The NHL Cheat Sheet is your quick-hit daily look into the top lines and line changes, fantasy studs, value picks and more to help you navigate your DraftKings hockey lineups.
Top Lines of the Night
San Jose Sharks
Joe Pavelski ($7,200) – Joe Thornton ($5,500) – Tomas Hertl ($5,200)
Pavelski had the second-best statistical season of his career last year, helping to lead the Sharks to the Stanley Cup Final. He posted 78 points, 28 on the PP. Over the last three seasons only Alex Ovechkin has scored more goals in the league than Pavelski. Thornton is proving to be an ageless wonder who, at 36 years old, played all 82 games last season and notched 82 points. It was his highest point total in six seasons and was tied with Erik Karlsson for fourth in league scoring. Hertl finally looked like the player we all expected after his 25-point rookie season in 37 games. After he was bumped up to this line he took off and finished the season with 46 points and 202 shots on goal.
Connor McDavid ($7,500) – Jordan Eberle ($5,900) – Milan Lucic ($5,200)
The hype is real with McDavid. The generational talent missed almost half of last season with a collarbone injury, only managing 45 games. But his impact was evident when he posted 48 points. He is joined this year by offseason prize Lucic. Lucic is poised for a breakout season and could easily challenge his career-high 62 points from the 2010-11 season. Eberle slotted in with McDavid last year and was very productive with 47 points in 69 games. He could challenge the 60-point mark playing there again this year.
Superstar to Build Around
Patrick Kane ($8,300) – The reigning MVP and scoring champ will get his season started with a favorable matchup against the Blues. Coming off his 106-point career season last year, Kane will be back on a line with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov. Kane dominated St. Louis last season notching 12 points in 12 games vs the Blackhawks’ division foe. With Blues starter Jake Allen coming off an injury and missing the last week of training camp it makes the matchup more enticing, especially at this favorable price.
Value on Offense
Joonas Donskoi ($4,300) – Coming off a solid 36-point rookie season that saw him finish playing on the wing of the Sharks second line, Donskoi will return to that spot to start the year. He will be playing with dynamic center Logan Couture and new addition Mikkel Boedker on what could be an exciting second line in San Jose.
Richard Panik ($3,800) – Panik has never lived up to his second round draft pick hype, but he will have an opportunity to produce as he is penciled in on the Blackhawks’ top line to start the season. He will slot onto the left side of Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, and he should see time in Chicago’s power-play rotation as well.
Top Line Adjustments
Players below are likely to move into top 6 forward line combinations
• Devin Setoguchi ($2,600), Teddy Purcell ($4,200), Los Angeles Kings
• Marian Hossa ($5,400), Chicago Blackhawks
• Robby Fabbri ($4,300), St. Louis Blues
• Milan Michalek ($3,700), Mitch Marner ($3,600), Leo Komarov ($4,300), Toronto Maple Leafs
• Zack Smith ($4,200), Ottawa Senators
Martin Jones ($8,000) – The Sharks rode Jones to the Stanley Cup final last season and during the regular season he did not disappoint either. He had a breakout year for San Jose in his first as a full-time starter, posting 37 wins, third in the league, a 2.27 GAA and six shutouts. He faces his former team the Kings to start the season, a team he dominated last year to the tune of a 3-1-1 record in five starts.
Frederik Andersen ($7,300) – Andersen is the guy going forward in Toronto after his offseason trade from Anaheim and his era in net starts tonight. He missed the World Cup for Team Europe with injury and did not have a great preseason, but Toronto’s defense at full-strength is improved from last year. He has also has dominated the Senators over his career, posting a 3-0-0 record, a .941 SV% and a 1.65 GAA vs Ottawa.
Value on Defense
Marc-Edouard Vlasic ($4,900) – $4,900 is a bit pricey for a value pick, but Vlasic is poised for a breakout season, after a career-high 39 points last year. The Sharks offense only got better in the offseason and the possibility of playing certain offensive situations with Brent Burns, as well as increased power play time, makes Vlasic an intriguing pick.
Oscar Klefbom ($3,900) – Klefbom could reap the benefits of being the offensive-defenseman with the best upside that the Oilers have this season, and ride that to a breakout year. He will see even strength time with the McDavid line, flanked by Adam Larsson, and will be running the point on the Oilers potentially lethal PP.
Power Play Defensemen
Brent Burns ($8,200) – Burns had a career-season last year and as far as the PP goes, he was the best in the league among blueliners. His 30 PPP led all defensemen in the league and his seven PPGs were seventh. He had a career year all-around and was statistically one of the best defenders in DFS hockey.
Erik Karlsson ($7,900) – When it comes to offense from the blueline, Karlsson is the standard right now. Karlsson posted 82 points in 82 games last season and his 87 PPPs the last three years lead all defenders in that category as well. He and Burns are expensive, but they are like adding another forward to your DFS lineup on a nightly basis and are worth the expense.
Make sure to check out the Cheat Sheet every day and as always for any DFS Hockey questions or comments this season, find me on Twitter at: @JHarding_Hockey.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hardingj2) 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.