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 DFS Hockey lineups.
Top Lines of the Night
Dallas Stars vs Anaheim
Jamie Benn ($7,800) – Tyler Seguin ($7,700) – Patrick Eaves ($4,000)
This line was solid to close last year for the Stars. Over the last two seasons no one has scored more points in the league than Benn’s 176. He will be back with Seguin, who missed the last 10 games of last season with an injury. The duo has been prolific in their scoring and that should easily continue with both being perennial Art Ross contenders. They are joined by Eaves, who played well with the duo towards the end of the season last year. Eaves also played well in the playoffs, notching six points in nine games. The prospect of facing Jonathan Bernier if John Gibson is sick for the Ducks makes this an even more appealing line stack. I expect big things from this trio.
Montreal Canadiens @ Buffalo
Max Pacioretty ($6,900) – Alex Galchenyuk ($5,300) – Brendan Gallagher ($5,900)
With the Sabres weak on defense and suspect in goal this is a great matchup tonight. The Habs young top line could prove to be a lethal scoring line in the league this year. Pacioretty posted his third-consecutive 60-point season last year, leading the Habs with 64. Galchenyuk had his best season centering Pacioretty, tallying 56 points and playing in all 82 games. Gallagher missed 30 games with an injury but still managed to put up 40 points. All healthy, this line could be great together at even strength and on the power play.
Superstar to Build Around
Alexander Ovechkin ($8,300) – The four-time defending Rocket Richard winner will kick off his season trying to do something he didn’t last year, score a point against Pittsburgh. Ovechkin has three-consecutive 50-goal seasons, and has a minimum of 386 SOG per season in that time. Ovie is always a great source for goals and SOG in DFS, and he should do plenty of that this year.
Value on Offense
Sam Gagner ($4,100) – Gagner was only signed by Columbus on August 1, but now finds himself centering what could be the Blue Jackets’ best line. He will slot in on a potentially potent unit for Columbus in the middle of Brandon Saad and Nick Foligno. He has six seasons in his career of scoring 40 points or more.
Jason Chimera ($4,100) – Chimera has been practicing with John Tavares and Andrew Ladd on the Islanders first line this week. After the team waived PA Parenteau on Monday, Chimera bumped up to the top line. If he sticks there for the time being, I think he is a great play next to Tavares. Chimera is coming off a 41-point season with the Capitals last year.
Top Line Adjustments
These are the players that have moved up the depth chart to play on a better line.
• Jimmy Vesey ($4,100), Pavel Buchnevich ($3,600), New York Rangers
• Jiri Hudler ($5,000), Dallas Stars
• Nick Ritchie ($3,700), Anaheim Ducks
• David Backes ($5,600), David Pastrnak ($4,500), Boston Bruins
• Jonathan Drouin ($4,800), Tampa Bay Lightning
• Kyle Connor ($2,500), Patrik Laine ($4,700), Winnipeg Jets
• Jonathan Marchessault ($3,000), Florida Panthers
• Eric Staal ($4,800), Minnesota Wild
Braden Holtby ($8,400) – The reigning Vezina winner will kick off his award defense against the Penguins. Holtby tied Martin Brodeur’s single-season record of 48 wins last year and could easily challenge 40 wins again. Holtby was solid against Pittsbugh last season posting a 2-2-1 record, and with Sidney Crosby expected out for this game with his concussion, the Pittsburgh offense certainly takes a hit.
Al Montoya ($7,500) – Montoya will be pressed into starting tonight with Carey Price out with the flu. Montoya is coming off a solid campaign backing up Roberto Luongo last season where he posted a 2.18 GAA and .919 SV% in 25 games. He faces the Sabres tonight who, like the Penguins with Crosby, are reeling from the loss of star center Jack Eichel for six weeks with an injury.
Value on Defense
Nathan Beaulieu ($3,900) – Beaulieu was the recipient of the bump up to the first pairing in the wake of the PK Subban trade. He led all players in scoring this preseason and will start the year on the Habs top pairing. He will pair with rookie Mikhail Sergachev on the Canadiens second PP unit.
Zach Werenski ($2,700) – Werenski tore up the AHL playoffs last season netting 14 points in 17 games. Now he gets his real shot. He will start the season on the Blue Jackets top defensive pairing with Seth Jones. Werenski will also man the left point opposite Jones on Columbus’ first PP unit.
Power Play Defensemen
Kevin Shattenkirk ($6,500) – Shattenkirk was one of the best defensemen in the NHL on the PP last season. He posted 26 of his 44 points on the man-advantage. Shattenkirk picked up right where he left off tallying three PPPs, a goal and two assists against Chicago last night. He has another favorable matchup tonight against the Wild at home, where he put up 15 PPPs last season.
John Klingberg ($6,100) – Klingberg started last season on fire, then began to tail off a bit. Still, he played very solid offensive hockey and will be playing a lot of even strength, and PP, situations with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. He notched 22 points on the PP last season, and that number could go up with a fully healthy Stars squad this year.
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.