Welcome to Stack the Deck, where we focus on the key players on the 12/2 NHL DraftKings slate, and if they should be played with a teammate, or ridden individually. Stacking is a common tactic in NHL, with linemates and power play units staying relatively stable throughout the course of a game, and to a smaller extent, a season. Here are a few players I am targeting on Wednesday’s four-game slate, and my thoughts on who to stack with them.
Stats are gathered from War-On-Ice.com and Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com
Target: Nazem Kadri (C) – Tor @ Wpg – $5,000
Kadri is a sneaky great play on Draftkings. While his team may be horrendous, +/- is not taken into scoring consideration on the site, making him an extremely underpriced and valuable player. Of the players on the 8 teams playing Wednesday night, Kadri has the 2nd most shot attempts, behind only Taylor Hall. He is already averaging 3.1 DKPoints/Game, a good number for his price tag, yet he is shooting at a paltry 2.25% clip. All signs point to Kadri breaking out and recording multiple tallies on the score sheet in the near future, and even if he doesn’t on Wednesday, by shot volume alone he has the potential to bolster your lineup.
Stack: James Van Riemsdyk (W) – $6,300
JVR is coming off a 3-assist game against Edmonton, with Leo Komarov burying two and Kadri the other. Komarov is a very interesting play, as he is coming off of 3 games of 6.5, 4, and 8 DK points himself. However, I am nervous to chase points here, as Komarov is averaging just over half as many shot attempts per 60 minutes on ice as Kadri. JVR, on the other hand, is nearly as productive as Kadri when it comes to shot generation, and has 7 goals to show for it on the season. As Kadri shakes his bad luck and starts to find the back of the net, JVR will have the most to gain. This duo makes for an elite stack that is almost always criminally under owned.
Target: Taylor Hall (W) – Edm v. Bos – $6,900
As mentioned earlier, Hall has the most shots and shot attempts of any player on this slate. He is actually 2nd in the league, trailing only Alex Ovechkin, who is a fine hockey player in his own right. The best part about Hall is that he has a very manageable salary, checking in at under 7k. Against a Boston team that is as average as can be in terms of puck possession, Hall should see ample opportunity to test Tuukka Rask in what might amount to the best individual matchup of the night.
Fade: Leon Draisaitl (C) – $4,200
In the 15 games since Draisaitl’s call up, you could be forgiven for forgetting Connor McDavid was out due to injury in the first place. Draisaitl has accumulated 18 points in that span, and has hardly moved in terms of DK salary. His 4.1 DkPts/G puts him in the top 5 of skaters on the slate, yet he’s by far the cheapest of that group. So what gives? Well, here’s the thing. Similar to Komarov, Draisaitl has been buoyed by a very high shooting %, in the high 20’s. While he has the talent and playmaking abilities to still be a very productive forward, I don’t feel comfortable rostering a player who has 1 point in his last 5 games. With no players over 8k that necessitate a stars and scrubs approach, and with Draisaitl going up against an elite goalie in Tuukka Rask, I prefer to find my value elsewhere.
Stack: Andrej Sekera (D) – $3,100
If an Edmonton stack is how you want to attack this slate, a great GPP option is Andrej Sekera. He is a fixture on the Oilers back-end, eating up minutes in all situations, including the power play. He has skated 20 minutes or more in every game he has played in this season, and is currently slotted in to the Oilers PP1 point position, alongside Taylor Hall. Sekera is a great value on this 4 game slate, and a cheap way to gain access to Hall’s upside in this matchup.
Target: Torey Krug (D) – Bos @ Edm – $6,000
As the de-facto puck distributor on the league’s best power play, Krug is an interesting play. He becomes a stone-cold lock when you consider Edmonton is a bottom 5 team in the NHL at keeping the puck out of their net, run out a bottom half penalty kill unit, and are the Edmonton Oilers. The Bruins’ power play is humming along right now, with an incredible 32.4% conversion rate that bests the next best team by a whopping 5%. (The Stars, obviously. Imagine the Bruins PP #’s with Seguin? Is there a PP% greater than 100?) Getting a piece of this unit against the Edmonton TireFires (Seriously. How many first overall picks do you need?) makes a whole lot of sense.
Stack: David Krejci (C) – $6,000
Raise your hand if you knew Krejci was on pace for a 90-point season. Keep your hand raised if you knew that before I just told you. That’s what I thought. Flying under the radar this season, Krejci already has 2 more goals than he did in 47 games last season, with 9 in 22 games. Playing alongside Krug on the PP1, Krejci is in a similarly great spot against the Oilers.
Target: John Gibson (G) – Anh v. TB – $6,200
Coming off of a 25 save shutout on Monday night, I fully expect Gibson to be in the net again on Wednesday night, and I expect him to repeat his excellent performance. The Lightning are in a funk right now, having scored more than 2 goals only once in their last 6 games. As they begin their 3-game swing through California without three of their top 6 forwards, they pose little threat to this Ducks team that is just beginning a 3 week homestand. Check to confirm Gibson is starting closer to lineup lock, but at his price with an excellent matchup, he is my favorite goalie of the night.
As tempting as it might be to use the savings on Gibson and throw them at the Ducks’ top line, I am very hesitant to do so. Tampa’s goalies have been excellent thus far, and the Ducks’ anemic offense continues to sabotage their playoff chances, even this early in the season. Take Gibson for the great matchup, and expect the Ducks to do just enough to eke out a win against this banged up Lightning squad. Spend the money on Winnipeg’s top line against the Leafs, or for a sneakier play, the Islanders against King Henrik, who in 3 games against the Isles last season allowed 13 goals.
If you have any comments or questions regarding Wednesday’s NHL DFS action, find me on Twitter @Mattman1398
Thanks for reading!