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NHL Picks: DraftKings Fantasy Hockey DFS Cheat Sheet for Lightning vs. Avalanche on June 15

Geoff Ulrich gives his top NHL picks and lineup advice for the Stanley Cup Final Game 1 fantasy hockey slate on DraftKings.

Wednesday features Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final and a single-game NHL slate, which begins at 8:00 p.m. ET on DraftKings. In this article, you will find DFS advice for DraftKings lineups.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $100K SCF Puck Drop [$20K to 1st]

Captain’s Picks

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning ($16,200)

Judging by how the Avalanche came out in their previous Game 1s, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to side with the offenses tonight. Colorado stands as a decent -155 favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook and with a 3.4 implied goal total, which is nearly 0.6 goals higher than Tampa’s. While he’s the highest-priced player on the slate, looking for better values could only get us in trouble in Game 1. MacKinnon has been more of a complete player in the playoffs, with “just” 18 points in 14 games thus far, but expect that his physical presence may very well make him more than the Tampa Bay checking line can handle. Banking on a big Game 1 for MacKinnon means you can put tons of competition in the rearview mirror if Colorado wins big and he does indeed bust out.

Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche ($13,800)

Andrei Vasilevskiy ($15,000 CP; $10,000) will likely be a popular captain’s pick for those leaning toward Tampa Bay’s side in Game 1 but the netminder has had his issues on the road in these playoffs, posting save percentages well below .900 in Games 1 and 2 versus the Rangers. If Tampa Bay does win Game 1 it seems likely they’ll have to do it by scoring in bunches and that will likely mean a massive game from Kucherov, who leads the Lightning with 23 points in the playoffs. It’s worth noting as well that Kucherov has seen a lot of production on the power play (five of his seven goals have come with the man advantage), which could be a big factor in this series as Colorado was the 11th-most penalized team in 2021-22 and did show weakness on penalty-kill at times. Kucherov makes for a nice pivot off the likely highly-owned Tampa Bay goalie and a nice upper-tier value target at Captain as well.

Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning ($13,200)

If we slide down the roster for Colorado, the one forward who can likely match MacKinnon in upside is Rantanen. The Finnish forward looks likely to be manning the second-line center role tonight and is developing some chemistry with countryman Artturi Lehkonen ($9.000 CP; $6,000). Rantanen has goals in four straight games and may very well escape the hard-checking line of Tampa Bay led by Anthony Cirelli ($9,600 CP; $6,400). Rantanen is a good way to keep on the high-scoring narrative, but give yourself more room down the lineup.

Flex Options

Andre Burakovsky, Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning ($2,000)

With the injury to Nazim Kadri opening up a hole in the top six for the Avalanche, Burakovsky is a player who we should expect to see get more top-six minutes in this series — and in Game 1. He’s likely to be slotted in on the second line and has shown this year that when he’s in a top-six role he’s a dangerous player for fantasy (especially when priced cheap). The Russian has had a slow postseason thus far and hasn’t scored since the Nashville series, but don’t be shocked if Burakovsky ends up being a pivotal player for the Avalanche. He scored at just under a .75 ppg rate this year and was also dangerous on the power-play in the regular season where he could get some run early in this series as well. At the bare minimum, there’s almost no reason not to get him in lineups.

Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche ($6,600)

Regardless of what side you think will take Game 1, Palat seems like an easy value target if you can sneak him into the flex spot. He’s back playing alongside two of the best players in the world again in Nikita Kucherov ($13,800 CP; $9,200) and Steven Stamkos ($12,900 CP; $8,600) and produced a hefty seven points in the last four games against the Rangers. While he sometimes gets by-passed on the power play, the opportunity at even strength is too good to ignore — especially for a player in this good of form. Any big night from Tampa Bay’s top line should see Palat pay off in a big way this price.

Brandon Hagel, Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche ($3,400)

The second line for Tampa Bay has been a huge part of why they’ve advanced this far in the playoffs. Hagel has been a dream addition for the Bolts and played well over 16 minutes in each of the last two games against the Rangers. He should see plenty of ice time again tonight as Tampa Bay again looks to deploy their checking line against Colorado’s top two units. Hagel has produced a decent number of scoring chances at even strength and is averaging 3.0 shots on net over his past four games, as well. Any real-life point will likely see him more than pay off this cheap salary and he’s getting better opportunities than almost any non-top line Tampa Bay forward at the moment.


Mikko Rantanen ($8,800) — Andre Burakovsky ($2,000) — Artturi Lehkonen ($6,000)

As we alluded to above, the Tampa Bay checking line will likely be a pivotal factor in this series. While stopping MacKinnon is a monumental task (which may prove to be too much ultimately) looking to the Colorado second-line in Game 1 of this series to benefit from not being matched up against the Cirelli line is something we should be interested in. Stacking all three either in the flex or with Rantanen or Lehkonen at Captain opens up space to stack multiple studs elsewhere and gives you great correlation for the home favorite side tonight.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $100K SCF Puck Drop [$20K to 1st]

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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.

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