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The greatest player rarely mentioned - Gretzky/Lemieux/Howe/Orr/__________
Raymond Bourque Appreciation Time
When people are talking about the best players of the past 50 years... I firmly believe Bourque in the same tier as Howe, Gretzky, Orr, Lemieux -- even if he's behind those guys, he's absolutely in the same tier.
I remember Bourque, yeah, One of the greats from back in the day.
He was not one of the greats. He's the great that other and future greats should be compared to -- and in our lifetimes, I'm beyond certain that we're going to watch them all fall short. Maybe Bourque didn't change the way the game was played the way some of those guys did but... it's only because he didn't need to. He fit the way the game was played -- as if the game was made for him. He could beat people with physicality, he could beat people with finesse, and he did it at an unbelievably elite level, for 30 minutes a night, for 22 years.
During his career, Bourque held 8 of the top-9 slots. Expand that to until today and his seasons still place 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 12th, pretty much only falling due to two defensemen who spent time at forward.
Compare that to most shots, by a forward during that time period -- there are 13 forwards in the top-20. Brett Hull is the closest comparable to "dominating his positon" and he falls clearly short. Bourque was consistently ahead of his peers, moreso than anyone else was ahead of theirs.
He finished top-10 in the NHL (even among forwards!) in shots in 13 - more than half - of his 22 seasons. Three times he led the league in shots (84, 87, 95). In 1985 he was 2nd to Gretzky, in 1988 he was 2nd to Lemieux, and in 1996 he was 2nd to Jagr. Most shots/game in a season by a defenseman, all-time
Ray Bourque and Bobby Orr own 11 of the top 12 slots. Bourque shows up 8 times before anyone other than Orr shows up twice, and almost caught Orr for the record -- Orr's best season was 5.43 shots/game; Bourque's was 5.36.
A handful of defensemen have done it more than 4-5 times. Bourque did it 24 times.
Who cares about shots, goals are what win games. Get on with it.
You're right - forget all of that. Throw all of that evidence in the toilet. Flush twice.
Recently, Shea Weber reached 10+ goals for the 11th time in his career. A fantastic achievement; even HoF defensemen ProngeNiedermayer managed that only 8 times apiece. The first time Bourque failed to reach double digit goals was his age-40 season. Most seasons with 10+ goals in NHL history (leaving for the WHA may hurt some players here)
Bourque is 7th overall, doing it 21 times. There are only 6 defensemen in the top-100.
(shoutout to Patrick Marleau, who moved Bourque to 8th two days ago, and surely would have tied Francis/Jagr if he didn't spent the 04-05 lockout helping his parents on their farm). Let's bump 10 to 15 for shits and giggles. Only five defensemen in NHL history have scored 15+ goals, 10+ times (Weber could be the 6th with 1 more 15+ goal season):
Four of the greatest offensive defensemen ever did it 10/11/12/13 times.. and then there's Bourque with 18 seasons. He made the team as an 18 year old rookie and scored 17 goals. Then he scored 17 (or more) goals for 15 years in a row, followed by a 23 goal pace during the lockout-shortened '94 season. And then he scored 17+ in back to back years after that. I'm going to call that 18 consecutive years. That's incredible longevity and production for a forward. Bourque did it from the backend, and the best playmaker he had was ... 4.5 seasons of Adam Oates? Forwards with a similar number of career goals as Ray Bourque:
Vincent Lecavalier, Jason Arnott, Tony Amonte, Joe Thornton, Patrick Elias, Marian Gaborik, John LeClair, Paul Kariya, Shane Doan, Markus Naslund
Some defensemen bring value with lots of points, not just scoring like 20 goals.
Okay, alright already. Forget it. Take all that evidence and shred it, then set the shreds on fire.
29 are in, or will be in, the Hall of Fame (sorry Pierre Turgeon, you totally deserve it)
28 are forwards (Coffey, Bourque)
Only 3 of those forwards did it more than Bourque: Gretzky, Howe, Dionne.
Bourque's consistent longevity and production, by that measure, was bested by only 3 forwards. I really feel like there should be, I don't know, maybe a dozen forwards? ...Before you find any defenseman on that list.
8 defensemen have ever cracked 1,000 points. Eight. In history.
Erik Karlsson has the next realistic chance at being the 9th 1000pt defenseman ; he reached 600 points in the same game Marleau passed Bourque 2 days ago. Bourque has 1,579. That puts Karlsson ... just under 1,000 points behind him. 8 defensemen in history have managed that in their career, and that's roughly how far Karlsson is behind right now. Karlsson turns 30 in 4 months. If Karlsson retires at age 39, averages a 60 point pace, and only misses ~12 games a year.. he might get 1,000 career points. To catch Bourque, Karlsson would need to play another 12.5 years (until he's 42) without missing a game, and average 79 points a season. Nobody is going to catch Bourque.
He was a _defense_man, who cares about points.
Okay! Good grief. Take all that evidence, tie a rock around it, and huck it down the Mariana Trench.
Time on ice
Sadly, the NHL didn't start officially tracking time on ice until the final few years of Bourque's career, but...
If that's slightly inflated by some OT games: it absolutely doesn't matter. Only 5 players saw more playoff ice time in that span and they all played in 13-20 more games.
Throughout his 20s and early 30s?
Who doubts Bourque was consistently eating over 30 minutes a night? Maybe even 35? Did he reach 40 minutes some games? Bourque turned 40 years old a couple months into the '00-'01 season. This is how Bob Hartley distributed his shorthanded icetime that year. Later on, in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Bourque played 29:35. There's been a lot of links so far... did you read that last one?
"Based on his play, there is no reason why he should retire," Avs defenseman Rob Blake said. "He was probably our dominant defenseman all playoffs long."
Spoiler, he did retire, because let's be reality - how can you possibly top this moment...
Maybe he just took greedy long shifts. His coaches probably hated him.
Let's pretend you're right. Take all that evidence to the Will It Blend? guy and have him go to town.
Defensemen are just generally not considered for the Hart trophy. Lidstrom, Robinson, Chelios ... Elite defensemen, household names in some parts... All finished top-5 in Hart voting just once (1 time!) in their entire career. Pronger did win one, but he was never close - either before, or after. Paul Coffey and Dennis Potvin were top-5 in Hart voting twice. Bourque was top-5 in Hart voting on FIVE (5) occasions. He received at least some votes for the Hart trophy 12 times. He finished 2nd in Hart voting twice - once to Gretzky who won his 8th consecutive Hart in '87, and...
Bourque was a 1st/2nd team All Star for 17 consecutive years - as a rookie and then every year until he was 36... With another 2 selections later in his career for good measure. He was a 1st team All Star 13 times - holding the record over everyone.
The three times that Bourque wasn't a 1st/2nd team allstar? Well, four defensemen a year earn those honors, and he finished 7th/6th/6th - just barely "out of the money".
While Bourque may have "only" won the Norris 5 times (lol?)...
He was top-4 (yes, four) for 17 years to start his career, and he not once, in 22 years, was he worse than 7th. What other player can you say that about? In any sport? Perhaps a handful in history? The last 5 years, 7th in Norris voting: Josi (17-18, 18-19), Doughty (16-17), Hedman (15-16), Keith (14-15). That was a roughly comparable to Bourque, when Bourque was at the lowest point of his career.
Age 36, his first finish outside the top-4. He missed 20 games. His team finished dead last and allowed 20 goals more than any other team. The Bruins were a tire fire. He still got some votes.
A side note about trophies in general
Imagine we're at the 2020 entry draft, and the teams drafting 1st through 5th all have a different player ranked 1st overall on their scouting report, but the same player ranked 2nd overall. Even though all 5 teams drafting completely agree on the 2nd best player in the draft? He's going 6th overall at best. It doesn't matter if everybody agrees you're the 2nd prettiest girl at the dance - it just takes 1 person to fuck everything up... or 5 people to fuck your chances up in separate years.
Doug Wilson fucked up Bourque's first Norris. He scored 39 goals - not scoring more than 23 either before or after. Couldn't you have done that a different year, Doug? Bourque finished 2nd in voting.
Here are a handful of elite defensemen, and how many times they were nominated for the Norris (finished top-3 in voting):
Honestly, Bourque's "Norris problem" was that he was too consistent.
Yeah. That's a sentence. Too consistent. A Norris Problem. lol.
If Bourque had 3-4 shittier seasons and 3-4 seasons like Doug Wilson's, or Brian Leetch's?
If those guys didn't have the season they had, the year they had it?
If Bourque didn't miss some games in any of the other 14 years he finished top-4?
The narrow loss to Chelios?
The win he 'may have' deserved against Langway/Coffey?
If he had moved to a team with a Gretzky/Lemieux type player?
If Hull doesn't steal enough 3rd place votes to give Messier the '90 Hart?
There's an alternate universe where Bourque wins 10 or more Norris trophies and multiple Hart trophies, laughing all the way to the bank like a fox.
Okay, I'm getting the picture, but lets be reality... if he was actually elite he would have dragged the Bruins further.
While the Bruins didn't win the cup with Bourque... He was pretty much the only mainstay during the last 17 years of the Bruins record setting Playoff Appearance streak - and that streak certainly didn't end because of Bourque - as mentioned above, he got Norris attention that year. That awful '96 Bruins team - the only one that failed to make the playoffs with Bourque - had 10 defensemen appear in 27+ games, and Don Sweeney was the only d-man to dress for more than 62 games. Here's the team scoring leaders:
One of two seasons he cracked 60 points.
Finished 2nd on the team in scoring by 19 points despite being traded with more than 2 months left in the season
Never again eclipsed 40 points or 16 goals; more than half his points included Oates and/or Bourque in the scoring play.
5th on the team in scoring, despite playing only 40 games - due to a shoulder injury, and then being traded along with Oates.
His career high. He scored 3 shorthanded goals that year. Bourque assisted all 3.
The only time Boston didn't make the playoffs was when they fielded... that. And Bourque was the only constant.
3 losses by a single goal (excluding empty netters)
Lost 1st round
to the eventual champs (Devils)
Lost 1st round
to cup finalists (Panthers}
Lost 1st round
to cup finalists (Capitals), 2 losses in OT and another by 1 goal + empty netter
Lost 2nd round
to cup finalists (Bruins), 2x 1-goal losses and another by 1 goal + empty netter
Traded to Avalanche
Lost 3rd round
to cup finalists (Stars), in 7 games, 3 losses by a single goal
Won Stanley Cup
Bourque's teams surprisingly consistently lost:
to the champs, or at least a team that reached the finals
by a single game, and/or with many games decided by a single goal
Sometimes you just don't get the bounces when you need them. The Bruins teams he played on were just not equipped to deal with the superteams of the day (NYI/EDM/PIT), and they didn't catch lightning in a bottle where everything went their way one particular year (CGY/MTL/NYR).
The Bruins record with and without Bourque in the lineup (from the start of the 1979 season until March 6th, 2000):
With: 770-546-202, 94 point pace, winning 50.7% of games. Without: 57-52-22, 85 point pace, winning 43.5% of games.
Huh. So Bourque was pretty good I guess?
Hockey-Reference tries to calculate a pool of the most comparable players based on "similarity scores".
...attempts to find players whose careers were similar in terms of quality and shape. By shape, ... things like: How many years did he play? How good were his best years compared to his worst years? Did he have a few great years and then several mediocre years, or did he have many good-but-not-great years?
Only four (4!) defensemen have a "similarity" score over 77. Even compared to elite Hall of Fame defensemen... Their careers almost universally "tapered off" earlier, and many of them much harder. Some of those guys were not super competitive at the end of their career - kept on to teach youngsters, to play out their contracts, as powerplay specialists or role players. Some of them continued to pile up offensive numbers but lost an edge defensively.
He was an absolute monster, from the start of his career and for 22 years to the very end.
His "peak" seasons were crushing,
His "great" seasons were comparable to many HoF'ers "peak" seasons,
His "meh" seasons were still extremely comparable to elite defensemen just outside their prime.
Using that measure (point shares) to approximate how much impact Bourque had... After all you've read, you shouldn't be surprised to find out Bourque is 2nd only to Gretzky. Not only are the two are pretty much neck and neck, but... gobs of elite players from history are way behind the two of them. Is that a perfect measure? No. But taken with the totality of information provided above? Even if you did shred/light/sink/flush all that evidence as requested? There's just too much of it. Bourque had the biggest career impact in defensive point shares. He shows up 7 times in the top-200 best defensive seasons - as compared to Lidstrom (5), Stevens (5), Robinson (7), Chelios (5), Savard (6)... He was top-4 in the league in defensive point shares 10 times. In his 2nd worst defensive season, at age 39, he was very roughly comparable to Alzner, Hainsey, Carlson, Muzzin, Stralman, Pietrangelo... His 2nd worst season, at age 39.
