Our FanDuel NHL DFS Picks from Saturday’s saw some production but weren’t good enough overall to get into the money on a big 12-game slate.
We have a lighter four-game slate on tap tonight, so let’s get our week started on the right note and bank some profits!
C – Evgeni Malkin (PIT) – $7,900 vs. BOS
We have a dandy of a matchup on tap tonight from Beantown as the Boston Bruins play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins have been the NHL’s best defense this season as well as the best home defense by a mile, however one of my favorite things about early-season stats is that it’s fairly easy to pinpoint numbers that are sure to regress and that’s what I see with these Bruins defensively. Boston’s two goals against per game is due to regress, but I’m more so looking at their wildly unsustainable 1.43 goals against per game at home as the number that is set to regress the most. Last year’s best home defense was the Dallas Stars who allowed 2.24 goals against per game. As a result, we can realistically expect Boston’s goals against per game at home to rise by close to a full goal per game moving forward. As far as candidates to begin that regression, the Penguins are a good one. They enter this one ranked 10th with 3.36 goals per game on the season but also first in the league with 4.20 goals per game on the road. The road goals are probably due to regress, but I love them as a GPP play tonight. Malkin was held pointless in his return from an 11-game absence on Saturday afternoon, but also fired six shots on goal in a healthy 19:45 of ice time. I’ll look for him to provide some production despite the tough matchup tonight.
C – Ryan Johansen (NSH) – $5,500 vs. DET
The Red Wings are coming off a rough weekend that saw their goals against per game rise substantially. They took a 7-3 beating in Carolina on Friday before turning around and losing another game by four goals in a 4-0 loss in Florida on Saturday. Tonight, things don’t figure to get much easier at home against a Predators team that enters this one tonight ranked second with 3.86 goals per game on the season and fifth with 3.50 goals per game on the road. The Red Wings sit in 29th spot with 3.80 goals against per game on the season and their 3.43 goals against per game at home is tied with the Rangers for 28th in the league. Johansen is the team’s top-line center at even strength and on the team’s top power play unit, so to me it’s a fairly easy decision to utilize him in what can be considered an optimal lineup tonight given our mix of GPP and cash players within. It’s been a fairly predictable start to the season for the 27-year-old as he has two goals but eight helpers for 10 points in 14 games with 20 shots on goal in that time. He’s not going to score a ton of goals with 14 or 15 in each of the last three seasons, but he’s set to posted plenty of helpers again this season after recording a career-high 50 a season ago. There’s plenty of value to be unlocked with this play tonight.
W – Alex Galchenyuk (PIT) – $4,700 vs. BOS
Next man up in our three-man Penguins stack is Galchenyuk who finally gets to skate alongside Malkin after he missed nine games early in the season while Malkin, as mentioned, missed 11. It’s been a less than ideal start to his Penguins tenure as he has two assists in five games on 12 shots on goal in 15:07 of average ice time. However, we’re still talking about a talented player here and one that could certainly find chemistry with Malkin moving forward. He’s scored 19 goals in each of the last two seasons and has as many as 30 in a single season dating back to the 2015-16 season while with the Montreal Canadiens. It’s early, but his 12 shots in five games puts him on pace for 197 shots on the season while I believe he will definitely exceed that mark if he and Malkin can stay healthy moving forward. I also expect an increase in his average ice time on the team’s second line despite seeing second unit power play minutes at this point. Without a goal on 12 shots probably means his first tally of the season is coming in short order and it would be nice to see that take place tonight so we can squeeze some value out of the 25-year-old.
W – Filip Forsberg (NSH) – $7,400 vs. DET
I firmly believe that Forsberg flies under the radar as one of the most underrated offensive producers in this league. He’s had issues staying healthy over the last couple seasons as he has missed 33 games in that time, but he’s still managed 114 points in 131 games with 54 goals in that span as well. He’s been injured already this season, however he’s on pace for a big year as he’s tallied five goals and nine points in eight games to go along with a whopping 35 shots on goal – good for a cool 4.4 shots per game. He’s played in just two games since missing two weeks in October, tallying once assist on eight shots in that time. Most recently, he notched an assist and skated a very healthy 20:31 despite a losing effort on Saturday afternoon against the Rangers. An additional feather in the Predators’ hat tonight is on special teams. Nashville sits in the bottom-half of the league with an 18.5% clip on the power play, but the Red Wings are all the way down to 28th with a 70.2% mark on the penalty kill this season. Despite a league-worst Predators power play last season, Forsberg still managed seven power play tallies despite missing 18 games while he notched 13 power play goals despite missing 15 games in 2017-18. Seeing Forsberg produce on the power play is a likely occurrence in my opinion this evening.
