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NHL DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Saturday (2/26)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Feb 26, 2022
Sam Bennett

The National Hockey League will treat fans to a massive ten-game slate to start the weekend. Friday’s six-game slate saw three matchups surpass eight total goals, while underdogs like the Arizona Coyotes won outright against Vegas. In the same night, Chicago had two of its players, Brandon Hagel (RW – CHI) and Patrick Kane (RW – CHI), each net a hat-trick in an 8-5 win against the New Jersey Devils. The only team that was unable to manufacture any offense were the Columbus Blue Jackets, who got throttled in a 4-0 rout at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Thursday’s recommended prospects did not fare as well as anticipated, as Brock Nelson (C – NYI) and Patrik Laine (C – CBJ) both scored a goal to minimize the lack of production from all other six prospects. Unfortunately, both goaltenders came up short, including Jacob Markstrom (G – CGY), who happened to have his worst game of the season, surrendering three goals in two periods leading to his replacement. Meanwhile, Ilya Sorokin (G – NYI) racked 25 saves but could not defend the crease in a shootout loss against the San Jose Sharks. Overall, it was a tough slate to digest with fleeting production.

The sheer number of games available on Saturday’s slate creates a ton of opportunities to build DFS lineups using a variety of strategies. So let’s cash in by constructing lineups using a few of the following prospects during a busy day across the league.

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Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Sam Bennett (C – FLA): $5,000
Sam Bennett made headlines on Thursday with a brutal hit on a Columbus Blue Jackets player attempting to score on an empty net. The 25-year old centers Florida’s second-line attack and earns additional minutes on the Panthers’ second powerplay unit, seeing roughly 16 minutes average time on ice. Bennett spent the first seven years in Calgary, but the former top-five pick in the 2014 NHL Draft has settled in nicely during his second season in south Florida. Bennett has 32 points, including 23 goals, showcasing his scoring prowess. He has scored two goals in consecutive games and has totaled 15 shots on goal during this two-game span. It’s an absurd rate, and he should be able to light the lamp yet again facing Edmonton’s goaltender, Mike Smith (G – EDM). The 39-year old netminder has surrendered four goals in each of his previous starts and should again be a turnstile against Bennett and the Panthers. At $5,000, Bennett is a considerable value and should be inserted into as many lineups as possible before the early 12:30 pm ET puck drop.

Alex Ovechkin (LW – WAS): $8,300
The Washington Capitals go as their grizzled veteran leader goes. That’s right, Alex Ovechkin is still leading the Caps in points (63) through 51 games played. He’s scored 32 goals, including three across his previous three games played, and only has one game without a point since returning from Covid-19 protocols. Ironically, this occurred against the Philadelphia Flyers, who Ovechkin will face again on the road Saturday afternoon. The Flyers expect to deploy Carter Hart (G – PHI) to defend the crease, making it his first start against Washington this season. It’s been a tough season for the Flyers, and Hart has been a focal point of the losing, averaging 2,96 GAA and surrendering a total of 13 goals across his last three starts. Ovechkin is in line for a multi-point game against an inferior goaltender like Hart, so pay up to acquire one of the league’s best scorers in a plus-matchup.

Thomas Chabot (D – OTT): $6,500
Ottawa is a resilient team, and the return of their top defenseman, Thomas Chabot, will take the Senators to the next level in a late push to earn a playoff berth in the Atlantic Division. While this is certainly not a reality at the moment, the 25-year old Chabot doesn’t care. He returned from a four-game absence due to an undisclosed injury and generated a three-point game, including a pair of goals against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. With three days of rest between that offensive burst and Saturday’s home game against Montreal, Chabot is exceptionally appealing to acquire in DFS lineups. Yes, he’s a bit pricey for a defenseman, but it’s justified. Even during a four-game point drought before his injury, Chabot attempted three to six shots on goal. Chabot can manufacture several blocked shots, a high shot volume, and possesses the ability to finish. He’ll face Montreal Canadiens reserve netminder Andrew Hammond (G – MTL), earning only his second start of the season. He racked up 30 saves on 32 shots in a win against the New York Islanders last weekend, but Chabot is utilized within the offense enough to ignore any potential threat from Hammond.