Ray Bourque suffered a fractured left [forearm] last week in a pickup softball game Bourque fractured his jaw in a fight at Detroit in November of 1980 ...fractured his wrist during a check against Quebec defenseman Andre Dupont
A club's salary offer must properly recognize the players' capabilities and contributions. Bourque's achievements are "stunning". Every season he has been named to the All-Star Team and has been the winner or runner-up for the Norris Trophy as the game's best defenseman. Measured by the standards as agreed upon by the NHL and the NHLPA, including overall performance, number of games played, length of service, overall contribution to the club, and leadership and public appeal, Bourque simply is unmatched.
Agreed... Something to keep in mind: The owners, certainly during the 80s, were (and some still are) actively fucking the players. They withheld all salary information, so as a player, you either had zero negotiating power, or you had to ask people their salary - which was much more frowned upon then. Bourque would go into negotiations having no idea what anyone else made.
Ray Bourque said that in the past he and other players had tried to get salary information before negotiating and felt uncomfortable when doing so. "[having all salaries released] - it's good for the players, especially when it comes time to renegotiate," he told the Montreal Gazette. "That way you know exactly how you fare with players at your level. It's a lot better than trying to go in and guess all the time. "You always felt uncomfortable going up to a guy and asking, 'Hey, how much are you making?' This way all you have to do is peek at the list."
He wasn't trying to put the screws to his employer, he was awkwardly asking other players their salary.. I don't know Mr. Bourque, but... It sure sounds like he just wanted what was reasonably fair. Everybody has their own definition of "classy" but.. if that's not classy, then it's at least honorable. Another article from back in the day...
Some players (eg., defenseman Raymond Bourque) have been criticized in the past because they did not test out the free-agent market and instead, out of loyalty to their teams, signed contracts for less money than they would have received if they had made themselves available to the highest bidder.
...not with Bourque, obviously... but with what I expect someone to inevitably say:
Well of course nobody will catch him in points, there were a bazillion goals in the 80s.
Using League Averages (and no I didn't take an average of averages) the NHL saw teams average 3.38 goals per game during Bourque's career. Since the '04-'05 lockout, the NHL has seen teams average 2.85 goals per game -- the difference is under 20%. Okay? Now Karlsson only needs to average 79 points without missing a game until he's 40 to catch Bourque? Now Bourque drops from 11thto 17th in career points, still hundreds of points ahead of every defenseman except Coffey?
So what. You still can't compare between eras even with adjusting.
I don't think that era-adjusting is the be-all end-all. I haven't mentioned Harvey (7 Norris trophies in 8 years) or Shore (4 Harts) for that reason. That being said..
Award voting is among his peers, and he absolutely crushed that - in a manner that I sincerely doubt we'll ever see a defenseman replicate. Nobody in the NHL is even close to being consistently top-10 in Norris voting for a full decade.
Time on ice is dictated by his coach and his capability, and has nothing to do with era. His team winning % fell by 7.2% in the 1.6 seasons worth of games he missed; that time on ice seems well-spent.
His closest comparables had careers that overlapped his. He wasn't just compiling a fantastic career in a void - he was doing it while playing against all those guys.
Fuck stats and numbers and all that stuff. Show me clips.
I would love to, but 1) Sadly.. The footage available online from that era is mostly garbage. There are some youtube compilations available that aren't hard to find if you're interested. 2) The thing about highlight clips.. Yeah, Bourque had highlight plays, but ... That wasn't what made Bourque great. The highlights were a cherry on top of the desert of Bourque's game; all the small things he did, and how consistently he did them, was the main course of the meal.
Ray Bourque's career was basically ~15 years of Norris-worthy play with 5-6 years of being "just" a clearly top-5 to top-10'ish defenseman. Please, the next time you see someone talking about the greatest defenseman ever...
If someone rattles off the name Bourque like he was "just" one of those greats from the 80s/90s, politely remind them. Send them this link. Contact your local chapter of the Raymond Bourque Apprecation Club (if your area doesn't have one, start one).
If someone forgets to mention Bourque while bringing up Lidstrom, Coffey, et al.. Please - head to the nearest market, find yourself the freshest fish you can (I personally recommend a trout) - and use it to slap them around a bit, because that's absurd.
The next time you hear someone say "Gretzky/Lemieux/Howe/Orr type", consider adding Bourque to the list. If you somehow think he's not in a tier with those guys, then he must be _all alone in your tier 2, because nobody else came close.
The first (preseason) DFS content is available tomorrow on Draftkings! It's time to get back into the swing of things. Introduction Many people commented or PMed me last season saying that my posts helped them win more money, more frequently. I know I personally missed out on some big paydays by ignoring my own advice. (Sigh.) I’ve been playing DFS hockey since 2014 and have become gradually more invested in it over the past few seasons. I started playing $1 single entry tournaments and I’ve been hooked since my first entry placed 47/3448. You’ll generally find me in single entry tournaments on Draftkings and whichever site has the better tournament payout on the larger Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday slates. I have the same username on Draftkings, Fanduel and Rotogrinders if you’re looking for me elsewhere. Disclaimer I would recommend that you only play DFS as a form of entertainment. Hockey is a volatile sport where anything can happen any given night: the underdog could win, your starting goaltender could be injured, etc. While under no circumstances should you hold me liable should you lose, please take me into consideration if you do happen to come upon a big payday as a result of my advice ;) I’d advise restraint during the preseason and month of October while lines and systems are settling and the sample size is small. The whole point of using data to build your lineups is to reduce randomness, so your bankroll should be saved for when the league is more predictable. However, if you’re a degenerate like me, you likely have enough data about your personal habits to know that is unlikely. Slates The NHL schedule dictates larger slates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with fewer games on days between. Larger slates tend to come with higher prize pools funded by more entries. Since a larger slate means more players are on the ice, that generally decreases specific player ownership. Though that increases your chance of your players having lower ownership if they go off, it also makes it more difficult to pick players that score more than the rest of the field, since there’s a higher probability more goals are scored. (And that’s what makes it fun!) While there are also all day, afternoon, evening and late night slates, as well as Showdown and whatever else have been introduced lately, the payout for these contests tends to be less overall for the same entry fees, while the difficulty of winning them is comparable, so I tend to avoid them with few exceptions. Contest Type Whether you’re playing cash games (50/50, multipliers, head-to-head), satellites, or GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments will greatly affect your strategy. In GPP’s you’re looking for highest upside to get the most overall points possible to win the tournament. In cash, you’re looking for the highest floor to ensure you’re above the fold. In general, play cash games for security and GPP’s for the thrill. I’m sure there are a lot of pros that play cash games regularly because you can easily double your wager any given night, which at minimum helps pad your bankroll to cover any GPP losses. I personally don’t like the upside when weighing risk/reward and therefore prefer to play GPP’s almost exclusively. However, cash strategies can also translate to smaller tournaments because you don’t need as much variance to set yourself apart from other lineups. Single-Entry vs Multi-Entry Daily fantasy hockey is always pitching itself as a game of skill while trying to distance itself from gambling for legal reasons. I contend that single entry tournaments are the truest test of skill here because each entry holds the same weight. These are my preferred contests by far, though there are rarely more than two any given night with a payout worth the ticket price. While you technically have a better chance of placing first by maxing your entries in GPP’s every night, it’s impractical for most players, especially the novice. You can see in the Draftkings Results Database that even seasoned veterans rarely employ this strategy as well. For what it’s worth, some of my biggest paydays have also been ones where I made the fewest amount of entries. Your mileage may vary. Rake Rake is simply the house cut taken by whichever site you’re gambling on. Along with entry fees it has increased in recent years and stabilized around 9-13% depending on the contest. If all things are considered equal, target contests with a lower rake, as more prizes are being paid out to the contestants. That also means GPP’s and satellites that are not filling up before the deadline can offer you a slight advantage. Bankroll Management You should care about how much money you’re gambling because no one else is going to. Bankroll management doesn’t factor much into my decision making simply due to the scale I operate at, so I’ll only offer this advice: winnings are not winnings until you withdraw them, and only if you haven’t deposited more than that originally. It boggles my mind when people praise themselves for winning a grand after dumping two the month before. Set an amount you’re comfortable losing and don’t deposit more than that when it’s gone. There are free bankroll trackers available online if you want an overview of how you’re doing, such as Daily Fantasy Nerd, as well as restrictions on each site if needed. Point Systems This whole post was based around the 2018-19 point system for both Fanduel and Draftkings. However, it was Recently Announced that adjustments would be made to the Draftkings point system this coming season. Here’s what you need to know: Prior to this year, there used to be relative parity between the Fanduel and Draftkings scoring systems. Aside a few discrepancies, like Fanduel awarding minor powerplay point bonuses, Draftkings accounting for goaltender points and hat trick bonuses, and a slight variation between block and shot values, Fanduel scores were basically 4x Draftking ones and the only significant differences were salary discrepancies and lineup construction. No longer. Not only have the Draftkings points been bumped up overall but their relative values have changed. A goaltender win is now worth less relative to a goal. While it used to take 15 saves to make up a goal, it will now take about 12. There will also be two points awarded for overtime losses. There are other minor changes to the basic scoring system, like assists and shots on goal are worth slightly less relative to a goal, but the real change will be in the new bonus system. Here you will see an additional three points awarded for hat tricks, 35+ saves, 5+ shots, 3+ blocks and 3+ point games. That 3 point modifier also stacks with the hat trick bonus, which is, frankly, ridiculous. This will significantly change the worth of playmakers, with two assists (10 points) now being worth less than a player with five shots on goal (10.5 points) without hitting twine. Draftkings claims this makes the game “more exciting” but right now it just seems like it’ll be more random. I fail to see how anyone that regularly plays DFS with any volume benefits from this change, outside of possibly drawing in more inexperienced entries and increasing the overall player and prize pool. The NHL players gaining these bonuses are, for the most part, already the top performers in those categories. Additional incentives are hardly necessary to have Burns or Ovechkin any given night. For others, certain punt plays could see a significant boost, though it makes little sense to me why two blocked shots would be worth 2.6 points but a third bumps that up to 6.9. Regardless, I still see linestacking being advantageous with these changes. Linestacking Outside of choosing a winning goaltender, using players on the same line is the most basic DFS advice you can give a beginner. Since there are so few goals scored in a hockey game and most of those goals correlate with an assist, you typically want to pick players with good linemates. The odds of stacking two corresponding lines and getting multi-point games that win you money is far greater than selecting six players who have standout individual performances on any given night. Depending on whether you play on Fanduel or Draftkings will determine what kind of strategies are available to you, as there are tighter salary constraints on Draftkings but looser restrictions. For example, on Fanduel you’re capped at 4 players from each team. On Draftkings, you only need 3 different teams represented, so you can technically play the entire top six from one team instead. Despite that, you cannot do the 4-4-1 stack available on Fanduel, where you pick two lines with their corresponding defensemen and a goaltender. Instead, you have to opt for a 4-3-1 stack, either using the utility position for a punt play (typically not ideal) or alternating one of the defensemen from a different team (preferable). I don’t like to break up line stacks because I’ve been playing long enough to see it come back to haunt me, but there’s always an argument for dropping an underperforming third wheel or due to salary constraints. Powerplay Correlation Roughly 20% of NHL goals are scored with the man advantage. Though not strictly necessary, players who have top powerplay minutes are more likely to score goals. If an entire line has full powerplay correlation, even better. There are few teams worth targeting for a powerplay stack where the players are not also linemates. However, last season the Lightning, Panthers, Sharks, Pens, Flames, Leafs and Caps all had great powerplay success with players combined from two or more lines. This can make a decent contrarian play against a weak penalty kill team or simply to deviate from the standard chalk on a smaller slate. Percentage of Ownership Generally speaking, whichever team(s) has the highest Vegas odds to win, and especially a high oveunder, will also be the favored teams, or chalk, for DFS. Since only 20% of GPP entries will profit and the chalk lines are likely to garner 20%+ ownership, if that line goes off it could break the slate (you’ll need that line to win). Just because a team is a favorite to win does not mean they’re your safest option. Primarily because there are no safe options, it’s also crucial to maximize your success by differentiating your lineups from others. Use Vegas odds and “expert” predictions as a guideline for what you think other people will be targeting, and keep this in mind when building your own lineups. Looking for the lines that could produce but be underlooked (and therefore under-owned) is necessary for a big payday. The larger the slate, the more likely you can profit from chalk. Likewise, the smaller the slate, the higher upside for contrarian options. On a 12 game slate there are likely to be several favorites, decreasing the overall ownership percentage of any given line. On a three or four game slate, more people are likely to gravitate to one or two lines. Whether you can actually afford to stack these lines together is another matter entirely. Sometimes the chalk lines are so prohibitively expensive that you have to make great sacrifices elsewhere in your lineup. Salary Constraints I don’t fully understand how either Fanduel and Draftkings come up with their player salaries because they often feel arbitrary. Kase was priced at floor on Fanduel for weeks, despite putting up solid production on the first line for the Ducks. There were thousands of dollars difference in Chabot’s salary when he was on a tear as well. Some players, like Shattenkirk, appeared to have inflated salaries solely due to name recognition. Occasionally there are straight up errors, like Keith Yandle was priced at floor by mistake for almost a week on Draftkings last January. Suffice to say that it’s worth analyzing the value of each player on a line when stacking, as well as exploring individual salary trends, as players are often propped up by things that don’t translate to DFS production. It’s rare that you’ll pick two lines that fit so comfortably you can afford top defensemen and a goaltender as well. If you have the salary left over to flesh out your lineup with Burns, Letang and Vasilevskiy, it’s hard to make an argument not to. More likely you’re going to be looking for pivots, a line that has a value player that brings down the total cost, or ultimately sacrificing somewhere in your lineup. A solid pivot for me was likely an outlier getting top powerplay time (ex. Pirri), an individual performer on a depth line (Ex. Donato; Perreault), an unrecognized rookie (ex. Svechnikov, Chabot), someone stepping in for an injury in a lineup, or a cheap defenseman with offensive upside (ex. Ekholm). It’s also not uncommon for a star to have less talented linemates. Sometimes that artificially inflates the cost of those linemates, but sometimes it makes the line a decent budget option. You’ll likely find these players alongside McDavid, Matthews, Crosby or Stamkos, for example, when their lines are not loaded with their corresponding Kucherovs or Draisaitls. Some lines are so prohibitively expensive they’re virtually unstackable at all, though these lines are also typically matchup proof. Because of the