DraftKings DFS NHL Strategy Advice: Tuesday (1/19)
The NHL season is off and running, and as many people predicted, it’s raining goals in the Canadian “North” division. We have seen tempers flare between teams that are already sick of each other, and Connor McDavid already has a nominee for the goal of the year.
Despite the mostly empty buildings, things are feeling back to normal in a way, which is nice. A great nine-game slate is ahead of us this evening. Let’s take a look.
Nathan MacKinnon (COL): $8,500 at LA
I usually try to leave superstar players out of this column; you don’t need me to tell you that Nathan MacKinnon is a good choice in daily fantasy. However, if I am particularly inclined to splurge on a certain star player, it’s worth noting. After being kept off the score sheet in the Colorado opener, MacKinnon got back on track with a goal and two assists in an 8-0 dismantling of the Blues on Friday. Even with that, I don’t think we have seen MacKinnon hit his full stride yet. The Avalanche will head to Los Angeles to take on the Kings tonight, and it’s a perfect spot for MacKinnon to dominate. It’s very early, of course, but the Kings’ roster doesn’t suggest they will be strong defensively, and their results through two games have made that even more apparent. It will be a popular tandem, but I will pair him with linemate Mikko Rantanen ($7,100) and find ways to save elsewhere.
Patric Hornqvist (FLA): $3,300 vs CHI
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the 34-year-old winger when he left Pittsburgh to join the Panthers this off-season. In his Panthers debut, Hornqvist recorded a goal, a power-play assist, and three shots on goal against this same Blackhawks team. Hornqvist has always been reliable when it comes to shots, firing 3.23 per game last season. He has also been effective on the power play. He looks to be getting a nice opportunity in this lineup, slotting into the second line alongside Jonathan Huberdeau and Alexander Wennberg, as well as the top power-play unit. I will happily play Hornqvist tonight for this price tag against the porous Chicago goaltending.
Oliver Bjorkstrand (CBJ): $4,300 at DET
Bjorkstrand became a mainstay of this column last year. He was enjoying a breakout season before injuries took him out of the lineup. Bjorkstrand had 21 goals and 36 points in just 49 games, good for a 35-goal and 60-point pace. What I like most about his fantasy production is his shots on goal. With 3.31 shots per game last year, he is always a candidate to get to five shots. Tonight, the Jackets head to Detroit to take on a Red Wings team that finished bottom-five in shots conceded per game last year, and through three games this year, they don’t look like they’ve improved much in that department. Bjorkstrand will continue to skate on the top line next to Pierre-Luc Dubois, as well as with the top power-play unit.
Aaron Ekblad (FLA): $5,800 vs CHI
A lot has been made about Keith Yandle’s future in Florida. While he did maintain a spot in the lineup during the Panthers’ season opener this past weekend, it seems like his days in Florida are numbered. The Panthers’ coaching staff likely plan to go in a different direction on the back end, namely, Aaron Ekblad. Ekblad is a former first overall pick from 2014. He is reliable on defense, but he hasn’t reached his potential on offense. One big reason for that is his usage on the power play. Keith Yandle is a wonderful power-play quarterback, so Ekblad has often found himself on the second unit. Fortunately, that looks to be changing this year. Ekblad is slated with the top group, and with that deployment, he recorded 25:46 of ice time in their season opener last week, an increase of about three minutes versus last year’s averages. If Ekblad is on the ice for almost half the game, I expect him to get heavily involved in the score sheet. The Chicago Blackhawks are dead last with 5.00 goals against per game this season, a statistic I expect they will go wire-to-wire in this season.
Alexandar Georgiev (NYR): $7,800 vs NJD
The Rangers’ crease may be more of a timeshare than we originally anticipated this year. Through two games, each goaltender has gotten a start. The Islands shelled Igor Shesterkin for four goals last week, while Alexandar Georgiev helped the team rebound with a shutout win on Saturday. After finishing 24th in goals scored last season, New Jersey is off to a similar start this year, with 2.00 goals per game through four games, good for a tie of 23rd in the league. Georgiev will have every opportunity to own a piece of this net with Henrik Lundqvist gone. I expect we will see him at his best.