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NHL DFS Primer: Saturday (1/8)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Jan 8, 2022
Chandler Stephenson

After a quiet Friday night in the NHL, the league is rolling out a substantial 11-game slate for fans to enjoy on Saturday. Thursday was an extremely successful night if you followed my recommendations, as every single skater and goalie earned a point or a win. So let’s strive for greatness yet again on an even bigger 11-game slate. It’s a balancing act between stacking and diversifying your lineups with blue-chip prospects and high-upside players from different teams.

Over/under is a metric I follow quite a bit to get a sense of the amount of scoring oddsmakers expect. For example, Colorado versus Toronto is -125 to hit over 6.5 goals, while the odds are +105 to hit the under. Since these are two high-powered offenses, grabbing a player from at least one of these teams is a must. Florida versus Carolina is another matchup between two talented teams that has its over/under favored to hit over 6.5. Finally, Washington versus Minnesota is a third game that could yield production for quite a few lines on both sides. Conversely, the Los Angeles Kings and the Detroit Red Wings game is expected to hit under 5.5 goals at -117. This game presents more risk than the previous three matchups but adding one of the first-line attack skaters should prove fruitful.

Goaltending often dictates the pace and outcome of a game, so I always incorporate it into each player analysis. With all of these factors in mind, let’s jump into Saturday’s NHL DFS recommendations!

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Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Chandler Stephenson (C – VGK): $4,600
Vegas has been buzzing as an offense across the last month, going 7-2-1 in their previous ten games while pouring in a league-high 134 goals. 27-year old second-line center Chandler Stephenson is a crucial contributor in this effort, sitting atop the team’s point leaderboard with 35 points. He has 25 assists and ended a two-game point skid with an assist against the New York Rangers on Thursday while attempting only one shot on goal. Stephenson is a low-volume shooter but has a phenomenal ability to set up scoring opportunities for his linemates like Mark Stone (RW – VGK). Stephenson earns extra minutes on the second powerplay unit and earns 17 minutes average time on ice, affording him quality looks on net. He will face Chicago relief goaltender Arvid Soderblom (G – CHI), a 22-year old inexperienced rookie who just surrendered four goals to Calgary in his season debut. Stephenson should yield multiple assists or a goal in this plus-matchup. His reduced salary is a fantastic value due to his massive ceiling, so try to prioritize adding a talented player like Stephenson into Saturday lineups.

Mikko Rantanen (RW – COL): $8,700
Mikko Rantanen continues his frantic pace, currently sitting with 36 points and 16 goals through 27 games this season. The 25-year old first-line winger has three multi-point finishes in his last four outings, taking anywhere from three to six shots on goal. Of course, it helps that Rantanen earns over 20 minutes average time on ice and skates alongside Nathan MacKinnon (C – COL) and Gabriel Landeskog (LW – COL), all of which are who account for over 30 points for the Avalanche this year. The Avs travel to face an equally talented team in the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will deploy stud goaltender Jack Campbell (G – TOR) to defend the crease. Campbell did surrender three goals to Colorado back on December 1st, showing that he is vulnerable to such a potent attack. Nevertheless, Rantanen is one of the best players in the entire league and should be rostered without hesitation.

Ryan Graves (D – NJ): $4,000
The New Jersey Devils are one of the most underrated teams in the Metropolitan Division. They are inconsistent, but second-line defenseman Ryan Graves offers a high floor on a cheap salary. The 26-year old does not skate on either powerplay unit but takes a lot of shots on goal and tends to rack up two to five blocked shots per game. Graves has two assists in his previous five games, including one against Columbus on Thursday. He will again face the Blue Jackets and goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (G – CBJ), who has been struggling lately, allowing four goals in four of his last five games. However, the Devils have the momentum, and Graves has high usage in the offensive zone and defensive zone, so plug him into lineups as a good value.