sacrifice required, these lines are often worth targeting on a larger slate or against tougher opposition where they’ll fetch lower ownership but still have the potential for a hat trick or more. Refer to COL1, BOS1, TBL2, etc. Contrarian Play Contrarian here simply means rejecting the consensus favorite, but it’s often confused with simply picking a line from a bad team to go against the grain. Note there’s rarely a good argument to pick a contrarian goaltender, outside of high upside for their salary. Keep in mind that Vegas odds, really even the best teams in the NHL, are roughly 60-65% likely to accurate project as a winner, and that winning alone is not always enough to make a goaltender valuable because they might not see a lot of shots. So when should you play contrarian? One of my favorite contrarian options on Fanduel specifically is when a line’s players have the “wrong” position. This happens when a player was previously playing out of position, and Fanduel is notorious for being slow to respond to these changes. Since it’s more difficult to stack a CCW or WWW line, these picks are naturally contrarian because they’re harder to fit into a lineup. Another option might be targeting secondary scoring on depth lines. Not only is this an option for affordability that’s easier to stack, but it’s a decent pivot off the chalk for a team that’s a favorite to win. It’s worth noting that a team playing on home ice has the advantage of last change and therefore can choose their deployment. If you’re targeting against a team with a solid shutdown line on home ice, a secondary scoring line might end up getting better deployment and production. Likewise, if you know a line will be forced to play a shutdown role, you might want to consider alternatives. This is called line matching and may differ on a nightly basis. One option that’s often overlooked is a game stack. That is, picking one line from either teams in one game. When two teams are porous defensively or have a historic rivalry, chances are if a goal is scored early in the first period the ice could rapidly open up and the game will become a shooting gallery. Finally, though this option is restricted only to Draftkings, you can stack two lines from the same team with each other. This could be the entire top six or a full five man powerplay stack. I would reserve this option only for high powered offenses against the weakest of opposition though. Defensemen I often consider defensemen an extension of linestacking, but in reality that’s not always feasible. Though there are technically points awarded for blocked shots, even the top shot blockers aren’t very DFS relevant on shot blocking alone, unless they are positioned against a high shot volume team and come at a reasonable price tag. It is worth considering a high floor from reliable shooters and/or blockers when looking for value if you’re stacking two expensive lines, especially in cash games. While it’s not uncommon to see rosters where people have two depth defenders squeezed into their lineup due to salary constraints, know that you’ll typically need at least another goal from your forwards to compensate for the backend unless they happen to get a lucky bounce. There are only around forty defensemen capable of regularly generating at a half point per game every season. With so few of these players available any given night, their salaries are typically higher than a forward with a similar point pace. The most prolific point producers are often unattainable for this reason. If an inexpensive defenseman finds his way onto the first powerplay unit, you can guarantee he will see high ownership. It’s almost always recommended to upgrade your defensemen if your salary allows. Goaltenders More important than any other statistic is whether or not your goalie is starting, so make sure to confirm that before puck drop. Daily Faceoff is the defacto place to verify the starting goaltender for each team. It’s not infallible, but it’s the best resource available without refreshing Twitter constantly for updates. While it’s rare this will haunt you, it’s important to note that the win is only attributed to the goalie that’s on the ice when the deciding goal is scored, and that’s not necessarily who’s in the net at the end of the game. This is especially pertinent if you’re considering playing preseason games, where there’s often split duty between two prospects. Even the worst goaltender is going to take up a sizeable chunk of your salary cap. However, unless they’re pulled from the game, even a losing goalie at least generally has some positive impact on your overall score. On the flipside, a winning goaltender can easily be your MVP every night. That’s a lot of pressure on picking the right player in this position, and therefore it’s often the hardest. Without consideration for quality of opponent, even the best goaltender on the first seeded team has generally won less than 70% of their games that season. Picking a winning team is already a gamble, let alone the challenge of picking a winner that also faces a lot of shots without giving up goals. Because of this, I don’t really have a strong inclination to any particular strategy here. Some nights I’ll single out a small handful of goalies I think will perform well and either correlate them with my stacks or disperse them based on their salaries. If I’m only targeting a few lines that night, maybe I’ll run the same stacks with several goaltenders and hope to see them all dispersed in the top fifty. Other times I’ll ride the same goaltender for every lineup in a boom or bust scenario. In any case, I would seriously caution against being contrarian here without knowing there’s high upside (the goaltender is cheapest on the slate and at least has a chance of winning, say). Recent/Historical Performance I’m not going to lie, I use DailyFantasyNerd to compare shooting and scoring trends amongst players, and I’m always dialled in to the hot hands as much as anyone. However, I feel like people might put too much weight on recent performance and too little on historical data and sustainability. There’s no question that sometimes players just go on hot or cold streaks, and betting on a player who’s in a slump to miraculously break it that night is equal parts realistic and gambler’s fallacy, as much as banking on the hot hand continuing his run would be. If you’re willing to do further digging, it’s worth taking into account whether a player is seeing a change in deployment or ice time. Consider whether they’re shooting more or less and what percentage of those shots are converting. Also note the quality of competition in the previous games. If you’re not doing any additional research whatsoever, just know these stats are usually shown as an average over the last five games and can be heavily skewed by one good or bad game, or even an injury. If I only have time for minimal research any given night, without fail I am checking ShrpSports and CBC Sports for the team matchup history. Providing other factors align, I will often trust historical data and narrative games over a lot of other metrics. Now, I’m often criticised for putting weight on either of these things whatsoever, but I’ll still argue that it’s foolish to ignore it. Obviously rosters change from season to season, and sometimes very dramatically. You should definitely take offseason changes into account. However, there are some teams or specific players that consistently (and often unexpectedly) have another team’s number, and rivalries are sure to bring out the best of both teams despite what fancy stats and standings indicate. Because of this, I tend to look at the outcome of the previous two season’s play and include any games played this season, with a greater weight put on teams that matchup more frequently. Especially if there is a team that shouldn’t be victorious that’s been on a relatively consistent win streak versus their opponent, I’m making a note of the upside from their upset potential, both to avoid picking the opposing goaltender and to consider linestacks that might otherwise be overlooked. I generally ignore playoff performances though because the stakes are higher and roles tend to be different. It also might seem silly to place any weight on things like personal milestones, birthdays or playing against your former team, but hockey players are human, and more often than not people step up to prove something to themselves or others, or help their teammates achieve personal goals. Advanced Stats I’ll consider advanced stats for our purposes as anything that isn’t already tracked for DFS points that might actually affect them. So, standard stats would be shots, goals, assists and blocks, and advanced stats would be metrics that affect that. Not all good hockey players are fantasy relevant, and therefore many advanced stats aren’t a good predictor of DFS production. I will say that advanced stats strongly suggested that Tampa Bay were not nearly as good as their record suggested headed into the playoffs. Either way, it’s worth understanding these terms as they’re becoming part of the narrative, and while player and puck tracking will soon be the norm, you can garner a slight edge over the competition with a bit of manual work if you’re so inclined. In any case, none of these stats should be considered in a vacuum, and hockey isn’t a science in that you’ll accurately predict an outcome via advanced stats alone, so don’t go crazy looking for a pattern that probably isn’t there. You can find all these stats (and much more) listed below at Corsica Hockey and Natural Stat Trick. Shooting Percentage Shooting percentage is predictive of whether on a player’s ice performance is sustainable. It’s most useful as a comparison to league and individual averages weighed against current performance to determine whether it’s an outlier. Simply, whether a player is slumping or over-performing. Scoring Chances These are shots taken where goals are likely to be scored, weighed based on where on the ice they’re taken from. It’s fallible, but it’s one of the strongest predictors currently available. If a player has a high shooting percentage but is also taking high danger shots, it stands to reason why they’re converting into goals. It’s worth noting when a line is generating high danger scoring opportunities without producing, as they’ll likely fly under the radar in the meantime. Expected Goals FoAgainst (xGF/xGA) Expected goals is a measurement of unblocked shots that register on net in the offensive zone. xGF/xGA doesn’t have a strong correlation with actual goals scored, which seems easily explained because it doesn’t take into account individual talent or scoring probability. While there’s a chance any puck thrown toward the net could lead to a goal, without taking into account the shot quality or where it’s generated from, I don’t place much weight on this personally. Expected Save Percentage (xSv%) This stat takes into account shot quality (though not shooter quality) and quantity and ranks the goaltender against the league average performance. Again, this isn’t necessarily a fair indicator of how well the goaltender performed. It is worth considering for how well the team’s defense has played in front of him though, so it can be used in conjunction with other stats when picking a goalie for the win and save upside. Corsi and Fenwick Corsi is likely the most recognizable name in advanced stats. This was devised to account for goaltender workload and adjusts for every time they have to be in position to make a save, so it takes into account shot attempts that are blocked or go wide of the net. It’s sister stat, Fenwick, is identical, aside excluding blocked shots. >50% Corsi/Fenwick indicates more shots on net than against. Neither take into account shot quality. Therefore, rather than using positive metrics to determine whether a team will score, I consider this a determining factor for diminishing the opposition from scoring, as they’ll possess the puck less often. This is especially worth considering for linematching. Note that Corsi/Fenwick will be influenced by zone starts. A player that gets more faceoffs in the offensive zone is more likely to put pucks on net than they are to have shots against theirs, and vice versa. A player that has negative percentage and >50% offensive zone starts represents poor ice performance. PDO/SPSV% This statistic is nothing more than shooting percentage added to the save percentage. Since this will always total 100% league-wide, variance higher than 100 supposedly indicates luck, or that a team is not as good as they seem, and anything lower indicates they may be better than they appear. Though this stat supposedly measures luck it can also indicate a significant skill gap (Kucherov and Matthews are dominant in this category). A line generating many high danger scoring chances without conversion should have a low PDO that regresses to the mean. There are more advanced stats available than these, as well as derivatives of each, though I think this is enough of an overview for daily fantasy purposes. If there’s something you’ve found to be useful though, feel free to drop it in the comments. Lineup Construction Now that you have narrowed down your chosen lines based on which teams you want to target and have a handful of goaltenders and defensemen/utility players selected, you’re ready to construct your lineups. This will likely be a very individual process based on system comfortability and how many entries you’re submitting. The default will be simply to load the corresponding app or website and do everything entirely on your device or browser, if not supplementing with pen and paper. Perfectly acceptable. However, this would be both cumbersome and time consuming for MME, so there’s also a bulk upload option available with .csv spreadsheets. This might be the approach you take if you’re using an optimizer too. Optimizers Free optimizers are basically designed to squeeze out every dollar per average point production or projection, which is very much not what I prefer to build my lineups on. Though there are better options if you’re willing to shell out some money, I don’t play enough volume to warrant a subscription and prefer a more hands-on approach anyway. I would highly recommend checking out Linestar though. I am not affiliated with them in any way, but they seem under-recognized in the market and are easily the best optimizer available for hockey in my opinion, utilizing a lot of the criteria I’ve mentioned here, including historical data, stacking and advanced stats, etc. which many other optimizers omit. There’s also an option for a brief trial based on ad views. Line Stacker I personally use a custom line stacker that I hobbled together with spreadsheets and the downloadable .csv files from Draftkings and Fanduel. You can access it here along with the basic instructions for how it works. Someone always comes along and messes it up somehow, so I would recommend downloading it to your desktop and using Excel to play around with it. Late Night Swaps Rosters lock when the first game of the night is slated to begin. If there are games on your slate starting later than that, keep in mind that changes can and do happen. Check for last minute line changes or which goaltender takes the ice even if things seemed certain at the morning skate. The worst thing that can happen is watching your first place entry plummet because it was a late reveal that someone has the flu and isn’t on the bench. Additional Resources Breadispain’s FREE Fanduel and Draftkings Line Stacker v1.1: My own hobbled together line-stacking tool for up to 24 lines. I don't know of a similar tool available right now and I find it handier than an optimizer. There’s also a rudimentary salary comparison tool between Draftkings and Fanduel implemented if that interests you. ShrpSports: See how well teams have performed against each other historically. CBC Sports: maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, but I think the CBC does the best overview of the slate with easy access to the latest game data. Daily Faceoff: Your best source for lineups, injury news and starting goaltender information. Daily Fantasy Nerd: I use this daily for an overview of who’s hot/cold in the last five games for shots on goal, ice time and points, though it’s worth making a deeper dive to see whether those points came from a single outlier game. Corsica Hockey and Natural Stat Trick: I use both of these sites for advanced stats, and occasionally the latter for line-matching data and post-game analysis. Linestar: Linestar comes closest to developing a DFS tool that actually correlates with how I build my lineups. They offer everything from analysis on value plays, recent performance in varying metrics, historical data vs opponent, change in salary, salary disparity between platforms, and much more. Results DB: see the best and optimal lineups from previous nights and who came out ahead. Awesemo, Rotogrinders and DFS Army: Since these are the more popular sites, I tend to review their postings and livestreams when time permits on the big slates for anything I might’ve overlooked and to get a better idea of where other people might be targeting. I personally place more weight on boggslite and Homercles, for whatever that’s worth to you. Summary It’s my opinion that Vegas odds and expert predictions should be used as a guide for chalk more than what you should target. It won’t take research to determine that good players with ideal linemates against weak opponents are more likely to score. Don’t ignore narrative games and historical performances. Advanced stats can be both helpful and distracting. Ideally you’ll always stack two or more players who are correlated on the powerplay with one or both of your defensemen, on teams with high GF/G and/or PP%, against teams with low CF% and/or a goaltender with high GAA, ideally with a low PK%. Consider whether these players have been under or overperforming and have any chemistry together. Players who shoot more often increase their point floor and probability to score. It’s advantageous to be on home ice for linematching but it’s rarely a dealbreaker. Round this out with a goaltender with a high expected SA/G and low GAA that fits within your salary constraints. Alternatively, build from the goaltender out or just hamfist whomever works. And that’s always easier said than done. Best of luck.
