My name is Sam Duchesneau (also known as @GronkDFS on Twitter), NHL is finally back in full action and it’s my pleasure to be back for my 2nd season as the NHL content provider for Daily Play Action (DPA). On this opening night, we sadly have ourselves a tiny slate with only 2 games. Despite the small slate, I will showcase my favorite stacks and favorite plays and will provide much-needed tips and tricks on how to play DFS NHL if you’re a cash player and/or a GPP player. With that being said, buckle up, and let’s make a lot of money this 2021-2022 NHL season!!!
VGK1 Cash Stack: Stone – Stephenson – Pacioretty
Fanduel: $17,900 (33% of salary) / DraftKings: $19,000 (38% of salary)
Vegas1 was one of my favorite lines last season because they generate a ton of scoring chances (34SCF, 14HDCF, 56CF%, and 3.17xGF) and when selecting my stacks, I base my lineups on matchups, salary, and chances generated. VGK1 have awesome chemistry together. They will be facing the Seattle Kraken and while I know their roster, this will be the Kraken’s 1st ever NHL game which means there are a lot of questions to be answered here. Seattle will be missing a few key pieces due to Covid-19 protocols and their defense on paper seems extremely weak. On paper, Vegas has the best matchup of the slate, there is no doubt that VGK1 will be the chalk stack of the slate. Pacioretty and Stone will be on PP1 together while Stephenson is on neither PP but he is dirt cheap on both sites.
Other viable stacks: TB1 (Palat, Point, and Kucherov), VGK2 (Marchessault, Karlsson, and Smith)
TB2 GPP Stack: Killorn – Cirelli – Stamkos
Fanduel: $12,500 (23% of salary) / DraftKings: $12,800 (26% of salary)
I was about to circle PIT1 as my preferred GPP stack due to the value presented as a result of Crosby and Malkin’s injuries but I’ve decided to go with TB2. Tampa Bay has been an elite offense for a few years now, and there is no doubt that their 1st line will gather more ownership and while they’re a good play, TB2 cannot go unnoticed. TB2 is a solid line that generates chances and they have broken a few slates last season. Their cheap price makes them a solid low risk/high reward and helps us pay for a premium defenseman and VGK1. Pittsburgh was not great defensively last season and looking at their line combos, PIT2 won’t be great defensively all year long. TB2 had solid numbers last season with 29SCF, 10HDCF, 54CF%, and a 2.33xGF.
Other viable stacks: PIT1 (Heinen, Carter, and Rust); TB3 (Perry, Colton, and Stamkos); SEA1 (Schwartz, McCann, and Eberle)
Brayden Point | $7600 (FD) | $7300 (DK)
Nearly a point per game player last season and now reunited with his elite partner Nikita Kucherov, he is hands down the best option at the center position tomorrow. He will be facing a weak Penguins lineup that will be without Crosby and Malkin which means there is no player that can reasonably get in his way tonight.
Jeff Carter | $4900 (FD) | $6100 (DK)
Carter is too cheap on FD but too expensive on DK. With the injuries of Crosby, and Malkin he will be playing on PP1 and PIT1. I see him getting over 19-20 minutes of ice time which is excellent for his price. His matchup is not easy as Tampa Bay is a great defensive team, but he is a top value option tonight with the opportunities he will receive.
Honorable Mentions: Stephenson, Karlsson, Cirelli, McCann, and Patrick
Nikita Kucherov | $8600 (FD) | $8000 (DK)
Just like Brayden Point, he is the top winger on the slate. His point-per-game ability and his enormous upside make him a top player on most slates. On this 2 gamer, I don’t see a single reason to fade him. He plays with Point on TB1 and PP1. If Tampa goes crazy, he will most likely finish with the top score of the entire slate. Fade at your own risk!
Max Pacioretty | $7300 (FD) | $7100 (DK)
Pacioretty is one of my favorite players to roster on DK because of his shot upside. He averages 3.59 shots per game which is top 5 in the NHL and he is always in play to hit the shot bonus and a multi goals night. He is the elite scorer in this Vegas offense.
Honorable Mentions: Stamkos, Stone, Rust, Palat, Marchessault, Eberle, Killorn, Schwartz, Smith, Zucker, Dadonov, and Joseph
Victor Hedman | $6700 (FD) | $6300 (DK)
If you have the salary for Victor Hedman tonight, he is the must-play defenseman. There’s a fair amount of value defenseman but he is a no-doubter if you can get to him. He plays big minutes on a nightly basis and always seems to find the scoresheet even if Tampa has a tough night.
