Today is the final day of the regular season, and the 2018-19 campaign is certainly going out with a bang as 30 teams are in action throughout the day. This article will focus on tonight’s 13-game main slate. Be sure to join us in chat for injury/lineup news as well as adjusted recommendations based on those updates. Feel free to tag me in chat (@JWagner) or on Twitter (@JillianSydney) with any questions.
NOTE: I would just like to take a moment to thank everyone for reading these articles and joining us in chat throughout the season. It’s been a great year for NHL DFS, and I hope that the advice in these articles, on the FTA+ dashboard and in chat helped you find success throughout the season. FTA’s DFS coverage doesn’t stop here, though. Make sure to follow FTA on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and join FTA+ for full access to our DFS projections as well as our discord chat, where you’ll see each DFS analyst’s core plays for the day and where you can communicate directly with our analysts leading all the way up to lock. Thank you.
NYR @ PIT – 7:00pm EST
TOR @ MTL – 7:00pm EST
NJD @ FLA – 7:00pm EST
CBJ @ OTT – 7:00pm EST
BUF @ DET – 7:00pm EST
NYI @ WSH – 7:00pm EST
CAR @ PHI – 7:00pm EST
MIN @ DAL – 8:00pm EST
CHI @ NSH – 8:00pm EST
EDM @ CGY – 10:00pm EST
WPG @ ARI – 10:00pm EST
VGK @ LAK – 10:30pm EST
COL @ SJS – 10:30pm EST
Not in the playoffs
Fighting for playoff positioning
Locked in to playoff seeding
LAST NIGHT’S RESULTS: It was clear that Chicago wanted to finish the season strong at home as the Blackhawks were in control of the game all night. However, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov found the scoresheet with power-play assists on Dallas’ only goal of the game; Seguin finished the 6-1 loss with 16.5 FanDuel and 4.5 DraftKings fantasy points, while Radulov managed 13.3 FD and 3.5 DK FP. Both players had extremely high ownership in cash contests, as expected. Oliver Bjorkstrand was definitely a disappointment, however, as he got 12 minutes of ice time and put up a goose egg. He had been on quite a tear, but the Blue Jackets certainly didn’t look like a team desperate for a win to clinch a playoff berth. Sergei Bobrovsky and the Jackets eventually got the two points they needed, but it came in a shootout. Bob finished the night with 24 FD and 6 DK FP. Sam Steel finished up the season on a high note, scoring a short-handed goal on two shots and coming away with 17.2 FD and 5 DK FP. The other value play highlighted in yesterday’s article was David Savard, who had a stellar night, especially for the price. Savard tallied two assists, one shot and four blocks for 24 FD and 6.5 DK FP, producing as much as or more than Bobrovsky for a fraction of the cost. Other players highlighted in yesterday’s article include Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who combined for two goals, two assists, 10 shots and one block, as well as Esa Lindell, who recorded two shots and four blocks for 9.6 FD FP. Also, Erik Gustafsson managed an assist, two shots and three blocks for 16 FD and 4.5 DK FP. Anton Khudobin had a very tough night, finishing in the red with -3.2 FD FP after giving up six goals on just 32 shots.
Below are the stats from my main FD and DK cash lines.
PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS: Many of the games on tonight’s slate are relatively meaningless. There are teams that would like to finish the season on a high note, especially if they’re playing in front of their home crowd. There are also players looking to either get their feet wet at the NHL level or make a strong impression for next year. There are also teams just eager to be done with 2018-19. However, there are some teams with a lot to play for. It was requested that I delve into the possibilities for tonight’s games, so I’ll provide an overview of what’s at stake in tonight’s matchups.