This is going to be a long read, but I hope people can relate to some of the frustrations and have additional suggestions to keep the conversation going. Trying not to focus on gameplay or tuners...a lot of varying opinions there. Quick background...NHL is really the only game I play. Last year I also bought Madden on sale around Xmas to see what the hype was about and then again this year. I played some MUT before NHL was released and then switched all efforts over to HUT. I made this post last season about my eyes being opened to the incredible amount of content offered in MUT, which I'll allude to often below when looking for ways to improve the game. I know other ultimate team games (ie. Non-EA:The Show or EA:FIFA) have features I am not privy to and would love to hear about them.
The Attempted Fix NHL 18
I think most people on here are on the same page that NHL 18 did not go well from a market perspective. The most casual of players enjoyed it because they were able to pick up cards for very cheap...play a couple solo challenges and you could pick up Ice Stamkos and Kucherov. Many people, including myself, were left with very little to do as end-game teams were available very early on due to the number of players and card types hitting 99 early on in the year. What contributed to it?
Solo challenge sliders with tradeable rewards
Weekly PT/TOTW/Evo/Flashback challenges with tradeable collectibles.
ICE set which boosted multiple card overalls
Very good HC rewards (Evo choice packs and ultimate packs)
Very good syn cards day one (ie. 3x TW bronze goalie)
Attempted Market Fix in 19:
Lowering initial player ratings even more
Lowering gold common/rare pack pulls
Removal of good solo challenge rewards
Removal of daily/weekly solos to obtain PT/TOTW/Flashback/Evo collectibles
Removal of Flashbacks
Introduction of monthly upgrade limit of +2 overall
Increasing required Milestone card award levels
Limiting Prime Time releases
Near removal of upgradeable (Evo/Movember) cards
Removing "good" synergy cards
Long story short, IMO, that is a huge list and EA went too far. In an attempt to stabilize the market, which it definitely has, the game has become boring with very little to do or things to cheer for. Let's go into some details below. First off, credit where credit is due. Bravo on:
Milestones - Longer term or "grindable" goals withe great rewards. A+
Monthly Rewards - Very solid rewards for people who are active with minimal effort needed.
Community Manager - 100x better than last year. theflopfish, and more recently ShadowXJ , have been communicative and receptive to feedback.
Events and Content Release to Date
Evolution Set - No complaints on the set construct besides it being one and done. Choice packs at different levels is a nice way to do it. The solo challenges around it were just brutal. Tedious star requirements to pull two random jersey cards? Boo. The "release of additional Evo cards after receiving feedback" via packs only over 24 hours is not a great solution. Evo Burns is already a ghost on the AH. Halloween - The best set released yet. Solid Big Buff MSP card. The only odd part was the required specific gold rare or gold common player for the team builder set. Why randomly pick one player like that to allow people to login at 5:01 and price lock? At least make the team builder set "X amount of gold common or silver rare players"...not one specific gold common. That just gets price locked as well. Digital 6 - This is where I start to question if person creating these sets ever takes a look at the current market. Again randomly requiring a gold rare card...although that was moot point for this set as everyone collecting the Rask, Kadri, etc. cards dumped as soon as the details were released and flooded the supply. Gold collectibles are already rare with people building alumni sets. It seems odd to have 5 required for what is more or less a rookie/intermediate level set with 86 cards. Ditto on the solo challenges...Superstar is absolutely infuriating to play against. No MSP card either? Hard pass. Weekend Alumni Releases - Underwhelming may be the best summary here. Mostly low rated cards, an abundance of high goalies, and available only in packs. $100/500k - Controversial, but this has been the only good pack release of the year. There was definitely some sticker shock at the $100 price tag. Look at the price fo these guys now...whether you bought the pack or not, it ended up releasing an almost perfect amount to the market. Selanne, Leetch, etc. are always available and have maintained the value, even increasing slightly. The more recent "available in any pack" Forsberg, Pronger, and Potvin release that everyone asked for? Be careful what you wish for...I bet people ripped hundreds of dollars worth of packs and have nothing to show for it. They are extremely rare to find on the AH and 99.9% of people will never have that elusive Forsberg on their team without a re-release. Bring these packs back.
Event Objectives - We are about to hit the two month mark of NHL 19 next week. There has been exactly ONE set of event objectives for ONE collectible. ??? Draft Champs - Completely neglected game mode. A single set of trading in 5 loan players for an 82. The only time I have seen people in there was trying to get a sneak preview of new cards and then forfeiting the draft. Brutal. Mimic Madden and make it X amount to enter and actually have good pack/coin rewards. Comp Seasons vs Hut Champs - Too similar using the same scoring system. Why not mimic the MUT Weekend League Rewards for Hut Champs? Just total win count will get you to different reward tier levels with a max of 25 games. Go down a few goals early? No stress, quit and start the next game. Playoffs - RIP? Gold/SilveBronze Collectible Use - It is very odd to me that there are only two sets to currently use gold collectibles in. The first being the alumni upgrades, which one would never do unless you are in the 1% building a 99 MSP (others would just buy the upgraded player). The second is the oddly designed Digital 6 set discussed early. I would venture to guess a majority of the people, including myself, just build the collectibles and auction right away. MUT has a number of year long and often updated sets, including one of the HUT fan favorites, to use your collectibles in: Flashback Sets. MUT "Series" Releases - Large content drops to keep the game fresh...Example being Series 3 released Nov. 2. What did this include?
100 New Solo Challenges with a 91 OVR reward.
Multiple set updates to keep them relevant to current cards levels. ie. 50 trophies for a 89-91 overall player.
One month objective list that rewards a Legend pack.
Solo Challenges - Where are they? Browsing the sub, there are a number of people who want to participate in HUT, but not play online. There is very little for them to do. Look at the available solos in MUT right now...that is 934 to be exact. And most are fun too...some full games, but most situational challenges...ie. "you are up by 4 with 30 seconds to do and Tom Brady on the 2 yard line...shut down the Pats to win this solo". I know situation challenges are not possible in 19 per flop, but it should be near the top of the list for NHL 20. In the meantime, I think I speak for all when I say these four solo challenge items are terrible:
Superstar Level - I am a D1 player with a pretty good record...I HATE playing the AI at this level...I can't imagine what newer players think. The tic-tac-toe passes they make are not possible using normal controller input.
Untracked Stats - Looking at you blocked shots and breakaway goals. Doing a challenge while blind is no fun.
Faceoff % - Can win 80% of face-offs against humans but under 50% on pro and up. Just not enjoyable.
PP Goals - Maybe this one is already gone? Have not played solos in a while. Ragging around trying to get the AI to take a penalty is just tedious.
Team of the Week - Branching off of the solo challenge section above...let's compare how HUT and MUT treat TOTW: HUT
Cards are released and you have a small chance of pulling in packs.
Cards are release and you have a small chance of pulling packs.
Two solos are released where you obtain a random TOTW player and a TOTW collectible.
Hang on to the TOTW collectibles for a free TOTY set trade-in player.
Keeping the Game Linked to the NHL
MovembeEvo - Most of the people playing here are big hockey fans in real life as well. Take a look at the weekly sub posts for NHL 16/17/18 during Movember (and Evo) and then continuing throughout the rest of the NHL season. A ton of people discussing upcoming milestones, investment potential, who is playing with who and who is playing well (Guentzel on Crosby line...must buy guys). People were monitoring games each night and reporting back on potential POTG thresholds or injuries. It was really fun. Look at the price of the Evo cards...they are so much higher than they should be considering the single synergy and max 2+ upgrade per month. What does that tell you? People want their Movember and Evo cards. Hitting refresh right at 5pm and seeing three of my starters get TOTW? Sweet! MUT Predictor - Not sure if it has been in MUT yet this year, but last year there were weekly solos where you earned tokens to participate in an NFL pickem game that weekend. Based on how many you get right, you would earn coins/players/packs and the rewards increased throughout the year. How fun would it be to play some solos during the week to get tokens and then pick the following examples before a full Saturday slate of games:
Will Patrick Kane record two or more points?
Will the Sabres beat the Flames?
Will Holtby record 30 or more saves?
Will the Stars have over 10 penalty minutes?
"Temperature Cards" - AndrasteX Think MovembeEVO's are too OP? Create a card type that can go up AND down based on how said player is performing.
Amend the +2 Overall Per Month - _endlessmike had it written out somewhere but I can't find it. Some really good lower overall players will never be relative for a majority of the year with a +2 upgrade (ie. Pettersson). There are better ways to slow the average overall explosion like Ovi last year. Bring Team Collections Back - Over the years, the "team collection" morphed from 1) collect all items of a team to receive reward packs 2) collect subset of team + collectibles to receive legend 3) alum card + collectibles for upgraded alum/legend. The "team collection" portion is completely gone and was a fun longer term goal reminiscent of collection physical hockey cards back in the day. Diversify the Game Changers - Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe a majority of the game changers are YouTube and Twitch streamers. Understand that they are great from a marketing perspective; ie they get free points -> open packs on their videos -> people watch videos -> people buy packs. Win/win for both. However, sometimes I wonder if they are as passionate about the game as a bunch of the Reddit, Discord, etc. guys are. Sometimes have a major smh moment when they open packs on a stream and the don't know what the collectibles are for....eh. Don't get me wrong, a lot of those guys are great, it just seems to be a very limited perspective. If you made it to the end, thanks for reading. Long story short, I love this game and love all of you guys. Definitely my favorite hobby and just want to Make HUT Great Again. Cheers.
"If we don't get Dahlin, what do we do?" - my informative deep dive on the 2018 Draft
This is it everyone. This is the post I've been working for months. I know there's a TON of stuff here, so if you don't feel like reading it all I can totally respect that. Maybe you just want to go off and read my content, that's okay too. Go ahead and click here. In fact, in case you missed it, I have everything tagged on there. So let's say you want to know about picks in a range, you can search 1-5, 5-10, 10-20, etc... until you hit 50+. You can sort by nationality, league, position, and team name as well. If you feel so inclined to hear my opinions on other things, you can follow me on twitter. For anyone who is sticking around and reading, thanks for joining, I hope you enjoy. About 4 months ago, there was a post on this sub entitled, "Let's be real and assume we're not getting Dahlin." This topic was really what pushed me over the edge to make content for you guys. My end goal is to become an NHL GM through being a scout, but I've got a long way to go until then. In the interim, I figured I'd take my interest in scouting, develop my own profiles aimed at more casual fans who want to know what these guys can do, and hit the ground running. Even if I never spend a day working for an NHL team, I am so happy to be doing this. It's much more than just a hobby or a passion at this point. So this, in a way, is the first of many gifts I want to give back to this community. You're the reason I'm here, doing what I love. I can't thank you enough. Without any more gushing, here's the players that I feel are relevant to the Detroit Red Wings draft board. There's going to be a lot more, but those will be available on my website. Anyway, let's get down to business, shall we? First, let's make it clear where we will be selecting. We can select anywhere in the top 3 as well as 5th-8th with our own 1st round selection. Our late 1st rounder, from Vegas, is predicated on their playoff performance, but we can guarantee the lowest they can possibly select is 27th and caps out at 31st should they win the Stanley Cup. Along with Ottawa's 2nd rounder (acquired from New York last year for Brendan Smith) which is 33rd overall and our own 2nd rounder at 36, there's a lot of room for us to move and make selections, or just keep what we have and end up with 4 selections in the top 40. Our draft board is predicated on two things, 1 being our team needs and 2 being the players this draft class offers. An example would be the increased likelihood of drafting a defenseman higher in this draft because we have both a strong defensive class at the high end to go along with our need, while it's unlikely to see a goalie picked at all in this draft before the 3rd round because of how weak the class is at that position. Sound fair? This is what I believe our draft board will look like for our first section of picks.
