Welcome to Stack the Deck, where we focus on the key players on the 1/13 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 Wednesday’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
Happy Wednesday folks. I wanted to do a quick recap on Monday’s selections, and a few really interesting things that I noticed in reviewing Monday’s short slate. First off, I was bullish on the Kings, meaning their top two lines were each in play for me. Playing mostly head-to-heads, I stacked Gaborik and Carter, as I thought they were in great chance to put the puck on net and give me a nice floor. But I also added in Anze Kopitar, which ultimately saved my lineup, as Kopitar went for a goal and 3 assists while Gaborik and Carter combined for 1 DKPt. I found this to be very perplexing, because line 2’s failure can be mostly attributed to a lack of ice time, with them averaging 13 minutes on the night in a season where they regularly eclipse 20.
Out of nowhere, what has the potential to be the best line on the Kings went down to a 4th line role, with a guy like Vinny Lecavalier out-TOI-ing each member of the Kings’ line 2. I am still searching for an answer as to why this happened, but the lesson that I learned was that if a team has multiple scoring threats, and you really like that team (regardless of Detroit’s 4 straight wins going in, they have been outchanced and outplayed for most of the season, going against the rested Kings’ juggernaut coming off a back-to-back themselves), getting a piece of each line can be a +EV way to attack the slate, especially in cash games, where you aren’t in need of immense upside. Even though Carter’s line failed, having Kopitar gave me an additional way to benefit from my strong belief in the Kings offense.
Elsewhere, Florida lost for the first time since 2015, but Huberdeau and Kulikov combined for 6.5 points, and Martin Jones got me a win, scoring the same as Quick for $1.3k cheaper due to his massive shot volume faced in a 5-4 victory. Brent Burns started very slowly, but had a G and an A in the 3rd, reaching 7.5 DKPts on the night, keeping up his amazing play in Sharks victories. Let’s explore Wednesday, a similarly short slate to Monday’s to see if we can find some worthwhile targets.
Target: Corey Perry (W) – Ana (v. Ott) – $6,800
Corey Perry’s game logs are pretty ridiculous. Looking back through his skater history on War-On-Ice, he has been above a 60% Corsi For player in every game but one, dating back to November 11th. That’s a sustained period of excellence, and the points are finally rolling in for Perry, scoring in 3 of his last 4 games. Perry’s line dominates while he is on the ice (don’t ask about his off-ice Corsi, it doesn’t look good for Anaheim), making him and his linemates great plays against a possession-weak Ottawa team, who is coming off two games of defensive ineptitude, being bailed out by their goalie against Boston and then ceding seven to the Capitals. Perry takes the most shots of the line, followed closely by Rakell, making those two my favorite plays of the night, while Getzlaf is back a ways, with only 10 shots and 2 assists in his last five games.
Stack: Rickard Rakell (C) – $4,000
Rakell is firmly entrenched on the Ducks top line and PP1, and as I mentioned above, is a part of the insane splits between the first line and the rest of the team, with nine straight games of his on-ice Corsi% being better than his off-ice %. He has attempted 5 or more shots in six straight games, and I like him much more than Ryan Getzlaf, who has a super cheap price, but is still much more expensive than Rakell and offers a significant drop-off in shot generation.
Target: Nazem Kadri (C) – Tor (v. CBJ) – $5,500
Nazem was an early season favorite of mine, skating alongside JVR and drawing parallels to the Ducks top line, where his line could control play, but the team behind him couldn’t get anything going without him. His play trailed off a bit, but he looks to be back now, and needs to be the focal point of Toronto’s attack, with JVR put on the DL for an estimated two months with a broken foot. It’s an unfortunate blow for the Leafs, sure to derail their already miniscule hopes of a playoff berth, but it doesn’t seem to be impacting their odds in Wednesday’s game. Toronto is the biggest favorite of the night, over a weak Columbus squad that has given up four goals in each of their last five games. Kadri leads the Leafs in points and shots over the past ten days, and is 4th in the entire NHL in iCorsi/60. Expect him to shoulder the offensive load, and bring this Toronto team to victory in this cupcake matchup.
Stack: James Reimer (G) – $6,500
I will try not to overthink this one. Reimer is the biggest favorite on the night, is crazy cheap, and is going against a team that is really struggling to score while still generating an average number of shots. I will use these savings to get guys like Erik Karlsson, who I will discuss further below. Reimer has played really well in his last two starts, giving up 3 goals on 70 shots even though he is winless in those contests.
Target: Erik Karlsson (D) – Ott (@ Anh) – $7,500
Karlsson is has the 4th most points, and the 5th most shot attempts of every player in the league. While he is the most expensive player on the slate, he isn’t too expensive when you consider he comes in at a huge discount compared to Seguin, Ovechkin, and the other players that rank above him in those standings. You can certainly fit his salary in with guys like Reimer, Kadri, and Rakell on your roster. I am not big on Ottawa’s prospects in this road matchup, but Karlsson is involved in nearly everything the Sens do on offense, so I don’t think a Senators stack is the best idea for cash games, but would be worth consideration in a tournament.
Stack: Jake Gardiner (D) – Tor – $3,300
If you need one more cheap guy, however, Gardiner fits the bill, playing on the PP2 with Kadri, and having taken 18 shot attempts in his last 3 games. He plays about 20 minutes a night, and averages just under one block per game, making him my favorite cheap defenseman of the night, over guys like Shea Theodore, Michael Del Zotto, and Seth Jones. If there is one theme for Wednesday night, it is this: When in doubt, pick a Leaf. It will be tough, and there is a chance they fall flat on their faces, but they are by far in the best position to produce points, both on the ice and in your DK lineups.
If you have any comments or questions regarding Wednesday’s NHL DFS action, you can find me on Twitter @Mattman1398. Good luck tonight, and as always:
Thanks for reading!