Each day I will be providing my recommended player picks for your FanDuel daily fantasy hockey lineups.
My FanDuel NHL Plays will be broken down by player positions, and will include picks for cash games (50/50s/double-ups/head-to-head) and GPPs (guaranteed prize pool tournaments).
Are you new to Daily Fantasy Hockey? Check out these strategies documents first for tips and recommendations to craft your winning FanDuel hockey lineups:
Following a dull Wednesday that was filled with just three games featuring six teams, Thursday brings us a slate of 11 games. With 22 teams in action, you should also note that just the Avalanche are playing on back-to-back nights. If you are trying to choose between two players that you have projected to hit the same point target on a short slate, selecting the player who is not skating on back-to-back nights may be the better selection, but in hockey, I weight this contextual factor less than other sports, especially tonight with more than half of the teams in action playing their second game in two days. The slate on FanDuel locks tonight at 7 PM EST.
Make sure to check the RotoGrinders NHL Starting Goalies Page to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting prior to game time.
Eddie Lack, Vancouver Canucks, $7,900 – The 27-year-old Swede has had a fantastic season leading the Canucks with Ryan Miller on the shelf. Lack’s 14-10-3 record is not reflective of how well he has played, as he owns a .920 SV% and a 2.42 GAA. Lack’s Canucks are the heaviest favorite according to Vegas tonight and are skating on home ice against an Avalanche team that is playing on back-to-back nights and has lost three games in a row. On the other hand, the Canucks have played excellent hockey behind Lack this March, having won three in a row and five of their last six games. With the 10th-fewest goals per game this season (2.56 G/GP) and the fourth-fewest shots per game (28.2 S/GP), Lack is a solid play tonight, especially given his salary and the fact that his Canucks should have no trouble scoring tonight against the Avalanche. The play here has more to do with the overall chances that the Canucks have to win the game, and with a “win” on FD being weighted so heavily, start Lack in your cash games as he is the most likely netminder to earn the “W” on Wednesday. That said, with tonight being a strong night for goaltenders, the below suggestions are listed in order of preference.
Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings, $7,500 – As -160 ML favorites on home ice tonight against the visiting San Jose Sharks, the Red Wings could use a nice offensive boost tonight after a brutal 5-4 OT loss two nights ago at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes. March has not been kind to the Red Wings, who have won just four of 11 games, but the team’s first line and first powerplay unit center, who was forced to pick up his game with Pavel Datsyuk on the shelf, does have 12 points this month. With Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader as his wings on the first PP unit, Zetterberg and the NHL’s top PP (24.9% conversion rate) should score at least one goal on the man advantage against the Sharks, who own the seventh-worst penalty kill unit (79.1% kill rate). While the Sharks have not given up a shorthanded goal in their past three games, the Wings’ PP unit is cruising along with PP goals in three straight games and in nine of their last 10 games. On home ice, Zetterberg’s line will produce tonight.
Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks, $6,700 – The price point on Vrbata is still below what it should be on FD and at $6.7K, he should surpass value tonight in another offense environment that you will want exposure to, especially in your cash games. The line right winger, who skates with Chris Higgins and Nick Bonino on the team’s second even strength line and with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin on the team’s first powerplay unit, has registered at least two points in three straight games. With three goals and three assists over his past three games, Vrbata is one of the hottest skaters in the NHL right now and get to face an Avalanche team that suffered a tough loss in Edmonton last night and is now giving up the ninth-most goals per game (2.75 GA/GP) and the fourth-most shots per game (32.9 SA/GP). Vrbata and his linemates, whether it be Bonino or the Sedins, should have no trouble putting up two goals tonight against the Aves, who are playing in a getaway game and will be looking forward to a game against the Sabres in two days.
Jimmy Hayes, Florida Panthers, $4,300 – The Panthers’ second line right winger, who skates with Brandon Pirri and Vincent Trocheck, has been one of the best value plays this season. On FD, Hayes is only $4.3K, but he had struggled through late February and March and he finally looks to have broken his goalscoring drought with a goal this past weekend. Tonight, Hayes’ Panthers are in Toronto in another expected high-event environment. With the Leafs in a freefall, having lost six in a row and nine of their last 10 games and the Panthers looking to earn a berth in the playoffs, Florida should be able to take advantage of a Leafs team that is giving up the third-most shots per game (33.3 SA/GP) and the fourth-most goals per game (3.16 GA/GP). While the Panthers have a poor PP unit, their second PP unit consisting of Hayes, Pirri and Brad Boyes should be the line that puts a goal past the pitiful Leafs’ goaltending on the road, with the first line likely being tied up in a poor attempt to stop goals.
Alexander Edler, Vancouver Canucks, $5,000 – Despite being held without a shot two nights ago, Edler continued his three-game point streak against the Jets with an assist and now has five points (2 Gs, 3 As) in his last five games. As noted above, the Canucks are the second-heaviest Vegas ML favorites on the night and host an Avalanche team that has dropped three straight games and has given up at least one point to opposing defensemen in four straight games. In a game with a -145 line to hit the OVER of 5.0 goals, you will want a few players from the home team in your lineups. With the Aves’ showing vulnerability to opposing offensive-minded defenseman, lock in the first powerplay unit D-man and expect at least one assist and a handful of shots.
Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings, $4,300 – This suggested play will be a game-time decision tonight, as he was scratched with a lower body injury on Tuesday against Arizona for what the team’s GM indicated was for “precautionary purposes”. If Kronwall is good to go tonight, he immediately becomes one of the top D-men in play against a Sharks team that has dropped two in a row and four of their last five games. In fact, in their last three road losses, the Sharks have scored an average of just 1.33 G/GP and are now giving up the eighth-most goals per game in the NHL (2.75) and also own the seventh-worst powerplay in the league (79.1% kill rate). Contrast this to the Wings, who now have the top powerplay in the NHL and will be quarterbacked by Kronwall, who sees time on the top PP unit with Teemu Pulkkinen. At just $4.3 on FD, Kronwall is the perfect value play at D on a night where you will want to pay up for your forwards. If Kronwall is unable to go, fire up his teammate Jakub Kindl, who should replace Kronwall on the top PP line.