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NHL DFS Picks & Stacks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups | Carolina Hurricanes and Matthew Tkachuk 12/30/21

Michael Clifford

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NHL DFS picks DraftKings FanDuel optimal lineup optimizer today tonight free expert projections rankings ownership Matthew Tkachuk

There is have a seven-game slate for now in the NHL, a decent slate from which to make Awesemo’s NHL DFS picks for this Thursday. COVID is running through the league, so more postponements and player scratches are possible. Be sure to keep up on news in Awesemo’s Discord. 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 Thursday, Dec. 30.

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NHL DFS Picks, Tops Stacks & Optimizer Projections

Center

Sebastian Aho (CAR vs. MTL) DraftKings – $7,500; FanDuel – $9,700

The injuries have really started to pile up for Montreal. That may be the understatement of the year, really, as they have up to 15 players missing from what would be considered a full, healthy roster. Take away some season-long injuries, and there are still at a dozen players missing from the lineup. They have one line and a bunch of minor leaguers, things are that dire.

At the other end of the spectrum, Carolina has gotten many of their players back from injury or COVID protocols. They have a couple bottom-six wingers missing but nothing at the top of the roster, and nothing on the blue line. Sebastian Aho was lined up with Nino Niederreiter and Teuvo Teravainen in practice, which has been a dominant trio together in a limited sample. Just Aho and Teravainen together, though, are generating 3.7 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five with 3.3 expected goals. They have been great and have a favorable matchup tonight.

Using Aho in cash games can be dicey because he is very expensive and is no guarantee to play 20 minutes. He is absolutely a target in tournaments though, whether as a one-off or as part of a stack, just beware of his FanDuel price; it is high.

Jack Roslovic (CBJ vs. NSH) DraftKings – $2,800; FanDuel – $4,600

The Jackets have most of their guys back, both up front and on the blue line, so this team is quite healthy, which is something they have not always been this month. Even better news is that Nashville and starting goalie Juuse Saros played last night, so this is a back-to-back on the road for them with a very rested Columbus team at home.

The duo of Max Domi and Jack Roslovic have been good for Columbus this year, creating 3.3 goals with 3.0 expected goals per 60 minutes. Those are very good offensive numbers, and they will be avoiding the top line from Nashville tonight. That is important here as they are a line that controls 60% of the shot attempts, while the team breaks even with them off the ice. That imbalance helps Roslovic and company for this evening.

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It is Roslovic’s price that draws us, of course. He and Domi have been very high pace this year and they are capable of returning value for their prices. They make the most sense as a duo in tournaments, but anyone desperate for a bargain-priced center can look in this direction.

Winger

Matthew Tkachuk (CGY at SEA) DraftKings – $6,400; FanDuel – $6,900

It is Calgary’s first game out of their holiday break, so they should be plenty rested for this one. Meanwhile, Seattle had a tough overtime game with Philadelphia last night and that gives an advantage to the Flames before they even step on the ice.

In reality, the reason for using Matthew Tkachuk is Seattle’s lack of checking lines. They infrequently use their top line against opposing top lines, or Tkachuk’s line tonight, and it is by far their best defensive line, at least in Awesemo’s data sample. That leaves the Tkachuk’s line in soft matchups, and that’s great news for them: they control over 60% of the shots and expected goals when they are on the ice, scoring 3.5 goals per 60 minutes. All elite marks.

For Tkachuk specifically, he is the shooter on the line. He is shooting about 15% more than anyone else on the team and that has pushed him to a career-high 3.3 shots per game this year. That jump in shot rate makes him a 35-goal threat, and a shot-bonus threat on DraftKings; he has five such games out of 28 this season.

While Calgary is on the road, they have the highest implied goal total of any road team and is among the top five on the slate. Tkachuk makes sense as a one-off in all formats given his price and that he is a top-five winger by raw projections, but he is certainly fine in a tournament stack.

Anders Lee (NYI vs. BUF) DraftKings – $5,400; FanDuel – $5,900

The Islanders have just been going through it this year. They started the season on a road trip that lasted into November, had a COVID breakout later in November, and now another COVID breakout around the holidays. Mix in a couple normal injuries, and the Islanders are legitimately missing half their regular forwards, including an entire second line. With the thinned-out roster, Anders Lee and the rest of the top line should be expected to play a lot of minutes tonight. They also should get some depth matchups, which is good news when facing a fellow bottom-of-the-league team.

