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NHL DFS Picks Today & Top Stacks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups | Ottawa Senators & David Pastrnak 3/16/22

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There are just four games on the NHL docket tonight but there are plenty of tantalizing matchups for our NHL DFS picks today. Our subscribers should check into Discord for line changes because there are some teams on a back-to-back, like Ottawa and New Jersey, and that means possible late changes. For non-subscribers, we have our NHL player rankings free on the site for everyone to peruse. Let’s get to our NHL DFS picks for fantasy hockey lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel for Wednesday, March 16.

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NHL DFS Picks Today, Top Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays

Center

Ryan Hartman (MIN vs. BOS): DraftKings – $5,900 | FanDuel – $5,800

The Bruins being in town is undoubtedly a tough matchup. There are not many games to work with, though, and Boston played last night. Road back-to-backs are tough for any team. The bonus for Ryan Hartman and his linemates tonight is they do not get shutdown matchups at home. They will avoid the top line from the Bruins, which is a good thing because that line is elite defensively. The rest are not, and that is why Hartman is seen here.

With Boston’s top line off the ice over the last few weeks, Boston’s share of the scoring chances drops from 72%, which is stupendous, to 53%, which is fine but not great. Hartman and company will get the depth, and that is good news for them. In the same timeframe mentioned, they are controlling 62% of the scoring chances. It is a mismatch against a top team like Boston.

Now that Hartman is back on the top powerplay unit, he is starting to recoup some of his TOI, skating about 30 seconds more this month than last. He is a shooter, so he is fine as a tournament one-off, but using him in a line stack is perfectly acceptable.

Cole Sillinger (CBJ at OTT): DraftKings – $2,700 | FanDuel – $4,100

The rookie Cole Sillinger tallied a hat trick over the weekend, a sign of the talent he has. What makes him notable for tonight, though, is his new role. With top-line center Boone Jenner on the injured reserve, the centers all move up a spot, and Sillinger is now in the top-6. In that last game in that role, he skated nearly 17 minutes. He has not seen that level of ice time in a month and that is why he is listed here at his very generous price.

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Sillinger has seen some time with his linemate Oliver Bjorkstrand, and they have been good together, controlling 51% of the expected goals, scoring 2.9 per 60 minutes. Not elite numbers, but good, and they are facing a non-elite team in Ottawa. The Senators are bottom-5 in the league by expected goals against over the last six weeks. Sillinger is likely to see depth matchups anyway and avoiding that Ottawa top line means avoiding their best line.

At his price, Sillinger does not need to do a lot to pay off. That is what makes him a target as a punt center tonight (well, that, and his role, and his matchup). He needs to be considered, along with his linemates, in tournaments.

Winger

David Pastrnak (BOS at MIN): DraftKings – $8,200 | FanDuel – $8,500

Going into Minnesota means top lines face a great shutdown line. Luckily for David Pastrnak, he has been off the top line for a while and will avoid that shutdown matchup. He will see more of the top-6 and while that top line has been great at times, the second line is a bit more generous defensively. Either way, Pastrnak is avoiding the shutdown line and that is part of why he is listed here.

Another reason why Pastrnak is listed here is the Minnesota penalty kill. Namely, they are tied for the eighth-most time short-handed per game over the last six weeks. Pastrnak remains one of the top power play options in the league and leads the Bruins in power play shot rate since February 1.

The two problems here are the aforementioned back-to-back and Pastrnak’s ice time. Like the other top Bruins options, he has seen his ice time slide over the last couple of months. He is down all the way to 17:10 a night over his last 10 games, but he also has 14 points in that span, landing 4.5 shots per game. He is still an elite offensive talent and this is a short slate. He is in play as a tournament one-off this evening.

Pastrnak was one of the players shooting to the top of the NHL lineup optimizer on Wednesday, showing as one of the best NHL DFS picks today. Check out all of our free fantasy hockey picks today for DraftKings NHL lineups and FanDuel NHL lineups today. Our DraftKings NHL Cheat Sheet and FanDuel NHL Cheat Sheet give you a glimpse into the best cash game and tournament options tonight.

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Steven Stamkos (TBL at SEA): DraftKings – $6,600 | FanDuel – $8,200

Despite the fact that Steven Stamkos is on pace to take over 1100 face-offs this year, he is listed as a winger on both sites. The frustrating part about that is it makes his entire line filled with wingers. There are both good and bad aspects to that. The good is that it makes stacking them a bit more unique. Leaving two center slots available on a short slate limits options to fill them. The bad is that if they are stacked, there are only so many centers that can be used in another stack, or as one-offs.