First off, you'll note that I directly left off Brady Tkachuk. I argued with myself about adding him in somewhere for continuity, but the fact is there's no reason for us to draft him. He's not good enough to be taken in the top 3, doesn't fit our needs, plays a role/position that we don't need right now (especially with Rasmussen taken last year, Bertuzzi's play this year, and Mantha shifting his game), but he does fit the needs of teams selecting ahead of us. Montreal, Buffalo, Arizona, and Ottawa all rate him highly and there's a gigantic shift in the coming months, I don't see any reason he falls to us without there being an explicitly better option on the table. I think it is fair to say that should we not get Dahlin, but we do get the 2nd or 3rd overall selection, we will likely pick one of these two forwards. Some argue that even Svechnikov doesn't fit our needs going forward, and I agree, but I think his talent is worth building around if that's the route we're taking. Zadina is better as a 2 way forward and he's an amazing talent, but I think if this was the selection for us, our best bet would be to trade down or take someone else to maximize our opportunity here. Yes these are great players, but we don't need the offensive skill that badly to the point that it's better than selecting one of these elite defensemen in the top 10 and using our multitude of later picks to focus on restocking our shelves at forward. From 4-8, it's all defensemen, and for good reason. These guys are all spectacular in their own right. It's a matter of picking your favorite. However, I'll try to explain why I think Hughes and Bouchard should be higher rated than the other two. As I mentioned in a thread earlier today (or technically yesterday), the size argument is a moot point to me. We have a need for a number 1 defenseman and most of these guys here bring that to the table. Boqvist has the highest potential and is between and inch or two from Hughes, but no one is concerned with his size. The concern with him is despite being one of the youngest in this draft class, he's yet to post points in the SHL or Allsvenskan (Swedish league 2). For a guy who is hugely offensively focused, that scares the shit out of me. If I'm picking someone this high up, I want as close to a guarantee as possible, and Boqvist isn't it. Hughes, however, has performed against men in the NCAA, leading the Wolverines to a Frozen Four appearance as a freshman. He was off to a slow start in terms of goal production, but he turned that around too as he got used to playing big minutes and running the Michigan power play. And that's all without touching his best asset, his skates. This kid is the best skater in the entire draft and it's not close. In a league that is seeing defensemen get smaller, skating becoming the main focus, and our desperate need for a defenseman who generates offense, Hughes is the guy. And again, about the size issue, if you think we have too many small guys as is, between Hicketts, Saarijarvi, and Hronek, I'm telling you this right now, those guys won't be around if Hughes continues being this good. Hughes is a talent that you make room for, not pass over in favor of guys you have who are similar but worse. As much as I love those guys, again, it's not close. You pick the better guy here. Bouchard is the guy I take 2nd of the 4 because if Hughes is everything you want in a defenseman for the future of the NHL, Bouchard is everything the Wings organization has wanted since Lidstrom left. He has size, elite potential (although, not quite as high as Hughes or Boqvist), and leadership qualities at a young age. He's a well composed young man who, oh yeah, has basically been the only good defenseman the London Knights had all season. He plays so many minutes per game that it's no wonder everyone loves him and he dominates the box score. He had 87 points in 67 games this year. That's nothing to gloss over. Again, I'm not mad with either Bouchard or Hughes, but my preference is on Hughes. He has more talent out the gate, is more likely to contribute right away, and a higher potential with a skillset that we know translates to the NHL. Bouchard, for all his positives, has never played higher than the OHL and we can't get that same guarantee that we can with Hughes. Dobson, as I mentioned, is the poor man's Bouchard. He will take more time to develop and doesn't have the same high end ability, but he's a damn good consolation prize. Another year in the Q, then a year in the AHL would be what I expect for a guy like him. Either way, he's a really good defenseman that will look to make a splash. Next is Wahlstrom and Veleno, who I have at 9. Frankly, I think Veleno is a top 5 talent who struggled to meet expectations, but he's better than Wall-E. If we somehow end up in the worst time frame where we can't get any of our defensemen, which is damn near impossible, then yeah, give me one of these guys. Should we end up with one, that means we're trading into the top 20 to pick a defenseman. Ty Smith comes last just by happenstance. He's got the lowest ceiling of any defenseman in the top 10, but still offers a lot to the table. In another draft year, that 7 point performance against Spokane makes him a lock for a top 5 selection. So... if that's the top 10, what's next? Let's split this into two parts. If we take a defenseman, who do we look at with our next 3 selections and then if we take a forward, what do we do? First, let's assume a defenseman is taken. Whether it's Dahlin, Hughes, Bouchard, or whomever, we got what we came here for. That leaves us with two options: trade up for a top 20 selection to get another big impact player or just take who we want. If we're trading up, that likely involves us moving to one of the Islanders picks (the have 2 between 10 and 15, unless they get a magic ping pong ball), Philly at 14, 15, or 19 (they have the Blues 1st), the Bruins pick that was sent to the Rangers (could be around 20, should they not make it to the 2nd round), Ottawa at 22, or Minnesota at 24. While it's unlikely, there's definitely options in this area. If we really pay up, or Veleno slips, we could make a huge, un-Holland-like move to get him around the 10-15 mark, but I have trouble believing he will go past Carolina. They need a top center and whether you think so or not, the team feels Larkin is that guy as a true number 1, a la Patrice Bergeron. With Rasmussen in the AHL, I don't see us making a jump that high for Veleno unless we smell blood in the water and we can get him on the cheap. Another, more likely option from 15-25 would be Akil Thomas. He's an incredibly talented center who is, by my estimation, a top 10 talent that isn't getting recognition. If we're focusing on the wings, the two in this same 10-20, 15-25 range would be Grigori Denisenko and Serron Noel. Noel is a power forward with a knack for scoring goals, but doesn't have the speed you'd want in the NHL. Denisenko is a god tier talent offensively that dominates the Russian 2nd league (MHL)... except that he has no points. If he was lighting up Russia, with the tape he produces, he's an easy top 10 selection. Both are good, but again it comes to how far can they fall and how much would we be willing to give up? There's others like Hayton, Lundestrom, Kupari, Kotkaniemi, and Farabee in the teens range, but I don't see them as targets for Detroit. Should we keep our selections and need forwards, I'd focus on Kurashev, Kravtsov, McBain, and Bokk. Kurashev is my personal favorite, while I would be more cautious with McBain (who is known to take nights off) and Kravtsov (who is incredibly talented, but may not come over from Russia any time soon). Now let's flip the script and say we need defense. Should we trade up, you're looking at Bode Wilde, Ty Smith, Jared McIsaac, and the almighty divider, Ryan Merkley. All of these would be good guys to have, but either don't have that elite ceiling or aren't terribly flashy. Well, besides Merkley. That kid might actually be a psychopath, but I'll be damned if he doesn't have a top 5 skill set on him. That's part of what makes him so divisive, because there's a very good chance that he entirely falls out of the 1st round due to his off ice issues. If he's going to make it work anywhere, it would be Detroit. Don't even get me started if we manage to right the ship and make him into the star he knows he can become, but that's a whole other topic for discussion. Should we keep our picks and want a defenseman, because Ken Holland has more picks in the top 40 this year than he had at all between 2000 and 2005 and feels like treating himself, we can add a defensive defenseman like Jett Woo or Mattias Samuelsson to the mix. Perhaps he wants a more offensively talented guy (this is where you'll want to use the Hronek, Hicketts, Saarijarvi argument guys), he can send a parrot up to the announcer's mic with the names of Ryan Merkley, K'Andre Miller, or Rasmus Sandin. There's a ton of good options on the table for us and I feel like this is the year that we really, truly, restock the cupboards. Even if we manage to trade and walk out with something like Hughes, Noel, and Woo, that would be an incredible haul for us going forward.
Flames Sub, Today, I am covering two things. I want to talk about NHLe, which many of you have probably heard about, and why it is an interesting stat for an internet scout that can give you some extra information without too much work. Then, I want to talk about Ethan Keppen. Without further ado:
NHL Equivalency Values?
NHL Equivalency Values, or NHLe for short, are the result of a pretty tidy equation designed by Gabriel Desjardins (if you're interested, his site is still online: feel free to read the original work yourself) -- one of the OG analytics bloggers -- back in 2004 to answer this question: how can we project a player's stats to the NHL? In the intervening time, NHLe has been improved and refined by countless people, NHLe difficulty factors are updated semi-regularly by internet people (Rob Vollman occasionally releases updates on his twitter), and there's even an online calculator now. Finding a player's NHLe requires three numbers: the player's points and games played in their current league, and that league's difficulty factor -- a ratio (so, between 0-1) of how hard it is to get one point in that league compared to the NHL (the difficulty factor of the NHL is 1). To discover this difficulty factor, someone with a calculator takes every player who ever made the NHL from the league you care about, and then divides their points per game in the NHL by their points per game in the other league to come up with the average. This average then suggests how much a point is worth in the other league, compared to an NHL point. As an example, the difficulty factor for the OHL is 0.304, so scoring one point in the OHL suggests that player can score 0.304 points in the NHL (in the same number of games). A player who scores 62 points in 62 games in the OHL is predicted to score about 25 points in 82 NHL games, and it is common to say that his NHLe is 25. Alright, so NHLe is some math stuff. Why do we care? The reason we should care about NHLe is because points are one of the easiest things for internet scouts to get their hands on, but also because players who hit high NHLe in their younger years are statistically more likely to score more in the NHL. That article by NHLe pro Byron Bader (who I believe is working with a team for the draft this year, so his work also may not be long for this world) is long and dense, so here's the money quote:
Over 90% of players (62 of 69 players) that went on to be impact point producers had recorded a 30+ NHLe at least once, before turning pro.
A quick note here: impact point producers are defined as players with a career PPG of 0.6 or higher in the NHL. A 30+ NHLe in your draft year is very, very good: in the OHL this year the only person who did it was Arthur Kaliyev (102 points in 67 games for a 38.8NHLe), and if the Flames draft him at 26 I'll be overjoyed. However, this means that often you need to draft guys who are below 30 NHLe and hope they improve into stars... but that doesn't mean we're wasting our time:
78% of all IPPs [above 0.6 NHL points/game] and 62% of all APPs [0.4-0.59 NHL points/game] had an equivalencyof at least 20 in their draft year. Conversely, 40% of all RPPs [0-0.39 NHL points/game] and only 27% of all BUSTS [players who did not make the NHL] had an equivalency of at least 20 in their draft year.
So, draft players who score in lower leagues, you'll get players who score in upper leagues. Great, thanks for the analysis. But this is actually a pretty strong result -- you can't say anything in particular about a player with an NHLe of 25, but you can say that players with compareable production were more likely to make it to the NHL, and in a league where hitting on 2 picks in a 7 pick draft is considered a success, improving your odds can't be a bad thing. Use NHLe as a baseline to guide your further research, and save yourself some time by avoiding the guys who aren't good in junior (especially for forwards where points are basically a measurement of success). So, with my introduction to NHLe done, let's talk about Ethan Keppen -- who did hit 20NHLe in his draft year, and is likely to improve on that number going forward.