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It has been a tough year for Lee, with just 10 points in 21 games. A lot of that is an unsustainably low assist rate, but it does show that the entire team has really struggled. With that said, Lee and Mat Barzal have turned their play around over the last month, controlling 56% of the shots and 63% of the scoring chances, scoring 3.2 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five.

Because Lee is a goal scorer with a top-10 projection on the wing for guys under $6,000, he is fine to use by himself in tournaments. But he and Barzal play a lot of minutes together, so if one goes, the other will often go along with him, so stacking both in tournaments makes sense.

Alex Chiasson (VAN at LAK) DraftKings – $2,500; FanDuel – $3,100

Awesemo’s old friend is back in Awesemo’s picks column. When he was a staple of the Edmonton power play, he would sometimes find himself here. Things have not gone as well in Vancouver, but his circumstances have changed very significantly, very quickly. With Brock Boeser in COVID protocols, Alex Chiasson was moved up to skate alongside J.T. Miller at even strength and to the top power play. That resulted in him playing a season-high 16:06 last night.

It should be said that Chiasson is not a great NHLer on his own. His skillset is basically that of a disruptor, which can make him useful on the forecheck or a net-front presence on the power play. But he will not generate shots off the rush on his own, he needs help, but at his price, it is hard to overlook him.

How to use him is the key here. As mentioned, it is very unlikely he has a big game with no line mates also doing well, so using him in a stack makes the most sense. With that said, top-line and top-power-play minutes for any player that is min-priced makes him a potential one-off.


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Defensemen

Drew Doughty (LAK vs. VAN) DraftKings – $6,300; FanDuel – $7,100

On the other side of the Vancouver game is a Kings team that has a couple of injuries of their own. While Drew Doughty is not the player he was a few years ago, fantasy-wise, he has been great this year with 14 points in 12 games. He will not keep that up, but his power-play role is important here. He runs the top power play while the Canucks are 26th by shot attempts allowed while short-handed for the month of December. It is a good matchup for the Kings, Doughty, and their power play.

The problem is Doughty is reliant on production, not peripherals, and it makes him tough to use for cash games. In tournaments, though, Vancouver is on a back-to-back with a backup goalie and a bad penalty kill. Doughty makes sense in stacks or by himself for tournaments.

Ryan McDonagh (TB at FLA) DraftKings – $3,800; FanDuel – $4,000

Ryan McDonagh has averaged about 24 minutes over his last two games as the team is without both Erik Cernak and Mikhail Sergachev on the blue line. He is averaging 1.8 blocks per game, has a block bonus in nearly 20% of his games this year, is facing a high-paced Florida team, and is getting more ice time. He is not quite priced as a punt, but he is second in projections for any defenseman priced under $4,000 on DraftKings. He is in play tonight for us in all formats as a cheaper blue liner.

Goalie

Jonathan Quick (LAK vs. VAN) DraftKings – $7,700; FanDuel – $7,300

Awesemo’s projections tonight have Jonathan Quick for the third-most saves but the fourth-fewest goals against. That kind of shot volume without a huge threat of a blow-up is great for goalies, and his price is just icing on the cake. That Vancouver is playing their second game in as many nights is another point in favor of Quick here.

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FLA1: Verhaege – Barkov – Reinhart

With Sam Reinhart moved to the top Florida line, there are now two players on the top power play on the top line. That has not been the case for much of this season and brings some additional value to the trio as a whole. With Carter Verhaege priced where he is, as talented as he is, just stacking all three as a trio makes sense, even without perfect correlation. Just beware of line combos because they changed last night, and there will not be an update until warmups with them being on a back-to-back.

CAR2: Svechnikov – Trocheck – Necas

As mentioned in the section on Aho, the Canadiens are a depleted team. That will bring a lot of ownership to the Hurricanes, and the second line is no exception. With that said, this trio is generating 66 shot attempts and 3.4 expected goals per 60 minutes over the last two years, and all three are very talented. As long as the rest of the lineup is not cookie cutter, do not worry too much about duplications. They are too talented in too good of a spot to ignore.

*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick


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Find more NHL DFS predictions and DFS NHL picks as well as the best NHL DFS picks tonight. Initial NHL daily ownership projections for main slates will be posted daily by 4 p.m. The NHL fantasy rankings today for fantasy points and value are derived directly from Alex's own NHL projections DraftKings. The DFS NHL projections model was created and is maintained by Alex Baker and Jake Hari.
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