The NHL season resumes this Saturday, with the Round Robin games for the top seeds and the Qualifying Round for the rest of the teams. NHL DFS begins at 12 pm EST, with the Carolina Hurricanes taking on the New York Rangers.
The return to hockey is going to make for some unique situations for DFS players, as the upcoming schedule is basically a hybrid between the regular season and the playoffs. There’s also been a four month layoff without much of a training camp, so the circumstances for players are fairly unusual.
Here are some notable things for NHL DFS players to consider when preparing for the return of hockey.
Two Types of Overtime
Regular Season NHL DFS differs from Playoff NHL DFS for a variety of reasons, but one of the main ones is that the overtime rules are different in the regular season and the playoffs. In the regular season, games that are tied after 3 periods go to a 3-on-3 overtime, and if no one scores there then they move to a shootout. Playoff overtime is just a continuous, sudden death 5-on-5, so generally a lot more time will elapse before a winning goal is scored.
It’s not normally worth thinking much about this because overtime is always uniform across DFS slates (every game has the same rules), but that won’t be the case for many slates this August. The Round Robin games are running simultaneously to the Qualifying Round games, so there will presumably be many slates in the first week or two where different games are being played with different overtime rules. There’s still just a maximum of one goal that can be scored in an overtime game, but it may be worth thinking about things that DraftKings awards bonuses to, like saves, shots on goal, and blocked shots, all of which can be accumulated at much higher rates for those playoff games that go deep into an overtime or even multiple overtimes.
Fluid Line Combinations
One of the most important parts of NHL DFS is line combinations, particularly when it comes to stacking. There are generally numerous resources to use to monitor teams’ lines, but it’s still worth mentioning that this could be a little more challenging for upcoming games. The usual beat writers aren’t going to have the same access that they always have; practices might be limited with a more condensed schedule; and teams might be more inclined to mix things up more frequently since this is functioning like the start of a new season. Basically, NHL DFS players are advised to stay on their toes when it comes to player and team news for hockey in August and September.
On a similar note, there are a few teams in this year’s playoffs that actually haven’t determined their starting goalie, which isn’t very typical for this late in the season. With all of the time off, some teams seem to be treating their goalie situations as they would for the start of a season, letting their goaltenders battle it out for playing time. Here are the teams to keep an eye on:
- Carolina Hurricanes: Petr Mrazek, James Reimer
- New York Islanders: Thomas Greiss, Semyon Varlamov
- Vegas Golden Knights: Marc-Andre Fleury, Robin Lehner
- Nashville Predators: Pekka Rinne, Juuse Saros
- Minnesota Wild: Devan Dubnyk, Alex Stalock, Kaapo Kakhonnen
- Arizona Coyotes: Darcy Keumper, Anti Raanta
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.