Mark Giordano | $4600 (FD) | $5600 (DK)
Gio was a disappointment last season with Calgary after numerous great seasons. His floor however, is among the best out of all defenseman in the NHL (blocked shots and shot volume). The main reason that I am rostering him tonight is simply that Vegas takes a lot of penalties and he is playing on PP1. Looking at Seattle’s defensive core, it is obvious that Gio will log around 26+ minutes every single game and at $4600 that’s a bargain. *VGK’s Alec Martinez is a great pivot to him. If you fade the stud defenseman, lock him in to get different*
Honorable Mentions: Theodore (If playing), Sergachev (Value), Dunn, and Pietrangelo
Robin Lehner | $8400 (FD) | $8200 (DK)
I’m leaning towards Lehner tonight simply because I believe Seattle is weaker offensively and defensively on paper than Pittsburgh. When it comes to whoever has more saves between him and Vasilevskiy, it is very tough to predict, hence why I’ll take the goalie with the safest chance for the win bonus and the least amount of goals potentially allowed.
Andrei Vasilevskiy | $8700 (FD) | $8000 (DK)
As mentioned above, I’m more scared of this Penguins offense than Seattle’s offense. Both goalies are top plays in my opinion. If you’re looking for saves on shot volume, take a flier on Phillip Grubauer at just 7k.
Honorable Mentions: None
In conclusion, this is a very small slate. I will target heavily TB1 and VGK1 in all formats followed by VGK2, and TB2. As for my contrarian stacks or my value stacks, SEA1 and PIT1 project well but they’re a high risk/high reward stack.
This segment is a one-time deal to prepare you guys for this upcoming NHL season. Bring a pencil and a notepad and listen carefully! For my 5050/2x players (A.K.A Cash Game players), I love the 2-2-2 strategy in cash games. By 2-2-2 I mean play 2 players of 3 different teams. Often in bigger slates, we see a lot of quality matchups and I’ve found that having 2 forwards on the same line and PP for 3 different high vegas totals teams has been successful since day 1 of my DFS career. In cash contests, it is often easy, you just need to beat 50% of the field.
The 2-2-2 strategy tends to have the right edge to beat the field far more often than you would think. In cash, I will always target the most obvious plays with a slight edge of “GPP” type of players. For example, there is no denying that tonight on paper, Tampa and Vegas should win and score probably 3-4 goals. It’s always the elite teams and elite lines against the mediocre teams.
In GPP, it is slightly different. In the DFS and gambling world, despite being a huge favorite, there’s always some unexpected, and while TB and VGK are high favorites it wouldn’t be unlikely to see an underdog win or even break the slate and it happens more often than we might imagine. Personally, on smaller slates, I tend to go contrarian in GPPs or I target the obvious matchups with less obvious and owned lines like VGK2 and TB2.
My fav strategy in GPPs is the 3-3-1-1 strategy or the 4-4 strategy. The 3-3-1-1 means a full line stack of 2 different teams alongside a one-off defenseman from 2 different teams. For example, it could be TB1 full line stack with VGK2 full line stack with Giordano 1 off and Letang 1 off. The 4-4 stack is 2 full lines stacks from 2 different teams with the correlated defenseman. Tonight, it could be TB1 with VGK2 with one offs of on defense with d-men like Hedman or Pietrangelo/Martinez.
Those 2 strategies have helped me win a couple of takedowns over the years. The main goal in GPPs is focused on being different with your correlation and matchups. On a smaller slate, you want to mix it up. On a normal/bigger slate, I aim to find lower-owned stacks in good matchups. For example on a 12 gamer, there’s always 2-4 stacks that are high owned in cash and GPPs but there’s also 3-4 teams that fall under the radar and I always target those. The right play on paper isn’t necessarily the right one.
With that being said, I will be available all season long to help on the building part. Do not be afraid to target 2nd or 3rd lines on teams that should dominate. Lastly, my rule #1 in any format is to target line combinations and PP correlations. If players play together on 5v5 and on the powerplay, they are always available to connect for a goal/assist together to help you accumulate a higher score!!
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