There is a large 10-game slate tonight, so let’s not waste any time getting to NHL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups. As always, premium subscribers should be checking Slack chat throughout the day for lineup changes and projection updates. Many of these picks are informed by Awesemo’s own tools, including Top Stacks and Projections.
NHL Power Plays: DraftKings + FanDuel DFS Picks | April 22
NHL DFS Picks: Center
Brayden Point (TB vs. CBJ)
DraftKings – $5,600
FanDuel – $6,900
Columbus has just been on an absolutely brutal slide of late. Going back a month, the Blue Jackets have the third-worst expected goals against at five-on-five, ahead of only Vancouver and Los Angeles, the former having only three games in that span because of its COVID pause. That has led to them giving up the most goals per 60 minutes, meaning this is just a sublime matchup for Point and the Lightning.
The key here is certain Jackets matchups were often avoided earlier in the year because they didn’t take many penalties. That has changed, though, as in that same month-long stretch, the Jackets have the fifth-most time on ice while down a man. That gives anyone who gets prime power-play minutes, like Point, a big boost against a Columbus team that is awful at even strength.
Point’s biggest concern is ice time, as the Lightning are kind of preserving their top guys down the stretch (skaters, anyway); he has played over 18 minutes just once in five games. But this is a great matchup all over the place for Point, and that puts him on the radar in all formats.
Josh Norris (OTT at VAN)
DraftKings – $5,100
FanDuel – $4,300
One beneficiary of recent lineup changes was Norris, Ottawa’s future first-line center. In the eight games since the trade deadline, he has 10 points, which is obviously great. But more importantly, he is playing over 18 minutes a night. Before that point, he had averaged two fewer minutes per game. Any forward playing 18 minutes is immediately of interest.
Beyond that, Norris has jumped to the top power-play unit for the Senators, which gives him perfect correlation with linemates Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson. Getting perfectly correlated lines from non-elite teams is rare, so that’s a bonus for those looking to stack here tonight.
That line has been very good this year, by the way. In over 140 minutes together, they have three expected goals per 60 minutes and 2.4 against. That works out to roughly a 55% expected goal share, which is very solid. Norris is more of a play maker, but now that he’s getting prime power-play minutes, he is on the radar in all formats on FanDuel at that price. He and his linemates are better suited for tournaments on DraftKings, though; Awesemo’s Top Stacks Tool has Norris and company as positive leverage here tonight.
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NHL DFS Picks: Winger
Artemi Panarin (NYR vs. PHI)
DraftKings – $8,000
FanDuel – $8,300
In Panarin’s two full seasons with the Rangers, he has 147 points in 104 games, or a 116-point pace every 82 games. That is just absurd and is typically the range reserved for Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Nikita Kucherov. His page this year would put him over 120 points in 82 games.
Panarin gets the second-line matchup tonight at even strength, and that means the duo of Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk. With those two on the ice this year, the team is at about a 51.6% expected goal share, which is good, but nowhere near the Rangers’ second-line mark of 57%. It is a mismatch, especially considering how poorly Philadelphia’s goaltending has been this year.
This may be a shock, but because of that poor goaltending, the Flyers have a bottom-five penalty kill over the last month by goals allowed. In that same span, the Rangers have a top-five power play. This is a mismatch all over the ice for Panarin, and though he carries a hefty price tag, his production history says he’s worth it.
William Nylander (TOR at WPG)
DraftKings – $5,300
FanDuel – $5,600
It is always hard to rely on short-term ice-time boosts, which is why it is better to go back at least five games. Nylander, though, has played over 21 minutes in back-to-back games, and that piques interest a lot here. He probably won’t keep playing 21 minutes, but a lot of Maple Leafs have been losing ice time since the deadline: Kerfoot down 40 seconds, Thornton about a minute and a half, and Nicholas Robertson being introduced to the lineup means another player who will get minimal minutes. As mentioned, over 21 minutes is hard, but banking on him to play over the 16:30 he averaged on the season leading to those two games isn’t a bad idea.
The duo of Nylander and John Tavares have also been electric of late. Going back four weeks, with them on the ice the Leafs are producing 3.5 expected goals per 60 minutes and a 63.9% expected goal share, leading to 3.7 goals per 60 minutes. They are also both on the top power-play unit, as the Leafs have been loading their top quintet of late. Nylander has a great line, a reasonable price, and he should get more minutes than normal. For all those reasons, he’s a target tonight.