All 16 spots in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been filled, but some of the seeding has yet to be finalized. This is how the playoff seeding works:
A total of 16 teams make the playoffs (8 from the Western Conference, 8 from the Eastern Conference). There are two divisions in each conference. The top three teams from each division make the playoffs; after that, the two teams with the most points (regardless of division) finish as the wildcard teams. The two teams that win their divisions play the wildcard teams in the first round (the team with more points plays the second wildcard team, while the other division winner plays the first wildcard team); the teams that finish 2nd and 3rd in their divisions play each other in the first round. Here’s an example:
Team A1 (Division A winner) — More points than Team B1
Team B1 (Division B winner)
In this scenario, the first-round matchups would be as follows:
A1 vs. W2
B1 vs. W1
A2 vs. A3
B2 vs. B3
The Western Conference teams moving forward include Nashville, Winnipeg, St. Louis, Calgary, San Jose, Vegas, Dallas and Colorado. Of those teams, CGY, SJS and VGK are the only ones locked in to their specific slots (they will finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Pacific Division no matter what happens today). Since CGY will finish with the most points in the conference, CGY will play the second wildcard team, and SJS and VGK will play each other in the first round (with SJS holding home-ice advantage).
By contrast, NSH, WPG and STL all have a chance to win the Central Division, and DAL and COL could flip-flop as the two wildcard teams. The winner of the Central will play the first wildcard team, while the other two teams will play each other. NSH currently has a one-point lead, so if all three teams win, NSH will take home the division and will square off against either DAL or COL. WPG holds the tiebreaker over both NSH and STL, while STL holds the tiebreaker over NSH. STL plays in the afternoon, which is something to keep an eye on.
As for the wildcard slots, DAL needs one point to finish as the first wildcard team; if DAL loses in regulation, Colorado would need to win in any fashion to finish as the first wildcard team.
As for the Eastern Conference, the eight teams moving forward are Tampa Bay, Boston, Toronto, Washington, New York (Islanders), Pittsburgh, Carolina and Columbus. TBL, BOS and TOR are locked in as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd seeds in the Atlantic Division (like the Pacific), and WSH clinched the Metropolitan Division. NYI will finish as the 2nd or 3rd seed in the Metro, whereas PIT could finish 2nd or 3rd in the Metro or could drop to the first wildcard slot, in which case CAR would jump up to the third seed in the Metro. CBJ can finish as the first or second wildcard team.
Playoff scenarios based on today’s results:
–NSH will clinch the Central with a win of any kind OR if WPG/STL both lose in regulation OR with a loss in extra time AND if WPG/STL both lose in any fashion. If NSH loses in regulation and WPG and STL pick up one point, NSH will finish 3rd in the Central.
–WPG will clinch the Central with a win of any kind AND a NSH loss of any kind.
–STL will clinch the Central with a win AND a NSH loss of any kind AND a WPG loss of any kind.
–DAL needs one point to finish as the first wildcard team.
–COL will finish as the first wildcard team with a win of any kind AND a DAL loss in regulation.
–NYI needs one point to finish 2nd in the Metro.
–PIT will finish 2nd in the Metro with a regulation or overtime win AND a NYI loss in regulation.
–CAR will finish 3rd in the Metro with a win of any kind AND a PIT loss in regulation.
–CBJ will finish as the 1st wildcard team with one point AND a CAR loss in regulation OR with a win of any kind AND a CAR loss of any kind.
NHL DFS – Saturday 4/6/19
I told myself I was done with Sidney Crosby (FD: $8,900; DK: $7,700) for the year, and I still might be. However, the Penguins need to win today, and with Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang back in the lineup, the Penguins are primed for a big night. They will take on a Rangers team that played last night, and while it’s tough to say if Crosby will be the one with the big fantasy performance, he’s certainly a solid cash option on tonight’s slate. Crosby is coming off a three-point performance, his first multi-point game in three weeks, and he has one goal and six points in three games against the Rangers this season.
Nathan MacKinnon (FD: $8,700; DK: $8,000) is certainly an expensive play tonight, but he and the Avs have a chance to move up to the first wildcard slot with a win tonight (it would require a little help from the Stars, who would need to lose in regulation). Either way, however, if MacKinnon is in the lineup, he’s a threat for a big game. It’s possible he’ll be a healthy scratch or that his minutes will be limited, so there’s still risk in the play. Plus, while the game will be meaningless for the Sharks, San Jose will want to finish the season strong and build up some momentum for the playoffs, which adds another element of risk. Even so, MacKinnon is never a bad play and enters tonight’s game with points in six straight.
