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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for April 15

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

Thursday features an nine-game main NHL slate starting 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 $40K Kicksave [$10K to 1st]

DraftKings Sportsbook

Toronto Maple Leafs Money Line (-150) vs. Winnipeg Jets

The Leafs enter this game on a two-game losing streak while the Jets have won four of their last five. The recent records of these two teams are likely influencing the odds a little here, as Toronto at home usually isn’t this small a favorite against the rest of the North division. The Leafs beat the Jets in both games of their last series and continue to be the better team in pretty much every statistically category, including xGF% (expected goal rate) where they rank second and the Jets rank just 25th. The ML on Toronto may not be huge, but it’s a good bet considering how these two teams rate out.

Jeff Carter to score a goal +255

New team, new you. Carter takes the ice with the Penguins tonight against one of his old teams in the Flyers. He should get plenty of top six forward minutes right off the bat as Pittsburgh is starving for second-line help and Carter is the type of veteran who could slot in immediately on the power-play. Philly has allowed the second-most goals per game this year and makes for a good opponent to target for a nice narrative-based goal prop.

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

Top Line Stacks

Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Nicklas Backstrom ($6,000) - Anthony Mantha ($5,300) - TJ Oshie ($5,800)

The Sabres are in town, so looking Washington’s way for a big scoring outburst should be high on your shopping list tonight. The Caps newly formed second-line had a monster game in their first 60 minutes together, as Anthony Mantha was able to grab a goal and an assist, along with six SOG in under 15 mins of play. His presence clearly lifted the play of Nicklaus Backstrom, as well, who ended with multiple points, too.

Backstrom and Oshie are also paired on the Capitals’ PP1 unit, so you’re getting a cost-effective mini-stack to target against a Sabres team that ranks just 18th in penalty-kill and has allowed the 11th-most scoring chances. With Alex Ovechkin ($8,700) roaming the ice on the Caps other top-line — and getting a lot of attention — I’d expect the underrated Mantha and his new linemates to continue to excel for DFS in the short-term, especially in these type of matchups.

Superstar to Target

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings ($8,300)

Kane enters this game with just two goals over his last 10 games. That isn’t to say the American hasn’t been aggressive on offense, though. Kane now has 16 SOG in his last two games and gets another prime matchup tonight against the Red Wings. Detroit has allowed the eighth-most SOG against this season and also owns the eighth-worst penalty-kill. The Hawks are in a dogfight for the last playoff spot in the Central right now, so don’t expect Kane’s minutes to be cut anytime soon, either. He’s playing a ridiculous 23 minutes a game over his last 10 contests and his assertiveness seems likely to pay off with a massive fantasy performance at some point. Considering the matchup, he likely carries just as much upside as any of the other studs on this big slate, but comes at a cheaper price, making him a good core play to build around.

Value on Offense

Jeff Carter, Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers ($4,800)

I mentioned Carter above in the prop section, but just to emphasize again, the Flyers are terrible defensively and make for a great opponent for forwards. Expect Carter to slot in on the second-line right away beside Jared McCann ($5,200), who has been producing nicely for the Penguins of late, averaging 13.6 DKFP over his last 10 games. Those two make for a nice cost-effective mini-stack against a Flyers team that carries terrible penalty-killing (second-worst in the league) and goaltending.

Jakub Vrana, Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks ($3,400)

Vrana is another trade target to consider for DFS tonight, though you’ll have to make sure he’s active. He’s likely to make his debut for the Red Wings and he’s a solid goal scorer in a good matchup. Vrana’s scored 20-plus goals in each of the last two seasons and could see PP1 time right off the bat for the offensively starved Red Wings. Chicago has allowed the most shots against in the entire league, as well as the third-most scoring chances. Vrana’s a massive value target if he starts.

Stud Goalies

Anton Khudobin, Dallas Stars vs. Columbus Blue Jackets ($8,300)

Khudobin has picked up his play a bit over the last couple of weeks and is averaging right around a .930 for his save percentage in his last five starts. The veteran is averaging 13.6 DKFP’s over his last 10 games, while the Stars are the third-biggest favorite on this nine-game slate on the DraftKings Sportsbook. Columbus doesn’t pose much threat in terms of offensive prowess, as they languish in the basement of goals per game (fourth-worst) and expected goal rate (second-worst). It’s a good pay-up spot for the Stars’ goalie.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning ($7,600)

Bobrovsky and the Panthers are slight underdogs to the Lightning this evening, but they may be catching Tampa at an opportune time. The Lightning have lost three of their last five games, with bad losses to Detroit, Nashville and Columbus — not exactly a trio of NHL powerhouses. With Steven Stamkos (lower body) out and and a playoff spot locked up, motivation could an issue for the Lightning down the stretch. Bobrovsky — or possibly Chris Driedger ($7,600) — makes for a nice GPP pivot as the goalie enters showing some recent form and with a .914 save percentage over his last 10 games. The Panthers are good underdog targets on the DraftKings Sportsbook, as well.

Value on Defense

Filip Hronek, Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks ($4,000)

It’s a rare occurrence, but I really don’t hate targeting the Red Wings tonight in DFS. Hronek has assumed the lead on the point for the Wings’ PP1 and he comes in averaging 2.4 SOG per game — which is a solid rate for someone priced this low. He’s averaging 0.5 real-life points per game, which, considering he’s on the worst offensive team in the league, really isn’t too bad. Chicago is a great matchup for DFS as they not only allow a ton of shots against, but also carry the third-worst penalty-kill in the league. Hronek’s a good source of value tonight and can even be considered as part of a cost-effective Detroit PP1 stack.

Power-Play Defensemen

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers ($6,200)

Letang enters this game with 12 points scored in his last 10 games and is still featured on the PP1 for Pittsburgh — a power-play unit that’s 10th-best in the league in terms of efficiency. The Flyers penalty-kill has been abysmal this year, ranking second-worst in the NHL, and with the aforementioned addition of Carter, I like the Penguins special teams to get a short-term boost against a weak opponent. As just the sixth-most expensive D-man on the slate, Letang feels underpriced. With tonight’s matchup, he makes for a good pay-up option.

Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars vs. Columbus Blue Jackets ($5,400)

I like targeting Heiskanen in these weaker matchups as the young defenseman is still getting plenty of minutes every game and he produces in a variety of different ways. He’s cooled off a bit in the point-producing area, but has hit the blocked shots bonus in three of his last six games and is still averaging 9.5 DKFP over his last 10 starts. The matchup here has lots of potential, as Columbus allows the seventh-most scoring chances against and has the 11th-worst PK in the league. He’s a good mid-tier target if you’re planning to fade all the top-priced plays on defense tonight.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $40K Kicksave [$10K to 1st]

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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 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.