NHL DFS – Opening Night Lineup Advice (1/13/21)

Here we go! Opening night in the NHL is here. We could not be more excited to see the season kick-off after fearing a potential shutdown. For the first time, ever, teams will only play in these divisions. As the season progresses, matchups will be more identifiable to predict, along with ice-time.

Anytime a new season kicks off, in any sport, there is a lot of question marks as to how each team will come out of the gate. We can only make assumptions and predictions with new players on new teams. As mentioned above, this year will be even more difficult.

For those who are new to NHL daily fantasy, we are here to help. Similar to MLB, hockey lineups rely on correlation to maximize scoring. In addition, choosing goalies are similar to starting pitchers. Ultimately, we are looking for a “win” to secure a higher floor. Meanwhile in tournaments, you can certainly pivot to a higher risk netminder who will face a lot of shots, providing a much higher ceiling. Let’s dive into it!

Center

Brayden Point (TBL) $7,000 vs. CHI
Point is set to play on the top line for the raining Stanley Cup Champions. He will log time on the first power-play unit as well. With Kucherov out for the year, Tampa Bay will lean on this unit for offense all year.
Chicago is going to be the worst team in the league this year. They will be without their young superstar, Kirby Dach and veteran captain, Jonathan Toews. In addition, Corey Crawford, their starting goalie from last year, is gone. Crawford masked a lot of the defensive woes Chicago has had over the years and will be greatly missed. Stack against Chicago all season long.

Kevin Hayes (PHI) $5,100 vs. PIT
Coming off a strong 2019-20 campaign, Kevin Hayes and the Flyers will look to contend this year with a healthy roster. Hayes is projected to skate on the second line, behind Sean Couturier, however will log time on the top power-play unit. Couturier is known for his defensive abilities and will likely be line-matched against Crosby. This will leave Hayes matched up against a weaker opponent in Evgeni Malkin.
This should be a close game. That being said, I think the Pennslvaynia torch is being passed from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia as the top team.

Wing

Steven Stamkos (TBL) $7,400 vs. CHI
Similar to Brayden Point, the matchup is too good to pass up. In cash games, two to three Lightning players is completely fine. In tournaments, a full five-man stack is something to consider.
Stamkos has a strong opportunity to bounce back as one of the leagues top goal-scorers this season. One of the games top snipers will have plenty of looks on the first line and top power-play unit. He is the top priced winger on the slate, but worth the investment.

Claude Giroux (PHI) $5,400 vs. PIT
The Flyers captain pairs nicely with center Kevin Hayes as they will skate together on the second line and top power-play. Philadelphia is favored in this game and should find success putting up offense. Giroux is priced down, considering his upside, and could go overlooked with the other top studs on the slate.

Kailer Yamamoto (EDM) $3,900 vs. VAN
Arguably the top value play of the night comes out of Edmonton. Kailer Yamamoto is coming off a fantastic 2019-20 season where he found instant chemistry with Leon Draisaitl. This second forward line will always face a softer matchup with so much game-scripting around Connor McDavid. In addition, it appears the Oilers are going to try Yamamoto on the top power-play unit.

Defense

Morgan Rielly (TOR) $5,600 vs. MON
After a somewhat disappointing season for the Leafs and Morgan Rielly in 2019-20, massive expectations are set for Toronto. That being said, Rielly should see more opportunities with former teammate Tyson Barrie ($4,400 who is also a great play) in Edmonton. He will log a lot of all-purpose minutes which will give him exposure to not only points, but shots on goal and blocked shots.

Connor Murphy (CHI) $3,700 @ TB
Although the Blackhawks might lose by a touchdown in this game, Connor Murphy could still be a fantastic play at near minimum salary. Set to start on the top line with veteran, Duncan Keith, Murphy will hit the ice nearly every time Point and Stamkos are out. The Chicago defense will try to get in lanes and look to block a ton of shots. His time on ice should exceed the 20 minute mark which makes him a very optimal play.

Goalie

Carter Hart (PHI) $7,800 vs. PIT
Even though the Flyers are just barley considered a favorite, Carter Hart has emerged as one of the best goalies in the NHL to start his early career. As discussed above, these two teams are going in opposite directions. An aging Pittsburgh team will struggle to compete with a stingy and physical Flyers team. Carter Hart will see an increase in salary as the season progresses. $7,800 is far too cheap.

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