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NHL DFS Primer: Thursday (11/4)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Nov 4, 2021
Evgeny Kuznetsov

Two of the four games played on Wednesday needed extra minutes to determine a winner, making for exhilarating finishes that resulted in wins for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Los Angeles Kings. The prime-time slate for Thursday has doubled the number of games, providing fantasy managers with a plethora of skaters and goalies to target in DFS lineups. While it’s best to avoid teams that are incapable of generating offense like the winless Arizona Coyotes, don’t dismiss teams who currently find themselves in a bit of a slump. This often drives down the salary of talented players, allowing several blue-chip prospects to be inserted into lineups alongside high-floor players with salary-saving prices.

Only one of the nine games scheduled for Thursday’s slate has a team favored to win by above -200 on the Moneyline, as the sportsbooks expect the Boston Bruins to shellack the Detroit Red Wings. Three games have their total goals scored set at six, indicating that teams like Tampa Bay, Toronto, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Florida may yield higher scoring outings than the rest of the games on tap.

Keeping these factors in mind, let’s dive into some of the best players to target in order to construct winning lineups on a busy Thursday night in the NHL.

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Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Evgeny Kuznetsov (C – WAS): $7,200
The Washington Capitals have one of the most potent offenses in the league, starting with their first-line comprised of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin (LW – WAS), and Tom Wilson (RW – WAS). Kuznetsov centers the unit and is very much in his prime despite being in his ninth year with the franchise, entering Thursday’s contest against the Florida Panthers with a three-game point streak that includes a goal and three assists. The 29-year old Kuznetsov has great chemistry with his linemates and is facing Sergei Bobrovsky (G – FLA) in the crease, who has yet to lose a start this season. However, with the momentum Kuznetsov has entering the marquee primetime matchup at home on Thursday, paying up to roster him is a wise decision.

Alex Ovechkin (LW – WAS): $9,000
The most expensive asset to insert into lineups is not Evgeny Kuznetsov but the veteran winger Alex Ovechkin, who has nine goals and six assists with a plus-minus of seven entering Thursday’s contest on home ice against a talented Florida Panthers team. Ovechkin managed six shots on goal in his last outing but saw his eight-game point streak come to an end against Tampa Bay earlier in the week. Ovechkin also averages over 21 minutes of time on ice and gets prime opportunities on the top powerplay unit, which is where he often finds the back of the net. Leading the Capitals in total points (15) and goals (9) warrants the hefty price tag for rostering Ovechkin. Stacking Ovechkin with Kuznetsov is a lucrative strategy even in tougher matchups like the one on Thursday night against the Panthers. Coming off of his only point-less game of the season, Ovechkin will certainly be attacking the net and has a high probability of manufacturing a ton of points in lineups, making him arguably the best blue-chip prospect to insert into lineups.

Torey Krug (D – STL): $5,000
St. Louis sits atop the Central Division and is experiencing a high level of play from defenseman Torey Krug this season. Krug has scored goals in back-to-back contests entering Thursday’s game against the San Jose Sharks and is one of the more active defensemen in the offensive zone. Skating on the top powerplay unit nets him an average of 20:30 time on ice per game, allowing for him to masterfully execute scoring plays, often as an assist contributor but more recently as a goal-scorer. At $5,000, Krug is a great value in lineups due to the high floor he possesses. He had three blocked shots in the Blues’ shootout loss against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night, which makes him a safe floor-play that comes with a massive ceiling. Against struggling San Jose goaltender Adin Hill (G – SJ), who has a .893 save percentage in five starts this season, Krug is a fine value and will return enough points to be considered a good investment on Thursday night.

Andrei Vasilevskiy (G – TB): $7,500
Tampa Bay got off to a rocky start but goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has significantly improved his play in the net across his last three starts, earning wins and allowing a total of four goals in this span. This has resulted in a 1.50 GAA and .948 save percentage, which ranks among the best in the league at this time. Toronto has a minus-four goal differential but enters Thursday’s game riding a three-game winning streak. With both teams being on three-game winning streaks, something has to give. When comparing goalies, Maple Leafs’ goaltender Jack Campbell (G – TOR) posted his first shutout on Tuesday against the Vegas Golden Knights, but he has allowed five goals in a previous start against a short-handed Pittsburgh team. Vasilevskiy benefits from playing behind a better offense and has been more consistent with his performances as of late. At his current salary, Vasilevskiy is a great value and should have another great night between the pipes.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000

Tyler Seguin (C – DAL): $6,800
Dallas is in the midst of a four-game losing skid but Tyler Seguin has been a lone bright spot for the Stars’ offense recently, producing all five of his points within the last five games. The second powerplay unit sees Seguin anchoring as the Center while skating on the second-line to average close to 20 minutes of time on ice per game. The 29-year old has at least five shots on goal in four of his last six games and he should continue to lead the offense against a talented Calgary Flames team on the road Thursday night. He’s a bit pricier than I’d like to see but since he has the second-highest point total (5) for the Stars, with most of the production occurring lately, Seguin is a good insertion into lineups.

Rasmus Asplund (RW – BUF): $4,700
The Buffalo Sabres have been one of the most surprising teams to start the 2022 NHL season, as the Sabres have started hot with a 5-3-1 record and a plus-six goal differential. A lot of the offensive production stems from first-line winger Rasmus Asplund, who has a four-game point streak entering a road contest against Seattle on Thursday night. The 23-year old has additional looks on the Sabres’ top powerplay unit and has seven points thus far, ranking second on the team. Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (G – SEA) has not been great to start the year but has looked good in spots as well, allowing only one goal in two consecutive games before letting the Rangers net a couple of goals on only 15 shots in their most recent loss last weekend. Asplund should be able to extend his point streak and is a phenomenal value at $4,700, which allows you to roster other players with higher floors and higher ceilings who have heftier salaries.

Alec Martinez (D – VGK): $4,900
Veteran Vegas Golden Knights’ defensemen Alec Martinez is currently in his third year with the team and has been able to yield three assists in five games played this season. The attractive aspect of rostering Martinez on a team that has struggled to score is the number of blocked shots he racks up in each game, as he has at least four in each of his last three games. Blocked shots are of equal value to shots on goal in FanDuel contests, so don’t let his lack of shots on goal dissuade you from plugging him into lineups as a cheap, high-floor play against an Ottawa Senators team that has allowed 30 goals this season.

Jake Allen (G – MON): $7,500
Montreal is no longer the Cinderella story that captivated audiences during their postseason run last year. Canadiens’ goaltender Jake Allen is filling in for injured starter Carey Price (G – MON), flashing moments of awful play balanced with moments of greatness. Allen has allowed five goals on three separate occasions but is coming off of a shutout win against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, his second of the season, so his confidence should be at its highest point when hosting the New York Islanders on Thursday night. The Islanders have only scored 17 goals this season, which is second-worst in the league in front of only the Arizona Coyotes. The lack of offensive talent Allen will face in the crease on Thursday, combined with his recent shutout performance against a Detroit Red Wings team that is more talented than the opponent he faces on Thursday, makes Allen a quality goalie to insert into lineups.

View daily consensus odds from all major sportsbooks for the NHL at BettingPros >>

Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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