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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for March 20

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.

Nashville Predators v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

Saturday features a nine-game NHL main slate starting at 7:00 p.m. ET on DraftKings. In this article, you will find DFS advice for DraftKings plus some DraftKings Sportsbook bets to target as well.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $60K Twine [$15K to 1st]


DraftKings Sportsbook

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Columbus Blue Jackets over 5.5 goals (-109)

The Hurricanes enter this game ranked seventh in goals scored per game and 10th in expected goal rate, so right away any 5.5 total could be looked at as a good opportunity to take the over. The Canes are also coming off two losses, and we could get a look at James Reimer ($8,300) in net. Reimer has been decent but only carries a .907 save percentage into this game. Columbus’ offense has been OK as of late, scoring three or more in three of their past four games. When you add in the Blue Jackets’ terrible penalty kill and the league-leading power play of Carolina, the over here seems like the right side to be on.

Edmonton Oilers Money line (-134) vs. Winnipeg Jets

The Oilers took care of business in the first game of this series and yet remain just small favorites despite being at home here. Not much separates these teams in the standings, but the Oilers have really moved up in terms of chances created and now rank eighth in xGF%, while the Jets remain just 25th in that same category. Edmonton’s power play has also turned it up of late and now ranks fifth in the league in efficiency, while Winnipeg’s penalty kill lags at 16th. These feel like two teams headed in opposite directions, and it wouldn’t shock me if the Oilers started a bit of a slide for Winnipeg, who have looked ripe for a little regression lately. The Edmonton ML here looks solid enough to take on.


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Top Line Stacks

Edmonton Oilers vs. Winnipeg Jets

Connor McDavid ($9,100) — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($6,800) — Jesse Puljujarvi ($4,000)

The Oilers are dealing with some injuries up front, so their top six has been shuffled again. For DFS purposes, this is important since it means it’ll be a little bit easier to stack McDavid tonight if we so please. McDavid has had three or more points in three of his past six games and comes in averaging over 20 DKFP in his past 10 starts. He should see plenty of regular-strength and power-play time with Nugent-Hopkins, who is often the forgotten man in Edmonton. Nuge had been a little quiet of late after centering the Oilers’ second line for the past couple of weeks but gets the call to move back with McDavid here — with whom he put together some monster games in the first few weeks of the season. They should be joined by Puljujarvi, who has remained a positive driver of play and is averaging over 2.0 SOG per game. He may also see power-play time if Kailer Yamamoto ($4,900; undisclosed, questionable) sits again.

Despite a solid record, the Jets are a great team to stack against as they allow the seventh-most shots against per game and have given up the fourth-most scoring chances in the league thus far. They had no answer for McDavid in the first game and will likely be in need of plenty of goals themselves here if they want to squeeze out a win. The Oilers' top trio is a great target tonight and could go overlooked in GPPs if people sleep on the Yamamoto news.


Superstar to Target

Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes vs. Columbus Blue Jackets ($7,400)

Aho comes into this game with 11 points over his past 10 games, four of which have come on the power play. He’s also averaging 12.3 DKFP over that span, which is well above his season average. The center now has three goals in his past two games and gets a great matchup against Columbus, which carries the fifth-worst penalty kill and has allowed the seventh-most shots against in the league. There are plenty of studs available on this larger slate, but using Aho in this spot makes sense as a one-off sort of play or mini-stack given the opponent. He’s cheaper than most of the other big names on the slate but is the main catalyst on the best power play in the league — where he’s scored nine of his 28 points — and can be stacked at a decent price with a guy like Martin Necas ($4,900), who is still seeing time on the PP1 as well. Aho and the Canes’ entire PP1 are good targets tonight and a solid way to go about beginning GPP lineups.


Value on Offense

Oliver Bjorkstrand, Columbus Blue Jackets at Carolina Hurricanes ($4,800)

Bjorkstrand continues to be undervalued considering his overall production. The Blue Jackets winger is now averaging a point-per-game and 2.7 SOG over his past 10 contests. While he started the season slowly, Bjorkstrand has now scored 20-plus goals in two straight seasons and averaged well over 3.0 SOG per game last year. He’s now been bumped up to the Blue Jackets’ top line with Patrik Laine ($5,100) and comes in with seven points in his past four games. The Canes have slid a little defensively over their past two games, and with Bjorkstrand’s price still well under $5K, you should have him on your radar as a potential value or one-off target for all DraftKings formats until further notice.

