DraftKings NHL: Thursday Breakdown

DraftKings NHL: Thursday Breakdown

This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.

There are 11 NHL games scheduled Thursday. Below, you'll find suggested options for crafting an effective DraftKings DFS lineup. All game lines and odds used below come courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.


There are plenty of lopsided affairs Thursday, with six teams considered substantial favorites. Those six are the Stars (vs. Anaheim), Flames (vs. Montreal), Kings (vs. Arizona), Devils (vs. Nashville), Lightning (in Philadelphia) and Avalanche (in Buffalo). The Colorado and Dallas games are also tied for Thursday's highest over/under at 6.5 goals, along with Golden Knights-Penguins, Oilers-Wild and Panthers-Canucks.


Vitek Vanecek, NJ vs. NSH ($8,400): Both Vanecek and backup Akira Schmid ($8,400) have been excellent fantasy options on a surprisingly dominant Devils team that's off toa 19-4-0 start. Personally, Vanecek's 11-2-0 with a 2.12 GAA and .923 save percentage. He should keep rolling against a Predators team that's averaging 2.52 goals per game – third-fewest in the league.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB at PHI ($7,800): The Flyers had gone 10 games without a win before beating the Islanders on Tuesday, so Philadelphia stringing together consecutive victories seems unlikely. Vasilevskiy should have little trouble shutting down the league's least productive offense (2.43 goals per game). He's 4-2-0 in his last six starts, with both losses coming to the high-powered Bruins and just eight goals allowed across the four wins.

Jacob Markstrom, CGY vs. MON ($7,400): This could be a good opportunity to buy low on Markstrom. After leading the league with nine shutouts last season and adding tidy ratios (2.22 GAA, .922 save percentage), Markstrom has yet to register one this season while watching his GAA balloon to 3.03 and save percentage dip to .889. After watching backup Dan Vladar ($7,400) start three of the last four games, Markstrom makes for a strong play if he's given the nod Thursday. A visit from Montreal's bottom-10 offense (2.82 goals per game) could be just what the Swede needs to find his dominant form from last season.

Jordan Binnington, STL vs. CAR ($7,100): Binnington's a sensible value play in net. Hurricanes-Blues opened as the only game with a slate-low over/under of 5.5 goals, and offense has been hard to come by for Carolina, which ranks 28th at 2.70 goals per game despite averaging the third-most shots (35.3). It has been an up and down season for Binnington, but if he hits one of his high peaks Thursday, he would turn into a steal at just $7,100.


Nikita Kucherov, TB at PHI ($8,200): Like Vasilevskiy, Kucherov has been excellent against everyone but Boston lately. If you take out the two games against the Bruins, Kucherov has a 3-8-11 line in his last four games against other opponents. While the Bruins are tied for the most points in the Eastern Conference (38), the Flyers are tied for the third-fewest (21), so Philadelphia's unlikely to approximate Boston's defensive ability against the star winger.

Sidney Crosby, PIT vs. VGK ($7,100): Crosby continues to rank among the league's most productive players, as his 12-19-431 line through 23 games includes a 6-9-15 output in the last eight. He and the Penguins are catching the Golden Knights at the right time, as Vegas will be without one of the league's best all-around blueliners in Alex Pietrangelo (personal). 

Sam Reinhart, FLA at VAN ($5,100): Reinhart has heated up after a slow start, notching a 5-4-9 line in his last eight games. A Canucks team that's allowing 3.78 goals per game will have a hard time cooling him down. One of the drivers behind Vancouver's defensive struggles is a putrid 66.7 percent penalty kill, which is second-worst in the league. Reinhart leads the Panthers with five power-play goals, so he's well positioned to capitalize on that weakness.

Matty Beniers, SEA vs. WAS ($4,500): Beniers continues to offer excellent value at his modest $4,500 valuation. The star in the making has a 4-5-9 line during his current five-game point streak, and you may as well keep riding him while he's hot, especially against a pedestrian Capitals team that's off to a 10-11-3 start.