Regardless, the fact that he is skating with Nikita Kucherov is what stands out here. They have not played a lot together this season but are creating 34 scoring chances and 5.8 goals in their 50-ish minutes together. Including the last three years in total, the team generates 3.0 expected goals and 4.8 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. They are great together and seeing them on the same line should attract the attention of fantasy owners.

Seattle’s team defense has fallen off and this Lightning line looks very good. At the least, a scorer like Stamkos should be considered as a one-off, though his entire line deserves our consideration.

Tyler Toffoli (CGY vs. NJD): DraftKings – $4,200 | FanDuel – $6,200

The Calgary Flames are effectively coasting to the playoffs at this point, leading their division by five points (with two fewer games played than the next-closest team) and over 10 points clear of the last wild card spot. It is one reason some of their top players have ice-time declines, as there is no sense wearing them out in March when May is the important time of year. That is a benefit for Tyler Toffoli, who is in a depth role but has seen over 15 minutes a game in his last three games. Toffoli is a high shot-volume player, leading the Flames in shot rate at 5-on-5 since his trade. He has 12 shots in these last three games, a glimpse of what he can do with even moderate minutes.

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New Jersey is in town tonight and they are on a road back-to-back, which is a very tough spot. Calgary remains one of the top offensive teams in hockey, they are just changing the ice time allotment for their stars. That brings Toffoli well into range at his reasonable price across the industry. He is perfectly fine as a mid-range one-off in tournaments and should be on the radar for a line stack as well.


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Defensemen

Thomas Chabot (OTT vs. CBJ): DraftKings – $6,400 | FanDuel – $5,800

Despite skating roughly the same minutes he has skated the last two seasons, Thomas Chabot is just a shade under three shots per game, a career best. That kind of shot volume gives him a solid peripheral floor to work with on either site and brings shot bonuses into range on DraftKings. That goes doubly when facing a team that is in the bottom-3 of the league by shots allowed over the last six weeks at 5-on-5.

In that timeframe mentioned, Columbus is in the middle of the league by most short-handed metrics, which does not speak to a phenomenal matchup for Ottawa, but the Senators are top-10 by expected goals generated with the man advantage over the last six weeks. They have a good power play, of which Chabot is a part. With significant players returning of late, the top unit has really been remade. The defenseman is fine in all tournament formats tonight.

Noah Hanifin (CGY vs. NJD): DraftKings – $3,500 | FanDuel – $4,900

With Oliver Kylington missing Calgary’s last game, Noah Hanifin surpassed 22 minutes in a game for the first time in over a month. That is important to note because in that month-long span, he is averaging over 2.5 shots per game and nearly 1.5 blocks per game. That has been while he skated two minutes less than his last game with his teammate out of the lineup. More minutes generally lead to more peripherals and this Devils team is on a road back-to-back tonight. This is a great spot for the Flames, and Hanifin’s reasonable price and expected TOI increase is reason enough to play him on a short slate in any format.

Goalie

Elvis Merzlikins (CBJ at OTT): DraftKings – $7,500 | FanDuel – $7,300

The volume of shots that Columbus lets up on a nightly basis is part of what makes Elvis Merzlikins so valuable. Nearly 40% of his starts this year have resulted in 35 shots faced. That kind of volume can lead to very big DFS nights for netminders, provided a bunch of those shots do not actually go in the net. He is volatile because of the nature of his team and the fact he is not an elite NHL goalie yet. But that can be said of most goaltenders and his price is very reasonable tonight. The Senators are on a back-to-back themselves and that makes Elvis a target tonight.

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OTT1: Tkachuk-Norris-Brown

Because of the matchup mentioned in the section on Merzlikins, stacking the Senators’ top line in tournaments needs to be considered here tonight. They do not have a large sample together, only 70 minutes at 5-on-5, but they are generating 38 scoring chances per 60 minutes, which is a huge number. It is leading to 3.3 goals scored per 60 minutes, which is very good as well. This trio may be popular but it is a fantastic spot for them and the prices are not exorbitant. That means you can get a bit unique with the build or the rest of the lineup, especially on this short slate.

CGY3: Mangiapane-Ruzicka-Toffoli

As mentioned in the section on Toffoli, the top of the Flames lineup has seen their ice time decline in recent weeks. That has led to more ice time for others, as Adam Ruzicka has added three minutes per game in TOI over his last three games since being moved to the third-line center role. Toffoli has also played over 15 minutes a night in those three contests. It is a great matchup tonight against a back-to-back Devils team and there is a short slate to work with tonight. At the least, a two-man stack of Mangiapane-Toffoli should be considered as a filler for more expensive stacks.

*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick


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

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