Jason Robertson, Dallas Stars at Detroit Red Wings ($4,200)

Robertson continues to impress in an elevated offensive role for Dallas. The rookie was pressed into duty earlier in the year due to injuries and has responded by showing the skill and offensive creativity that made him a first-round draft pick on a nightly basis. He comes in playing a second-line role and with a regular spot on the PP1 for the Stars, which is a great thing considering the opponent here. Averaging 9.8 DKFP per game and playing against Detroit, which allows the third-most shots against per game and has the fifth-worst penalty kill in the league, there is no reason not to look his way if you need a cheap forward.


Stud Goalies

Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers ($7,900)

Sorokin has started to show the promise that made him a potential Calder Trophy dark-horse for many pundits at the start of the year. His recent six-game winning streak has been marked by two shutouts and he has upped his save percentage to .910 on the season. The Flyers have been hot and cold most of the year and, considering the run Sorkin has been on, targeting him here as a pivot from the top-priced plays at goalie makes some sense. The Isles are -136 on DraftKings Sportsbook and Philly lags at just 17th in expected goal rate (xGF%). He’s a solid target if you can’t afford the highest-priced starters tonight.

Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers vs. Winnipeg Jets ($7,900)

Smith also makes for a decent pay-down option off the top-salaried plays. The Oilers’ goalies have both pretty solid of late and the 38-year-old Smith brings a .920 save percentage into this game and is coming off a few days of rest after sitting out the last Oilers game. He’s now hit 15 or more DKFP in four of his past five starts and sits as a -134 favorite here on the moneyline. Winnipeg is averaging 3.3 goals per game but still ranks just 25th in xGF%, so their offense does seem overdue for a little dry spell. Either way, Smith is playing well and is in a decent spot to grab you a win, making him a good sub-$8K target on this big slate.


Value on Defense

Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders ($4,200)

Gostisbehere continues to be underpriced, considering his recent production. The Flyers defenseman is averaging 3.2 SOG and 1.3 blocked shots per game, which are levels that we don’t see from many defensemen, even those priced in the $5K range. Even if he’s not getting consistent PP1 time, he’s still averaging a decent amount of ice time (20 minutes per game over his past 10 starts) and is one of the best creators on the back end for Philly. He has defensive deficiencies, but we don’t really care for fantasy purposes as his aggressive attitude means a multi-point game is always on the table. He remains one of the best pure upside plays when priced under $4.5K.

Noah Hanifin, Calgary Flames at Toronto Maple Leafs ($3,600)

Hanifin continues to get a good push from the Flames' new coaching staff. As mentioned here yesterday, he’s been elevated to the PP1 and produced last night with an assist and a couple of blocked shots while playing over 22 minutes. His price has gone up, but with the Leafs playing so poorly on defense right now and the Flames’ offense picking up, I still wouldn’t hesitate to target him if you need a defenseman under $4K. Toronto has the 10th-worst penalty kill in the league and has allowed the 10th-most scoring chances against this year, making Hanifin and the rest of the Flames’ PP1 good contrarian targets in GPPs tonight.


Power-Play Defensemen

Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars at Detroit Red Wings ($5,200)

The Stars continue to struggle to put together any big winning streak to get themselves back in the playoff hunt. While they may not make the postseason, some of their studs are still excellent targets for fantasy purposes at their current price tags. Heiskanen is currently locked into a huge nightly role that has seen him play 25 minutes or more in five straight games. That role now includes consistent time manning the point on the Stars’ PP1 and the increased ice time and power-play exposure have resulted in more production from him of late too, as he’s grabbed six points over his past 10 games. He has also been far more aggressive with his shot of late and comes in having fired 15 shots in his past three games combined. We’re starting to see the same aggressiveness from Heiskanen that we saw from him at the end of 2020, and with the lowly Red Wings on tap here, targeting his $5.5K salary on defense — either as a one-off or as part of a Stars PP1 stack — makes a ton of sense.


Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $60K 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.