NHL DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Thursday (3/31)
Nine games round out Thursday’s NHL slate, with Winnipeg and Los Angeles enduring the grind of playing back-to-back nights. Expect a lot of lopsided blowouts compared to the expected results of a nine-game slate, as five teams have +200 or lesser odds on the Moneyline. This includes Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, New Jersey, and Montreal. Teams at the top of their respective divisions still have a month of regular-season games to determine playoff seeding. Expect a fight from all 32 teams down the stretch, even those on the brink of elimination. For instance, Carolina is 4-3-3 in their previous ten games. Tampa Bay is hovering at .500 in their record across their last ten games, while Winnipeg is on a three-game winning streak in desperation to climb the divisional leaderboard.
Tuesday’s recommended prospects were largely disappointing. Brady Tkachuk (LW – OTT) was the lone goal scorer for Ottawa, while Kevin Shattenkirk (D – ANA) was the only other skater to produce a point via assist. Joe Pavelski (RW – DAL) sprayed six shots on goal but failed to convert any of them, and Igor Shesterkin (G – NYR) stopped 22 of 24 shots from Pittsburgh in a pivotal 3-2 win. Unfortunately, Ryan Hartman (C – MIN), Noah Hanifin (D – CGY), and Charlie Coyle (C – BOS) were virtually silent in terms of production. Finally, Jeremy Swayman (G – BOS), who I had the utmost confidence in, got scorched by Toronto, surrendering six goals in the first two periods before being pulled.
I’ve focused on the best value prospects entering Thursday’s nine-game slate with this bitter taste from a disappointing group of candidates on Tuesday. So let’s cash out and set a good precedent for the weekend!
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Patrice Bergeron (C – BOS): $7,200
After missing four games due to an arm injury, Boston’s veteran leader, Patrice Bergeron, has made his presence felt since returning last weekend. The 36-year old first-line center has 17 goals and 30 assists for the Bruins this season and has netted an assist in each of the two games since his return from injury last weekend. He’s a high-volume shooter, which is always an asset in DFS. On Tuesday, Bergeron did drop from six shots on goal down to just one shot during a 6-4 loss to Toronto, yet he still managed to rack up an assist. New Jersey’s goaltender Nico Daws (G – NJ) has played reasonably well, but he has allowed four goals in four of his previous six starts. It’s a soft, plus-matchup for Bergeron, who should return to a high-shot volume and yield a point or two. He’s a solid value despite the $7,200 salary on DraftKings, so pay up and plug Bergeron into lineups with confidence.
Mitch Marner (RW – TOR): $6,400
Toronto has two young stars skating on its first-line attack. One of them is 24-year old winger Mitch Marner, who has scored 28 goals and netted a whopping 48 assists to lead the Maple Leafs in that particular statistical metric. Marner attempts two to four shots on goal and isn’t afraid to get aggressive in the defensive zone, occasionally adding a blocked shot or two to elevate his floor. Marner has been on fire lately, entering Thursday’s home contest against Winnipeg with a seven-game point streak. Upon closer inspection, the 24-year old winger has scored five goals and nine assists during this stretch, including three consecutive multi-point finishes in Marner’s previous three games. He’s on fire and a primary offensive contributor, making Marner’s $6,400 salary an incredible value. Target him and add Marner into as many DFS lineups as possible against a Winnipeg Jets team who will have tired legs after an overtime win against Buffalo on Wednesday night.
Seth Jones (D – CHI): $5,400
27-year old defenseman Seth Jones has been a steady contributor for the Chicago Blackhawks this season. In his first year with the franchise, Jones has generated an incredible 40 assists while staying busy in the defensive zone with two to five blocked shots per game. This raises his baseline considerably. What’s even more enticing about Jones in DFS is that he has a six-game point streak, entering Thursday’s road contest against a talented Florida Panthers team. Jones is streaky with his shot volume, but the high number of blocked shots and his ability to navigate the offensive zone to find an open shooter make him appealing. At $5,400, Jones is an excellent value against his former teammate and Panthers’ goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky (G – FLA), who has surrendered three or more goals in his previous four starts in the net.