There’s also some risk in playing Tyler Seguin (FD: $8,200; DK: $7,300) because he might see limited ice time, but he’ll have a favorable matchup against Alex Stalock, and he remains one of the more consistent options in DFS.
That being said, you might be better off going with someone like Aleksander Barkov (FD: $7,900; DK: $7,000) as the Panthers host the Devils in their regular-season finale. Not much needs to be said about Barkov, who has been featured in these articles on a frequent basis. He and the rest of FLA 1 could easily feast on a Devils team that struggles mightily on the road. Barkov has just two points in two games against New Jersey this season and is coming off a game in which he was held off the scoresheet, but he could definitely come out and have a three-point night, giving him plenty of upside on tonight’s busy slate. He skates on the Panthers’ first line and first power-play unit and is averaging 16.4 FanDuel and 4.4 DraftKings fantasy points per game this season.
Another player that has been featured in these posts thoroughly this season is Dylan Larkin (FD: $7,500; DK: $7,500), who has a favorable matchup against the Sabres in the Red Wings’ season finale. He is coming off a rough game in Pittsburgh that snapped quite a stretch for Larkin and his linemates. Even so, he had five goals and 11 points in his previous six games and has four goals in three games against Buffalo this season. Many will elect to go with Jack Eichel (FD: $7,600; DK: $7,600) on the other side of the matchup, especially since he’s coming off a three-point performance in which he finally broke out of his slump. However, I prefer Larkin and some other centers on tonight’s slate, though Eichel is never a bad play.
Ryan Johansen (FD: $5,600; DK: $5,100) and the Predators need a win today, though it could be a tough game against a Blackhawks team that would love to spoil the day. Johansen has five points in three games against Chicago this season, however, making him an interesting mid-range option.
Additional options will be discussed in chat based on developing news, lineup changes, etc.
FanDuel: Connor McDavid ($9,200), John Tavares ($8,400), Auston Matthews ($8,200), Mark Scheifele ($7,400), Tomas Hertl ($6,400), Matt Duchene ($6,300), Andreas Athanasiou ($5,600), Dylan Strome ($4,800), Derek Ryan ($4,700), Cody Eakin ($4,500), Victor Rask ($3,200), Ryan Poehling ($3,000), Nico Sturm ($3,000)
DraftKings: Auston Matthews ($7,800), Connor McDavid ($7,800), John Tavares ($7,400), Matt Duchene ($6,600), Tomas Hertl ($6,500), Mark Scheifele ($6,300), Andreas Athanasiou ($5,700), Brock Nelson ($5,300), Paul Stastny ($5,200), William Nylander ($4,600), Phillip Danault ($4,400), Cody Eakin ($3,800), Derek Ryan ($3,600), Nick Bonino ($3,300), Kyle Turris ($3,000)
Leon Draisaitl (FD: $8,300; DK: $7,300) could be one of my favorite cash plays on tonight’s slate. The Oilers will finish up what has been another wasted season, but that shouldn’t take away from what Draisaitl has been able to accomplish. He is one goal away from 50, and I think there’s a good chance he’ll get there. He’s two goals away from tying Alex Ovechkin for the league lead, and he’s three goals away from potentially winning the Rocket Richard trophy, which would be an incredible honor (obviously this assumes Ovi doesn’t add to his total). But even putting the milestone/award aside, Draisaitl has been great all year. He’s coming off a two-goal game against the Sharks and has two assists in three games against Calgary this season. That being said, tonight’s game is 110 percent meaningless for the Flames, who have long since clinched the Western Conference. It could still be a tough road matchup even if Calgary rests several of its star players, but Draisaitl makes for a solid option, and he and Connor McDavid are never a bad GPP stack.
