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NHL DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Saturday (4/23)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Apr 23, 2022
Robert Thomas

The Eastern Conference playoff picture is set, while the Western Conference has a couple of exciting divisional races coming down to the wire. As of Saturday morning, Dallas and Vancouver are the two teams on the outside looking in; however, they both play games on Saturday night, meaning the playoff seeding could be jumbled up by the end of the weekend. Vegas and Nashville are clinging on for their playoff lives, while Los Angeles cannot rest on its laurels yet. It should be a fun weekend slate to close out the regular season, as 12 games are scheduled throughout the day, beginning at 12:30 pm ET and concluding with a 10:30 pm ET puck drop with Anaheim traveling across town to play the Kings.

Thursday’s slate had every one of my recommended players return massive value in DFS lineups. Ranging from the goaltending of Sergei Bobrovsky (G – FLA) and Jonathan Quick (G – LAK) to Ondrej Palat (LW – TB), Pavel Buchnevich (LW – STL), Noah Dobson (D – NYI), and Ivan Provorov (D – PHI), all finishing with multi-point games. The two most expensive players recommended, Sidney Crosby (C – PIT) and Aleksander Barkov (C – FLA), also managed to return value with an assist for Crosby and a goal for Barkov in big wins. The shocking production came from Palat, Provorov, and Dobson, firing on all cylinders regarding goals and assists. As teams begin to pack it in for the offseason or rest their starters for the postseason, opportunity and value become intrinsically elevated, meaning average players suddenly gain massive appeal compared to their previous usage.

The 12-game slate on Saturday offers dozens of prospects to sort through. Still, I’ve managed to identify eight of my favorite high-value players that will be quality assets when constructing DFS lineups. So let’s jump into the final Saturday slate of the 2022 NHL regular season!

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Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Robert Thomas (C – STL): $6,100
Until proven otherwise, I’m investing in Robert Thomas. St. Louis’ first-line center has earned his keep, climbing up the offensive depth chart, and now benefits from skating alongside a talented group, including Pavel Buchnevich and Vladimir Tarasenko (RW – STL). Thomas earns close to 20 minutes average time on ice and additional minutes on the top powerplay unit, where he’s been racking up assists and goals with a plus-man advantage. The 22-year-old is even better during even strength, as he now has a 15-game point streak heading into Saturday’s road contest in Arizona. The Coyotes are among the worst teams in the league and will deploy Harri Sateri (G – ARI) in the net, who just surrendered seven goals to Calgary in his last start. Thomas has been matchup-proof and riding a hot hand, so add him into DraftKings lineups in a plus-matchup on the road Saturday night.

Adrian Kempe (RW – LAK): $6,000
25-year-old Adrian Kempe skates on Los Angeles’ first-line attack and has been heating up down the stretch, netting two assists and a goal across his previous two games. Kempe has double the number of goals (34) compared to the 18 assists he’s generated for the Kings this season, which is a good sign of a plus matchup against Anaheim Ducks’ goaltender Anthony Stolarz (G – ANA). With some sustained success, the 28-year-old netminder has only played in roughly 20 games for the Ducks this season. However, he has allowed three or more goals in his last three starts, which means Kempe should be able to extend his point streak with little resistance. The Kings need to defend their playoff hopes, so ceding a game to a bad Anaheim team cannot happen if they want to maintain a comfortable cushion. Kempe has two goals across his last five games, including a goal against a different Ducks goaltender earlier in the week. At $6,000, Kempe is a sound investment and can be inserted into DraftKings lineups with relatively high value.

Quinn Hughes (D – VAN): $5,000
Vancouver is another team on the playoff bubble, so expect the entire team to be motivated and play their A-game against Calgary. Quinn Hughes, a second-line defenseman for the Canucks earns additional minutes on their top powerplay unit and is hyper-efficient within the offense. Despite only attempting one or two shots on goal per game and straying away recently from blocking shots, Hughes has a knack for finding the open teammate, as he has 55 assists through 72 games played this season. The 22-year-old will face one of the better goaltenders in the league on Saturday night, as Jacob Markstrom (G – CGY) will be defending the crease for the Flames. Do not let this force you off of Hughes, as he has three assists in his last two matchups against Calgary, including a game where Markstrom was pulled after surrendering three goals in just under two periods. Hughes is a cheap defenseman with a high ceiling, so add him into lineups with confidence in a game where the Canucks have all the motivation.

