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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for April 8

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

Edmonton Oilers v Ottawa Senators Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images

Thursday night hockey brings us a 10-game NHL slate, and it’s a very manageable one, at least in terms of the start times. Eight of the games start right at 7:00 p.m. ET, and all of the games will have begun by 8:00 p.m. ET. Most of the games tonight figure to be relatively even, with only a couple of exceptions. The one notable place to look for a team that’s likely to be overmatched is once again in Ottawa, as the Senators host the Oilers for the second night in a row after losing 4-2 in their Wednesday afternoon contest. You can find analysis about those Oilers and more below to get you ready for the slate, which locks at 7:00 p.m. ET on DraftKings.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $30K Twine [$5K to 1st]

Top Line Stacks

Edmonton Oilers

Connor McDavid ($9,100) - Leon Draisaitl ($8,400)- Jesse Puljujarvi ($4,500)

The Oilers are facing the Senators in Ottawa for the second day in a row, and it should go without saying at this point that this is yet another great matchup. The thing that makes the Oilers the clear-cut top stack on this slate, aside from playing against the Senators, is that McDavid and Draisaitl are back on the same line. The Oilers are back to a top-heavy approach, and with a value option in Puljujarvi playing alongside them, this line is both an elite force and also fairly affordable. These will likely be three of the highest owned players on the slate, but the chalk here is well deserved.

Stars to Build Around

David Pastrnak ($8,900)

Pastrnak is in a relatively difficult matchup for tonight’s road game in Washington against the Capitals, and as a result he figures to be one of the lowest owned top-end players on this slate. Pastrnak is also playing on the second line — having been moved away from Patrice Bergeron ($7,900) and Brad Marchand ($8,100) — and he’s less stackable now while not playing with his usual line mates. The context isn’t ideal for him, but Pastrnak is in the conversation for best goal scorer in the NHL, and the other players that would contend for that title against him are all very likely to be much more popular. The Bruins’ top players do still share power play time, so the upside with the man-advantage is very much still intact.

Stud Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy ($8,500)

Vasilevskiy goes up against the Blue Jackets tonight, which may be concerning after he allowed three goals against them in a loss his last time out. This was almost certainly just a bad game and not a sign of things to come, however, and Vasilevskiy has been as reliable as any goalie in the NHL over the last few seasons. This season, he’s in the top three in most key metrics, including wins, save percentage, and goals against average. The Blue Jackets also aren’t a particularly good team, and Vasilevskiy should be able to get back on track in Thursday’s game.

Value on Defense

Mattias Ekholm ($4,600)

Ekholm has been in a scoring slump over the last stretch of games, and it coincides with the Predators’ star defenseman Roman Josi ($7,200) returning to the lineup. Ekholm’s price has dropped into the mid $4Ks now after reaching $5,700, however, and he’s still playing a large enough role that this has now become a discount. The Predators are still shorthanded on defense with Ryan Ellis and Dante Fabbro out of the lineup, and the matchup is good for Thursday’s game too as they take on the Detroit Red Wings.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $30K Twine [$5K to 1st]

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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.