Jason Zucker (PIT vs. NJ)
DraftKings – $3,500
FanDuel – $5,300
Speaking of lines that have been playing well of late, Zucker and the Penguins. Since the acquisition of Jeff Carter, their second line looks rejuvenated. In 44 minutes together – which, to be clear, is not a large sample – they have three expected goals for per 60 minutes and 5.5 goals for per 60 minutes. This shouldn’t be a big surprise; Carter was having a good season in Los Angeles, and Zucker is a proven goal scorer. But that they’re playing so well immediately is nice for Pittsburgh and nice for gamers.
In those four games, Zucker has at least three shots on goal in three of them. Over a quarter of his three-shot games on the season have been in his last four games, to give an idea of how well they’re playing. He doesn’t get first-line power-play minutes, but that’s also why he’s so cheap and why he can be a speculative one-off tonight. Plus, the pricing discrepancy is quite absurd from FanDuel.
The Penguins get the Devils, and though New Jersey hung six on them a couple days ago, the Penguins hung seven and are the far superior team. Zucker and his linemates will get easy matchups from a lottery team missing their starting goalie. He comes in around 5% in our Ownership Projections, so there won’t be many friends using him tonight.
NHL DFS Picks: Defense
Cale Makar (COL at STL)
DraftKings – $6,100
FanDuel – $5,700
Colorado has had some time off because of a COVID pause, but it may only be Bowen Byram and Philipp Grubauer gamers need to be worried about. Neither is expected to play tonight, and now arguably the best team in hockey is rested.
Going into St. Louis should be a tough matchup, but the fact is the Blues are just a bad team. They are not in a playoff spot, have a -11 goal differential, and they have a 45.3% expected goal share over the last month (40% actual goal share). Shortening the sample to just eight April games, the expected goal numbers get even worse (41.4%). They are second worst on the penalty kill in those eight April games. They also have the seventh-most time on the penalty kill in that span. This team shouldn’t be this bad, but they are, and that’s all that matters.
Makar is showing himself to be one of the top defensemen on the planet, being a point-per-game guy on the season. This is a great matchup for him and the Avalanche, so he’s near the top of the list of players to use.
K’Andre Miller (NYR vs. PHI)
DraftKings – $2,800
FanDuel – $3,600
The problem with Miller hasn’t been ice time, per se, but that his shot totals have fallen off; he’s just barely over one shot per game since the beginning of March (28 in 27), compared to 20 in 16 games earlier. It might not seem like a big drop, but in that span, he gained about 90 seconds per game in ice time. In other words, he’s shooting less with more ice time. That is a concern.
On the other hand, Jacob Trouba was banged up in their last game and will probably be out tonight. That means even more ice time for Miller than usual, and likely some (sparse) secondary power-play minutes. Any defenseman in his price range that should cruise past 20 minutes and could even push 25 minutes deserves strong consideration in any format.
Dustin Tokarski (BUF vs. BOS)
DraftKings – $6,700
FanDuel – $6,800
Tokarski has been really good for the Sabres. By goals saved above expected, he sits at 1.15 on the season. That may not be a great mark, but every other Sabres goalie is in the negatives, and on a per-minute basis it’s better than regular starters like Grubauer and Cam Talbot. Not only that, but he leads all goalies in high-danger save percentage on the season.
Please realize these samples are small and don’t mean he’s a good goalie. They do show that he’s a good goalie right now, though, and that’s good enough to take a stab at him at his bargain price. He is not a target for cash games or anything, but as a very cheap, low-owned option at home and playing well, there is definite tournament interest, even against the Bruins. For a reference, there are four goalies projected for lower scores on DraftKings tonight, and Tokarski is cheaper than them all.
TB1: Palat – Point – Barre-Boulet
The concern is that Barre-Boulet hasn’t looked great in his early look on the top line, but as long as this trio skates together at five-on-five and on the power play, they’re going to be a target. Tonight they get an awful Columbus team, and what’s more is that if current line matching holds up, this line should get a lot of Patrik Laine’s line. With Laine on the ice this year, the Jackets have a 40.7% expected goal share and 32% goal share. He is sinking every line he plays with, and that makes TB1 a target for us tonight.
OTT1: Tkachuk – Norris – Batherson
As mentioned in the section on Norris, this is a perfectly correlated line now. They also aren’t super expensive, even though Norris has seen his price rise of late.
What is appealing here is the matchup. The Canucks have posted a pair of wins since returning from their COVID catastrophe, but it should be noted their expected goals against per 60 at five-on-five was 3.6 versus 1.2 actual goals against. They could keep winning games as long as they get .969 goaltending. However, that level of goaltending won’t last much longer.
The Senators’ top line gets a team that isn’t playing as well as recent success would indicate, and that makes Ottawa a target tonight.
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