Jesse Puljujarvi, EDM at MIN ($3,400): After an extended slump, the Oilers finally decided to put Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the same line. Lo and behold, Edmonton has won three consecutive games since making that change. Puljujarvi has been the lucky third player deployed on that top line, and while he's produced modest two assists in those three games, the Finn will remain a premier bargain option as long as he's skating alongside the two superstars.


Stars vs. Ducks

Roope Hintz (C - $5,700), Jason Robertson (W - $7,900), Joe Pavelski (W - $5,400)

There's a strong argument to be made that all three members of Dallas' top line are undervalued heading into this visit from a Ducks team that's allowing a league-high 4.13 goals per game. Robertson has nine other skaters priced above him, even though the 23-year-old winger leads the league with 19 goals and is tied for second in points with 36. He's on a 16-game point streak during which Robertson has potted 17 goals. Hintz has an 8-16-24 line through 22 appearances after topping 70 points last season, and Pavelski's at 10-14-24 in 23 games.

Avalanche at Sabres

Nathan MacKinnon (C - $9,200), Mikko Rantanen (W - $8,500), Artturi Lehkonen (W - $5,400)

Coming off a 5-0 spanking at the hands of the Jets, look for an angry Avalanche team to let off some steam in Buffalo. The Sabres are playing their second game in as many nights, and while they won a shootout in Detroit on Wednesday, that was only their third victory in the past 13 games, with nine of the 10 losses coming in regulation. Scoring depth has been a problem for Colorado, but the top players are more than capable of stepping up against a Buffalo defense that's surrendering 3.61 goals per game. MacKinnon has a 6-22-28 line through 20 games, and he's put 30 pucks on net in the last four games alone. Rantanen leads the team in both goals (13) and points (29), while Lehkonen is the only other Colorado forward with more than 12 points, having produced a 6-11-17 line thus far.

Kings vs. Coyotes

Anze Kopitar (C - $5,800), Kevin Fiala (W - $6,300), Adrian Kempe (W - $5,300)

The Kings have scored 18 goals in their last four games, though they have just a 1-2-1 record over that stretch. This top line has led the way recently, as Fiala's eight points in those four games have pushed him above a point per game for the season with 26 in 25. Kopitar has added a 2-3-5 line over that span, and his 19 points rank second on the team. Kempe's been disappointing after lighting the lamp 35 times last season, but he's showing signs of life with a goal and three assists in the last four games to bring his season line to 8-7-15. The Coyotes have been outscored 68-54 through 20 games, so LA's top line should stay hot at home against Arizona.


Dougie Hamilton, NJ vs. NSH ($6,600): Hamilton struggled in his first season with the Devils, but he has returned to being one of the top offensive blueliners in the league. His 6-10-16 line through 23 games has been accompanied by 82 shots, which ranks third among NHL defensemen. He'll face a Nashville team that last won in regulation Nov. 17 and last won by multiple goals Nov. 3.

Quinn Hughes, VAN vs. FLA ($5,700): Florida's fast-paced game should be a perfect fit for Hughes to exploit, as the Panthers give up plenty of odd-man rushes and his slick passing ability out of his own zone should help create some. The talented defenseman is tied for fifth among all NHL skaters with 21 assists, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Hughes climb that leaderboard by the time this one's finished.

Miro Heiskanen, DAL vs. ANH ($5,300): Heiskanen can be a key piece of a Stars stack or a solid standalone option against the lowly Ducks. His 1-3-4 line during a modest three-game point streak has bumped Heiskanen's season production up to three goals and 16 points through 20 games, and he'll have a nice opportunity to add to his eight power-play points against Anaheim's league-worst, 66.3 percent penalty kill.

Noah Hanifin, CGY vs. MON ($4,900): Hanifin has been effective recently following a slow start. All 10 of his points this season have come since Nov. 5, and he has a 1-7-8 line over the past 10 games. There's room for further positive regression considering the career 4.4 percent shooter has only one goal on 55 shots (1.8 percent), so deploy Hanifin with confidence against the Canadiens, who are giving up 3.50 goals per game.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.
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Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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