Jonathan Huberdeau (FD: $7,700; DK: $6,700) has been red-hot of late, and while Florida won’t be making the playoffs this season, that doesn’t mean the Panthers won’t finish strong. There’s a chance tonight could be Roberto Luongo’s last game (either as a Panther or in the NHL), so it’s definitely not just a throwaway. Either way, though, Huberdeau is in a great spot against a Devils team that has struggled on the road all year. MacKenzie Blackwood has been solid in a lot of games this season, but it’ll take a lot to shut down Huberdeau. He enters tonight’s game with points in four straight and in five out of his last six, scoring six goals and eight points in that stretch. He skates on the Panthers’ first line and first power-play unit and is averaging 15.7 FanDuel and 4.2 DraftKings fantasy points per game this season. Huberdeau has one goal and four points in two games against New Jersey this season.
Anthony Mantha (FD: $6,100; DK: $6,100) and Tyler Bertuzzi (FD: $5,400; DK: $4,800) are back in play tonight after a disappointing game against Pittsburgh the other night. Tonight’s matchup will be much more favorable as the Red Wings host the Sabres in the final game of the regular season. Mantha has one goal and five points in three games against Buffalo this season, while Bertuzzi has two goals and four points in two games. Both wingers skate on Detroit’s first line and first power-play unit and have been great DFS plays over the last 8-10 games.
Alexander Kerfoot (FD: $4,400; DK: $4,100) remains a solid value option as he skates on Colorado’s first line and first power-play unit. If Colorado sits several of its top players tonight, Kerfoot’s value will take a hit, but he’s still a solid play on both sites, especially given the inexpensive exposure he offers to both MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog (FD: $7,400; DK: $7,400), who has three assists in two games against San Jose this season.
Viktor Arvidsson (FD: $7,600; DK: $6,900) will need to produce tonight to give his team a chance to clinch the Central Division or at least gain home-ice advantage in the first round. Craig Smith (FD: $5,100; DK: $4,700) is also worth considering; he skates on Nashville’s second line and first power-play unit.
As always, Alexander Radulov (FD: $7,300; DK: $7,800) is in play. He and the Stars will host a Wild team that will be starting a beatable Alex Stalock in net. Radulov only played 15 minutes last night, but Dallas can clinch the first wildcard slot with a point tonight, and Radulov is rarely held off the scoresheet. He’ll have to be involved if the Stars wish to avoid Calgary in the first round.
Justin Williams (FD: $5,400; DK: $5,700) is a huge reason why Carolina is back in the playoffs, and he’ll want to finish the season strong on the road in Philadelphia. Williams has two points in three games against the Flyers and enters tonight’s matchup with points in five out of his last six games. He skates on the Canes’ top line and top power-play unit. You can also consider linemate Nino Niederreiter (FD: $5,600; DK: $5,500), as well as Teuvo Teravainen (FD: $6,300; DK: $5,400), who has three goals and five points in three games against Philly this year.
Anthony Duclair (FD: $4,200; DK: $4,200) will be in a revenge matchup against his former team (as will Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene). Duclair will look to make a good impression and finish up what has been a strong end to the season with his new club.
Victor Olofsson (FD: $3,700; DK: $4,400) remains a solid value play as he has found great success on Buffalo’s top line; he has four points in five games this season, including an assist against Detroit.
Additional options will be discussed in chat depending on line combinations, player scratches, news updates, etc.
