We took a step back with last night’s FanDuel NHL DFS Picks as there were some decisions that came back to bite me.
One of those decisions was to roster defenseman Ivan Provorov over forward Jakub Voracek in my Flyers stack. Claude Giroux scored twice, but both Provorov and Sean Couturier were held off the scoresheet. Couturier did put five shots on goal, but Provorov logged just two blocks. It was hard to argue with Provorov’s value upside, but Voracek’s two assists and three shots would have helped the lineup.
Our three-man Panthers stack didn’t go a ton of damage, either. It wasn’t silent as we got a goal from Jonathan Huberdeau, but he actually moved off the Barkov line and skated with Mike Hoffman and Erik Haula, and that was the line to own as those two combined for a goal and two assists. Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov were held pointless on the night.
Another decision that hurt was using Tyler Ennis in the Oilers mini-stack over Alex Chiasson who skates on the top power play unit and would have formed a PP1 mini-stack with Oscar Klefbom. Chiasson tallied a goal and an assist while Ennis and Klefbom were both held off the scoresheet.
Finally, a decision that certainly went our way was using goaltender Chris Driedger of the Florida Panthers. Driedger made 33 saves on 34 shots on goal and came within 12 minutes of a shutout in a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Nonetheless, he delivered a ton of value as expected.
At the end of the day there were too many holes in the lineup, something I’ll look to fill on this five-game Sunday main slate.
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks & Breakdowns
C – Elias Pettersson (VAN) – $6,600 vs. CBJ
The Canucks and Blue Jackets square off for a rare meeting tonight in Vancouver, although the two teams played a thriller this past week in Columbus.
While the Canucks came out on the wrong end of that one, they’re in a good position to exact revenge tonight as the Blue Jackets will be playing their second game in as many nights tonight after taking a 4-1 loss last night in Edmonton. This is a Blue Jackets team that was playing some elite defense and getting dominant goaltending for a stretch, but they’ve softened in those departments of late. After allowing four more goals in Edmonton last night, the Jackets have yielded at least four goals in eight of their last 12 and have averaged 3.92 goals against per game during that time.
It should be Elvis Merzlikins getting the nod tonight after Joonas Korpisalo took the loss last night, and Merzlikins struggled to the tune of an .872 Sv% over his last five appearances before getting injured and he last started back on February 24th. While he owns a nice 2.39 GAA and .922 Sv% on the season, he also owns a 3.03 GAA and .900 Sv% and a 5-6-5 record on the road.
Enter Pettersson who has notched 26 goals and 64 points in 66 games this season while he’s been excellent on the power play where he’s tallied eight goals and 24 points. He’s tallied four points over his last three games and skates as the team’s top center at 5v5 and on the top power play unit. His opportunity is big in this one tonight.
C – William Karlsson (VGK) – $6,400 vs. CGY
I look at a ton of NHL stats on a daily basis, yet somehow I mostly missed how poor the Calgary Flames have been defensively on home ice.
Entering this one tonight, the Flames rank 29th with 3.31 goals against per game at home this season and that’s with a solid home penalty kill that sits in a share of 13th with an 82.4% mark on the season. As a result, the Flames have been getting bitten at 5v5 a ton at home this season, and while my three-man Golden Knights stack will be a PP1 stack as well, I think there’s a nice opportunity for the Golden Knights to regain the Pacific Division lead in this one tonight.
For their part, the Golden Knights are tied for 17th with 2.88 goals per game on the road this season where their power play has struggled with a sub-15% mark away from home, but nonetheless I see offense in their future in this one.
Karlsson likely will never reach the same heights that saw him score 43 goals in Vegas’ inaugural season two years ago, but he’s still been productive with 15 goals and 44 points in 61 games this season and actually more productive on the road where he’s tallied 20 points in 25 games (0.80 points per game) compared to 24 points in 36 home games (0.67 points per game). He’s also been productive of late, notching five goals and seven points over his last six games, so let’s see if he can stay hot in a nice road matchup tonight.
