NHL DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Saturday (4/2)
Nine games fill out Saturday’s NHL slate, which is less than the typical double-digit number of matchups held on most Saturdays during the regular season. A lighter schedule means finding value in lesser-known players. Another strategy is investing in a couple of players enduring a point drought but featured in plus-matchups. This does not mean discounting the blue-chip and ace prospects who will be highly rostered. Rather, instead of spending all of the allotted salary on several elite players and being left with limited funds for high-value prospects, add just one blue-chip player and seek out discounted value before adding your second high-caliber prospect. This helps maximize your salary without overpaying or making poor investment decisions in cheap players who lack upside.
As promised, my prospects from Thursday’s slate delivered high-end production in nearly every matchup. Patrice Bergeron (C – BOS) was the top skater to roster, scoring a goal and netting two assists on six shots to lead Boston onto an 8-1 rout of the New Jersey Devils. Mitch Marner (RW – TOR) generated three assists and four shots on goal during Toronto’s 7-3 win over Winnipeg. Teuvo Teravainen (LW – CAR) scored a goal and netted an assist on five shots during Carolina’s 4-0 blanking of Montreal. Vladislav Gavrikiov earned an assist on five shots, and Dallas Stars’ goaltender Jake Oettinger (G – DAL) continued his impressive play in the net with his second straight win against Anaheim in a clutch overtime win. Only Seth Jones (D – CHI) and Elias Lindholm (C – CGY) fell short of their projections, while Eric Comrie (G – WPG) finally had a bad game, surrendering six goals to the Maple Leafs. Overall, your lineups cashed if you took my advice and rostered any of the first four players referenced.
The final month of the season has arrived. Expect teams to pour it on as the playoff seeding shifts after each slate. I’ve gathered eight high-value prospects to target when constructing DFS lineups ahead of Saturday’s puck drops. So let’s get to it!
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Brayden Point (C – TB): $6,200
Tampa Bay has one of the league’s deepest and most experienced rosters right now. The Lightning have won two Stanley Cup trophies in a row and are well on their way to making a run at a three-peat. 26-year old Brayden Point centers the first-line attack, and he’s been a beneficiary of the talent surrounding him, finishing with at least one point in seven of his previous eight games entering Saturday’s home game against Montreal. Point earns additional minutes on the top powerplay unit, but he is efficient no matter the situation on the ice. In recent games, he has increased his shots on goal, attempting at least four shots in three of his previous four games. Point has not been held without a point since March 22nd against Carolina, which means he’s reliable when it comes to production. Even better, Montreal will deploy struggling netminder Jake Allen (G – MTL), who has faced over 42 shots in five consecutive starts. As a result, Allen has surrendered nine goals across his last two starts. Point will waste little time before extending his point streak, so add him as a great value at $6,200 on DraftKings.
Ilya Mikheyev (LW – TOR): $4,300
Ilya Mikheyev has value written all over him. The 27-year old earns his minutes on Toronto’s second-line attack, where he’s begun to find his rhythm, scoring three goals across his last five games. Mikheyev does not skate on either powerplay unit, but he’s consistently involved within the Maple Leafs’ offense, attempting at least a couple of shots per game and often coming away with a point. In his last game, Mikheyev ripped off a three-point outing, including two assists, during a 7-3 rout of Winnipeg. He’ll face Philadelphia and goaltender Carter Hart (G – PHI) on the road Saturday night in a juicy matchup for Toronto’s personnel. Hart has struggled most of the season for the Flyers and has not played in over a week when he last surrendered six goals on a whopping 51 shots against Colorado. This elevates Mikheyev into a high-value territory, so plug him into lineups as a salary saver with considerable upside.
Charlie McAvoy (D – BOS): $5,800
24-year old Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy has seen his usage and production increase since the arrival of Hampus Lindholm (D – BOS) at the trade deadline. Having another strong, able-bodied defender has allowed McAvoy to elevate his play within Boston’s offense, as he has five assists across his last three games. McAvoy is a guarantee to rack up a blocked shot or two, which cannot be said about his shots on goal volume. However, he’s equipped with a high floor due to his ability to rack up assists (37) and blocked shots easily. He will have plenty of opportunities to extend his assist streak against Columbus goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (G – CBJ), who has surrendered four goals in three of his previous four starts. Boston is on a tear right now, and McAvoy will undoubtedly be a beneficiary, so add him into lineups at a good value in a plus-matchup at home Saturday night.
