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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for April 17

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.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

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


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DraftKings Sportsbook

Florida Panthers +133 Money line at Tampa Bay Lightning

The Panthers and Lightning played a close game in the first meeting of this series, with Florida taking a lead into the third before losing in OT. Despite the Lightning being one of the top teams in the league, Florida matches up well with the defending Stanley Cup champs as they sit sixth in xGF% now, just one spot behind Tampa. The Lightning announced Steven Stamkos is now on long-term IR, so the Panthers are still getting Tampa short-handed up front. These odds look a little too big considering the injury situation and make Florida a good ML target here.

Kirill Kaprizov over 2.5 SOG (+100)

Kaprizov comes into this game with just one shot on goal over his past two games, which is likely why we’re getting such good odds here on his over. The Russian is averaging 2.6 SOG per game over his past 10 games while playing 19 minutes per game over that span. The Sharks allow the sixth-most SOG against and make for a good target here for taking the over.


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Top Line Stacks

Dallas Stars vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Roope Hintz ($6,400) — Jason Robertson ($5,700) — Joe Pavelski ($6,800)

The Stars’ Robertson has had a sensational rookie year and is now pressing to potentially make a case for rookie of the year. He’s now playing on the Stars' top line and comes into this game with nine points in his past 10 games, averaging 3.1 SOG and 12.1 DKFP over those 10 games. His presence has also seemingly helped his veteran linemates, as Pavelski comes into this game with goals in two straight contests while Hintz continues to be a fantasy stud and has 10 real-life points in his past four games.

This line is playing big minutes together and getting plenty of power-play exposure as the Stars remain starved for consistent offensive production. They also have a great matchup here, as the Blue Jackets continue to be a huge disappointment but have been a great matchup for fantasy purposes. They’ve allowed the sixth-most scoring chances overall and cede the fifth-most SOG per game. This trio has seen a salary bump but is still very affordable and has true slate-breaking potential tonight against a weak opponent.


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Superstar to Target

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets ($9,100)

McDavid has 13 points against the Jets in six games this year and should come in well-rested, as the Oilers have now had seven days off thanks to Vancouver’s COVID-19 situation. Winnipeg may sit second in the Northern Division, but they still make for a great target for opposing forwards. They allow the 11th-most shots on goal per game and have given up the third-most scoring chances in the league this year.

Considering the success that McDavid has had against Winnipeg’s soft defense this year, paying all the way up for him on this medium-sized slate makes sense, especially without a ton of other good matchups or studs to choose from. With injuries an issue up front, there’s a good chance McDavid will see some regular shifts with Leon Draisaitl ($8,500) as well, so this could also be a spot to “jam in” both Oilers studs.


Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $35K Sticks [$10K to 1st]


Value on Offense

Jakub Vrana, Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks ($3,700)

Vrana played over 16 minutes of ice time in his Red Wings debut and ended with a goal and 14.3 DKFP. The former Capital is going to continue to get lots of chances on the Red Wings, who don’t have a ton of big offensive names. The price has barely gone up from yesterday, and he remains in a great matchup against the Hawks’ soft defense here, who gives up the most SOG per game and the second-most scoring chances in the league. Keep targeting Vrana in this range until otherwise noted.

Nikita Gusev, Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning ($2,800)

Gusev is another trade deadline name to keep an eye on. The Panthers have dealt with injury issues up front, and the talented Russian is now getting a chance in the Panthers’ top six playing alongside Aleksander Barkov ($8,100). He played over 17 minutes in his debut with the Panthers and had three SOG, which really isn’t terrible production considering he’s priced just above the minimum here. He managed 44 points in 66 games last year on a terrible Devils’ team, so you can target him as a pure punt play or as part of a mini-stack with Barkov here.


Stud Goalies

Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars vs. Columbus Blue Jackets ($7,900)

The Stars have been rotating goalies of late, and it seems like Oettinger will get the nod today. Oettinger stopped 17 of 18 SOG his last time out and carries a .917 save percentage into this game. The Stars are -186 favorites on the ML right now, and the Blue Jackets make for a nice opponent since they’re generally terrible at burying their chances (fourth-to-last in goals scored per game) and carry the league’s fourth-worst power play into this game. The sub-$8K price tag here makes him one of the more attractive pay-up options on this slate.

Jonathan Bernier, Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks ($7,200)

The Red Wings’ goalies have played quite well of late, and Bernier enters this game coming off a 37-save performance in the team’s 3-1 win over Carolina. The veteran has been the better goalie this year for Detroit and carries a .914 save percentage on the year. The Wings are the home underdogs here, but they’ve been the better team of late between these two and are now 4-2 over their past six games. Regardless of whether Bernier or Thomas Greiss ($7,200) starts, either Red Wings goalie makes for a good pay-down option tonight in big field tournaments.


Value on Defense

Filip Hronek, Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks ($4,000)

I put up Hronek in this section in the Wings’ first game against Chicago, and he promptly served up a dud for us, somehow grabbing 0.0 DKFP over 23 minutes of ice time. His price has remained static though, and his opportunity as the Wings’ lead QB on the power play should remain intact here, too. Prior to the dud, Hronek was producing nicely and is still averaging 2.4 SOG over his past 10 starts. The Hawks allow a ton of shots on net and make for a good matchup for any team's top offensive players. He remains a nice value target here, although we’ll revisit that sentiment for future days if he busts again tonight.


Power-Play Defensemen

Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets ($5,900)

The Jets have improved their penalty kill as the season has worn on (they now rank 12th in penalty-kill efficiency), but they’re still a great target for most teams' offensive studs. Barrie has fit perfectly into the Oilers’ offensive scheme and enters this game coming off a seven-day rest, which should mean there will be no limit on his minutes tonight. While his production is down a little over his past 10 games, the Jets give up the third-most scoring chances against, so the fact Barrie’s price is under $6K in this matchup makes him a solid target on the back end. Don’t be afraid to stack Barrie with one or more of the Oilers’ studs tonight, as all the Oilers’ top players should play heavy minutes here in an important game.

Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks ($4,900)

Spurgeon busted from a fantasy perspective in the Wild’s first game against San Jose, but the matchup here remains one you should want to target. The Sharks have now lost five of their past six games and have now given up the eighth-most scoring chances against. Spurgeon can be a bit boom-or-bust, but at under $5K in price, he’s now averaging a hefty 2.3 blocked shots per game and brings true offensive upside as the lead point-man on the Wild’s power play. Pairing him with one or more of the Wild’s best skill players here is a nice way to save money and also give yourself exposure to one of the better matchups on the slate.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $35K Sticks [$10K 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.