FanDuel DFS NHL Strategy Advice: Tuesday (1/19)
The NHL season is off and running. As many people predicted, it is raining goals in the Canadian “North” division. We have seen tempers flare between teams that are already sick of each other, and Connor McDavid has quickly submitted a nominee for the goal of the year. Despite 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.
Nazem Kadri (COL): $6,200 vs LA
I expect the Avalanche are going to roll over the LA Kings tonight. After Colorado got off to a slow start in a 4-1 loss to St. Louis, they came back with a dominating 8-0 performance in game number two. The Kings are a young and rebuilding team. Their defensive numbers thus far are not strong. Kadri will center the second line between Brandon Saad and the emerging star of Andre Burakovsky. He will also center the top power-play unit. Kadri has a pair of points in as many games, and I fully expect him to keep it going tonight.
Sam Reinhart (BUF): $5,000 @ PHI
Ralph Krueger is experimenting early on with his lines. The role everyone is most curious about is who will play the right side of Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall. The early favorite was Victor Olofsson, but it was Tage Thompson that actually got the first crack. Now it is Sam Reinhart’s turn. Reinhart seized the opportunity last night with a pair of goals on six shots. The former second overall pick will likely maintain this spot in the lineup if he keeps playing like this. He is already solidified on the top power-play unit, so the opportunity is there for Reinhart to stay hot.
Oliver Bjorkstrand (CBJ): $5,000 @ 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. That is 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. 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 the top power-play unit.
Aaron Ekblad (FLA): $5,200 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 are looking to go in a different direction on the back end. That direction seems to focus around Aaron Ekblad. Ekblad is the former first overall pick from 2014. He is reliable on defense, but his offensive numbers have not reached his potential yet. 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. 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 he should be heavily involved on 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.
Joonas Korpisalo (CBJ) / Elvis Merzlikins (CBJ) : $7,000 @ DET
This is a dual entry, as each netminder is priced the same, but we don’t know who will be in between the pipes just yet. Considering Korpisalo played last night, the expectation would be that Merzlikins gets the second half of the back to back. Regardless of who is in goal, they will be facing a Detroit team that has only mustered 24 shots and 2.00 goals per game. The betting line has Columbus installed as a -185 road favorite with a modest 5.5 over/under. I will take that all day for one of the cheapest goalies options on the FanDuel platform.