Anthony Stolarz (G – ANA): $7,600
27-year old relief goaltender Anthony Stolarz will get his tenth start of the season for Anaheim against the New York Rangers on Saturday night. Stolarz has earned two consecutive wins before the suspension of play in mid-December, so it will be interesting to see how he performs after a few weeks off to rest. The Rangers are no slouch, as they have scored 102 goals and sit at second place in the Metropolitan Division. However, this season, Stolarz has two shutouts, showing that he has talent behind starting Ducks goaltender John Gibson (G – ANA). In addition, the Rangers are without Artemi Panarin (F – NYR) and Igor Shesterkin (G – NYR), so the opportunity for Stolarz to lead Anaheim into a win is present. He is a ridiculously discounted netminder who has an impressive resume this season, so take advantage and put your faith into Stolarz’s upside by adding him into your lineups.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000

Mikael Granlund (C – NSH): $5,300
Not only is Mikael Granlund a consistent bet to net an assist, but he is also facing arguably the best matchup on Saturday’s busy slate. During this stretch, Granlund has an assist in four of his previous five games while only attempting three shots on goal. He has been deferring to Matt Duchene (RW – NSH) and Filip Forsberg (LW – NSH) on Nashville’s first-line attack and earns extra lucrative minutes on the top powerplay unit. Combine all of this with the matchup against Arizona Coyotes goaltender Scott Wedgewood (G – ARI), and you wind up with a tremendous value. In his previous two starts, Wedgewood has surrendered 12 combined goals, so Granlund should easily extend his assist streak on Saturday night.

Patrick Kane (RW – CHI): $7,800
Never turn your back on blue-chip prospects playing for bad teams. Chicago has been abysmal defending their goal all season, allowing 118 goals, which has created a constant uphill battle for their offense. Patrick Kane is still playing at a high level in his 14th season for the Blackhawks, entering Saturday’s road contest against the Vegas Golden Knights with five assists across his previous three games. His goal drought is now at 11 games, and it has to end at some point. Positive goal regression could find its way onto the end of Kane’s stick against Robin Lehner (G – VGK) and the Golden Knights. Vegas’ personnel outmatches Chicago, but Lehner has been up and down all season. Lehner could be lacking a bit after allowing one goal against 20 shots from the Rangers on Thursday. Kane is too talented and is always reliable for one or two assists, so pay up to acquire the massive floor he offers in lineups on Saturday night.

Shayne Gostisbehere (D – ARI): $5,700
One of the most prolific defensemen on offense this season has been 28-year old Shayne Gostisbehere. Skating on the top defensive line for the Arizona Coyotes, Gostisbehere has been playing at a high level since returning from the 11-day break enforced by the league due to Covid-19. Since returning, he has at least one point in all four games, including two goals and two games with multi-point efforts. He is second in total points for the Coyotes (23) and is second in assists (17) behind only Phil Kessel (RW – ARI). Arizona has a long way to go before making some noise in the Central Division, but Gostisbehere is mounting an effort to steer the team in a winning direction after months of losing. He is consistently involved on offense, skating on Arizona’s top powerplay unit, so scoop him up at a discount due to playing for the worst team in the league. Nashville will deploy Juuse Saros (G – NSH) in the net, who has only allowed more than two goals once in his previous five starts. Gostisbehere may not rack up multiple points, but an assist is still highly likely due to his involvement on the Coyotes’ offense.

Adin Hill (G – SJ): $7,100
San Jose is an enigmatic team, going on hot and cold streaks frequently. However, the Sharks’ primary goaltender, 25-year old Adin Hill, has been playing consistently well defending the crease lately. Hill has allowed only two goals in each of his previous starts, going 1-1 as a result. He has logged impressive outings as well, including a shutout against Montreal back in October, so he has shown us that he possesses the ability to stonewall the opposition. With goaltenders, their offense needs to support them with at least a few goals, which the Sharks offense should be capable of producing against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Martin Jones (G – PHI), the Flyers’ relief goaltender, just allowed five goals in his previous start, so Timo Meier (RW – SJ) and Tomas Hertl (C – SJ) should make quick work of the plus-matchup. The Flyers have lost four straight games and have failed to score more than three goals during this slump, making Hill a great asset at a fraction of the average goaltending salary.

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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