FanDuel DFS NHL Strategy Advice: Thursday (1/21)
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.
Nick Suzuki (MTL): $5,900 at VAN
Nick Suzuki is entering his breakout season. After recording 41 points in 71 games last year, Suzuki is off to a nice start with four points in four games this year. All four points have been on the power play. He is centering Jonathan Drouin and Josh Anderson — and the top power-play unit. He looks the part, too, as he makes impact plays whenever he’s on the ice. Tonight the Habs head to Vancouver to take on a Canucks team that has given up 16 goals in four games and 36 shots per game. Their penalty kill percentage is fourth-last in the league.
Jake DeBrusk (BOS): $4,800 vs. PHI
As the Bruins await the return of star winger David Pastrnak, they have been experimenting with the right side of the temporary “imperfection line.” Tonight, that chance goes to former first-round pick Jake Debrusk. Debrusk has established himself as a 20-25 goal scorer in the NHL. He is pointless through three games, but the entire Bruins team has been dormant offensively. No one can replace David Pastrnak’s goal production, but Jake Debrusk is their best bet to do so.
Drake Batherson (OTT): $3,400 vs. WPG
Don’t look now, but those pesky Sens are .500. More subjectively, they are fun to watch. A big piece of that is the overhaul of their top-six forwards this offseason. Batherson had 43 games under his belt heading into this season, but he now finds himself on the top line with Brady Tkachuk and the top power-play unit. He has taken advantage of the opportunity. Batherson has three points in as many games. More interestingly, he has 13 shots over that span, with two games exceeding the five-shot marker. He eclipsed that mark just one time in his previous two years in the NHL. He has yet to score a goal, but he is due for one if he continues shooting the puck like this. The Winnipeg Jets have surrendered 35 shots per game this season as they continue trying to rebuild their defensive core.
Alexander Romanov (MTL): $4,300 at VAN
The Montreal Canadiens have stormed into this season as advertised. They have scored 12 goals and recorded 34 shots per game through their first three. Their power play is running at 40%. Granted, with all statistics through three games, it’s still extremely early. No power-play unit exceeded 30% efficiency last season. Nevertheless, the Habs look great, and so does Alexander Romanov. It has been rumored that Columbus has asked about his availability in a potential trade for Pierre-Luc Dubois, but Marc Bergevin has made it clear that he is untouchable. I can see why. Romanov looks a lot more like a player with three years of experience than three days of experience. He’s a smooth skater with great vision. Claude Julien will likely monitor his minutes, but Romanov has already earned a spot on the second power-play unit. He has a goal and an assist in three games, and he also has nine shots and six blocks over that span. The Canucks have given up 16 goals in four games and 36 shots per game. Their penalty kill percentage is fourth-last in the league.
Mackenzie Blackwood (NJD): $7,000 at NYI
Mackenzie Blackwood has flashed talent at goalie over the last couple of years. The former second-round pick stepped into a tremendous opportunity this season with the retirement of Corey Crawford. He has flourished in that spot thus far. In three starts, Blackwood has a 2-0-1 record, a 1.90 GAA, and a sparkling .948 save percentage. On Tuesday, Blackwood turned away 47 of 50 shots against the Rangers. Tonight, the Devils will head out to Long Island to play an Islanders team that has scored just five goals in their three games. A starting goaltender hasn’t yet been named, so be sure to check that Lindy Ruff doesn’t turn to Scott Wedgewood after Blackwood’s busy night on Tuesday.