In daily fantasy hockey, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. We go over skating lines with a definition and how to approach using them in everyday strategy.
In hockey, you will generally play three skating forwards and two defensemen on the ice at all times. These are referred to as skating lines and defensive pairings. Each roster will be comprised of four separate skating lines that a coach will deploy throughout the game.
Usually, skating lines are determined by skill and talent, but also by each player’s role on his particular team. Defensive pairings will be made of of two defensemen, usually one left-handed defenseman and a right-handed defenseman. Here’s an example of how line rushes look:
First line: Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak
Second line: Jake DeBrusk — David Krejci — Anders Bjork
Third line: Ondrej Kase — Charlie Coyle — Sean Kuraly
Fourth line: Joakim Nordstrom — Par LIndholm — Chris Wagner
First D-Pairing: Zdeno Chara — Charlie McAvoy
Second D-Pairing: Torey Krug — Brandon Carlo
Third D-Pairing: Matt Grzelcyk — Jeremy Lauzon
Skating lines allow NHL DFS to have one of the most natural strategies in all of daily fantasy sports — Line Stacking. Because these three forwards or two defensemen will be skating the majority of their ice time together, we can easily correlate our plays in DFS. The idea is to pick up as many points as humanly possible from your lineup on a given night. In order to do that, we can maximize our chances by stacking players who will be on the ice at the same time together.
For example, the Colorado Avalanche have one of the most potent lines in the NHL — Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. These three will almost always be out on the ice together and because they can produce so much offense on a given night, they are a trendy line stack on most NHL slates. Remember, this is the Avalanche’s first line. Most teams will put at least their best center and best wing on the first line. This will make a first-line stack very expensive in DFS. Normally, lines will progressively get cheaper the further down you go on the roster.
Special Teams Stacking
We’ll get into the power play a little bit more in another article, but it’s worth noting that you can also line stacking in more than one way. Another way to stack a particular line effectively is to look for players who skate together at even strength (5v5) and on the man-advantage (5v4, 5v3). If players skate with their linemates in almost all situations, there will be very little time in which they won’t be on the ice together for a scoring opportunity. Again, this only increases the chances for us to pick up points.
If you have the Avs first line stacked and MacKinnon scores two goals at even-strength and one on the power play, there’s still a strong chance Rantanen and/or Landeskog will be assisting on those goals. PP stacking is generally used when a particularly strong matchup presents itself. While it’s more of an “All-in” approach to NHL DFS, the correlation in most cases is too good to pass up.