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
Calgary Flames vs. Ottawa
Johnny Gaudreau ($6,900) – Sean Monahan ($5,900) – Alex Chiasson ($3,700)
After a slow start, Johnny Hockey might be finding his touch. He has four points in his last five games and is coming off his best game of the season with a goal and assist against the Blues on Tuesday night. Monahan has looked OK but will always have value as Gaudreau’s center on the top line. He has three points on the season so far. The RW slot on this line is a revolving door, but Chiasson is a decent value play as long as he is on this line. This line faces the Senators tonight, who are allowing well over three goals per game right now.
Chicago Blackhawks @ New Jersey
Patrick Kane ($8,400) – Jonathan Toews ($5,600) – Richard Panik ($5,300)
According to some reports, the Blackhawks practiced with this line the last couple of days. If it happens then it would be the top line of the night. Kane has points in back-to-back games and had a goal on four shots against the Flames. Toews is looking for a jumpstart and this could be the perfect opportunity playing with Kane on a regular line. Panik has been one of the surprises of the early season and this could be a huge chance for him to play with two great playmakers.
* Superstar to Build Around*
Connor McDavid ($8,400) – As I said earlier in the month, most nights I think McDavid is going to be the best player to build around, and tonight is another of those nights. After a two-game lull, McDavid has bounced back strong with points in three straight games. He has two multi-point outings in those three and has jumped Auston Matthews for the league lead with 11 points. He has been held to only two shots in his last two games, so I expect those numbers to go up soon.
Value on Offense
Pavel Zacha ($3,800) – Zacha was bumped up to the Devils top line for their game against the Coyotes and skated with Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri. The line looked great and Zacha picked up two assists, including one on the power play. He should get more time with this line so I’ll target him while he’s cheap.
Brandon Pirri ($3,600) – Pirri has come out of nowhere and is right now the Rangers’ leading scorer. He has three goals and four points in his last three games, adding six shots, one block and two points on the PP. The Rangers face the Hurricanes tonight, who rank second-worst in the league in scoring defense, and it will be interesting to see if Pirri sees an expanded offensive role.
Cam Talbot ($7,700) – Since his six-goal debacle against the Sabres, Talbot was stellar in his next four outings. He allowed only four goals in those games, shutting out some top offenses like the Capitals, Jets and Blues and posting a .970 SV% in those games. He has the Oilers scorching out of the gate and is 6-1-0 on the early season. He has a prime matchup tonight against the Canucks’ anemic offense that sits dead last in the league in scoring per game.
John Gibson ($7,800) – Gibson has allowed two goals or fewer in five straight games and had back-to-back, one-goal outings against the Sharks and Predators. He is starting to settle in as the guy in the net in Anaheim and looks poised to break out. Like Talbot, Gibson has a fantastic matchup tonight against a shoddy offense when he faces the Blue Jackets, who rank in the bottom-five in the league in scoring offense this season.
Value on Defense
Damon Severson ($3,600) – Severson is a great value play right now. He is on the Devils’ top defensive pair and is running the point on their first power play unit. He has four points in his last four games and dished out two assists against the Coyotes on Tuesday, both on the man advantage.
Patrick Wiercioch ($3,000) – Wiercioch is a pleasant surprise this season, and he is the offensive option in Colorado right now. He’s skating on a pair with Tyson Barrie and he has produced even without seeing PP time. He has points in four of his five games this season and has a great matchup tonight with the Jets porous defense.
* Power Play Defensemen*
Sami Vatanen ($4,800) – One of the talented scoring defensemen that the Ducks have, Vatanen has been on fire lately. He has points in five of his last six games and notched two assists, both on the PP, against the Predators on Wednesday. He has three PP assists in his last three games and has a great matchup tonight.
Erik Karlsson ($7,700) – Karlsson has been shutout his last two games, but if there is any game to get him a kick start, it’s tonight against the Flames. Calgary sits in the bottom-five in the league in scoring defense and in 11 career games against the Flames, Karlsson has a goal and eight assists.
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.