Jeremy Swayman (G – BOS): $8,200
Boston might not be a juggernaut on offense, but they have some stout goaltending that keeps them competitive. That’s right, 23-year old netminder Jeremy Swayman has been playing exceptionally well across his last four starts, surrendering two or fewer goals in each matchup. This includes a shutout against Ottawa, his second of the season. San Jose is not a strong team offensively, and they just ended a seven-game losing skid in a 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders, the most goals they’ve scored in three games. This will be Swayman’s first start against the Sharks this season, but he benefits from a healthy Bruins offense that includes Brad Marchand (LW – BOS), which should help keep the Sharks occupied in their own defensive zone. Even with pressure, Swayman is poised, so pay up to acquire one of the strongest goaltenders on the slate.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000

Anze Kopitar (C – LAK): $6,500
The Los Angeles Kings are riding a four-game winning streak, and long-time veteran Anze Kopitar leads the charge. The 34-year old centers the top-line attack and earns additional minutes on the top powerplay unit, which has allowed him to rack up 49 points to lead the Kings in total points. He has six assists in his last four games and just scored his 15th goal of the season against Anaheim on Friday night. Kopitar attempts anywhere from one to five shots on goal per game, but he has incredible vision and passing abilities to create scoring opportunities in the offensive zone. At $6,500, Kopitar is a massive value and should be added into lineups ahead of Saturday’s home game against a scrappy New York Islanders team. Their goaltender, Ilya Sorokin, has been one of my favorite netminders of late, but Kopitar is too good to pass up due to consistent production as the Kings’ number one weapon.

Andre Burakovsky (LW – COL): $5,500
After spending his first six years with Washington, Colorado’s first-line winger Andre Burakovsky has to be enjoying his new home on a juggernaut team like the Avalanche. The 27-year old skates on Colorado’s first-line attack alongside superstar talents like Nathan MacKinnon (C – COL) and Mikko Rantanen (RW – COL), which is a big reason why he has 39 points through 50 games played this season. He’s set to smash the career-high 45 points that he totaled during his first season with the Avs in 2020 and will have a great opportunity against Vegas on the road Saturday night. The Golden Knights have dropped four of their last five games and will deploy reserve netminder Laurent Brossoit (G – VGK), who has been bad ever since recording his first shutout of the season against Edmonton on February 8th. Brossoit surrendered two goals in a 2-0 shutout against Colorado last week, but Burakovsky did not appear on the stat sheet. This time around, he is riding the momentum of three points in his previous two games, so expect this to transfer successfully against Brossoit the second time around. Burakovsky is a solid value at his salary and skates on the best line in all of hockey at the moment, making him a no-brainer investment.

Dante Fabbro (D – NAS): $4,000
He’s not a household name, but Dante Fabbro is a consistent contributor for the Nashville Predators in the offensive zone. The 23-year old defenseman skates on the first-line and earns close to 20 minutes average time on ice, despite not being featured on either powerplay unit. Fabbro has assisted in three of his previous four games, entering Saturday’s highly-anticipated outdoor game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville against the Tampa Bay Lightning. While the Lightning are a quality team poised to make a run at their third-straight championship, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (G – TB) has not been lights out in the net. He’s allowed three goals in three straight starts entering Saturday’s outdoor road contest, which plays right into the hands of Fabbro. Fabbro totaled nine blocked shots in a two-game stretch recently, raising his floor and countering his lack of shots on goal. At $4,000 on FanDuel, Fabbro is a textbook salary-saving option with intriguing upside.

Cal Petersen (G – LAK): $7,800
One of the most underrated goaltenders in the NHL is Cal Petersen. The 27-year old netminder is 4-1 across his last five starts and has not surrendered more than three goals during this stretch. What benefits Petersen is his lack of high-shot volume, as he has not faced more than 27 shots during this impressive run. The New York Islanders have struggled to score goals all season. These two factors combine to make Petersen a lock in DFS lineups at a fraction of the cost compared to more prominent goaltenders on the slate.

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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_.

DFS, DFS Advice, DraftKings, FanDuel, Featured, Featured Link, NHL