NHL DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Thursday (2/17)
The National Hockey League has ten games scheduled for Thursday evening’s slate, creating an abundant amount of options for constructing winning DFS lineups. My Tuesday recommendations wound up a mixed bag, with half of the prospects delivering a point or a win, while the other half stayed active in the offensive zone but failed to convert a point. Most notably, Sidney Crosby (C – PIT) scored his 500th career goal against the Flyers, and the rest of the Penguins rallied around their star veteran to mount a comeback win in overtime. Alex Tuch (RW – BUF) delivered the only other multi-point game amongst my Tuesday recommendations, taking five shots on goal and leading the Sabres to a 6-3 rout of the New York Islanders. Igor Shesterkin (G – NYR) was also a brick wall defending the crease, allowing only one goal while facing 32 shots from a solid Boston Bruins offensive attack.
Some of the best matchups to tap into Thursday night involve the matchups where oddsmakers favor at least six total goals scored. These games are Ottawa at Buffalo, Montreal hosting St. Louis, Toronto hosting Pittsburgh, Washington at Philadelphia, Seattle at Winnipeg, Chicago hosting Columbus, and Anaheim traveling to Edmonton. Yes, seven of the ten games being played on Thursday are expected to hit the six-goal benchmark. Most of my recommended players for this slate are from these seven matchups.
Let’s cash out and build some good momentum heading into the weekend!
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
John Tavares (C – TOR): $6,700
One of Toronto’s best assets and players is 31-year old John Tavares. He centers their second-line attack and top powerplay unit, earning roughly 18 minutes average time on ice. Tavares enters Thursday’s home contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a four-game point streak and five assists. He attempts three to six shots on goal most of the time and is tied second for total points (45) on Toronto, behind only Auston Matthews (C – TOR). Pittsburgh will deploy Tristan Jarry (G – PIT) as their goaltender on Thursday, which means Tavares will face a volatile, inconsistent netminder. Jarry has been good against the Maple Leafs in two previous matchups, surrendering only one goal and recording a shutout in the other game. However, Jarry allowed Los Angeles and Washington to finish with four goals and a win in consecutive starts at the beginning of February. He’s been better against New Jersey and Boston, but Toronto and Tavares have the firepower to challenge him all night long. At under $7,000, Tavares is worth the investment in Thursday lineups.
Brady Tkachuk (LW – OTT): $6,900
The son of legendary Hall-of-Famer Keith Tkachuk, 22-year old Brady Tkachuk, is currently leading the Ottawa Senators in total points (35), including 15 goals. Tkachuk earns additional opportunities on the Senators’ top powerplay unit, and he has racked up three points across his previous two games, entering Thursday’s road game in Buffalo. The Sabres finally have their veteran goaltender Craig Anderson (G – BUF) back in the net, but he has surrendered eight goals in his previous two starts. Tkachuk delivered an assist and attempted an absurdly high 12 shots on goal in his last game against the Sabres three weeks ago. It’s a plus-matchup for the Senators, and Tkachuk is their most potent offensive contributor. You won’t often find someone with his skill set and production available at under $7,000 on DraftKings, so take advantage and plug Tkachuk into lineups with confidence.
Rasmus Dahlin (D – BUF): $4,800
The Buffalo Sabres have quietly rattled off two straight wins and will attempt to extend their winning streak to three games against the Ottawa Senators at home on Thursday night. 21-year old Rasmus Dahlin has been an integral piece to this effort, scoring his eighth goal and pouring in two assists in his previous three games played. While he is a low-volume shooter, Dahlin racks up one to three blocked shots per game and earns close to 23 minutes of average time on ice. Dahlin will face Ottawa’s reserve netminder Filip Gustavsson (G – OTT), who has an atrocious 3.79 GAA in 11 starts this season. The 23-year old goaltender has not been in the net since allowing three goals to Pittsburgh in a 6-4 loss on January 20th. Gustavvson allowed a combined total of 11 goals in his previous two starts. He is a massive liability, and Dahlin is skilled enough to extend his point streak and remain inside the top-three point leaders (31 points) for the Sabres. At under $5,000, Dahlin is a great value and will produce enough to justify rostering him in numerous lineups.