CSS Ranking: 74th North American skater Ethan Keppen played with the Flint Firebirds this year, which is most easily described as a terrible team: they allowed 43 more goals than any other OHL team, had a goal differential of -138, and finished with 38 points in a league where the cut-off to make the playoffs was 60 (somehow they still finished 8 points ahead of the Kingston Frontenacs though). On this dumpster fire of a team, Ethan Keppen scored 59 points in 68 games (21.1 NHLe) -- good for 6th among draft eligible U18 players in the OHL. 49 of those points were at 5v5 (3rd among draft eligibles behind only Philip Tomasino and Arthur Kaliyev), and 42 of those 5v5 points were either goals or primary assists (4th behind those two guys and Connor McMichael) -- among draft eligibles, only Connor McMichael had a higher percentage of primary points scored this year (i.e. Keppen probably scores more points if more of his teammates can make a pass). Keppen was one of only 5 draft eligible U18 OHLers to score 30 goals (behind those same three guys and tied with Blake Murray), and in the same group he took the third most shots, and had the second most high danger shots. Flint ran through Ethan Keppen and linemate Ty Dellandrea, and basically no one else was worth mentioning. Keppen is a true power forward -- he crashes and bangs, all game long, at every point of the ice. When he's playing his game, he fights for every rebound and loose puck, drives the crease all the time, and forces defenders into bad spots on the forecheck. He thrives below the hashmarks, is always willing to make or take a hit to finish the play, and treats every puck battle like it might decide the game -- his work ethic and compete level has been praised by basically every source I can find, and the general manager in Flint loves him. It's also worth mentioning that in interviews he claims that he's a defense-first player, and he was played in all situations for Flint this year (no one else was worth putting on the ice) and scout sources mostly liked his 200' game, though because of how bad Flint was the results aren't really there (though we also have a serious lack of stats for the CHL in general). When he's playing well, he's a wrecking ball that can't be separated from the puck and his play-style naturally creates tons of space for his team -- one of those players who can make his presence felt all over the ice and take over a game on the right night. His shot is a cannon (highlight package from 17-18) with an excellent release, and you can see from that highlight package that he can snipe -- which is the reason he's considered a goalscorer (despite having more primary 5v5 assists than any U18 draft eligible OHLer except McMichael!). His skating is a point of concern for most scouts -- his stride is powerful and he can accelerate well, which is good for play in tight or in the corners, but his technique certainly needs work to improve his top speed if he wants to be a good winger in transition at the higher levels and that will certainly determine whether he can make it -- in the modern NHL speed isn't going to become less important. This is the big question for Keppen. Keppen had great results this year on a terrible team, and statistically he's very close to players ranked in the late first round (McMichael and Tomasino) despite getting far less help all year -- if you're looking for break-out candidates, choosing someone on Flint to explode next season isn't a terrible bet. He's definitely got warts and that's what'll hold him out of the first round, but if you think the skating is a solvable issue, then you're taking a chance on an all-around dependable player with a good brain on top of a very good toolbox: a great recipe for finding the next David Perron/Alex Killorn type of middle six swiss-army-knife winger. If his skating doesn't improve enough he's probably AHL-bound, but he's got the kind of play-style that works nicely in any part of the NHL line-up and I wouldn't dismiss him in a possible depth role, so he's got a decent floor also. Previously: Bryce Brodzinski
Slate Overview Matchup | Back-to-Back | Points | Goals per Game Average, Expected Goals per Game, Shooting Percentage, Corsi for Percentage, Shots per Game Average | Goals Against per Game Average, Expected Goals Against per Game, Save Percentage, Corsi Against Percentage | Powerplay Percentage, Penalty Kill Percentage | Games Played Over Last 2 Seasons, Wins, Goals, Ceiling, Floor, Average | Vegas Odds | Win Percentage | Projection (WIP) | OveUnder Expectation Explanation of These Stats and General NHL DFS Primer MIN(b)@BOS: BOS1 could be a bold fade for me tonight, but I really don’t really see them going off here. The Wild are back-to-back on the road with Stalock in net though, so it might be worth a lineup or two if you can find a stack you like to make it work and are doing multi-entries tonight. [email protected]: Devils have won five of six. Reinhart and Eichel are out. I’m not sure I have enough faith in the Devils or Kinkaid to pull this off for a big win, but I guess they’re worth a look tonight if you need a value stack (NJD2) or just really like Palmieri or something. [email protected]: The Isles have won three straight and four of five here, but it’s hard to get excited about either side. That might put Lehner in play though, considering how often the Canes fire the puck and how great he’s been lately. I’d consider Greiss too, since he’s actually been on the ice for all those wins. [email protected]: Both sides of this are interesting to me. Though the Pens have won five of six, they’ve also given up 3+ in the last three and the Panthers really need to step it up if they have any chance of making the playoffs. The goals have been mostly concentrated to the top two lines as well, with Dadonov getting a hat trick and Crosby getting all the points. PHI(b)@WSH: I have no idea what happened to the Flyers this season, but back-to-back vs the Capitals at home is a terrifying matchup with the way they’ve been performing lately. They got shutout by a Blues AHL goalie last night, FFS. I don’t know if I’m actually going to pay up for the Caps or not, but I expect a lot of people will. The Flyers would definitely be a contrarian play tonight, in any case. MTL(b)@DET: I make some big bets on the Wild last night and it ended in a 1-0 game without any assists on the Granlund goal, which really cost me. There have been a lot of nights recently where I have a good read on the slate but decide to make my primary line one from a winning team in a low scoring game and end up one or two points away from cashing in all my lineups. Incredibly frustrating. Considering I expected a 5+ goal blowout again though, I’d like to think the Habs are playing better right now and will come into this game hungry. Weber’s uncertain after taking a puck to the face and Petry plays huge minutes to compensate.Weber likely to return. Mete was close behind last night and could offer some value as well. The Habs have scored 4+ in five straight vs the Red Wings and are basically my favorite pick of the night, if I can just figure out where the hell the goals are coming from. [email protected]: The Lightning have beat the Blue Jackets four games in a row and are quite obviously the hottest team in the league. They also outscored them 13-2 in the last two meetings. It’s not a stretch any night to say Kucherov’s line is in play, it doesn’t really matter who the opposition is. [email protected](b): The Stars have won three in a row after dropping five straight. I find it difficult to get a read on both these teams this season and I don’t feel like there’s anything that will burn you if you avoid this one. Pietrangelo and Heiskanen might offer some value as one offs, but even then I’m not that interested. [email protected]: The Jets have outscored the Avs 14-3 in the last three contests and Varlamov is still sitting out. WPG1 has been the line here and will get a bit of a discount with Ehlers out of the picture for a full line stack. Definitely worth considering Scheifele and Wheeler tonight. [email protected]: There’s not a lot of historical data to go on here, but the Rangers have been a terrible possession team this season and the Golden Knights have been solid. I don’t know if they’re a must play on such a large slate, but I wouldn’t sway anyone off them tonight, especially vs Georgiev. I can’t imagine VGK1 paying themselves off on Fanduel, especially being sans Smith. Hayes is out for the Rangers, which is basically the only player I’ve been eyeing up on that side of things. [email protected](b): Sharks have 3+ in seven of their last eight vs the Oilers. Those lines though. Karlsson is insanely cheap on Draftkings considering his production of late, if nothing else. FLA1, PIT1, WSH1, VGK2, WPG1, TBL2, MTL in general. Not really sure what’s going to be stackable here and there’s no affordable secondary stack that really stands out for me, save maybe depth scoring for the Habs or Sharks. Top GPP goalie: Lehner (Greiss?) or HoltbyCopley is starting, eww, though I think there’s an argument for Fleury, Hellebuyck, Kinkaid and/or Niemi Top cash goalie: Vasilevskiy probably, simply because the Lightning rarely lose. Contests: $20 Tuesday special on Draftkings if you’re feeling lucky, $4k Forecheck or $12 Knuckle Puck otherwise. I can’t remember the last time anything but the Breakaway for Fanduel was intriguing. I wish they’d bring back the Survivor games again. Trouble making your stacks work and hate using an optimizer? Try my custom Fanduel and Draftkings Line Stacker instead.
So hey, sorry for creating another discussion on the same topic, but it was to make it cleaner, I finished all the EVO cards, so here it goes ! Which EVO card I should acquire? How's that EVO card? Those are questions we see a lot, and I decided to create a little guide that could help you. In this guide, I will attribute a grade on 10. The higher the grade is, better the card is investment wise. I warn you, I'm pretty hard on cards that are higher than 350K. I can't see those card being good investment. They might me safe investment, but you invest a lot of your capital in one card when you could invest it in 2-3-4 cards with similar upsides. I evaluate the investment grade on the money you could get by re-selling the card AND on the potential of the card as a usable player on your squade. I will try to update the list once a week, but I won't update all the EVO. The updates will be written in bold. Because of that, some cards like Ovechkin or Guentzel might have the same description for months... and there is a reason for that. For the price of the cards, I'm using brianstormed Auction House Prices (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fMfRLGawWMxTBn4lznogNV08ko0W-xKzMTvlaXucjiA/edit#gid=1260050322), a pretty usefull tool if you don't already use it. I'm not an expert, I took bad decision in the past when it comes to EVO. You will probably disagree with a lot of things, don't hesitate to comment so we can have a discussion, I will try to help you the best I can. Also, I didn't bother doing the goaltender. The Vezina race for me is not clear and I'm an awful analyst for goaltenders... maybe later... but here's a tip: never spend too much money on a goaltender. LW - A. Ovechkin - 97OVR - 900K - 0/10 Ovechkin is already 97 of overall with most of his important stats maxed out. If you need his synergies, I could see why you would aquire him, but there is definitely better options out there. His informs are way cheaper and will give you a similar result. So even when he'll reach 99OVR, I don't see him getting that much better and I don't see his value increasing that much, meaning that from an investing point of view, at that price, it's not worth it. C - C. McDavid - 95OVR - 980K - 0/10 The poster boy will reach 99OVR eventually and he's already a beast of a card. But like Ovi, his auction house price is way too high to get a great return if you sell him back. If what you want is investing on a potential 99OVR player, he could be an option, but there is cheaper options out there, although more risky. In fact, for few 100k more, you could get Jagr or Iginla so... I would say to stay away from him. C - S. Crosby - 95OVR - 850K - 2/10 I could write almost the same thing I wrote for McDavid, the exception being he's a little bit cheaper. Also, because his stats are a little bit more well distributed, he's an all-around better player so he's potentially the best option for an 99OVR outside of Brodeur, Iginla and Jagr. And that's coming from a big hater of the guy. So I guess, if you're rich... it's okay to acquire him but again, very expensive, informs will always be cheaper. C - N. MacKinnon - 95OVR - 600k - 5/10 Nathan MacKinnon woke up and he's tearing everything up! If he continues like that, the potential of him getting 99OVR is real and make his card interesting for 600K. Personnaly, I still believe it's still too expensive, but at 600K, it's still and interesting investment. If he gets one more upgrade, I could see his value jump heavily and therefore, you could make a very interesting profit. If your plan is to keep the players, again, there is cheaper options out there. RD - E. Karlsson - 95OVR - 950K - 0/10 Karlsson will definitely be the best defenseman in the game, he's physicality being the only point where he won't be awsome, but still higher than average. 950k is too expensive though to make a profit when you re-sell and informs are way cheaper for a similar result. RW - N. Kucherov - 95OVR - 965K - 0/10 Kucherov already has most of his important stats maxed out. In fact, his 94 ICE card is already overpowered for a fraction of the price. And it goes without saying that 950k is too expensive to make any profit on re-selling the card. C - S. Stamkos - 94OVR - 730K - 0/10 Even if Stamkos is almost a lock for a team of the year and therefore, will probably be 99OVR, like Kucherov, most of his important stats are maxed out. In fact, his 94 ICE card is already overpowered for a fraction of the price. And opposed to MacKinnon situation, 730K is too expensive to make any significant profit on re-selling the card. LD - V. Hedman - 94OVR - 650K - 2/5 Hedman is a beast defensively and a very capable offensive defenseman if needed. EA loves him so far so I wouldn't be scared to bet money on his odds of making a team of the year. With his injury, his value dropped significantly so wait a week or two and buy when it's pretty low. Even by missing 6 weeks, I'm confident he'll have upgrades and he's already a fantastic player at 94. RW - P. Kane - 94OVR - 750K - 0/10 I know that I'm repeating myself, but 750K is too expensive to make any significant profit on re-selling the card. Informs will do. C - J. Tavares - 93OVR - 540K - 5/10 540K is expensive, but for a 93OVR player that has the potential to have a high OVR in a team of the year, it's almost cheap. He's on a good pace and if he continues like this, this card will be very interesting. The reason why this card is so cheap is probably due to Tavares' speed. 