Jake Oettinger (G – DAL): $7,800
I have been recommending Dallas’ goaltender Jake Oettinger in several matchups lately, ultimately yielding mixed results. The 23-year old netminder has performed well in a ton of games, but he’s slipped a bit as of late, which is primarily due to the Stars’ lack of recent offense. You’re investing in Oettinger for his ability to hold opposing teams to two or three goals allowed, but it relies on the production from players on the lines in front of him. Last weekend, he failed to contain Vancouver in the final 30 minutes, but he rebounded with a strong 26 save performance in a 3-2 win over Anaheim on Tuesday. He gets another round with the Ducks on their home ice Thursday night, which is excellent news for Oettinger’s value due to Anaheim’s current ten-game losing skid. Take the $7,800 salary and roster Oettinger as a great value against an inferior opponent.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000
Elias Lindholm (C – CGY): $8,100
Calgary’s first-line center, 27-year old Elias Lindholm, has an even split of goals (34) and assists (34) which has launched him into third on the Flames’ total points leaderboard. Lindholm earns additional minutes on the top powerplay unit and has been highly active within the offense, scoring four goals in a four-game stretch before being held without a point or shot on goal against Colorado on Tuesday. Expect Lindholm to bounce back in a big way against the Los Angeles Kings on home ice Thursday night, as the Kings just lost 4-3 in overtime to Edmonton on Wednesday night. Lindholm has been highly efficient on offense all season for the Flames, so his low shot volume should not pose a significant concern. He’s a skilled goal scorer and can dish plenty of assists, making him worth every penny of his $8,100 salary on FanDuel against the Kings on Thursday night.
Teuvo Teravainen (LW – CAR): $6,800
27-year old Teuvo Teravainen leads the Carolina Hurricanes in assists (38) but has also managed to rack up 16 goals. Carolina has not been stellar in their previous ten games, showing vulnerability on both ends of the ice rink. Teravainen has at least one assist in his last five games, including two multi-point finishes. This is necessary due to his low shot volume and lack of blocked shots in the defensive zone, which eliminates a high floor outcome. However, Teravainen is a talented skater and benefits from being surrounded by the top personnel in Carolina. He’ll draw Montreal’s goaltender Jake Allen (G – MTL) in the net on Thursday, the definition of a plus-matchup. Allen’s last start on Tuesday resulted in surrendering six goals to Florida. Even better from Teravainen’s perspective, Allen has faced at least 42 shots in his previous four starts. Due to momentum and his usage, plus the soft matchup against the Canadiens, Teravainen is a solid value and should be inserted into DFS lineups.
Vladislav Gavrikov (D – CBJ): $4,400
26-year old first-line defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov has been an excellent acquisition for Columbus since he was drafted by the franchise back in 2015. He’s only played three seasons in the NHL, all with the Blue Jackets, but he’s had his best season in year three. Gavrikov does not earn additional minutes on either powerplay unit, but he’s highly active on both ends of the ice. He’s coming off of a three-point outing against the New York Islanders on Tuesday, which included two goals, and he’ll face the Islanders again for the second game of the series doubleheader. He will also face the same goaltender, Semyon Varlamov (G – NYI), who surrendered two goals to Gavrikov only a couple of days ago. He may not attempt five shots on goal again, but his ability to stack blocked shots and his ability to finish as a scorer or contributor via assist elevates his appeal. At just $4,400 on FanDuel, Gavrikov is one of the best defensemen values on Thursday’s slate.
Eric Comrie (G – WPG): $7,600
Winnipeg has the luxury of rostering a bonafide stud as their reserve netminder. 26-year old Eric Comrie has an 8-2 record as a starter for the Jets this season and boasts an impressive 2.39 GAA. He’s well-rested since his last start against Columbus on March 25th, where he surrendered three goals on 36 shots en route to a 4-3 win. Comrie has allowed three goals or fewer during every single start he’s made in the net this season. On Wednesday, the Jets will be tired from their overtime road win against Buffalo, but it’s important to note that Comrie was not starting. Yes, Toronto is a massively talented team and will likely score at least a couple of goals. Yet, Comrie is vigorously defending the crease, well-rested, and benefits from an offensive unit that has increased its goal scoring as of late, leading to their current three-game win streak. He’s a massive value at $7,600 and will allow you to roster other blue-chip skaters by saving a few bucks, so add Comrie as the anchor in your lineups despite the intimidating opponent.