (CBJ) – $6,800 vs. DET
Completing this three-man Blue Jackets stack tonight is Werenski who will skate with Jenner and Atkinson at 5v5, of course, but also with Jenner on the team’s top power play unit.
After bagging the OT winner over the Panthers on Wednesday, Werenski moved to 16 goals on the season which is the most in the league among defensemen. He’s added another 16 assists for 32 points in 47 games on the season, a fantastic number for a defenseman that skates on a low-scoring offensive team. Like the teammates and the members in this stack, Werenski does the majority of his damage at home as he’s notched 11 goals and 20 points in 25 home games compared to just five goals and 12 points in 22 road contests. He’s also shooting the puck more at home as well and seeing more than a minute increase in ice time at home.
The aforementioned OT winner actually snapped a nine-game goalless drought for the talented young defenseman, so perhaps he can go on a little run like he did enter the New Year when he scored seven goals in a five-game span. We probably won’t see him do that again this season, but there’s little doubt he will get some chances to light the lamp again tonight.
D – Rasmus Sandin (TOR) – $3,700 vs. ANH
Completing this Maple Leafs mini-stack is the young defenseman Sandin who will skate with Spezza on the team’s second power play unit and I will look for that unit to do something tonight,
For both players in this mini-stack, the second unit power play time is a notable chunk of their ice time as Spezza sees under 11 minutes of ice time per game while Sandin is averaging just 13:41 of ice time per game in his 14 NHL games this season.
He’s certainly made good use of those minutes, however, with a goal and seven points in those 14 games. That said, he’s been much better in what is his second stint with the team this year as he’s tallied a goal and five points in his eight games since getting called back up following the World Junior Championship where he earned top defenseman honors.
At 19 years of age Sandin is awfully poised out there and his skill level is off the chart, especially at the offensive end of the ice. The floor isn’t terribly high, but against a Ducks road penalty kill that ranks 26th with a 75.3% mark and also one that’s posted just a 66.7% mark over its last four games, the value potential is big for this matchup tonight.
G – Jack Campbell (TOR) – $7,600 vs. ANH
With Frederik Andersen sidelined with a neck injury, the Maple Leafs went to backup Michael Hutchinson who certainly wasn’t getting the job done in Andersen’s absence. A goaltender acquisition was needed and GM Kyle Dubas went out and got Jack Campbell (and Kyle Clifford) from the Kings after Wednesday’s loss in New York to (hopefully) shore up the need in goal for a team that needs wins from someone not named Andersen in goal.
Campbell enters this one sporting a 2.85 GAA and .900 Sv% in 20 games with the Kings this season, but that’s a bad Kings defensive club. He also posted a 2.30 GAA and .928 Sv% with the Kings last season, but went just 10-14-1 thanks to a severe lack of goal support. He should get much more goal support from his new teammates in Toronto and the Maple Leafs have a ton of win upside tonight at -240 odds to win this one on the moneyline.
In his Maple Leafs debut, Campbell will face a familiar opponent in the Ducks, but one that ranks just 29th with 2.28 goals per game on the road and 30th with a 12.7% clip on the power play away from home.
Whether Campbell gives the Maple Leafs what they need from him the remainder of the season remains to be seen, but for tonight I like his chances of delivering surplus value in this matchup.