Casey DeSmith (G – PIT): $8,400
The Tristan Jarry (G – PIT) era might be coming to a quick end in Pittsburgh. 30-year-old goaltender Casey DeSmith is 9-5 for the Penguins as a starter this season, but he has a .915 save percentage after stonewalling Boston for his third shutout on Thursday. DeSmith is talented defending the crease, but he also gains appeal in DFS lineups due to the high shot volume he typically faces. He racked up 52 saves against the Bruins and 33 saves in consecutive starts against the Rangers and Islanders, resulting in a 2-0-1 record. DeSmith will face a Detroit Red Wings team on the road Saturday night who have only scored more than two goals once in their past four games. It’s a fantastic matchup for DeSmith, who should cruise to a win against an inferior opponent due to his confidence and talent. So pay up to acquire one of the best goaltenders on Saturday’s slate.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000

Elias Pettersson (C – VAN): $6,300
On Thursday, Elias Pettersson yielded a dazzling two-goal performance against the Minnesota Wild. The 23-year-old earns most of his minutes on Vancouver’s second-line attack, but he also skates on their top powerplay unit, maximizing his goal-scoring opportunities for the Canucks. Pettersson has six goals and three assists to complement during this recent five-game stretch, totaling three multi-point games. Vancouver is a desperate team who needs to win out, so don’t let Jacob Markstrom’s presence defending the crease for Calgary blind you to Pettersson’s ceiling. Pettersson has two goals and two assists in his last two matchups against the Flames, so landing him in FanDuel lineups at $6,300 is a remarkable value. He is a high-volume shooter and just took eight shots on goal against Minnesota during his two-goal finish on Thursday, so invest in the red-hot center ahead of a 10 pm ET puck drop in the Saddledome.

Nikita Kucherov (RW – TB): $8,700
Sometimes, you have to pay top dollar to acquire a high-ceiling player in DFS. Nikita Kucherov is one of the most talented skaters in the entire league, and he’s been heating up for Tampa Bay in April as the team prepares to embark on its third straight Stanley Cup title. The 28-year-old has a four-game point streak intact entering Saturday’s road contest in Toronto. In addition, he should possess the lethal upside he displayed during Thursday’s 8-1 rout of the Maple Leafs as the teams engage in the second game of the series doubleheader in Florida on Saturday night. Kucherov has five goals and three assists across his last four games, so expect another high-ceiling performance against Toronto goaltender Jack Campbell (G – TOR), even though he sat out during the 8-1 blowout on Thursday. Kucherov is matchup-proof and integral to Tampa Bay’s first-line attack, so when oddsmakers expect Over 6.5 goals to hit, rostering Kucherov is wise.

Vince Dunn (D – SEA): $5,000
Since the departure of veteran Mark Giordano (D – TOR) to Toronto at the trade deadline, Vince Dunn has been taking full advantage of his first-line defenseman role for Seattle. While it was a disappointing season for the Kraken and its fanbase, Dunn possesses enough talent and opportunity to be a good salary-saver in FanDuel lineups on Saturday. Not only does Dunn stack blocked shots, but he has also increased his shots on goal in recent matchups, attempting four against Minnesota on Friday night, which yielded his 28th assist of the season. Dunn has at least one assist in four of his past five games, including against quality opponents like Minnesota and Calgary, so plugging him in against Dallas should not be concerning. The Stars are in desperation mode, but goaltender Jake Oettinger (G – DAL) has allowed three or more goals in three of his past four starts. The Kraken and Dunn can play spoiler to Dallas. Dunn is an excellent salary-saving defenseman to target in DFS lineups based on his recent usage and assist momentum.

Ville Husso (G – STL): $8,300
This season, Ville Husso has become the de facto goaltender number one in St. Louis. The 27-year-old has an impressive 24-6 record as a starter for the Blues, recording two shutouts and boasting a 2.46 GAA. Husso will arguably get the best matchup of the slate against Arizona on the road Saturday night as a -420 Moneyline favorite. The Coyotes are on a nine-game losing slump and have only managed to score three goals twice during this skid. Conversely, Husso has allowed more than three goals just once in his past three starts, which came against talented teams like Boston and Minnesota. Against the Coyotes, Husso will be rock-solid, flooding lineups with points by the night’s end. In a great plus-matchup, pay up to acquire one of the best 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_.

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