FanDuel: Alex Ovechkin ($9,000), Mitch Marner ($8,100), Jake Guentzel ($7,700), Artemi Panarin ($7,700), Blake Wheeler ($7,600), Phil Kessel ($7,500), Brendan Gallagher ($7,200), Cam Atkinson ($7,100), Kyle Connor ($6,300), Evgenii Dadonov ($6,200), Brady Tkachuk ($6,100), Josh Anderson ($5,400), Sam Reinhart ($5,000), Oliver Bjorkstrand ($4,800), Ryan Dzingel ($4,700), Oskar Lindblom ($4,400), Andreas Johnsson ($4,300), Jared McCann ($4,200), Alex Tuch ($4,100), Miles Wood ($3,700), Ryan Donato ($3,600), Carl Grundstrom ($3,500), Taro Hirose ($3,500), Joel Armia ($3,400), Conor Garland ($3,100)
DraftKings: Alex Ovechkin ($7,700), Patrick Kane ($7,500), Jake Guentzel ($7,200), Blake Wheeler ($6,800), Brendan Gallagher ($6,400), Phil Kessel ($6,400), Mitch Marner ($6,200), Artemi Panarin ($6,200), Evgenii Dadonov ($5,900), Claude Giroux ($5,800), Ryan Dzingel ($5,200), Anders Lee ($4,800), Oliver Bjorkstrand ($4,600), Kevin Labanc ($4,100), Andreas Johnsson ($4,000), Oskar Lindblom ($3,900), James Neal ($3,500), Taro Hirose ($3,400), Carl Grundstrom ($2,700), Ryan Poehling ($2,500)
With Erik Karlsson set to return for San Jose, it’s difficult to say how that will affect Brent Burns, who finally had a big game the other night against Edmonton. It also makes it less clear whether Tyson Barrie (FD: $6,600; DK: $6,300) will be able to have as good a night as he’s capable of since the Sharks will have Karlsson in the mix. Therefore, it might be a night for mid-range or value options on the back end, though Kris Letang (FD: $7,200; DK: $6,700) is certainly in play.
The other issue is that pricing between the sites varies most for defensemen, so some good plays on FanDuel are overpriced on DraftKings, and vice versa. Therefore, top plays will be discussed in chat, but here are a few options to consider for tonight’s slate.
Dougie Hamilton (FD: $6,200; DK: $5,900) enters tonight’s game against Philadelphia with points in back-to-back games and in three out of his last four. He skates on the team’s second power-play unit and has two goals and an assist as well as 10 shots and seven blocks in three games against the Flyers this season.
Seth Jones (FD: $6,200; DK: $6,000) and Zach Werenski (FD: $5,300; DK: $5,000) are also in play as the Blue Jackets look to avoid a first-round matchup against the Lightning. Craig Anderson and the Senators could put up a fight, but both defensemen are more than capable of hitting and exceeding value. Werenski has provided the safer floor of late, but Jones offers higher upside. As usual, David Savard (FD: $3,700; DK: $3,600) is on my radar as a top value option.
Again, the strength of matchups for various players will depend on starting goalies and lineups, so we’ll have to reevaluate in chat closer to lock.
FanDuel: Morgan Rielly ($6,400), Roman Josi ($6,100), Jacob Trouba ($6,000), P.K. Subban ($5,700), Thomas Chabot ($5,300), Justin Faulk ($5,200), Brent Seabrook ($4,400), Ryan Pulock ($4,400), Miro Heiskanen ($4,400), Jeff Petry ($4,300), Filip Hronek ($4,200), Erik Johnson ($4,000), Esa Lindell ($3,800), Mike Matheson ($3,700), Devon Toews ($3,500)
DraftKings: Brent Burns ($6,800), Roman Josi ($6,400), Morgan Rielly ($6,100), Erik Gustafsson ($5,900), Thomas Chabot ($5,600), Jacob Trouba ($5,500), P.K. Subban ($5,400), Justin Faulk ($5,200), Aaron Ekblad ($4,500), Miro Heiskanen ($4,400), Filip Hronek ($3,700), Devon Toews ($3,600), Jake Gardiner ($3,500), Jason Demers ($2,900), Dante Fabbro ($2,700)
Goalies will be discussed in chat once additional starters have been confirmed. At first glance, Roberto Luongo (FD: $7,800; DK: $7,900) and Matt Murray (FD: $8,800; DK: $8,300) seem to be in favorable spots and would therefore make solid cash options.
Join us in the FTA+ discord chat to discuss tonight’s slate and core plays.
Featured Image credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Thank you again to everyone who read these posts and joined us in chat for another great season. Make sure to follow FTA for all your fantasy needs during the NHL offseason. FTA’s NHL DFS coverage will be back in October when we do it all over again. Until next time…