The NHL is BACK! Today we kick-off 10 days of nothing but hockey, hockey, hockey all day, every day. The postseason starts with a five-game slate and there are many DFS options out there.
Throughout the postseason I will be outlying my favourite line stacks, defenseman and goalies for each slate. Good luck and enjoy the games!
— 🅱️𝗥𝗢𝗖𝗞 🥅 (@Brock_Seguin) August 1, 2020
Andrei Svechnikov ($6,200) – Sebastian Aho ($6,400) – Teuvo Teravainen ($5,800)
The Hurricanes have a distinct advantage over the Rangers at 5v5. During their four regular-season matchups, Carolina outshot New York 161-104 and out-chanced them 114-75 but managed to lose all four games. The Rangers are a trendy pick to win this series and that could help keep CAR1’s ownership down a bit.
Throughout the season, CAR1 was among the best lines in the NHL, ranking seventh in ExpectedGoalsFor/60 (xGF) and 11th in xGF percentage. In addition to their puck-possession dominance, all three are volume shooters, averaging a combined 8.4 shots per game as a whole. In a game where the Hurricanes will likely get 40 shots on net, it wouldn’t be surprising if one or two of the skaters on CAR1 hit the five-shot bonus.
Even if the Rangers pull off the upset in Game 1, their leaky defensive game should surrender plenty of chances to the Hurricanes’ top-line, making them one of the best targets on the first slate of the playoffs.
Jason Zucker ($4,800) – Evgeni Malkin ($6,800) – Bryan Rust ($6,600)
With Jake Guentzel returning to the Penguins lineup, many players may gravitate towards the slightly cheaper PIT1. However, PIT2 should have a much better 5v5 matchup. The Sidney Crosby line will likely go head-to-head with the Phillip Danault line, one of the best 5v5 possession lines in the postseason.
With Guentzel back, Zucker moves down to the Malkin line. They never got there in the regular season so we have no sample to go off of but the Malkin-Rust duo was terrific. They averaged over 31 ScoringChanes per/60 and enjoyed a 60.5 GoalsFor% in over 640 minutes together.
Avoiding the Canadiens’ top-line in a lopsided matchup is enough to make the Malkin line an appealing target in Game 1.
Tyler Ennis ($3,800) – Leon Draisaitl ($8,100) – Kailer Yamamoto ($4,700)
The Oilers draw a terrific first-round matchup with the Blackhawks. Chicago struggled to defend all season, ranking dead-last in ScoringChancesAgainst/60. That doesn’t bode well for a team that is going up against Connor McDavid and Draisaitl. Both players should get theirs in Game 1 but EDM2 comes in $1,400 cheaper.
It was surprising that head coach Dave Tippet broke up the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Draisaitl – Yamamoto line in training camp 2.0 but Draisaitl and Yamamoto should get along just fine with Ennis. He picked up four points (2G / 2A) in nine games after being traded to Edmonton and is a great value option on a line that should get their way at 5v5.
The one downside to playing EDM2 instead of the McDavid line, is you only get one piece of their dominant top PP unit instead of two.
Jonathan Huberdeau ($5,900) – Aleksander Barkov ($5,600) – Evgenii Dadonov ($4,300)
This may not be the most exciting series on paper but you should take advantage of FLA 1’s price in Game 1 because it could go up or Game 2. All three of their prices are much lower than they were throughout the season and they should have no problem against a mediocre Islanders team.
New York has this reputation of being this high-end shutdown defensive team but it’s simply not true. They gave up the fifth-most Scoring Chances Against and fourth-most High-Danger Chances Against per 60 minutes in the NHL this season. In addition to a potentially cushy matchup, Barkov, Dadonov and Huberdeau ranking second, third and fifth on the Panthers in shots, all averaging at least 2.2 shots per game this season.
Playing FLA1 gives you a high-upside play and plenty of money left over to squeeze in some of the best players on the slate.
Nino Niederreiter ($3,100) – Vincent Trocheck ($4,600) – ⚠️ Martin Necas ($2,900)
As previously mentioned, the Hurricanes should destroy the Rangers at 5v5 and their “third line” should fare well in the minutes they get. They may only play 14 minutes and will not get any PP1 time but they are incredibly cheap and open up a lot of other options.
Trocheck may not be the player he was a few years ago but all three of these players are play drivers and could have a ton of success against the Rangers’ spotty bottom-6. If they make the most of their minutes, CAR3 should easily be one of the best value plays on a slate filled with uncertainty.
- ⚠️ Martin Necas is listed as a game-time decision but his status should be known before puck-drop. Luckily it’s the first game of the day so you won’t be left scrambling if he doesn’t play.
Oscar Klefbom (EDM) – $6,000
He’s expensive but he stands at the top of the league’s best power-play with the most advantageous matchup of the day. In the regular season, he was in the top-20 among defensemen in shots (2.6 per game) and was tied for 12th in power-play points (18). Not to mention he was fifth in TOI, so he’ll be on the ice a ton with McDavid and Draisatl and has a chance at being the highest-scoring defenseman on the slate.
Sami Vatanen (CAR) – $4,400
With Dougie Hamilton hurt (again), Vatanen will be making his Hurricanes debut and is expected to quarterback the top power-play unit. They ranked eighth in the NHL in PP% this season and you can easily fit him with a CAR1 stack and have 80 percent of their PP1. And oh, by the way, the Rangers were 23rd in PK% this season.
Justin Schultz (PIT) – $3,800
It’s not 100 percent cemented on the Line Combos page but it appears as if Schultz will get the first crack on the Penguins PP1. This shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise, as he played there over Kris Letang at points during the regular season. When healthy this season, he had 12 points (3G / 9A) in 46 games and averaged 1.9 shots and 1.1 blocks per game. He’s not an elite defenseman like Letang but his PP1 exposure and price tag make him an intriguing upside play.
Tristan Jarry ($8,300) / Matt Murray ($8,100)
The Penguins have yet to name a starting goalie for Game 1, luckily you can plug Jarry in and make the swap (with $200 in savings) to Murray if head coach Mike Sullivan goes with the more experienced netminder. Jarry had the better regular season but Murray didn’t just get bad overnight. The Penguins are the biggest favourite (-145) on the slate and many are predicting a three-game sweep. Without many surefire goalie options on the slate, go with the most expensive and safest option if you have the money.
Connor Hellebuyck ($7,500)
If you read my Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets series preview you will know that I am not a big believer in the Jets. However, when a Vezina Trophy finalist is the second-lowest priced goalie on the slate, I am going to play him. Even if the Jets are a dumpster fire at 5v5, it means more saves for Hellebuyck. And it’s not like the Flames are some offensive juggernaut… this is a game the Jets could absolutely win. If that ends up being the case, don’t be surprised if Hellebuyck is the highest-scoring goalie on the slate.