89 of speed and acceleration is pretty sad for a high end card. So if he reached a high overall, don't expect his card to be worth 1M, but I still beleive profit can be made out of this card. The problem is that the card is not that awsome and depending of your team, he will probably sit on your 3rd or 4th line for now, so it's still a lot of money for a bottom six center. LW - B. Marchand - 93OVR - 245K - 10/10 Don't waste your time reading this, just go on the auction house and buy one before it's too late. I can't understand why he's so cheap. I thought after jumping at 93OVR, his price would jump violently, but no... for now. It's only a question of time before is goes up so you'll be able to cash in. And if you simply want to have a good player, it works too. He's a well rounded player, a lock on a team of the year... no, really, Marchand is a no brainer at that price. LW - J. Gaudreau - 93OVR - 265K - 8/10 I was also suprised to see Gaudreau so low. I don't know what his price was months ago, my theory is that he slowed down a little bit as a player... but he's still a top scorer in the league and going at it recently. A player like Gaudreau can get a Prime Time card every game, you just never know. There's also potential for a team of the year. Of course, he's also a very good card, although he's very week and can be destroyed easily if you're not careful... but you can use that at your advantage. The reason why he's not a 10/10 is that he's not neceserly a lock for a team of the year and that his ICE card has most of his important stats maxed up so it's a cheap alternative if all you're looking for is a good winger. RW - B. Wheeler - 93OVR - 290K - 10/10 Again, a head scrather here. Like Marchand, jump on the auction house and buy him as soon as possible. You can get him for less than 300K and he's amongsts the point leaders right now, if he continues like this, I don't see him not getting a team of the year nod. The only explanations I have for his low price is the fact he didn't receive an inform since his ICE card and that his stats don't look that sexy. But Wheeler is a well-rounder player and everytime he'll upgrade, he'll become and even more complete player. Also, he's a huge guy, flawless defensively... again, if you have the money, it's a no brainer. C - M. Scheifele - 92OVR - 180K - 4/10 Interesting case here. Sheifele was a point-per-game player before his injury, which is good. But because of his injury, his price dramaticaly dropped. 180K for a 92 EVO card is pretty good. He's suppose to come back in February where he could rack some points but with Wheeler getting a team of the year nod and Ehlers potentially getting a young guns team of the year, I don't see Scheifeler increasing a lot. That being said, he could receive special cards during the playoffs and Prime Time is not out of question, after all, the price is cheap! But you will have to wait a lot. C - P. Bergeron - 92OVR - 500K - 7/10 Usually, I don't give 3s when the card is higher than 350K but in Bergeron's case, I'm happy to make an exception. He is a lock for the defensive team of the year. Also, his stats are well distributed which means that his advanced stats are juicy and makes him a well-rounder player. But even more importantly, he's a centerman with a killer faceoff rating. RD - D. Doughty - 92OVR - 650K - 5/10 Doughty is having a good season and his card is really good, so it explains the price. That being said, it's pretty expensive. Profit can be made out of this, but it's a lot of money. But if you want to keep him in your line-up, he's a beast, so it won't hurt you to be patient. RD - P.K. Subban - 92OVR - 350K - 9/10 He's not as a no brainer as Wheeler and Marchand, but he's pretty close. Subban is a popular player, if you don't act soon, his price will raise significantly. After a slow start, Subban is amongst the best pointer on the blue line. With his popularity, I could see him getting a nod for offensive team of the year. He's not the best defenseman, but his stats are well rounded so he has the potential to be unstoppable. If you have the money, I think it's a safe bet! RW - V. Tarasenko - 92OVR - 300K - 8/10 I love Tarasenko, I'm a huge Blues fan and this card is killer. He's on pace to have the best year of his career and he got a team of the year nod for less than that last year. The Blues have a hard time right now, so his productions is not as great, but it's still there. When Schwartz will be back though... I could see him being snobbed, but I believe. I'm biased though, him being my favourite player. C - Claude Giroux - 92OVR - 650K - 5/10 Claude is an amazing card. But his price is ridiculous. But like Bergeron, if you want to wait and get a stronge centerman at the dot, you won't be disapointed but you will pay the price. If investing is what you're looking for, it could be an interesting option, I see that card gaining value, but again, it's very expensive. RD - B. Burns - 92OVR - 370K - 7/10 Burns is roaring back, EA loves him, he's getting more informs now... this guy is going nowhere but up. The price is not too high. The only problem with Burns, is that his Master Collectible Player is so good, that I don't see using his EVO card until he reached 95-96OVR. Ok, I might be exagerating here, but that's how much good that card is. But, if what you're looking for is making a profit, I think it will pay off eventually. C - A. Kopitar - 92OVR - 270K - 6/10 Kopitar is having a killer year. This card is a cheaper version of Tavares and could see a similar increase in rate and price. But like Tavares, Kopitar is very slow and because of that, I could see him not gaining that much value. But at 270K, it's definitely worth it, I don't see him losing value anytime soon. But if you only have 350K to invest, Kopitar is not the first card I would work on. C - J. Eichel - 92OVR - 190K - 9/10 Eichel's card is money, litteraly and figuratively. Such a great card. He's so cheap, it's ridicoulus. Playing on the Sabres roster, his stats are suffering. But it's almost a miracle that he's almost a point-per-game player right now. I can't say I'm 100% sure he'll be on a team of the year roster, but he's young, so we never know. At that price, I don't see why you wouldn't take this tiny chance. Also, he's right handed... you never have enough of those. C - Tyler Seguin - 92OVR - 380K - 5/10 People might disagree, but I don't think we'll see many upgrades for Seguin in the future. He's having a good year though, so I'm probably wrong. His card is amazing though, but you can always use informs if needed. The price is definitely high for a card that I consider not having that much upside, but I must be the only one to think that so don't take my word for it. RD - J. Klingberg - 92OVR - 400K - 6/10 He just got out and he's pretty expensive. He's the best pointer at the blue line, he seems to be a lock for offensive team of the year. 400K, while it's a lot, could give you way more enventually because that card will get better, much better. LW - J. Benn - 91OVR - 200K - 5/10 Benn is a good card, well-rounded. Also, he received his fair share of love from EA with some team of the week informs here and there. He definitely has the upside to receive some other informs, but being under a point-per-game, I don't see him getting a team of the year nod. The price is fair, the value is solid, but in terms of investment, it's not the best deal. C - E. Malkin - 91OVR - 220K - 6/10 Ah, Malkin. I wanted to get him since he's released. But he kind of has a weird season. Right now, he's over a point-per-game and he's usually a lock for offensive team of the year, but I'm still not convinced. But it's Malkin... the guy can get a 5 points game anytime soon. His upside, for me, is interesting and he's not that expensive. It's a gamble, but I'd do it. C - A. Barkov - 91OVR - 140K - 8/10 Barkov is almost a point-per-game, he's only 22 and a really gifted player offensively and defensively. I have a lot of faith in that card for all those reasons. No so long ago, he was under 100k, his price got higher recently... I'd go for it. RW - B. Schenn - 91OVR - 150K - 4/10 I'm a Blues fan and I can't still believe his season. Since Schwartz injury, he slowed down. He was comfortably over a point-per-game no so long ago and now, he's dangerously declining. The price is defintely appealing but I see him having a hard second part of the year. He's not the first one I would invest in, but you never know. C - L. Draisaitl - 91OVR - 110K - 5/10 It all depends on how EA will decide Young Guns Team Of The Year. Two years ago, it was U23. Last year, it was entry-level contract (which explains Panarin). Draisailt is young, but he's at his second professional contract. The Oilers are having a bad time and I'm afraid Draisaitl won't get that much love for the rest of the year and trust me, I wish I am wrong. He's the kind of card that you can hold onto if you already have it, but don't bother buying him if you don't have him. C - A. Matthews - 91OVR - 260K - 8/10 Matthews can explode at any giving time. He's almost a lock for a team of the year. He could be cheaper I presume, but unless he gets injured again, I see a lot of potential in that card. RW - P. Laine - 91OVR - 200K - 6/10 I'm getting insecure about that card. There's too many good players on the Jets roster, they won't be able to all get a spot on a team of the year. He's not having a bad season, but not the one we were expecting and last time I checked, he doesn't play with the best linemates. But he's crazy young on an entry-level contract so he's not a bad bet and like Matthews, he can have a crazy night that will help him a lot. His upsides are bigger than his downside, hold onto this card if you have it and considere acquiring it if you already have all the other cards I suggested. RW - J. Voracek - 91OVR - 190K - 7/10 He's so close to receive a 8/10. The reason why is because I think EA will upgrade Giroux and won't give much love to Voracek, which is sad because he's such a good player. I mean, he's 8th right now in scoring in the NHL, that should mean something but I simply have a bad feeling because he's not as sexy as a Kane, Taranseko, Benn, all players producing less. But it's a coin flip and could very much be a terrific investment. Definitely consider it. RW - P. Kessel - 91OVR - 350OVR - 8/10 What a year for Phil "Berger" The Thrill. In front of Crosby AND Maklin in points, his card is also sexy as hell RIGHT NOW. His price is fair and should be a good fit on your squad as of today, imagine with any upgrades and trust me, he'll receive his share. LW - T. Hall - 90OVR - 180K - 8/10 What a card! He doesn't feel like a 90OVR at all. He's fast and can shoot from everywhere! Also, he's leading the Devils in points over a point-per-game, on pace to have his best season. Some players are doing better than him but I still believe that if he continue like this, he'll get on a team of the year. At this price, there is not much to lose. LD - R. Josi - 90OVR - 200K - 2/10 Who doesn't like Josi? He's a great defenseman. EA always liked Josi. But right now, it's not his best season and I think Subban will get most of the love. I don't see so many infors for him, maybe for defensive team of the year? I don't know. I sold mine recently because I was not confident. There is so much better options out there. C - W. Karlsson - 90OVR - 160K - 4/10 I still have to pinch myself when I look at the Golden Knights and the standing. Same goes with Karlsson. He's on pace for 72 points, way more than what I would have expecting him to get. But this pace, while being amazing for him and the Knights, is not that amazing compared to other players. Team of the year is not like the all-star games, they don't need one person from every team and if it was the case, it would be Marchessault. I could see him getting some Prime Time here and there, but starting at 90 is not that amazing. He's cheap though, but wouldn't be my priority. C - N. Backstrom - 90OVR - 250K - 4/10 I love Backstrom, such an underated player. Statisticly though, he's having a sub-par season. I could see him getting a nod for defensive team of the year, but maybe not... 250K is a lot to pay for so little "guarantee". C - D. Larkin - 89OVR - 90K - 4/10 Yes, he skates fast. That's about it. 90K is still expensive for his upsides. The only reason why he's not a 1/5 is the fact that the kid is only 21 years old, we never know, could be in Young Guns Team Of The Year! But there is so many kids doing better right now... I don't see it happening. LD - S. Gostisbehere - 89OVR - 90K - 9/10 You don't have Ghost? Buy him now. And then, buy him again. And if you can, buy him three times. The guy is second in point-per-game ratio on the blue line and doesn't show any signs of fatigue. If he doesn't slow down significantly, he's a lock for Offensive Team Of The Year. Seriously, get him, at least once, for this price, it really is a joke. LD - O. Ekman-Larsson - 89OVR - 90K - 0/10 What a sad season for the Coyotes, and that included Ekman-Larsson. He doesn't even crack the top 40 when it comes for point by defensmen. I don't see anything coming for him. RW - J. Marchessault - 88OVR - 90K - 6/10 Marchessault is definitely an intriguing option. Over a point-per-game, he could be Vegas representative on a team of the year... even if there is not such a thing. The only thing I worry about when it comes to Marchessault is his consistency. Will he be able to keep the pace? I doubt it. But if he does, good things will happend to this card and for 90K, it's not a big gamble. C - J. Toews - 88OVR - 85K - 1/10 I can't believe Toews received an inform. Terrible season. I've given him a 1/10 because I see EA putting him on Defensive Team Of The Year because, you know... EA. RW - B. Boeser - 88OVR - 240K - 10/10 Boeser is the front runner for the Calder. Of course, there is still a lot of hockey to play, but he seems to be a lock for Young Guns Team Of The Year. He's also a well-rounded card, although not especially strong defensively. Nonetheless, if you get one, I think you'll be very happy. D - Z. Werenski - 88OVR - 50K - 7/10 A sophomore slump for Werenski? Hmm, maybe a little bit, but he's still the best goal scorer at the blue line! Under 23 years old, he's defintely amongst the top 10. That could not be enough to be on the Young Guns Team Of The Year, but I'm willing to take the bet for only 50K. C - R. Rakell - 88OVR - 45K - 0/10 Not much to say... good player, but not good enough to get significant upgrades, and he'll need a lof of them to be relevent. 45K might not be a lot, but there is not enough upside to even care. C - R. Getzlaf - 87OVR - 100K - 6/10 Back from injury, Getzlaf is dominating, over a point-per-game and I don't see him slowing down. His price indicates that I'm not the only one noticing this, pretty expensive for a 87. The only problem, is that he starting from far at 87 and will need a lot of upgrades to be relevant. I still think you can cash in on the hype after 2 or 3 upgrades, but I wouldn't wait to long to sell back. LD - R. McDonagh - 87OVR - 30K - 1/10 This card is not worth much for a reason. I don't see a lot of upsides. McDonagh is still very capable defensively so I guess he could be on a Defensive Team Of The Year? It's a long shot though. LW - S. Aho - 87OVR - 30K - 8/10 The price is very low and Aho is currently having a very good stretch and if he's keeping the pace, I easily see him on the Young Guns Team Of The Year and at this price, only buying one should not hurt you. Lw - J. Drouin - 87OVR - 20K - 0/10 The Habs are having a terrible year and so is Drouin. He won't be good enough to have a stint at Young Guns Team Of The Year, don't waste your money. C - William Nylander - 87OVR - 110K - 3/10 I think it won't be a popular opinion because people love Nylander, but I don't think Nylander has a lot of upsides. Sure, he's young and he's having good moments right now, but I doubt he will have so many upgrades and like Getzlaf, he starting from 87 so it will take a lot of upgrades to become worth it. C - J. Guentzel - 86OVR - 20K - 0/10 Underwhelming season for Guentzel to say the least. Only one upgrade and it was during pre-season if I recall... hey... don't bother.