W – J.T. Miller (VAN) – $7,000 vs. CBJ
Miller has made his general manager look like a genius this season.
Canucks GM Jim Benning raised some eyebrows when he traded a first-round pick to the Lightning for Miller at the draft, an odd deal at the time considering Miller was coming off a 47-point season on a lethal Tampa Bay team. Not terrible production, but seemingly not worthy of a first-round pick for a Canucks team that was supposedly still in a rebuild.
Nonetheless, Miller has come to Vancouver and exploded for a career-year that’s included 27 goals and 71 points in 67 games to go along with 162 shots on goal. He’s also been beastly on the man advantage where he’s tallied nine goals and 24 points on the season.
Miller’s been even better on home ice where he’s notched 40 points in 33 games compared to 31 points in 34 road contests, and it makes sense as the Canucks are also much better on offense at home. They sit second in the NHL with a whopping 3.73 goals per game at home, behind only Miller’s former team in Tampa Bay. They also rank sixth with a 26% clip on the power play at home as well and clearly Miller’s been a big reason as to why.
Skating alongside Pettersson at 5v5 and on the top power play unit, Miller’s opportunity is also quite large in this one tonight.
W – Tyler Toffoli (VAN) – $5,500 vs. CBJ
Completing this Canucks mini-stack in a hurry is Toffoli who forms a PP1 and 5v5 stack alongside Miller and Pettersson in all offensive situations.
Toffoli was also acquired by Benning via trade, this time at this year’s trade deadline after he scored four goals over the final two games of his Los Angeles Kings tenure, and he hasn’t stopped scoring since moving to the Canucks. In eight games with his new club, all Toffoli has done is score five goals and eight points to go along with 30 shots on goal, falling just short of four shots per game, on average. He’s added a goal and an assist on the power play in his eight games with Vancouver, as well.
Toffoli has also enjoyed playing in front of his new fans in Vancouver as he’s notched three goals and six points in just four games as a Canuck at Rogers Arena to this point. Again, not a huge surprise considering how potent this offense has been at home this season.
He’s an obvious final piece of this Canucks stack and comes at a very reasonable cost, so get Toffoli into at least your cash lineups tonight.
W – Max Pacioretty (VGK) – $7,500 vs. CGY
Pacioretty brings a big floor to the table every time he hits the ice and that floor is simply increased tonight thanks to the matchup in Calgary against a weak home defense.
The veteran winger has been a 30-goal machine throughout his NHL career, and while he fell short of that mark with 22 last season (albeit in an injury-shortened 66 games) he’s increased his production in a big way this season. In just three more games, he’s already tallied 31 goals and 65 points in his 69 games this season, the latter of which towers over the 40 points he accumulated last season.
On top of the goals and points, Pacioretty’s floor is heightened in a big way by his massive 296 shots on goal this season, a number that sits behind only Nathan MacKinnon (315) and Alex Ovechkin (305) to this point in the season.
He’s been a little more productive at home, but still has 12 goals and 26 points in 32 road games and has been carrying a hot hand for some time now. Over his last 14 games, Pacioretty has scored 10 goals and 17 points with an average of 3.93 shots per game in that time.
He will skate with Karlsson at 5v5 but also on the top power play unit, so give Pacioretty a shot in this favorable road matchup tonight.
W – Vladislav Namestnikov (COL) – $4,600 vs. SJ
The Avalanche are a high-scoring offense both at home and on the road and they get a nice road matchup tonight in San Jose.
While there isn’t any travel involved, the Sharks will be playing their second half of a back-to-back tonight after taking a 2-1 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators last night, so the Avs should have a jump on them in this one.
When targeting the Sharks, we shouldn’t be overly concerned with getting a power play stack going as they rank first with an 88.5% mark on the penalty kill at home this season, but still rank 21st with 3.03 goals against per game at home, most of that damage coming at even strength. That was my original though by using Namestnikov as the first piece of my mini-stack considering he plays with Nathan MacKinnon and the red-hot Gabriel Landeskog on the team’s top line, but given the funds I was left with after entering him into my lineup, the Avalanche defenseman I have in the second half of this mini-stack forms a second-unit power play stack with him.
