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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for January 30

Geoff Ulrich gives his top NHL picks and lineup advice for Saturday’s fantasy hockey slate on DraftKings, which starts at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Florida Panthers v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Saturday night features an 11-game NHL slate, starting at 7:00 p.m. ET. In this article, we’ll discuss DraftKings daily fantasy targets as well as plays on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $75K Twine [$15K to 1st]

DraftKings Sportsbook

Carolina Hurricanes -129 vs. Dallas Stars

The Hurricanes and Stars meet tonight in the battle of two teams who have only managed to play four games so far this season. Dallas has got off to a great start, going 4-0 despite the loss of Ben Bishop, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Roope Hintz ($5,800) is now questionable for this game, however, and it feels like this will be the spot where those losses will finally be felt. These teams look even in the stats, but Carolina has better high-end talent right now with Sebastian Aho ($6,700) and Dougie Hamilton ($6,300), and with home teams currently having a win-rate of over 62%, I like siding with the Hurricanes here.

Edmonton Oilers +110 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Oilers’ betting number has finally dropped to the point where they’re now plus-money at home and it feels like time to take advantage. They have a solid xGF% (expected goal rate) of 52.49% thus far and their power play is starting to look more like the unit it was last year when they led the league in power-play efficiency. Toronto is likely due for a little regression in the win column too as they’re below 50% in xGF% but give up about as many scoring chances as the Oilers.

Top Line Stacks

Vancouver Canucks at Winnipeg Jets

Elias Pettersson ($6,300) – Brock Boeser ($5,600) – J.T. Miller ($5,400)

The Jets and Canucks should be a fun game to watch, as neither team likes to play much defense. The Canucks come in on a three-game winning streak, though, and currently sit sixth in the league in goals scored per game. After a slow start, Pettersson was able to come to life against the weaker Senators and now has five points and three goals in his past four games. Despite that, we’re getting him at a salary here that is well below what we saw him at in the Canucks’ first series.

Taking advantage of that discount is smart, but so is pairing him with some of his PP1 linemates too. Winnipeg is third to last in penalty kill percentage and 12th in shots allowed, so both Boeser and Miller look like fine stacking targets. The line has combined for nine points in their past two outings alone, and Boeser has become a near point-per-game player, playing alongside Pettersson consistently. This line is cheap, has great correlation (they’ll play together at even strength and on the PP) and has a matchup you want to target against a deficient Jets penalty-kill.

Superstar to Target

Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers at Detroit Red Wings ($6,900)

The Panthers come in playing solid hockey and in a great matchup against Detroit. Thus far the Panthers have the highest xGF% in the league and are taking on a Red Wings team here who have allowed 3.6 goals against and have the eighth-worst penalty kill. The Panthers have only played four games, but Barkov has looked more like the player who scored 96 points two years ago and is playing an average of 21.5 mins a night, averaging 4.75 SOG per game. The Panthers light schedule has likely kept Barkov’s salary under $7K here and in a premium matchup, this is a price you want to take advantage of tonight and going forward.

Value on Offense

Carter Verhaeghe, Florida Panthers at Detroit Red Wings ($3,800)

Verhaeghe has fit in well in Florida thus far — he’s currently on a goal per game pace and has already accumulated six points in four games. Playing alongside the aforementioned Barkov, the former Leaf and Lightning winger is getting a huge opportunity and making the most of it so far. While the production may slip at some point (he won’t score 56 goals), Verhaeghe was a prominent AHL and junior scorer so expect him to keep producing against these weaker opponents on the Panthers’ top-line and PP1 unit. The price here is ridiculously low for a top-line winger going up against one of the worst defensive units in the Red Wings.

Andrew Copp, Winnipeg Jets at Vancouver Canucks ($4,300)

Copp has been inserted into a more regular top-six role, playing alongside Paul Stastny ($4,400) and Nikolaj Ehlers ($5,900) and thus far the results have been extremely positive. The multi-dimensional forward has eight points now over his past four games while his line alone has accumulated 23 points altogether in that same span. There’s no reason to fade this unit tonight either, as the Canucks have been a dumpster fire on defense, allowing 37.1 SOG against per game and allowing the most scoring chances against, by far, in the league. Copp’s a great value and a great way to get more exposure to what should be a great DFS matchup.

Stud Goalies

Philipp Grubauer, Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild ($8,200)

The Avalanche enter this game as -157 road favorites and will be taking on a weakened Wild squad which is without one of their best scorers in Kevin Fiala and their No. 1 goalie in Cam Talbot. For his part in this, Grubauer has been excellent this season, posting a 5-2 record with a .928 save percentage and a GAA under 2.00. The Wild are a decent opponent for DFS too, as they attempt right around 30 SOG but don’t create a ton of quality scoring chances and will be without one of their best offensive pieces here. It’s a solid pay-up spot for a goalie in good form.

Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks vs. Winnipeg Jets ($7,400)

The Canucks’ defensive woes and inability to limit other teams from getting shots through is a double-edged sword. While it makes them ripe targets for opposing forwards, it also gives massive upside to whoever starts in net for them. The Canucks have gotten solid goaltending late from both Braden Holtby ($7,400) who stopped 36 of 37 SOG in his last game and Demko, who stopped 77 of 79 SOG he faced in two games against Ottawa. The Jets are a tougher opponent with more pure scorers, but the Vancouver netminder has a great shot at delivering a big game for you (i.e. getting the 35-plus save bonus) in this spot as well.

Value on Defense

Samuel Girard, Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild ($4,100)

The Avalanche will be without Devon Toews tonight, which should open up room for Girard to be on ice for a couple more minutes than usual. Girard has settled in as a top-four defenseman for Colorado and is enjoying a solid start to the season as he already has six points in just eight games. While he’s been caddying for rookie Bowen Byram ($2,800) at even strength, Girard also gets plenty of PP time and has seen four of his points come on the man advantage. With Toews out here, more PP minutes will be up for grabs giving Girard a good opportunity to grab another point or two for you here against a team stuck relying on a rookie backup in goal for the time being.

Power-Play Defensemen

Roman Josi, Nashville Predators at Tampa Bay Lightning ($5,800)

This is really more of a price play than anything. We’re used to seeing Josi priced up sometimes well over $7K on DraftKings so the fact he’s now below $6K should make our ears perk. The Nashville offense remains sluggish as they’re averaging just 2.3 goals per game and have the third-worst PP percentage in the league. As evidenced by the fact he’s still averaging 11.7 DKFP on the season though — despite having zero PP points and just two points overall — Josi can produce for you in a variety of ways and he comes in averaging 4.2 SOG per game. The tide will turn for Nashville’s PP1 eventually, and when it does, Josi will be the main beneficiary. Keep playing him at these prices even if it’s just as a one-off.

Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals ($4,800)

McAvoy is another defense target who looks altogether too cheap on this slate. The Bruins are without one of their best offensive defensemen in Matt Grzelcyk, which has meant big minutes for McAvoy this year as he comes in averaging 25 minutes and 8.9 DKFP per game. It’s the recent form we should be looking at here, though, as McAvoy’s power-play usage has gone way up since Grzelcyk went out and he comes in with five assists in his past three games, three of which came on the PP1. The Caps have been just mediocre on the penalty kill this year, so taking advantage of the under $5K price here is very warranted, whether as a one-off or part of a Bruins PP1 stack.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $75K Twine [$15K to 1st]

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.