NHL DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Thursday (3/17)
Tuesday’s recommended NHL DFS prospects delivered in a big way, so let’s carry that momentum into another ten-game slate on Thursday. Asides from the two Dallas Stars prospects, who were both subsequently held without a point in a 4-0 blanking at the hands of Toronto, five of the remaining six players returned great value. The most notable performers were Connor McDavid (C – EDM) and Cole Caufield (LW – MTL), who both produced multi-point outings, while Jonathan Huberdeau (LW – FLA) buried his 19th goal of the season. In addition, both goaltenders performed well and added a slew of points en route to victories, as Juuse Saros (G – NAS) held Pittsburgh to one goal, and Thatcher Demko (G – VAN) racked up 32 saves in a 6-3 win after a slow start against New Jersey. It was a slate filled with production, and it should be replicated once again during Thursday’s schedule.
Teams playing for a second consecutive night should be avoided. Fortunately, this only includes the Columbus Blue Jackets, who already get a tough draw against a full-strength Washington Capitals squad. Most of the games are evenly matched. The Buffalo Sabres are the only underdog with +200 or lesser odds on the Moneyline, meaning we could be in store for quite a few upsets on Thursday night. However, value is hidden in plain sight, and I’ve done my diligence to find eight quality prospects to use as a foundation when setting your NHL DFS lineups. Let’s go!
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Leon Draisaitl (C – EDM): $8,500
Rostering either of Edmonton’s centers will cost you a pretty penny. This shouldn’t stop you from seeking them out in a highly plus-matchup against the Buffalo Sabres at home on Thursday night. Connor McDavid is the priciest, but Leon Draisaitl can be acquired for $700 cheaper, creating more value and allowing you to save money for other high-value prospects in the process. Draisaitl is no slouch. He’s scored 39 goals and 44 assists this season and is only two points behind McDavid, so rostering him against the Sabres’ 40-year old goaltender Craig Anderson (G – BUF) is a wise investment. The 26-year old center enters Thursday’s game against Buffalo with a four-point streak intact across his last two games. Draisaitl isn’t afraid to block an occasional shot, which raises his ceiling in any matchup. On Thursday night, pay up to add one of the best skaters on the slate in a juicy matchup against Buffalo.
Sam Reinhart (RW – FLA): $5,500
In his first year with the Florida Panthers, 26-year old Sam Reinhart has wasted no time contributing on offense. Reinhart is third in total points (58) for the Panthers and leads the team with 26 goals entering Thursday’s road contest against the Vegas Golden Knights. Reinhart delivered an assist against San Jose with two shots on goal on Tuesday, but his three-goal burst against Philadelphia a week ago put him on the map for his offensive talent and upside. Earning minutes on the second powerplay unit and second-line attack, Reinhart should be able to take advantage of the struggling Golden Knights and bury his 23rd goal of the season against reserve netminder Laurent Brossoit (G – VGK). At $5,500 on DraftKings, Reinhart is a significant value and should be added into DFS lineups with confidence.
Torey Krug (D – STL): $4,400
St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug has four points across his last three games and will attempt to extend his three-game point streak against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on Thursday night. Krug has 25 assists this season and earns minutes on the second defensive line and top powerplay unit for the Blues, where he’s netted 12 assists and two goals during a plus-man advantage. He’s a textbook defender because he usually collects two to three blocked shots per game while adding anywhere from one to four shots on goal to raise his floor. Krug is consistent and highly involved within the offensive and defensive zones, making him a tempting salary-saver at just $4,400 on DraftKings.
Ilya Sorokin (G – NYI): $7,200
Ilya Sorokin is consistently undervalued in DFS due to the New York Islanders’ negative perception of their anemic offense from earlier in the season. Take advantage of Sorokin at $7,200 even though he will face a juggernaut in the New York Rangers on Thursday night. The Rangers endured a two-game losing skid last week, but they have scored 11 goals in their previous two games against Dallas and Anaheim, so they certainly have plenty of firepower. However, the Islanders have established consistent offense as of late, and Rangers’ netminder Igor Shesterkin (G – NYR) has surrendered four goals in each of his previous two starts. In addition, the Islanders have scored at least four goals in each of their last four games. This allows Sorokin to face less pressure than he was forced to earlier in the year, allowing him to become a value. He did not start in the Islanders’ previous matchup against the Rangers, so invest in Sorokin. Despite the formidable opponent, he’s won three consecutive starts and could be due for a fourth.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (C – NYI): $4,700
A definitive piece of the New York Islanders’ offense is Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The 29-year old centers the second-line attack and top powerplay unit and has at least one point in nine of his previous ten games. This type of consistency is so valuable in DFS, as managers won’t have to worry about him being held without a shot on goal or an assist. Pageau is not the highest volume shooter, but he’s efficient and skilled at setting up scoring possessions, which is why he has 26 assists. He certainly isn’t the most attractive prospect in his ability to produce two or three-goal games. Still, as long as he can secure a point, you’ll be satisfied, especially considering his sub $5,000 salary on FanDuel. Treat Pageau as a high-floor salary-saver who can produce a point or two with an improved offense and recent momentum.
J.T. Miller (C/W – VAN): $8,600
J.T. Miller is dual-eligible as a center and wing on FanDuel. Probably because he’s far and away Vancouver’s most outstanding offensive asset. The 29-year old has 73 points, leads the Canucks with 24 goals and 49 assists, and has not been held without a point since February 9th. That’s just an insane stat line. On Tuesday, Miller buried three assists against New Jersey and has attempted 15 shots on goal during his last two games, yielding a goal and three assists in the process. During Thursday’s slate, Miller has scored a goal in four of his previous six games played and will get arguably the best goaltender matchup from an offensive perspective. This offseason, the Detroit Red Wings signed Alex Nedeljkovic (G – DET). Still, he’s been a considerable liability defending the crease, averaging 3.23 GAA, and has surrendered 15 goals across his previous three starts. Miller could be the top performer on Thursday’s slate, so don’t commit the mistake of bypassing him due to a high salary. Instead, plug him into DFS lineups and watch the points pile up.
Jeff Petry (D – MTL): $5,000
Montreal is 6-3-1 in their previous ten games played, and Jeff Petry has been integral to the success of the Canadiens’ offense during this run. The 34-year old veteran defenseman earns minutes on the top defensive line and second powerplay unit. Still, he’s aggressive in the defensive zone, totaling nine blocked shots in his last two games. Petry has three assists in his previous three games played, including a two-assist finish against Arizona on Tuesday. He’s a versatile player to roster in DFS, as Petry delivers enough shots, blocks, and assists to warrant serious consideration as a salary-saving prospect in DFS lineups on Thursday night. Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger (G – DAL) surrendered three goals to Toronto on Tuesday and was gashed for another seven against the New York Rangers last weekend. He’s trending in the wrong direction and vulnerable, elevating Petry’s value and appeal.
Cal Petersen (G – LAK): $7,200
Cal Petersen has not started in the net since March 12th, so his legs should be well-rested entering a matchup against San Jose on Thursday night. Petersen did allow five goals to the Sharks in his last start, but their offense is not formidable, and I’m willing to chalk up his lousy performance as a blip on the radar. As long as the Kings can score three goals, Petersen should be in a good position against a Sharks team with some good pieces but lacks the consistency to produce high-scoring outcomes. Petersen should have plenty of motivation from the bitter taste left in his mouth for nearly a week, so expect him to tap into his talent and stifle the Sharks’ attack all night long. At just $7,200, Petersen is a steal and will allow you to allocate funds to other blue-chip prospects.