Welcome to Stack the Deck, where we focus on the key players on the 1/11 NHL DraftKings slate, and determine whether 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 Monday’s four-game slate, and my thoughts on who to play with them in order to stack the deck in your favor.
Stats are gathered from War-On-Ice.com and Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com
Player Matchups are gathered from HockeyViz.com
Target: Jeff Carter (C) – LA (v. Det) – $6,000
Carter’s salary has fallen from the ~$7k range it was at just a few weeks ago, in large part due to an injury sustained last week. He returned two games ago, however, and has 1 goal and 7 shots in those contests. Also encouraging is that after only playing 14 minutes in his first game back, he eclipsed the 22 min TOI mark on Saturday, showing he is ready to pick up where he left off. He is averaging over 3 shots per game on the season, leading the Kings in iCorsi/60 on the season. The first line is also in play against a tired Detroit team after the common SoCal back-to-back, the Red Wings having played Sunday in Anaheim, but I like the slight discount on Carter at a projected lower ownership than Kopitar, whose game is not as suited for the DK scoring system as other sites. (I discussed this last week, if you are interested in where I am coming from)
Stack: Marian Gaborik (W) – $4,700
Gaborik is playing really well lately, with 4 points in his last 5 games and 8 shots in his last two games. I expect each trend to continue, given Detroit’s 18th ranked PK unit and the likely starter being Jimmy Howard as Mrazek, clearly the better goalie thus far, played Sunday in Detroit’s 2-1 victory. The Kings are currently playing him on the EV2 and PP1 with Carter, and Gaborik’s price hasn’t moved since the beginning of his recent streak of strong performances. Gaborik is certainly worth a look at a very cheap cost, and I will be rolling him out in a majority of my lineups.
Target: Dmitry Kulikov (D) – Fla (@ Van) – $3,400
Kulikov is still receiving first line PP time, at $3.4k that is reason enough in my eyes to warrant a look on a short slate. He gives you immediate exposure to Aaron Ekblad in all situations, playing 21 minutes per night over the last few games, and has shown a consistent floor, with exactly 3 shots + blocks per game this season. Kulikov isn’t the flashiest of picks, and certainly doesn’t have too much upside, but in the NHL all you need is an opportunity, since you can score points in a variety of ways when you are on the ice in good situations. Next to Aaron Ekblad and seeing ice time in all strengths for a team that has won 12 straight, Kulikov is certainly set up for success.
Stack: Jonathan Huberdeau (W) – $5,500
I am not bullish on Florida, as they aren’t a team that is winning with offense, but with a stifling defense. Their matchup with Vancouver projects really well, however, as Vancouver has given up the most scoring chances per game in the entire league. Huberdeau has finally started to turn his season around, as his puck luck is changing. He is shooting only 5%, but has 4 points in his last two games, 11 in 10 and averages 3 shots per game over those ten games, giving him a nice foundation. The puck will start to go in soon, but he is good enough as a playmaker to pay off his salary without scoring, so don’t miss out on his explosion.
Target: Jonathan Quick (G) – LA (v. Det) – $8,300
I’m writing Quick into this spot because I won’t be able to sleep tonight if I tell you to play Martin Jones, but that is actually where I am leaning right now. Quick is a fine goaltender, but paying $8.3k for him hurts me deep down, because he is an average to good goaltender, not elite as many would tell you. His matchup is pristine, as we covered earlier, but the Kings don’t give him much of a floor, in his last ten starts he has seen more than 30 shots twice. Seeing 25 shots a game means that if he doesn’t get a shutout, the most you are going to get out of him is 6 DKPts, even in a win. That’s fine, but taking up that much salary for such a low floor typically isn’t a great sign. I much prefer Jones at $7k. That is way too cheap for a goalie who has ranked in the top 5 in the NHL in Adj. Sv% since 2013. The Flames don’t scare me much at all. As of now, I will be splitting my cash lineups between Quick and Jones, and leaning more Jones in tournaments.
Stack: Brent Burns (D) – SJ (v. Cgy) – $8,300
If you end up going Jones, Burns is the perfect defenseman to pay up for with some of your savings. Burns is averaging 6.7 DKPts/G in his last 10, and is a point per game player averaging more than 7 shots+blocks per game. In the Sharks’ 19 wins this season, Burns averages 6.4 DKPts/G, so if you think Jones will record the win, then Burns makes for a fantastic play along with him.
If you have any comments or questions regarding Monday’s NHL DFS action, you can find me on Twitter @Mattman1398. Good luck tonight, and as always:
Thanks for reading!