We’ve got six games on tap for the NHL’s Friday night slate. The biggest favorite based on moneyline odds is Calgary to win outright at -205 over the New York Islanders. There aren’t a ton of marquee matchups to target but Tampa Bay vs. Winnipeg should deliver plenty of fireworks, as the goal total line is juiced on over six goals at -115. Despite the lack of high-profile names and games, DFS becomes much more fun to play when you’re dealing with mediocre and underachieving rosters. Value becomes much more tricky to identify, but that’s why I’m here to help.
Tuesday’s slate was a mixed bag of results based on my recommended players. Neither goaltender earned the start, which negates two of my picks, while Vince Dunn (D – Kraken), Jamie Benn (LW – Stars), and Shayne Gostisbehere (D – Coyotes) all failed to generate a point to return value. However, Auston Matthews (C – Maple Leafs) racked up two points, including a goal, while Alex Ovechkin (LW – Capitals) continued his goal-scoring streak with two goals in a 5-4 overtime loss to Buffalo. Steven Stamkos (C – Lightning) also managed an assist in a 4-1 win over the lowly Chicago Blackhawks. It was a top-heavy outcome, so hopefully you were able to secure Matthews, Stamkos, and Ovechkin into some DFS builds.
We get to explore some teams’ rosters in-depth which we don’t typically get to do on a beefier, double-digit game slate. Plus, it’s Friday! Let’s generate some good vibes by targeting eight of my favorite players on this slate when constructing DraftKings and FanDuel lineups to cash out and start the weekend off with money in the bank account.
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Tomas Hertl (C – Sharks): $6,300
We’re going to start with San Jose, who is favored to win outright against the sputtering Anaheim Ducks. Both teams are at the bottom of the Pacific Division with negative goal differentials, but the Sharks have some firepower in their attack lines. I’m liking the value we’re getting with Tomas Hertl, who has three goals and three assists in his past five games played. Granted, he’s had two games without a point during this stretch as well, but he’s facing the league’s 32nd-ranked scoring defense, as Anaheim is allowing four goals per game on average. Netminder John Gibson (G – Ducks) just logged a 2-0 shutout win over Dallas, but I’m not going to be fooled. Plug Hertl in as a high-floor prospect with a big ceiling at a good discounted salary.
Clayton Keller (LW – Coyotes): $5,800
Arizona is an underdog against Chicago, which we hardly ever see this season. The Coyotes have a lot of young talent in their attack lines, including Clayton Keller, who just notched a two-point game with a goal against Florida on January 3rd. The Blackhawks allow 3.8 goals on average and only score 2.2 goals per game, so Keller should have enough opportunities in the offensive zone to provide a solid floor with the potential to fetch 12-15 points in DraftKings lineups on the road in Chicago on Friday night.
Moritz Seider (D – Red Wings): $4,700
Moritz Seider was an exciting rookie to watch in terms of his skill and development last season. In Year 2, the 21-year-old defenseman has 13 points through 36 games played, so he’s cooled off a bit. I still like Seider’s floor against Florida on Friday night because he stays busy in the defensive zone, racking up blocked shots and not shying away from shots in the offensive zone. We’re not expecting a ceiling performance but the floor is hovering around 10 DK points, which is a value at $4,700.
Semyon Varlamov (G – Islanders): $7,800
The New York Islanders are one of the few teams in the league with two strong goaltenders at their disposal. 34-year-old netminder Semyon Varlamov is slated to get the start in goal against Calgary on Friday to improve his record as a starter to 9-3 this season. Varlamov was just activated off of IR a couple of days ago from a lower-body injury, so he should be well-rested and ready to play well against an underwhelming Calgary offense that is ranked 24th in offensive scoring.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000
Trevor Zegras (C – Ducks): $6,100
Not much has gone right for Anaheim this season but Trevor Zegras is a bright spot to focus on. The 21-year-old center has 29 points for the Ducks, including ten goals. He has four assists in his last four games played, as Anaheim is beginning to improve, going 2-2 straight up in its last four games played. San Jose is equally bad, with goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (G – Sharks) allowing a 3.71 GAA and a 4-7 record in 11 starts. Plug Zegras in as a solid discounted blue-chip player with a high floor and the potential to deliver a ceiling performance against a struggling opponent.
Alex Ovechkin (LW – Capitals): $9,900
I’m extremely confident in Alex Ovechkin’s heater continuing into Friday night’s home matchup against Nashville. The veteran winger has recorded 29 goals and 48 total points through 41 games this season, breaking records and preserving a four-game goal streak. Kevin Lankinen (G – Predators) is expected to start in the net for the Predators and his last start was ugly, surrendering five goals on 32 shots to Vegas in an overtime loss. Ovechkin is too talented to not extend his goal streak against Lankinen, so despite the high salary, we’re getting chalky and riding the hot hand once more on Friday night in D.C.
Victor Hedman (D – Lightning): $6,000
Tampa Bay loves to keep its players throughout their entire careers and defenseman Victor Hedman is no exception. The 14-year veteran has been collecting assists, entering Friday’s game against Winnipeg with five assists in his last three games played. Hedman adds additional value with a high floor due to his usage in the defensive zone and blocking shots, so plug Hedman into lineups with confidence despite the inflated salary on FanDuel.
Connor Ingram (G – Coyotes): $7,900
I’ll be honest, Connor Ingram is a risky play most nights, but he’s facing the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, who score the fewest goals in the league at 2.2 per game on average, which bodes well for the 25-year-old netminder’s upside in DFS lineups. While Ingram has yet to record a shutout and has an abysmal 4.24 GAA with a 2-7 record, he did earn a 6-3 win over Colorado in his last start on December 27th. With plenty of rest and a rare plus-matchup, Ingram is a good salary-saving netminder on a fairly light slate, so get him into lineups as needed.