It is a short four-game slate on Wednesday night, but there are a lot of top-end teams in action. This Power Play article will use Awesemo’s Premium NHL Tools to help dole out the NHL DFS advice to help with building lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel tonight. The Awesemo NHL projections and ownership projections are two of the best tools to utilize when constructing stacks and making the optimal NHL DFS picks. Let’s go position by position and pinpoint some of the top plays and stacks for Wednesday, Dec. 8.
NHL DFS Picks, Tops Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays
Nathan MacKinnon (COL at NYR): DraftKings – $9,000 | FanDuel – $9,500
Concerns about Nathan MacKinnon and lingering injury issues have been laid to rest. In his four games since returning, he has seven assists and 19 shots on goal. No goals yet, but obviously, with that shot rate, it will not be long until he starts filling the net again.
In the four games, the top line was utterly dominant, controlling 65% of the shots and 68% of the scoring chances. They did have an easy schedule, but heading to face the Rangers is not exactly facing a contender. While the Rangers are second in their division, their star goalie Igor Shesterkin is injured, and backup Alexander Georgiev played last night. That means either an AHL goalie tonight, or Georgiev on a back-to-back, and either is a big improvement in the matchup for MacKinnon and the Avalanche.
On a short slate like this, MacKinnon will draw a lot of ownership, and his linemates will as well. Fantasy players do run the risk of duplicated lineups, but there are ways to get unique, like adding a different defenseman other than Devon Toews or Cale Makar. Regardless, MacKinnon leads Awesemo’s projections for a very good reason, and he should be strongly considered tonight in all formats, especially as part of tournament stacks.
Despite being the most expensive option on the slate, MacKinnon was showing up as the top overall play in the Awesemo NHL lineup optimizer. Look for Awesemo’s NHL DFS picks in the form of the free DraftKings NHL cheat sheet and FanDuel NHL cheat sheet for more optimizer picks tonight.
Roope Hintz (DAL at VGK): DraftKings – $6,700 | FanDuel – $6,800
Heading into Vegas, historically, has been a very tough matchup. This iteration of the Vegas team is still getting itself together due to all their injuries, though, and their pace of play remains high. The top line, for instance, since the return of Max Pacioretty five games ago is still giving up 30 scoring chances every 60 minutes. Last season, that number was 24. In other words, their scoring chances allowed have gone up 25% in a year.
Roope Hintz has come alive since Jason Robertson returned in late October, with 15 points in 16 games, including 11 goals and three shots per game. This line was elite last year and they are elite again this year, controlling 60 percent of the shots when they’re on the ice. Even on a short slate, they are going to get overlooked heading into Vegas, despite Hintz’s line being perfectly correlated on the power play.
This is not a cash game play. He still has inconsistent ice time and is not assured 19 or 20 minutes or anything. But his linemates are great, and his shot volume is solid. The matchup could be better than it appears, so he is a one-off or part of a stack in tournaments.
Max Pacioretty (VGK vs. DAL): DraftKings – $7,300 | FanDuel – $9,400
On the other side of that Vegas game is Pacioretty and his absurd shot rate. He has 23 shots in five games since returning from injury. Going back to last year, he is sixth in the league in shot rate, trailing mostly players one would expect. He is the only player at home on this slate with a shot rate inside the top 40, so he stands a much better chance than most of getting that DraftKings shot bonus tonight. It is not an easy matchup, but Dallas is in the middle of the league by expected goals share over the last month, so it is not an elite defensive team, either.
Though, as mentioned earlier, this line is not as stout defensively as it once was, they are still generating 63 shot attempts and 33 scoring chances per 60 minutes. They are a very good offensive trio, and that should help Pacioretty here tonight.
There are some good expensive options tonight like MacKinnon and Dougie Hamilton, so using Pacioretty in cash games is an open question. In tournaments, though, this line is one of the most likely to be a top-two stack tonight. He is fine by himself or as part of a line stack in tournaments, though he is clearly a better value on DraftKings tonight.
Travis Konecny (PHI at NJ): DraftKings – $3,700 | FanDuel – $4,800
It has been tough sledding for the Flyers of late, but Travis Konecny has seen his fortunes improve. With Alain Vigneault fired, Konecny is back on the top line with Sean Couturier, as well as the top power play unit. That second point is what is most important here, as the New Jersey Devils are the third-most penalized team in the NHL. While their penalty kill remains strong, ranking top five for shot attempts allowed over the last month, the sheer number of penalties means that their goals against on the penalty kill per game is closer to the middle of the league. Such is the downside of being undisciplined; it can undo even an elite penalty kill.