Linus Ullmark (G – BOS): $7,400
Linus Ullmark is coming off of arguably his worst performance of the season. The 28-year old goaltender for the Boston Bruins has a 16-7 record and a 2.78 GAA, but he surrendered six goals in a 6-0 blowout at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. However, leave this performance in the rearview, as Ullmark will face the New York Islanders on Thursday night. The Islanders are the lowest-scoring team in the league with only 105 goals. They have lost three straight games and only scored more than two goals once during this slump. Ullmark last faced the Islanders on December 16th, where he allowed only two goals while facing 27 shots. Expect the Bruins to earn a win over the lowest-scoring team in the league, which makes a case for rostering Ullmark in DFS lineups on Thursday night. He’s a cheap asset and finds himself in a rare plus-matchup, allowing you to save your salary for other high-upside skaters.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000
Pierre-Luc Dubois (C – WPG): $6,600
In his second year with the Winnipeg Jets, 23-year old Pierre-Luc Dubois is scorching the numbers he produced last season. He is third on the team in terms of total points (35), and he’s achieved a balanced 2o goals and 15 assists across 46 games played. He skates on the Jets’ second-line attack and centers the top powerplay unit, allowing him to notch a point in most games. The Jets will face a bad Seattle Kraken team at home on Thursday night, which means Dubois should end his two-game point drought by lighting up the lamp or setting up Kyle Connor (LW – WPG) for a score against Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (G – SEA). Grubauer has surrendered three goals in each of his previous two starts after recording his first shutout of the season against the New York Islanders back on February 2nd. Dubois failed to record a point in his last matchup against Grubauer on only two shots, so expect him to find redemption the second time around. There is a bit of risk baked into Dubois, but he does attempt three to four shots on goal in most games, so his floor is manageable in the worst-case scenario where he doesn’t produce a point. His $6,600 salary is justified, and if Dubois does generate a point, he will be one of the more valuable players on the slate.
Alex Tuch (RW – BUF): $7,500
I was ahead of the curve on Alex Tuch during Tuesday’s slate, as he generated a two-point outing against the New York Islanders in a 6-3 rout. The 25-year old has only played 16 games this season, so his legs are fresh, and his talent is clearly among the best throughout the Buffalo Sabres’ depth chart. Tuch skates on the first-line attack and the top powerplay unit, which is a big reason he has a four-game point streak with seven points amassed during this stretch. His return has rejuvenated a previously anemic offense. Therefore, paying nearly double the salary to roster Tuch when compared to his value on Tuesday’s slate is not a poor decision. He is highly utilized and will get a plus-matchup against woeful Ottawa Senators reserve goaltender Filip Gustavsson. Tuch should waste no time getting on the board, so pay up and acquire one of the lesser-known blue-chip prospects on Thursday’s slate.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (D – VAN): $5,300
After spending 11 seasons as the former top-ten pick in the 2009 NHL Draft with the Arizona Coyotes, 30-year old defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been forced to adjust to his new role with the Vancouver Canucks. After a massive stretch of games where Ekman-Larsson failed to score a point, he is now riding the momentum created due to his four-game point streak. This includes two of the four goals that he’s scored throughout the season, as well as a three-assist outing against his former team on February 8th. He earns roughly 23 minutes average time on ice and skates on the top powerplay unit and defensive line pairing, which creates ample opportunities for production. He also raises his floor with two to three blocked shots per game and is active in the offensive zone, attempting at least three shots on goal in four of his previous five games played. Ekman-Larsson is a fantastic value and possesses the upside necessary to launch a lineup into the green.
Thatcher Demko (G – VAN): $7,200
Sticking with the Vancouver Canucks, you won’t find a better goaltending prospect with as much value as Thatcher Demko. The 26-year old has only allowed four goals in his previous three starts, including an outstanding performance against Toronto, where Demko recorded 51 saves in a 3-2 win. He has three starts allowing only one goal across four of his previous six games played, and he’ll face the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks have lost four games in a row and were unable to score in their last game against the Edmonton Oilers. They only have three total goals across their last three games played. Demko is an exceptional goaltender right now, and he should be able to dispose of the Sharks without much difficulty. Demko is also available at a massive discount, so prioritize inserting him as an anchor in your lineups.