Ville Husso (G – STL): $7,300
St. Louis has a solid reserve netminder in Ville Husso, who will start against Calgary on Saturday night. The 27-year old goaltender has an 18-6 record with two recorded shutouts and an impressive 2.40 GAA entering Saturday’s road contest against the Flames. Husso has been good defending the crease in his last few appearances in the net for the Blues, with his only blemish coming in a 7-2 loss against Carolina last weekend. Since then, Husso is 2-0-1, performing well on short notice after being substituted to replace Jordan Binnington (G – STL) in a 6-5 overtime loss to Edmonton on Friday night. The Flames are a formidable opponent on paper, but upon closer inspection, one sees that they have only scored three goals across their last two games combined. This adds quite a bit of appeal to Husso, who is talented in his own right. Against a struggling offense, Husso becomes a great value and should be inserted at a discount into DraftKings lineups.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000
Tomas Hertl (C – SJ): $6,400
San Jose’s only reliable offensive asset is Tomas Hertl. The first-line center has at least one point in his previous five games, including three multi-point finishes, while hovering between one to five shots on goal. The 28-year old also delivers blocked shots now and again, countering his low shot volume. However, when he’s in the offensive zone, Hertl has incredible vision and frequently connects with his linemates to produce a score. You’re not expecting goals, as Hertl has only scored once in his past five games while sitting on 26 goals for the season. Maybe his goal drought ends against Dallas on Saturday, but it’s a near certainty that Hertl will extend his point streak via assist by the end of Saturday night. Jake Oettinger is a quality goaltender, but he surrenders two to three goals in most games, so Hertl and the Sharks will have plenty of opportunities to score.
Taylor Hall (LW – BOS): $5,800
Boston’s second-line attack winger, Taylor Hall, has a three-game goal streak intact, entering Saturday’s home game against Columbus. The 30-year old notched a powerplay assist and four shots on goal during his previous matchup against the Blue Jackets and goaltender Elvis Merzlikins last month. Merzlikins surrendered four goals on 32 shots during that matchup, which was before the upgrades made by Boston during the trade deadline. However, these teams are trending in opposite directions, with Hall being a catalyst for the Bruins’ offensive success. He should have no problem scoring or dishing his 36th assist of the season on Saturday night against an inferior opponent at home. At under $6,000, Hall is a solid value and should be targeted in most FanDuel lineups.
Mikhail Sergachev (D – TB): $4,600
23-year old defenseman Mikhail Sergachev earns his minutes on Tampa Bay’s second-line defensive pairing and their second powerplay unit. Sergachev has been relatively quiet in terms of his assist and goals lately, netting a multi-point outing against the New York Islanders last weekend. Still, his ability to stack points in minor categories makes him appealing. Sergachev gets at least two blocked shots per game while attempting two to four shots on goal, elevating his floor significantly. At just $4,600 on FanDuel, he’s a high-floor salary-saving prospect who will find himself competing against a much inferior opponent in the Montreal Canadiens. Expect many shot opportunities for Sergachev and a legitimate chance to find himself back in the point column by the end of Saturday night.
Marc-Andre Fleury (G – MIN): $7,900
Minnesota is enjoying their trade deadline acquisition in veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. The 37-year old netminder has earned consecutive wins as a starter for the Wild, surrendering only three total goals across his last two starts. These came against Columbus and Philadelphia, but it’s a confidence booster heading into a tougher matchup against Carolina on the road Saturday night. Fleury has had three nights off to rest, and the Hurricanes are a tough team to predict, as they have laid an egg in several big matchups throughout the season. Fleury also benefits from the talented personnel skating in front of him. He’s available to roster at under $8,000 on FanDuel. Fleury is worth the investment, especially considering the lack of talented goaltenders on Saturday’s slate or the high prices for the elite netminders.