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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Values, Lineup Strategy for December 30

Geoff Ulrich gives his top NHL picks and lineup advice for Thursday’s fantasy hockey slate on DraftKings.

Thursday’s NHL slate features seven games, and a slate that begins at 7:00 P.M. ET on DraftKings. In this article, you will find DFS advice for DraftKings lineups, plus some DraftKings Sportsbook bets to target.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $60K Kick Save [$20K to 1st]

DraftKings Sportsbook

Panthers -150 Money Line

The Panthers take on a Tampa Bay team that is going to be super depleted today. Tampa is starting Maxime Legace (an NHL call-up) in net and is set to be without the likes of Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli as well. The Panthers actually feel like they are being disrespected as just -150 home favorites in this spot. Take the good number we’re getting on them against the short-handed Lightning.

Ryan Johansen over 1.5 shots on net +115

We’re getting fantastic odds to take the over on a small total for Ryan Johansen’s shots total today. The Predators winger has landed two or more shots on net in six of his last 10 games and faces a Blue Jackets team who allows 34.8 shots per game (the most in the league). Roman Josi is also potentially still out for Nashville (COVID-19), opening up more shot opportunities for a player like Johansen. It’s a great number and good spot to go over on.

Place your NHL bets at DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Top Line Stack

Calgary Flames at Seattle Kraken

Elias Lindholm ($6,200) — Johnny Gaudreau ($6,700) — Matthew Tkachuk ($6,400)

The Flames take on a Seattle Kraken team who has struggled from the get-go at keeping the puck out of their own net. The Kraken have allowed 3.5 goals per game this year (fourth-worst in the league), and they haven’t got any spark in net, no matter which goaltender they’ve ridden. This Flames top line is in a great spot tonight and come in having potted 20 goals together on the season—a mark which leads all lines in production.

Calgary’s wingers are the real cogs here, and Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau have played together for some time now, and they have proven correlation for DFS purposes. The two have combined for seven goals on their own over the last 10 games, and this line as a whole is averaging a goal a game over that same span. With all three players well under 7k in price, and all three players also averaging over 3.0 shots on net (or more) per game over their last 10 games, it’s a great time and opportunity to roster this top line which is having a banner year for fantasy purposes.

Superstar to Target

Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes vs. Montreal Canadiens ($7,500)

Things don’t get much more obvious than rostering a top offensive player like Sebastian Aho against the Montreal Canadiens today. Montreal is perhaps the worst defensive team in hockey at the moment and feature third string netminders on a nightly basis. As a result, the Hurricanes have a 4.1 implied goal total on this slate (biggest by a wide margin) making their entire lineup attractive for DFS purposes.

No one will be more attractive or popular than Sebastian Aho, who recorded seven goals in his last five games prior to the COVID-19 stoppage. The fact that we can get Aho under 8k in this spot, after he’s reeled off 14 points in his last 10 games, is somewhat surreal and that fact will surely make him one of the most popular plays on this slate. All that said, you should likely just eat the chalk and build around the superstar center. Montreal is too good of a matchup to risk leaving Aho out of lineups.

Value on Offense

Carter Verhaeghe, Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning ($3,600)

As mentioned above, the Panthers take on a Lightning squad who will be starting a call-up third-stringer in net tonight and will likely be without multiple defensive players on the backend. That makes using the cheap Verhaeghe very attractive in this spot, as he continues to get first-line minutes beside one of the most elite centers in the game in Aleksander Barkov. Verhaeghe has picked up eight points in his last 10 games, and the Panthers offense has the second-biggest implied goal total today at 3.6. Verhaeghe’s a great stacking partner but also a great value target in his own right.

Patrik Laine, Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Nashville Predators ($3,700)

The Blue Jackets will be getting Patrik Laine back in the lineup today, and while he may not play a huge amount of minutes, considering he’s coming off a long injury layoff, Laine is expected to be a big part of the Blue Jackets’ top six and has great upside and goal scoring potential. Laine had registered 10 points in nine games prior to being put on the IR and is a great boom or bust value target for GPPs. Take advantage while his price is still under 4k.

Stud Goalies

Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders vs. Buffalo Sabres ($7,800)

Despite all of their woes this year, the Islanders enter this game with the Sabres as -215 favorites. That makes them the second biggest favorite on this slate and that also makes Sorokin something of a value target. The second-year goalie has now posted save percentages of .909 or better in each of his last four starts and has gone 2-1-1 over that span. It’s a small sample, but Sorokin has a .936 save percentage in five home games this year and takes on a Sabres team who is playing a back-to-back, and just allowed over 40 shots last night. Sorokin is playing well and in a great spot to grab a win for DFS purposes.

Value on Defense

Jake Bean, Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Nashville Predators ($3,400)

The Blue Jackets have been featuring Bean on their top pairing of late, and the 23-year-old has been playing well over 23 minutes a game for the Blue Jackets over his last five starts. The increase in play has also lent him to becoming a good fantasy producer and he comes in averaging 1.5 blocked shots and 0.5 points per game over his last 10 games. While he’s not going to get you any power-play exposure, Bean’s growing role means he has a great floor as his tertiary production is on the uptrend. At under 3.5k, he’s a great punt play on defense and one that could surprise with big upside if he finds a point.

Adam Larsson, Seattle Kraken vs. Calgary Flames ($3,400)

The Kraken have been playing Adam Larsson big minutes this year, and the former Oiler and Devil has proven that he’s one of the better shot blockers in the league in this heightened role. Larsson comes into this game averaging a very heady 4.3 blocked shots + shots on goal per game over his last 10 games, which makes him very attractive at his current price. Larsson will never be a big point producer, but his tertiary stats can carry his salary. He makes for a solid punt, if you need multiple cheap defensemen today.

Power-Play Defensemen

Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning ($7,200)

There’s a couple of good values among the top players on defense today, as both Brent Burns ($6,400) and Zach Werenski ($6,000) look like good options considering they are well below 7k. That said, if you can pay up for Aaron Ekblad in this spot, it is definitely recommended. As I've mentioned numerous times already, the Lighting are going to be quite short-handed today, and this is a great spot for the Panthers’ power play to really breakout.

Ekbald has proven all year that he’s capable of breaking slates and has two games with 30.0 or more DKFP in his last 10 games. Ekbald is also averaging 4.5 blocked shots + shots on goal over his last 10 games and sets up as a player very capable of leading the slate at his position, if the Panthers offense does breakout. For GPPs, there’s likely no higher upside play on defense today.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $60K Kick Save [$20K to 1st]

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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