clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for March 31

Neil Parker gives his top NHL picks and lineup advice for Wednesday’s fantasy hockey slate on DraftKings, which starts at 7:00 p.m. ET.

It’s a six-game slate in the NHL on Wednesday, and the Avalanche and Golden Knights are the two largest favorites and both playing on home ice. Interestingly, Philadelphia, Toronto, Minnesota and Calgary are all receiving road chalk with the Maple Leafs-Jets game featuring the lone 6.5 over/under total. Here are a number of picks to consider when assembling your DraftKings lineups Wednesday.

All statistics from Natural Stat Trick and Hockey Reference.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $70K Sticks [$20K to 1st]

Top Line Stacks

Oilers at Canadiens

Max Pacioretty ($8,000) - Chandler Stephenson ($4,400) - Mark Stone ($7,000)

Look for the Stephenson-Stone-Pacioretty line to bounce back following an underwhelming showing during Monday’s 4-1 win. The trio was caved in possession wise and failed to register a high-danger scoring chances. It was a rare night off, though. The trio has clicked for 5.35 goals, 14.26 high-danger scoring chances and a 58.0 Corsi For percentage over the past two teams. Los Angeles isn’t in the best form, either. The Kings enter with an active 4-8-3 stretch with 45 goals against.

Maple Leafs at Jets

Alex Galchenyuk ($2,900) - John Tavares ($6,000) - William Nylander ($5,700)

With the Jets allowing the most high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, look to Toronto’s affordable second line as a potential stack. The sample is probably large enough (41:01 at 5-on-5) to consider these three as an emerging force. They’ve combined for a respectable 2.93 goals and 19.02 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes while also driving possession with a 67.1 Corsi For percentage. Considering the dominance, there’s also probably positive regression ahead of their 6.9 shooting percentage.

Superstar to Build Around

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche vs. Arizona Coyotes ($9,000) - After registering 12 shot attempts Monday, MacKinnon’s positioned to continue his strong stretch consisting of five tallies, 11 helpers, five power-play points and 37 shots. Additionally, it’s worth noting his 13.5 shooting percentage during the stretch isn’t significantly out of whack considering he still has an 8.0 mark for the campaign. Arizona isn’t a concerning opponent, either. The Coyotes allow the seventh most high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, and they don’t have either of their two best goaltenders healthy.

Value on Offense

Reilly Smith, Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings ($4,100) - The established veteran is having a down year with his 1.22 points per 60 minutes and 9.1 shooting percentage trailing well behind his 2.62 and 13.4 marks through his first three years with the Golden Knights. Smith scored in Monday’s win over the Kings, and there’s potential for the floodgates to open. More important, the salary doesn’t hinder your lineup flexibility.

Valeri Nichushkin, Colorado Avalanche vs. Arizona Coyotes ($3,100) - While the statistical results haven’t always matched the talent and potential of the 26-year-old winger, that hasn’t been the case of late. Nichushkin is making an impact with six goals, six assists and 37 shots through his past 14 games. He also projects to face favorable 5-on-5 opponents skating down the lineup, as the Kings will likely struggle to match Colorado’s depth up and down the lineup.

Stud Goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings ($8,200) - After a game off Monday, look for Fleury to rebound on home ice Wednesday. While the veteran hasn’t been overly sharp through his past eight starts with a 5-3 record, .896 save percentage and 3.07 GAA, he still boasts a high-end 17-7, .927 and 2.06 stat line for the campaign. As noted, Los Angeles is in a bit of a rut and has only scored 36 goals through its past 15 games.

Brian Elliott, Philadelphia Flyers at Buffalo Sabres ($8,100) - The veteran has won consecutive starts with a .930 save percentage and recorded a respectable 15.8 fantasy points against Buffalo on Monday. Elliott will likely be a popular target with the Sabres scoring the fewest 5-on-5 goals per 60 minutes in the league, but the salary doesn’t limit your skater options.

Value on Defense

Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild at San Jose Sharks ($4,200) - This salary seems low, even with Dumba failing to put it all back together after missing 50 games during the 2018-19 campaign. However, he’s still logging 22:05 of ice time per game (2:15 with the man advantage) while also moving the needle in the shots (59) and blocked shots (39) columns through 28 games this year. Plus, the Sharks have surrendered the fourth most goals per game in the league.

Nicolas Hague, Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings ($3,600) - The 22-year-old defenseman is in the midst of a breakout stretch with five points, nine shots and 15 blocks through the past eight games. Selected in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft, Hague is developing into a reliable middle-pair blueliner and checks out as a salary-fit option to provide cap space.

Power-Play Defenseman

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche vs. Arizona Coyotes ($5,700) - Through seven games since returning from injury, Makar has racked up eight points — two goals — to improve to a league-high 2.51 points per 60 minutes among regular defensemen over the past two seasons. As noted, the Coyotes shouldn’t be viewed as a daunting matchup, and Makar’s salary is beyond reasonable considering his high-floor, high-ceiling profile.

Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames ($5,000) - It’s been a bit of a cool stretch for Hughes, as he’s collected just seven assists, 17 shots and 17 blocks through his past 15 games. However, even with a dip in production, his 2.08 points per 60 minutes still rank fifth among all defensemen with at least 1,500 minutes played over the past two seasons.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $70K Sticks [$20K to 1st]

Place your NHL bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is naparker77) 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 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.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA/MI), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO), 1-800-BETS OFF(IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA) or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN).

21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See for full terms and conditions.