DraftKings NHL Lineup Advice: Thursday 1/14
The National Hockey League is back in business, and I could not be happier for one. The NHL is planning to play 56 games in 116 days. Divisions have been aligned geographically, with no interdivisional play planned until the Conference Finals. This season is not going to be perfect. The divisions are unbalanced; players will miss time with designations like “Quarantine” and “Unfit to play,” and backup goalies will be relied on more than ever.
The league is doing the best it can to move forward through these unpredictable times. However, I will not be surprised if the league implements some permanent takeaways from this season. Having rivals playing on back-to-back nights or several times in one week may present an exciting element. I hope that this season is as smooth as the playoff bubble, which was a tremendous success. While I have my trepidations, I am more than anything grateful to have hockey back on my television. With that, let’s get this thing started.
Pierre-Luc Dubois (CBJ): $4,700 @ NSH
It’s all out there for Pierre-Luc Dubois now. After requesting a trade in the offseason, the Blue Jackets inked him to a two-year $10 million deal, which will only make him more attractive on the trade market. John Tortorella doesn’t dance around anything, and it’s been reported that Dubois’ request has already been met head-on in the locker room. Dubois is simply a star. Selected 3rd overall in 2016, Dubois has gotten better every season. He’s a powerful 6’3 centerman that can skate. The asking price is understandably high; with the reported ask from Carolina to be Brett Pesce and Martin Necas, I would anticipate he isn’t heading anywhere on the cheap. The only thing Dubois can do now is perform at the highest level and push general managers around the league to make a move. I fully expect him to bring his best effort while he remains in Columbus, and that starts tonight.
Tage Thompson (BUF): $3,000 vs WSH
The exciting addition of Taylor Hall to the Buffalo Sabres roster has generated a lot of interest in tracking this lineup. While most expected Victor Oloffson to flank Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel, it is Tage Thompson slated to get the first crack. Thompson is a 23-year-old former first-round pick. He has not played to expectations yet, but riding shotgun on this line could put his career progression on fast forward. By all accounts, Thompson has earned this role with a strong training camp. Buffalo will host the Capitals tonight. The Caps will turn to Ilya Samsonov to carry the load in net after Henrik Lundqvist’s season was ended before it started with a scary heart condition. Samsonov is a touted prospect, but there is a history of volatile results when a young goalie goes from “part-time” to “full-time.” I’ll take my chances at this price.
Nils Hoglander (VAN): $2,800 @ EDM
Hoglander is a dark horse for the Calder Trophy this season. He came to Canucks camp in mid-season form, and he hasn’t missed a step. The recently turned 20-year-old Swede was selected in the early second round by Vancouver in the 2019 draft. He may be most recognizable by the multiple lacrosse style goals he’s scored, most notably at the 2020 World Juniors. Hoglander made the Cancucks team on his own merit, but with Jt Miller temporarily out of the lineup, the opportunity is there for Hoglander in a big way. He was already slated to skate in the top-six alongside Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson, but now he will slot into Miller’s spot on the top power-play unit. Hoglander didn’t disappoint in his debut either. He made a nice play in the defensive zone to help Pearson exit and eventually set up Bo Horvat with the opening tally. Later on, he won a stick battle in front and buried his first NHL goal. Despite his 5’9 frame, Hoglander seems to win most of his battles, and I can understand why Travis Green seems to trust him already. After last night’s performance, this may not be as sharp of a play as I was hoping, but I still can’t pass on the price.
Matt Grzelcyk (BOS): $3,300 @ NJ
The Boston Bruins defense is going through a transitional period. With Torey Krug’s exit to St. Louis and Zdeno Chara to Washington, there is a lot of ice time to disperse. I expect Matt Grzelcyk will be the biggest beneficiary. One week after losing Krug to the Blues, the Bruins locked up Grzelcyk to a four-year deal. Krug was an elite power-play point producer for the Bruins, tallying between 25 and 30 points on the man advantage over the last four seasons. While many hoped it would be Charlie McAvoy stepping into this role, it was often Grzelcyk who spelled Krug last season, and that’s just what we’re seeing to start this year – with Grzelcyk slated to run the top unit. I expect this will be a popular bargain choice on defense, but I can understand why.
Mackenzie Blackwood (NJ): $7,000 vs. BOS
OK, I admit this one is a little out there. Blackwood very well may be the cheapest starting goalie on the DraftKings platform tonight, but you need to take some risks if you want a chance at the big tournament money. Despite playing on a bad Devils team, Blackwood has a winning record and a .916 career save percentage. He was already likely to own this net, but with Corey Crawford’s retirement, he is solidified as the Devils starting goaltender. Tonight the Devils welcome in a shorthanded Bruins team that will definitely be missing David Pastrnak and list Brad Marchand as a game-time decision (likely to play). With the “perfection” line not intact, and a defensive core that is still in flux, I can see New Jersey surprising the Bruins tonight. To me, this is a risk worth taking.