It should be noted that Konecny and Couturier have been good together this year. In over 200 minutes, they are controlling 55% of the shot attempts, 53% of the expected goals, and are scoring 2.8 goals per 60 minutes. All good numbers, and then there is the power-play potential thanks to New Jersey’s penalty taking. With Konecny’s price being depressed due to underperformance all year, he needs to be considered in all formats, but is especially of note for tournaments. Just beware of ownership, as his price is sure to draw a lot of attention.
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Craig Smith (BOS at VAN): DraftKings – $2,900 | FanDuel – $4,200
With Brad Marchand back in the lineup, Craig Smith should get Taylor Hall back as a linemate. That is significant for him, as when he is on the ice with Hall this year, the team creates about 39% more shots and roughly 18% more scoring chances. It really is night-and-day, which speaks to Hall’s quality as a linemate and how important this change is.
On the season, Smith is shooting 4.7%. Over the past three years, he shot 10%, so he is clearly getting unlucky here to some degree. It would be a concern if he were not shooting, either, but he is second on the team in shot rate over the last month at five-on-five, with 2.9 shots per game over his last 10 games. Though he has just one DraftKings shot bonus on the year, with Hall back on his line, he is a threat for the bonus, and that is rare for a player at this price.
On a short slate, everyone needs to be considered, and a guy priced where he is that shoots as much as he does is certainly under consideration. He is cheap enough where he can be used in cash games and not kill a lineup if he fails, but he has the highest projection of any winger priced $3,000 or less tonight on DraftKings. He should be looked at in all formats, even as part of a stack in tournaments.
Dougie Hamilton (NJ vs. PHI): DraftKings – $7,300 | FanDuel – $7,700
The Flyers are in town and though New Jersey takes a lot of penalties, Philadelphia does as well, coming in sixth by times shorthanded this year. Hamilton is the engine of the top power play, ranking second in shot rate and first in points on that quintet. He had a quiet game his last time out, but he has seven DraftKings shot bonuses and five DraftKings block bonuses on the year, including four games with both. He is a peripheral machine, posting nearly four shots and 1.8 blocks per game. Add that with the positive power play matchup, and that makes for a defenseman worth rostering in any format tonight.
Just beware of ownership here. He is the second-highest-owned defenseman tonight, meaning if he has a great night, he is likely to be in duplicated lineups. Just be sure to watch roster construction.
Jacob Trouba (NYR vs. COL): DraftKings – $5,300 | FanDuel – $5,500
As far as peripherals go, Jacob Trouba does not have a single 0-fantasy-point performance on the season and has at least a shot or block in every game. On top of that, 13 of his 24 games have seen at least two shots and two blocks, with a block bonus in a third of his contests. Tonight, he faces a Colorado team that is top five in shot rate over the last month. The block bonus is in play tonight.
However, he will need more than that for value here. The good news is he skated under 20 minutes last night as the team blew out the Chicago Blackhawks, meaning he will be rested for a lot more minutes tonight. That is good for his peripherals, as is the awful Colorado goaltending, which is bottom five in the league over the last four weeks.
Robin Lehner (VGK vs. DAL): DraftKings – $7,800 | FanDuel – $7,900
Goalie is tricky tonight because the guys that look to face the most volume – Thatcher Demko and Martin Jones – also look to be in a spot to allow a lot of goals. In that sense, Lehner should be the target if not using those obvious volume spots. He is a home favorite in a team that is still allowing middle-of-the-pack rates in shots.
Top NHL DFS Stacks
NJ PP: Hischier – Zacha – Hamilton
In reality, either of the power play units are fine here, as the ice-time split between the top and second power play units is about 20 seconds a game of late. The top unit is the play because of Hamilton, who projects as one of the top plays on the entire slate. The Flyers are too undisciplined to stay out of the box and their five-on-five numbers are amongst the worst in the league over the last month, worse than Buffalo and the Islanders, for example. New Jersey’s power play is a target, and the first one with Hamilton is a focus.
VGK2: Marchessault – Karlsson – Smith
We need to mention this line because William Karlsson is back in the lineup for Vegas, and because he spent a lot of time injured, his price has fallen off a cliff on DraftKings. They look to be popular tonight by Awesemo’s top-two stacks – around 10% – but that is just fine for a slate this small considering Karlsson’s price. They will get the non-Hintz lines from Dallas, too, which is a much better matchup than the Stone lines.
*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick
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The DFS NHL rankings for fantasy points and value are derived directly from Alex's own daily fantasy hockey projections. Find more NHL DFS stats and NHL DFS picks as well as the best NHL DFS strategy. The best DFS NHL projections model was created and is maintained by Alex Baker and Jake Hari. Initial NHL ownership projections DraftKings for main slates will be posted daily by 4 p.m.
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