Nonetheless, the true potential here comes at 5v5. Namestnikov has scored two goals and three points in his seven games with the Avs since coming over in a trade from the aforementioned Senators, all of which have come at even strength. He’s seen a bump in ice time over his last three games which coincides with his usage alongside MacKinnon, and against what could be a tired Sharks team, and already a depleted Sharks lineup, his value potential is significant in this one tonight.
D – Shea Theodore (VGK) – $5,700 vs. CGY
I mentioned the Flames have a solid home penalty kill, but it’s not unbeatable and Theodore thrives on the power play.
The 24-year-old has really come into his own this season with 11 goals and 44 points, 16 of which have come on the man advantage. However, keep in mind this guy has a whopping 209 shots on goal this season, already a career-high, a number that ranks behind only Roman Josi, Brent Burns and Alex Pietrangelo among NHL defensemen. As a result, using him and Pacioretty together against a 29th-ranked Flames defense but also a 21st-ranked Flames home team in terms of shots against per game (31.2) gives this lineup a massive floor.
Theodore has been slightly more productive on the road this season and had found the back of the net three times over his last six games. He’s also put five shots on goal in three of those six contests.
It wasn’t my full intention to ensure I got a Vegas PP1 stack in this lineup considering they haven’t been good in that department on the road and the Flames have a solid home penalty kill, but it makes complete sense to use him and Pacioretty together to get a solid foundation into this lineup while they hopefully drag Karlsson along with them tonight.
D – Erik Johnson (COL) – $4,100 vs. SJ
Johnson is the second half of our Avalanche mini-stack tonight, and while he will skate with Namestnikov on the Avs’ second power play unit tonight, he’s here more so for the 5v5 opportunity, an increased one of late, but also his solid peripheral numbers as well.
Johnson enters this one with three goals and 15 points in 56 games this season, but he also has put 95 shots on goal in that time to go along with a real nice 112 blocked shots as well. He’s averaging 20:55 of ice time per game on the year, but that number has trended up over the last three times in the absence of Cale Makar as Johnson has logged at least 22:57 in each of the last three contests.
Furthermore, while his point total might not look great, it’s looked great of late as he’s notched two goals and five points over his last five games. He has two multi-point efforts over his last four with a goal and an assist each time while putting three goals on goal in three of his last five. Finally, he’s blocked 12 shots over his last three contests.
As a result, it would appear we are getting the best 2019-20 version of Erik Johnson right now. He’s playing with more offensive confidence right now, the peripherals are strong and he comes at a discounted price considering the increased usage and production.
G – Jake Allen (STL) – $7,600 vs. CHI
The Blues and Blackhawks get together in a Central Division rivalry contest tonight and you can bet the Blues want to put another dagger into the Blackhawks’ slim postseason hopes just like the Red Wings did on Friday when they halted Chicago’s four-game win streak with a 2-1 win.
The Blues also saw a win streak come to an end on Friday, theirs in New Jersey, but it was an eight-game win streak that ended. Jordan Binnington took the loss in that one however, and it’s actually been Allen who’s been the superior goaltender on the road this season.
He’s had an excellent season overall as he’s turned in a 2.31 GAA and .922 Sv% on the season in his 22 appearances (19 starts) but Allen has also posted an increased 2.26 GAA and .926 Sv% on the road where he’s seen the bulk of his work with 14 starts and 16 appearances away from home.
The Blackhawks aren’t a great home offense as they’re tied for 21st with 2.97 goals per game at the United Center while the Blues have been a solid road defense at 15th with 3.09 goals against per game – a number that shrinks when Allen is between the pipes. Add in the Blues as -140 favorites to win this one on the moneyline and it would appear that Allen has some nice value potential at this price tonight.