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Daily Fantasy Hockey Picks: December 5

Tom Fitzgerald

Thomas Fitzgerald is co-founder of XN Sports.Follow @FitzyXN
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Welcome to the Monday morning edition of the Daily Fantasy Hockey Morning Coffee. We have a small four-game slate to go through for our DFS needs tonight:

Buffalo Sabres @ Washington Capitals
Florida Panthers @ Boston Bruins
Arizona Coyotes @ Columbus Blue Jackets
Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins

I want to start with the Boston Bruins here and their top line of Brad Marchand/Patrice Bergeron/David Pastrnak. While Boston is among the worst in the league with only 2.28 goals per game, the Marchand/Bergeron/Pastrnak line has been the eighth-most productive (even-strength) line in the NHL this season with nine goals and 229 shot attempts for.

Let’s take a quick look at their basic stats for the year:

Brad Marchand (7G, 14A, 4 PPP, 64 SOG)
Patrice Bergeron (4G, 3A, 2 PPP, 77 SOG)
David Pastrnak (13G, 6A, 5 PPP, 68 SOG)

Boston has scored 54 goals this year, 24 of those goals can be attributed to one of those three players on Boston’s top line. So while Boston has had a terrible time getting consistent offense, we know 44 percent of that offense can be tied directly back to skaters on the Bergeron line. This brings me to Bergeron himself.

Let’s take at his numbers through 22 games last season:

2015-16: 8G, 14A, 5 PPG, 74 SOG, 10.8 Shooting Percentage, 19:56 Avg. Time On Ice

2016-17: 4G, 3A, 1 PPG, 77 SOG, 5.2 Shooting Percentage, 18:41 Avg. Time On Ice

We should be encouraged that his shot volume has remained consistent to last season. Bergeron has a career 10.1 shooting percentage and we should start to see an increase in production while he inches closer to that 10.1 percent from his current 5.2 percent shooting percentage. His CF% of 62.7 would be the highest of his career as would his FF% 61.8 (per Hockey Reference).

This season Bergeron’s average shot distance is 28.59 feet, last season he averaged 33.04. In 5 on 4 situations Bergeron has been shooting the puck from avg. distance of 30.8 feet, last season that number was 27.58. So he’s shooting the puck almost five feet closer at even strength about about three feet further away on the power play.

The fact he’s shooting the puck even closer to the net than last season (at even strength) leads me to believe there’s no reason why his shooting percentage won’t creep back to his career average.

Bergeron is also winning even-strength faceoffs at just over a one percent better clip than last season.

I don’t write all of this to remind you Bergeron is an elite player, I write it to remind us that Bergeron is an elite player who, barring some injury we are not aware of, should be in for some hugely productive games. We want to be out in front of that wave in our tournaments while his FanDuel price of $6.6K is where it is, and while his ownership levels remain relatively low for what he could potentially give us.

And tonight I’ll look to stack that Bruins first line in some of my GPP lineups, even against a Florida team allowing an NHL eighth-best 2.44 goals against per game. One cavaet and one thing I absolutely hate, at least from a DFS perspective, is how Claude Julien seperates this trio on the power play. If we ever get a Brad Marchand/Patrice Bergeron/David Pastrnak power play, we’d have a hugely stackalbe DFS lineup. For now, I’ll stick to this top line stack in tournaments.

The Bruins have allowed a league fourth-best 2.16 goals against per game this season. Assuming we see Rask in net (he’d be my goaltender choice tonight), it really limits Florida’s value tonight. Aleksander Barkov/Jaromir Jagr will most likely have to deal with the Bergeron line tonight so, while they do skate together on Florida’s first line and first power play unit, we can drop down Vincent Trocheck and Reilly Smith in our tournamnets tonight — if you want any Florida skaters at all. Denis Malgin makes for an interesting GPP one off play as Jonathan Marchessault is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. I’ll certainly have shares of Malgin tonight.

We’ll most likely see a big percentage of tonight’s ownership go to Columbus, Pittsburgh and Washington — and for good reason. They all make for great plays with big upside and they’re all big Vegas favorites. They also make for the top three power play stacks of the night:

Pittsburgh Stack:

Patric Hornqvist $7.1K (6G, 11A, 8 PPP, 72 SOG)
Evgeni Malkin $8.2K (9G, 16A, 8 PPP, 73 SOG)
Phil Kessel $7.5K (8G, 16 A, 9 PPP, 65 SOG)
Sidney Crosby $9.2K (16G, 10A, 7 PPP, 67 SOG)
Kris Letang $7.3K (2G, 12A, 6 PPP, 65 SOG)

Washington Stack: 

Evgeny Kuznetsov $6.3K (3G, 6A, 1 PPP, 37 SOG)
Nicklas Backstrom $6.6K (7G, 14A, 9 PPP, 51 SOG)
Justin Williams $4.4K (2G, 2A, 1 PPP, 52 SOG)
Alex Ovechkin $8.8K (12G, 6A, 6 PPP, 94 SOG)
(D) Matt Niskanen $4.6K (9A, 1 PPP, 45 SOG)

Columbus Stack: 

Nick Foligno $6.2K (9G, 12A, 10 PPP, 53 SOG)
Sam Gagner $4.6K (8G, 5A, 5 PPP, 54 SOG)
Cam Atkinson $6.8K (8G, 13A, 9 PPP, 71 SOG)
Alexander Wennberg $5.7K (6G, 15A, 10 PPP, 30 SOG)
(D) Zach Werenski $5.6K (5G, 11A, 8 PPP, 68 SOG)

Tonight I’ll look to mix some combo of these stacks with the Bruins first line or a mini stack of Buffalo’s Jack Eichel/Sam Reinhart line. If if Kane starts with them I’d try a full line stack — over the past three games the Kane/Eichel/Reinhart line has produced three even strength goals and have attempted 43 shots. (Keep your eye on line combos to see where Kane where skates. Buffalo had an optional skate this morning)

Over his past four games Sam Reinhart has two goals, three assists, 11 shots on goal while averaging over 17 minutes of ice time.

In his first three games of the season, Eichel has three goals (two coming on the power play), one assist, 11 shots on goal, and has averaged 18 minutes and 46 seconds of ice time.

Over his past three games, Evander Kane has one goal, two assits, eight shots on goal and has averaged over 19 minutes and one second of ice time.

With Eichel at $6.5K, Reinhart at $5K, and Kane at $6.2K we get some breathing room for the rest of our roster.

On the Ottawa side tonight, I will also want some exposure to the Mark Stone/Derick Brassard/Mike Hoffman line. Over the past 10 games this line has accounted for seven even-strength goals.

If you’re looking for a bright spot on the Arizona Coyote’s end, look to the power play. Over their past two games they have scored three power play goals on 11 chances.  Oliver Ekman-Larsson leads the way on the blue line with Domi/Hanzal/Vrbata all skating on the top line and first power play unit. (Please double check this as it looks like Tobias Rieder might skate with Hanzal and Vrbata tonight).  The Coyotes are the biggest dogs of the night so we should get these players with very little ownership in our tournaments — and Arizona did score a power play goal on five chances against Columbus on Dec. 3.

Sporfolio making today another Cyber Monday, so this NHL DFS column will be “unlocked” and free to all readers in its entirety. In addition, they are offering 15% off all new subscriptions by using code CYBER15 in the promo code field after selecting your plan at their pricing page.

As always, please double check all line combos before puck drop. Stats used in this article are courtesy of Corsica, LeftWingLock and Hockey Reference