We’ve officially entered the second round of the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs! After watching three Game 7s to close out the first round, including two underdog wins on the road for the Seattle Kraken and Florida Panthers, Tuesday’s two-game slate will start with the Toronto Maple Leafs hosting the eight-seed Florida Panthers. Auston Matthews (C – Maple Leafs) and the Maple Leafs got the proverbial monkey off their back by advancing past the first round for the first time since 2004, beating Tampa Bay 2-1 to close out the series on the road in Game 6. Expect fireworks and a raucous crowd at Scotiabank Arena greeting the gritty, unwavering Florida Panthers. Then, in the late-night action out West, we’ll be treated to an entertaining series between the Dallas Stars and Seattle Kraken. The Kraken upset the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche on the road in Game 7, getting a massive boost from goaltender Philipp Grubauer (G – Kraken) in the crease. At the same time, the Stars are a high-octane offense led by Roope Hintz (C – Stars) and Jason Robertson (LW – Stars).
There were a few exceptional performances from a few of my recommended plays from Friday’s Primer, notably Devon Toews (D – Avalanche) and Brad Marchand (LW – Bruins), who combined for five assists. Sebastian Aho (C – Hurricanes) was the lone goal scorer, while Dmitry Orlov (D – Bruins) managed an assist during the high-scoring 7-5 loss on the road against Florida. Despite all of the scoring, Sam Bennett (C – Panthers) was held without a point, along with Kyle Palmieri (RW – Islanders), who finished with four shots on goal in a 2-1 loss that ended the Islanders’ season. Neither goaltender got a win, including Grubauer, who surrendered four goals to the Avalanche in Game 6. Ilya Sorokin (G – Islanders) recorded a ridiculous 39 saves on 41 shots, but the offense couldn’t bail him out in overtime. Four of the six skaters logged at least one point, so it was a productive slate.
Two games mean we’re getting good value on higher-tier players; however, there are fewer options to diversify DFS lineups on Tuesday night, so we’ll need to get clever with our roster construction. Nevertheless, I’ve found eight of my favorite prospects to target ahead of an exciting Round 2 that begins at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday night. Good luck; let’s cash out a few contests!
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Aleksander Barkov (C – Panthers): $6,400
We’re getting good value right off the bat with Aleksander Barkov. Florida’s first-line center has recorded at least one point in four of his previous five games, including a two-point outing with a goal in a pivotal 7-5 win over Boston in Game 6 during the first round. Barkov is nicely priced at $6,400, so going up against Ilya Samsonov (G – Maple Leafs), who surrendered three or more goals in four games last series, it’s an excellent matchup to insert the Panthers’ top center into DraftKings lineups.
Sam Reinhart (RW – Panthers): $5,200
Sticking with Florida, I like the consistency shown by Sam Reinhart. He skates on the Panthers’ third-line attack but has recorded a goal in four of his past five games, attempting two to four shots to provide a stable floor. He’s seen over 20 minutes in three of his past four games and has a nose for scoring, so at $5,200, we’re getting a great deal on Reinhart ahead of Game 1 against Toronto. Plug Reinhart into lineups with confidence.
Morgan Rielly (D – Maple Leafs): $5,000
On the other bench, we’ve got Morgan Rielly, who enters Game 1 against Florida with a five-game point streak that includes three goals and five assists during this stretch. He’s hot right now, and Sergei Bobrovsky (G – Panthers) has ceded three to five goals in four consecutive starts, so the opportunity will be there for Rielly on Tuesday night. At $5,000, he’s a no-brainer to grab when constructing DraftKings lineups.
Jake Oettinger (G – Stars): $8,200
Goaltending in DFS relies heavily on the team’s ability to secure an outright win. Jake Oettinger has been a beast in the crease, allowing three goals across his previous three starts combined. The 24-year-old netminder will face a gritty Seattle offense with surprisingly good depth but even better goaltending, allowing them to compete against teams with better offensive personnel. Oettinger is a blue-chip prospect on this slate and will cost us a pretty penny at $8,200, but he’s worth the price of admission.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000
Roope Hintz (C – Stars): $7,800
Let’s pivot off Auston Matthews and save $1,900 by rolling with Roope Hintz. He played fantastic during the first round against Minnesota and enters Game 1 against Seattle with six assists and a goal during his previous three games. Again, we’re getting a prospect with a massive ceiling that tends to hit more than it misses, but Hintz did produce a goose egg against the Wild, so there’s a bit of risk baked into his price. Still, I like Hintz enough to recommend him with confidence.
Jaden Schwartz (LW – Kraken): $5,200
Jaden Schwartz was an integral piece of the Kraken offense in Round 1, but he tailed off in the final two games, getting held without a point and attempting only one shot on goal in Game 7 against Colorado. However, expect Schwartz to return to form against a new opponent on Tuesday night, as his previous shots on goal before Game 7 went 4, 11, 4, and 4. We’re getting a decent floor, as Schwartz averaged 10.5 FPPG this season, but he can also deliver a 20+ point outing on FanDuel, so let’s ride on Schwartz’s upside.
Ryan Suter (D – Stars): $3,900
We’re landing considerable value with Ryan Suter at under $4,000 on FanDuel. The Stars’ first-line defenseman has recorded assists in back-to-back games entering Tuesday’s late-night puck drop against Seattle, plus he tends to collect blocked shots every other game. The ceiling is low, but the floor is relatively stable, especially for a cheap defenseman, so let’s invest accordingly and insert Suter into lineups.
Philipp Grubauer (G – Kraken): $7,400
Philipp Grubauer is a goaltender that I can’t quit. He’s valued as the cheapest netminder on Tuesday’s slate, but he has been solid for Seattle since the playoffs began, holding the Avalanche to two or fewer goals in three of his previous four starts. Dallas has a potent offense, which is likely why we’re getting good value on Grubauer. Still, he’s already proven himself against the former Stanley Cup champions, so I’m rolling Grubauer out again on the road against the Stars in Game 1.