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Game Plan: NHL Primer



Because the NHL season mostly overlaps the NBA season, most daily fantasy players choose to play one or the other. One of my goals with is to make it possible for you to play both NHL and NBA without giving up too much of a competitive advantage or spending all day researching.

Compared to other sports, fantasy NHL is similar to MLB in terms of team correlation. In a tournament, usually you want to pick players who are going to be playing on the ice together like you would pick players from the same lineup. Since each goal generates on average about 1.7 assists, you can get huge scores when the same group of players scores 2-3 goals.

The way you can find out what players are playing together on a given day is to head to or On most days, teams hold a morning skate where they use the same lines as they will in the game later in the evening. Teams will stick closely to these rotations throughout the game. If you want to have more precise information, you can follow beat writers for each team; they usually tweet out updates about 30 minutes before the games.

NHL teams are allowed to dress 18 skaters and 2 goalies for each game and every skater in the lineup gets significant playing time. You may want to avoid players who see a lot of their time on the penalty kill, because they are more likely to accumulate blocks than shots during that time span which doesn’t help as much to win a tournament. On the other hand, players listed on a power play line get the premium spots for production. The power play listings don’t provide all of the information you need though. Some players may get a lot of run on both lines while others may see the scraps when that player is off the ice. For more detailed information refer to box scores which list time in even strength, power play, and penalty kill.

In a GPP, you should build lineups focusing on player correlations. Usually you’re safe picking players from the same line to have a correlation. If you want to be more advanced you can review game flow on a site like On a big slate you should stack more than in a small slate. It can also pay to stack defenders from the same team or powerplay as your forwards to get more of the team’s production, or goalies from the same team as your forwards to have a correlation with the win bonus.

Teams will announce the goalie starting well ahead of game time about 80% of the time. You can find the goalies starting on Daily Faceoff or Left Wing Lock. Sometimes they will be designated “Likely” when a beat writer doesn’t use definitive language in their announcements; however, these goalies end up starting about 99% of the time. Goalies will rarely start on both ends of a back-to-back, so you can be confident the other goalie will start on the second leg even with no announcement. When teams warm-up 30 minutes before the game, you will know for sure what goalie is starting. Since both DraftKings and FanDuel have late swap, you will want to pay attention if your goalie isn’t confirmed.

Some defenders rack up a lot of points with blocked shots by getting a lot of ice time especially on the penalty kill. These players can be good in cash games but I would recommend staying away from them in GPP’s for lack of offensive potential. You usually will want to only roster defensemen who also play on the powerplay in your GPP lineup.

Late News
While late scratches aren’t as common in NHL as some other sports, they occasionally happen and can have serious consequences. If a forward is removed from the lineup you may have to remake your whole lineup to maintain optimal levels of correlation. I recommend following @Left_Wing_Lock on Twitter for the most updated news.

In a GPP if your roster construction uses stacking strategies and you mostly pick players who play on the powerplay, you will be in good shape. You can use the rankings and ownership on to further tune-up your lineups!

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