W – Viktor Arvidsson (NSH) – $7,100 vs. DET
Completing our three-man Predators stack is Arvidsson who is another high-shot, high-goal man on this Predators top line. Of course, that’s the reason why Johansen has become a high-assist, low-shot center between these two snipers as that wasn’t the case in his days with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he’s adapted his role with a couple of players who log high shot volumes. Nonetheless, Arvidsson could also be viewed as one of the more underrated scorers in this league. Despite skating in just 58 games last season, Arvidsson tallied 34 goals – good for a 38-goal season that would have put him on the fringes of the Rocket Richard race. This season, he’s tallied six goals in 14 games to go along with four helpers and 33 shots on goal. When healthy, he’s a lock to surpass 200 shots on goal and is probably going to get closer to 275 if this year indeed results in a career-year. Sure, he’s scoring goals on 18.2% of his shots this season and 17.4% last season – numbers far above his 12.4% career mark – but Arvidsson is certainly coming into his own and I expect a higher percentage from him these days. He’s probably still due for a little regression moving forward, but not in this matchup against the league’s third-worst defensive club.
W – Kappo Kakko (NYR) – $4,800 vs. OTT
The New York Rangers have been giant slayers of late as they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 at home on Tuesday before getting some rest and edging the Nashville Predators 2-1 on the road on Saturday afternoon. That’s now three wins over the last four games for the team after dropping five in a row entering the final week of October. New York has averaged four goals per game over their last four and have faced some of the league’s better defensive teams in that time in the Preds, Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres. Their offense has been fine as they rank 13th with 3.18 goals per game this season and also 13th with 3.57 goals per game at home. For his part, Kakko’s rookie season hasn’t gone as expected (who knew the NHL was difficult on 18-year-olds?) as he has just two goals and three points in 11 contests on the season to go along with 19 shots on goal. He did score in the win over Tampa on Tuesday, however, and that goal came on the power play where he’s skating on the top unit. The Ottawa Senators rank 23rd with 3.42 goals against per game on this season, 24th with 3.80 goals against per game on the road, 21st with a 79.2% mark on the penalty kill and 24th with a 72.7% penalty killing clip on the road. Seems like a fine matchup for Kakko to get back on the scoresheet tonight.
D – Justin Schultz (PIT) – $4,500 vs. BOS
Completing our three-man Penguins stack is Schultz who gives us some value upside as a pivot from Kris Letang who sports some of the best all-around production from the blueline in the entire league. In the tough matchup, however, I’ll pay down for Schultz who is actually a member of the team’s top power play unit these days as the Pens are now deploying both himself and Letang alongside Malkin, Crosby and Guentzel on that unit. Schultz is off to a solid start this season with one goal and six points in 14 games, but where he’s really floroushing from a DFS perspective in the shots on goal category with 40 in 14 games – good for 2.9 per game. Considering his 1.7 shots per game average over his career, it’s clear he’s putting plenty more pucks on net this season than in previous years. The one goal on 40 shots represents a minuscule 2.5% shooting percentage – a low number even for a defenseman – and considering his 6.5% career mark in that department, we should expect more goals to come off the stick of Schultz moving forward. He’s probably due to get back on the scoresheet tonight as he’s managed just one point – a goal – over his last seven games. I’m excited to see what type of value Schultz can bring to this lineup tonight.
D – Tony DeAngelo (NYR) – $4,600 vs. OTT
Completing our Rangers mini-stack is DeAngelo who has taken over top power play unit duties from Jacob Trouba and has taken full advantage is what is shaping up to be a career-year for the 24-year-old who had yet to fully establish himself at the NHL level prior to this season. DeAngelo’s production speaks for itself, however. This season, he’s scored four goals on 21 shots to go along with eight points in 11 games. The goals are due for regression given his sky-high 19% shooting percentage early on, but keep in mind this is a guy who has accumulated 60 points in 143 career NHL games – good for 0.42 points-per-game, a real solid number for a defenseman. Over his last season and change and 72 games, he’s tallied 38 points, good for a 0.53 points-per-game pace. While he may have taken some extra time to develop than his peers, keep in mind DeAngelo is a former first-round pick from the 2014 draft when he went 19th overall to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s making good on that promise of late and his matchup tonight lends itself to some more production. To me, this mini-stack oozes with potential and value against one of the NHL’s weaker back ends.
G – Pekka Rinne (NSH) – $8,500 vs. DET
There’s value to be had in the Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev who is coming off big outings against the Lightning and Predators, however my thinking is that you should probably use Rinne tonight if you can afford him. I’ve found a lineup I like very much even with the pricey Rinne in goal, so I certainly want to grab the safety he brings to the table with the Predators listed as huge -210 favorites to beat the Red Wings tongiht on the moneyline. He’s coming off a shaky start against the Flames on Thursday in which he allowed six goals in an overtime loss, a loss that ended a streak of flat-out brilliance from the 36-year-old. Prior to that loss, Rinne had posted a .964 Sv% with two shutouts across a five-start stretch, the final two of which resulted in shutouts on home ice. That outing against the Flames had him watching from the bench while Juuse Saros took a tough 2-1 loss to the Rangers on Saturday, but look for Rinne to get the nod in Detroit tonight. He owns a 2.19 GAA and .920 Sv% on the season to go along with a sparkling 7-0-2 record – yet to lose in regulation time. This actually would mark only his second road start of the season and he was brilliant in turning aside 33 of 35 shots in a 5-2 win in Vegas in mid-October. This is a much softer road matchup and as mentioned, I’m on board with the safety, shutout upside and win upside in this one tonight.