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NHL DFS Primer: Saturday (12/18)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Dec 18, 2021
Bo Horvat

On Saturday, the National Hockey League offers up a digestible six-game slate, deviating from the double-digit slates we’ve seen in previous weekends. The league is filled with parity this season. Some outstanding teams were upset during Thursday’s slate, including Buffalo beating Minnesota in a shootout and the New York Islanders scoring three goals to defeat the Boston Bruins. However, a few of my recommended prospects fared well despite numerous surprising outcomes. Lucas Raymond (LW – DET) and Nazem Kadri (C – COL) netted assists, while Roman Josi (D – NSH) earned his tenth goal of the season in a decisive 5-3 win over Colorado. Robin Lehner (G – VGK) allowed three goals but the potency of Vegas’ offense bailed him out, making Lehner a solid investment due to the win.

The slate might be halved, but the matchups are still intriguing from a DFS perspective. High-flying offenses like Carolina, Toronto, Detroit, and Edmonton will be on display against teams they are favored against, which provides some enticing prospects to target when constructing lineups. I’ve gathered a few of my favorite players and will explain why each one deserves your consideration.

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Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Bo Horvat (C – VAN): $4,500
Bo Horvat has been showing why his teammates in Vancouver elected to name him Captain, scoring three goals in his last two games. The 26-year old skates on the Canucks’ first-line and top powerplay unit, earning anywhere from 18 to 20 minutes average time on ice. The team has begun to heat up despite a disappointing start, currently amid a six-game winning streak. Toronto has one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and plans on starting goaltender Jack Campbell (G – TOR) against Vancouver on Saturday. This season, Campbell has an excellent 1.94 GAA and a 15-5-2 record as a starter. However, he allowed at least three goals in four straight games before his one-goal performance against Edmonton earlier in the week. Horvat attempts from three to six shots on goal, so he will have a chance to extend his goal streak against Campbell on Saturday night. At under $5,000, Horvat is an outstanding value and should be prioritized as a foundational piece in lineups.

William Nylander (RW – TOR): $7,600
Second-line winger William Nylander is one of Toronto’s point leaders due to the 31 points he’s racked up through the first 30 games of the season. Having spent his entire career with the Maple Leafs, Nylander skates on the top powerplay unit and benefits from playing alongside Auston Matthews (C – TOR) and John Tavares (C – TOR). Nylander has three goals and five assists in his last five games, producing these elite numbers with only two or three shots on goal. Vancouver is buzzing with momentum from their 8-2 record across their last ten games, and goaltender Thatcher Demko (G – VAN) has contributed significantly to their success. Yet, he’s still allowed at least two goals in two of their last three games. Nylander has enough opportunity and talented personnel surrounding him to keep his point streak intact, so pay the high salary to acquire arguably the most talented second-line skater in the league.

Moritz Seider (D – DET): $4,900
Detroit does not lack offense, but their defense and goaltending have been spotty all season. Mortiz Seider has been actively trying to turn their vulnerability into a strength in his rookie season with the Red Wings. The 20-year old defenseman was the sixth overall pick in the draft by Detroit back in 2019 and has been an assist machine, currently sitting with 17 assists and three goals through 30 games. Seider gets all of the best opportunities on offense and defense due to being on the first-line and top powerplay unit, so take advantage of his salary and plug him into lineups against the New Jersey Devils. Seider was held to only two shots on goal and zero points in his last outing against an excellent Carolina Hurricanes team, so expect an assist or two against Devils’ goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood tonight.

Frederik Andersen (G – CAR): $8,200
Frederik Andersen was involved with the blockbuster trade swap in free agency that sent Petr Mrazek (G – TOR) to Toronto, Alex Nedeljkovic (G – CAR) to Detroit, while Andersen landed in Carolina. It’s been a great union for Andersen and the Hurricanes, as he has a 1.97 GAA and .928 save percentage in 20 starts. In addition, Andersen had four consecutive wins as a starter and has only allowed three goals once during this stretch, so expect more high-end crease play from him against the Los Angeles Kings at home on Saturday. Andersen is expensive but remains a good investment due to the consistent, high-quality play he’s displayed all season.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000

Jack Hughes (C – NJ): $6,500
Jack Hughes has made a notable impact since returning from a shoulder injury in late November. The 20-year old center skates on New Jersey’s first-line attack and top powerplay unit and has three goals and two assists across the last nine games. The Devils are in win-now mode, as their 2-7-1 record in their previous ten games has left the team near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. Detroit is a team moving in the opposite direction, but their goaltending has been a bit suspect lately. Alex Nedeljkovic has allowed at least three goals in five of his last six games. As a result, Hughes becomes a quality value play in DFS lineups based on the matchup and the team’s desperation as a collective.

Cam Atkinson (RW – PHI): $6,100
After spending a decade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cam Atkinson has made a new home with the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s been an inconsistent season for the team and Atkinson, who just had a monster four-point finish against the New Jersey Devils earlier in the week, which led to his first hat trick with the Flyers. It’s doubtful he gets another hat trick this season, but he is second in points on the team for a reason. 12 goals and seven assists is a healthy pace 28 games into their schedule, so invest in Atkinson against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. Anton Forsberg (G – OTT) is projected to be their starting goaltender and has played better lately. However, he’s shown stretches of poor play this season, which makes Atkinson a worthwhile dart throw as a high-floor, high-ceiling prospect in lineups.

Tony DeAngelo (D – CAR): $5,800
Tony DeAngelo has been a vital asset during his first year with the Carolina Hurricanes. The 26-year old defenseman was in the league’s COVID-19 protocols for a couple of weeks but scored a goal in his first game back. Despite missing seven games, DeAngelo is fourth in points (20) for the Hurricanes this season and typically racks up a blocked shot or two while staying active in the offensive attack. He skates on the top defensive line and top powerplay unit and will face veteran netminder Jonathan Quick (G – LAK) on Saturday night. Quick has been good at times this season. Still, he is liable to collapse while defending the net, which makes DeAngelo a fascinating defenseman to target in lineups.

Thatcher Demko (G – VAN): $7,300
26-year old Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko has been playing lights out in between the pipes lately. After a rough patch at the beginning of November, Demko has tightened up, allowing seven goals across his last five starts, including a shutout and two one-goal finishes. His heightened level of play has allowed the Canucks to rattle off six wins in a row, entering a tricky test against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. This is why Demko’s salary is as low as it is. However, he’s fared well against high-powered offenses like Winnipeg and Carolina recently. Don’t let the matchup scare you off of adding Demko into lineups, as he could be the determining factor on whether or not your lineup cashes at the end of the night.

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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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