The NHL Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Thursday has a seven-game main slate at 7:30 pm ET.
Today’s slate features only seven skaters price at $7,300 or above on DraftKings, but there’s no lack of star power:
- Sidney Crosby: $8,200 @ Tampa Bay
- Vladimir Tarasenko: $7,900 @ Florida
- Patrick Kane: $7,800 vs. Minnesota
- Brent Burns: $7,700 vs. Buffalo
- Tyler Seguin: $7,400 @ Nashville
- Evgeni Malkin: $7,300 @ Tampa Bay
- Steven Stamkos: $7,300 vs. Pittsburgh
Burns is usually the chalk in every slate he’s in, but through two games he has actually gone significantly under-owned at 16.3 and 4.1 percent. Ownership can closely mirror Vegas lines, especially early in the season, so it would be surprising to see Burns that low again tonight. The Sharks are currently implied for 3.2 goals against the Sabres, who allowed the most shots per game (34.3) last year. Burns is appealing even at his high salary because of his offensive ceiling and peripheral stat floor. One of our new metrics is shots+blocks per game. The king of peripheral stats, Burns predictably falls in the 99th percentile of that metric over the past year. On FanDuel, Burns is currently priced behind 11 other skaters, which is outrageous.
Crosby and Kane have finished top-three in points (goals + assists) in each of the past two seasons and are largely matchup-proof assets. Kane may have reduced ownership tonight with zero points and only three shots in his past two games, which makes him appealing. Crosby is slightly less appealing, as the Penguins are on the second game of a back-t0-back on the road. Forwards in similar situations average a -0.46 FanDuel Plus/Minus and 32.3 percent Consistency Rating.
With Tarasenko on the road with a low implied total, moving down to Stamkos at $7,300 to attack the Penguins on a back-to-back makes sense. Stamkos has missed significant time in three of the last four seasons, but he is nearly a point-per-game player in his NHL career (321-266-587 in 589 games). He has 12 shots on goal through his first three games but has yet to score a goal. That could change tonight as the Penguins have been the third-most penalized team in the NHL to start the year and Stamkos has scored 34.1 percent of his goals on the man advantage since 2014. The Lighting currently own a slate-leading 3.3-goal implied total at home.
Dustin Byfuglien will miss his second consecutive game for the Jets tonight with a lower-body injury, and we talked about the impact that could have on Jacob Trouba extensively on NHL Inside the Lab. Even on the road, it’s tough to ignore Trouba’s peripheral stats, and he is probably mispriced at $4,800 with an increased role and time on the power play. He has averaged just 3.7 shots and 3.3 blocks per game this year, but over the past year he’s in the 97th percentile in shots+blocks per game.
In a similar spot as Trouba, Mattias Ekholm has two assists for the Predators this week with Roman Josi out. He will likely miss tonight’s game as well, so Ekholm with a solid 2.81 shots+blocks per game over the past year has the added upside of skating on the second power play unit.
Derek Stepan: At just $4,800 and skating as the first-line center, he may be worth some exposure tonight with an 86th percentile shots+blocks per game over the past year. The Coyotes are implied for 2.9 goals, just outside the top tier, but could see low ownership against an equally bad Red Wings squad. Detroit’s penalty kill looks improved this season (92.9 percent) but they allowed the fifth-most goals per game last season (2.98) on the 12-most shots.
Nikita Kucherov: His 99 percent DraftKings Bargain Rating makes him an appealing way to get exposure to Stamkos (they have a 0.68 correlation coefficient in our Models), and he also leads the slate in DraftKings Pro Trends at just $6,900. He’s scored in every game this season and has five points with 11 shots through three games.
One of the highest-rated four-man DraftKings stacks currently belongs to the Nashville Predators.
Pivoting off Ekholm with the Predators first power play unit makes a lot of sense in tournaments. The Predators are third on the slate with 3.1 implied goals at home against a Dallas team whose 73.9 percent penalty kill was last in the league last year. This stack offers exposure to the entire first line as well as power play correlation with P.K. Subban, who’s coming of a three-assist game (two of which came on the power play).
On FanDuel, one of the top three-man stacks belongs to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Again, the Lightning are in a fantastic spot, but they could be chalky against a Penguins team that allowed the fourth-most shots last season and has struggled to stay out of the box this year.
Wins are heavily weighted in both DraftKings & FanDuel goalie scoring, so it makes sense that ownership skews toward the heavy favorites. San Jose is a -183 moneyline favorite to beat Buffalo and Tampa Bay is -141 to beat Pittsburgh.
At the time of this writing the Sharks goaltender has not been announced, but Andrei Vasilevskiy has been confirmed as the starter for the Lightning. Tampa Bay falls in the 80th percentile in shots allowed per game over the past year, and goalies at home with comparable moneyline odds and shots against have historically provided a +0.37 DraftKings Plus/Minus at a 56.6 percent Consistency Rating.
Corey Crawford is notable. The Blackhawks are third in the slate as -127 home favorites and the Wild were top-10 in shots last year, so Crawford could have high ownership from people chasing moneylines and peripherals. Chicago also allowed the ninth-most shots in the league last year.
Jake Allen is in consideration for guaranteed prize pools, as the Blues are currently top-five in shots against and facing a Panthers team averaging the most shots per game in the league. Goalies tend to be low-owned as road underdogs.
Another great way to leverage ownership at the position is to identify the chalk (usually a heavy favorite) and roster the opposing team’s goaltender. This is not necessarily viable in every situation, but whoever gets the start in Buffalo tonight stands out from a game theory perspective. The Sabres allowed the most shots in the league last year and are +165 dogs against the Sharks. Each slate, one of the highest-scoring goaltenders tends to be a high-peripheral guy who was an underdog.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide updates regarding projected lines and starting goaltenders. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our Team Lines page.