Slate Overview Matchup | Back-to-Back | Points | Goals per Game Average, Expected Goals per Game, Shooting Percentage, Corsi for Percentage, Shots per Game Average | Goals Against per Game Average, Expected Goals Against per Game, Save Percentage, Corsi Against Percentage | Powerplay Percentage, Penalty Kill Percentage | Games Played Over Last 2 Seasons, Wins, Goals, Ceiling, Floor, Average | Vegas Odds | Win Percentage | Projection (WIP) | OveUnder Expectation Explanation of These Stats and General NHL DFS Primer Several days without an NHL game and we’ve got a juicy thirteen game slate to make up for it. I’m going to temper my expectations tonight because I believe everyone is either well rested or coming off a holiday hangover and I’ve no way to know the difference. For whatever weight you normally place on recent individual performance, I feel like that goes out the window tonight. There’s no momentum after a few days break. A whole line isn’t going to lose their chemistry overnight though. Update: If you're happy with Chychrun and Chara on defense, you can stack basically anything on Fanduel tonight. That's terrifying. [email protected]: The Bruins are on a four game winning streak vs the Devils and, with Bergeron back in the fold, I expect they’re going to go on a tear here. It’s worth noting the Devils have scored 2 or more in those losses and are going to have to start punching above their weight if they want to get even in proximity of a playoff position, so I’m not so sure I like Halak/Rask tonight though. I’m not sure what to like here, since BOS1 is so prohibitively expensive you would have to make some serious sacrifices to squeeze them in and hope they’re the top line tonight. I’m always scared of dropping anyone from this line and going with a two-man stack, but you could take your pick and throw in Pirri or someone for some salary relief. Update: Looks like Heinen is on the top line and Pastrnak shifted down to BOS2. Not sure how much I like that, but it does make the lines more affordable vs Blackwood in net. BOS1 retains full powerplay correlation. Get it together, Boston. [email protected]: There hasn’t been a game within ages where the Blue Jackets scored less than two against the Rangers. CBJ1 is definitely in play tonight (Panarin is easily over a point per game in this matchup), though I might look down the ranks for some salary relief as well. Bob was hot going into the holiday break, though I’m not sure I like him as much on the road tonight.Update: Korpisalo is in net, maybe the Rangers are more in play than I originally thought. Hayes has continued to produce no matter where he gets shuffled in the lineup, but he’s hard to consider even as a one off since his salary puts him in an odd position and his linemates aren’t so cheap it feels like you’re getting any serious value out of a full linestack. Update: Looks like Werenski will be on the top powerplay unit and back on the top pairing tonight, which offers some salary relief if you're looking for a full stack here. [email protected]: Here’s a fun fact: the Red Wings have scored four or more goals vs the Penguins in four of their last five games. I’m not saying it’s a safe bet to play anything on Detroit’s side, but that is somewhat intriguing, isn’t it? Pittsburgh is penned in as the Vegas favorite tonight, but if you trust past performance to indicate future performance, this could quickly get out of hand. PIT1 is likely preferable since the whole line has potential to go off, though the Malkin/Kessel mini-stack at home always has potential and has better powerplay correlationHornqvist replaces Kessel tonight. I think there are other defensemen to like in that price point, but Letang looks like he’s actually healthy and making a Norris run this year. [email protected]: How is Jordan Staal injured again? Unfortunately, it’s not like he was helping the team much when he did get ice time in his return. These two played only ten days ago in a 6-5 goalfest including an Ovechkin hat trick and four points for Aho. I’m skeptical that will be repeated again tonight, but who knows! I’m generally off the Canes for the same reason I avoid the Preds (no idea where the goals are coming from) but if Svechnikov stays on the top line with Aho and Teravainen, that’s much more appealing to me. No idea who Clark Bishop is, centering the second line with Williams and Ferland. That line is basically free if you need serious salary relief. If you don’t know who’s likely to score goals on the Caps side, you probably shouldn’t be playing fantasy hockey. [email protected]: Hart might be playing better than his predecessors, but he’s still a rookie goalie on the road vs the league’s top offense, if he even plays tonight. The Lightning have not scored less than five against Philly in the last three matchups, though it’s worth noting the Flyers have pushed back and scored 11 goals in the last two games as well. Only one of those games was with Vasilevsky in net, but he still let in six. If both sides come out guns a-blazin’, this could get interesting, especially considering PHI2 and TBL1 can be stacked very conveniently due to the price of the wingers. Update: more line juggling for Tampa. [email protected]: This has been a historically boring matchup, but I do like the narrative of Hutton in net vs his former team, if nothing else. I’m not sure how much on the road, but at least a little bit. The Blues are priced as low as you’ll ever see them on Draftkings and I can’t see how they remain snakebitten forever. Maybe they just needed some turkey to ignite their powerplay? Probably not, but it feels like there are a lot worse options than STL1 in that salary range. [email protected]: The Preds have won 6 of 7 vs the Stars and are generally very good at home, but with all the injuries and random losses last week it’s really hard to play them with confidence and receive a Christmas miracle with the return of Subban and Arvidsson tonight. Bishop has been surprisingly good this year, I don’t know where the goals are going to come from if the Preds do score any given night… Eh, maybe consider Josi because Josi, but there are likely better options in that price range than a one off here. [email protected]: The Jets have surprisingly struggled against the Flames in general, and Calgary has put up three 6 goal games in the last two years. I’m not sure how confident I feel betting against Winnipeg at home, but that’s somewhat promising if it holds any weight to you. Brodie had a four point night here, but that’s definitely an outlier for him in general. CGY2 is the cheapest stack on my radar tonight, but that would really only be to pay up for BOS1, CBJ1, etc. [email protected]: I~~ want to keep riding MIN2 because they offer a lot of value on Draftkings and have been putting up good numbers in general, and it seems like Ward Delia would be a great matchup tonight, even on the road.~~ The Wild lines are shuffled again (lots of that tonight), so I guess MIN1 would be your play if you target this at all.That’s somewhat personal bias and gambler’s fallacy (they can’t both burn me twice in a row!) but it’s true. Strome makes Kane a bit more affordable as a mini-stack, Debrincat continues to produce as a one off. It’s a hard sell for me though. [email protected]: There is no goal scoring consistency here historically. I might consider EDM2 or VAN1 for value tonight as they seem as likely as anyone to pick up two or more. EDM1’s price tag has dropped since Draisaitl shuffled downward, but with McDavid priced higher than most goaltenders that’s still not that accessible even if he gets a hat trick.Draisaitl is reunited with McDavid. Nurse continues to offer huge value on Fanduel in particular, Edler’s no slouch on the other side of things and offers decent peripherals. [email protected]: In the three games they’ve faced each other, the Avs have seriously struggled with the Golden Knights, never putting up more than one goal. For perspective: they lost a whopping 7-0 with Oscar Dansk in net. Especially considering the Avs have been running cold lately, I’ll at least be looking at VGK1 or maybe VGK2 for value, since Pirri has been killing it since being called up and shuffling Smith down there makes that line even more affordable. MacKinnon feels “due” for a five point night but I’m skeptical tonight’s when it happens. [email protected]: Could there be a less interesting matchup to target? Injuries abound on two teams struggling at the bottom of the league, I can’t say that I have any interest here whatsoever. There’s always value to be found on the Coyotes side and you’ll definitely have low ownership for the slate if anything goes off. LAK1’s salary has crept up a bit. Toffoli is still shooting under half his career numbers while putting up a ton of shots, he’s bound to go off eventually. [email protected]: I’m not always a fan of historical data when the playoffs are involved, but man, Couture’s line looks good tonight. Update: Though they've moved Hertl to centering the third line and Radil is on the top line tonight... Also liking Burns a lot with Karlsson serving a suspension, though he won’t come cheap. Primary stacks: SJS2, CGY1, TBL1/2, WSH1, EDM1, CBJ1, BOS1 Secondary stacks: VGK2, MIN2, STL1, NYR2, PHI2, CAR1, DET1, LAK2 Top GPP goalie: Oi... I think Dubnyk, Halak, Bobrovsky and Fleury get the wins, I just don’t know if they’re going to be pretty. I want to like Holtby at home vs the Canes shot numbers, Rinne looks the best from a historical perspective. TL;DR: I have no clue. Top cash goalie: See above, sorry. Contests: Draftking's $5 Holiday Skate with $10k to first is the clear frontrunner tonight, though expect to be up against MME players maxing out 150 entries after the break. I'll probably throw in ten entries or so. Trouble making your stacks work and hate using an optimizer? Try my custom Fanduel and Draftkings Line Stacker instead.
Slate Overview Matchup | Back-to-Back | Points | Goals per Game Average, Expected Goals per Game, Shooting Percentage, Corsi for Percentage, Shots per Game Average | Goals Against per Game Average, Expected Goals Against per Game, Save Percentage, Corsi Against Percentage | Powerplay Percentage, Penalty Kill Percentage | Games Played Over Last 2 Seasons, Wins, Goals, Ceiling, Floor, Average | Vegas Odds | Win Percentage | Projection (WIP) | OveUnder Expectation Special team stats have magically returned, though at this point in the season it’s worth looking into recent performance in these categories. Note: I wrote this yesterday and thought I’d have time to update throughout the day. Then I got slammed with work and the city got hit with an icestorm, so my kid is also home with me today. Hopefully something here is helpful to you because it’s not being updated afterward! The all-star break and bye weeks are over and we’re back into it. I’m sure at least a few of you have missed me around here! I’ve been a lot busier and stressed lately in general, so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to continue. I’m happy to see a few people posting in my absence at least. Most of last month was an extremely frustrating streak of multiple lineups a point or two below the cash line for me. Not even really bad decisions so much as bad luck really. Hopefully I have a good run for the rest of the season. This used to be the time of year where you would have a clear idea of who was going to make the playoffs and could make a killing just betting on the dominant teams to destroy the lowliers fighting for the best draft pick. No longer. Not really, anyway. Apart the few that have broken away from the pack, those outside the playoff picture are battling hard to get into it and those hanging onto wildcards will be trying to tighten up and stay there. With only four points being the difference maker for almost half the league right now, there’s a lot of intense hockey to be played yet, not to mention what shake-ups will come later this month headed toward the trade deadline. Outside the Kings and Devils sans Hall, and probably whatever the hell happened to the Ducks, even the Sens, Red Wings and especially teams like the Panthers, Hawks and Oilers, continue to be at least DFS-relevant despite sitting at the bottom of the standings. There’s so much talent and the pace is faster than ever. We have a massive 14 game slate with enough potential offense that you’re really going to have to hit the nail square on the head for a solid win tonight. My usual strategy for a slate this large is to either pick one line I think will do well and stack them in multiple lineups with whatever logically fits, or else narrow it down to five or six lines I like and stack every possible combination. I’ll likely go with the latter tonight, as there’s no clear standout here for me. Enough of my rambling, let’s get on with it. I’m not really sure what contests you’re looking at tonight, but Fanduel is just getting straight up greedy. The $1.11 Draftkings contest with a $1k prize could be interesting if you’re new to MME, maybe? [email protected]: The Sabres decided to hit the blender in their last game, so I’d be leery of picking anything on their side in fear they’ll just be split up again. And why bother, really? The Hurricanes continue to top the charts for possession metrics and had a dominant shutout win vs the Penguins in their last game with McElhinney returning, who has just been so good for them. They’ve also won seven straight against the Sabres. If there’s any reason to look Buffalo’s way, it’s that Carolina is also leading the league in shots and goes through bouts where they have difficulty scoring, so the Sabres options could make a high-risk but intriguing netminder if you have both a massive bankroll and set of testicles you’d like to throw around. [email protected]: The Panthers have been an extremely frustrating team for me this year. I know management still thinks they’re in the playoff picture with the trade rumors that are being tossed around, they’re not exactly stacked with talent but there’s no question they have a roster capable of lighting the lamp a handful of times every night. Yet, they’ve barely been averaging a goal a game in their last five and are sitting near the bottom of the league far out of the actual playoff picture. That’s totally dropped the salaries of FLA1 to be stackable with almost anything, which keeps bringing me back to them every night, and the Pens have been middling about waiting for a healthy core and some jump to their step again. Maybe there’s even a narrative play here, considering the Brassard/Bjugstad/McCann/Sheahan trade that recently took place. Those aren’t exactly flashy names I’d like to plug into my roster though. It’s worth noting the Penguins are 6-1 in their last seven meetings and have scored four (or more!) here for the last three years and counting. What do I take away from all this? Neither of the top two lines have had trouble scoring against each other, and FLA1 in particular brings value to the table. I think there’s an argument to be made for either side, if not a game stack, really, but I’d lean harder on the Pens. [email protected]: Even though they’ve cooled off considerably lately, Trotz still has to be a contender for coach of the year for turning an Islanders team that was something like deadlast in the league last season into a defensively strong playoff contender, despite losing Tavares in the offseason. The Devils are still managing to win a few games here and there, but my god are their underlying numbers awful and they’ve already confirmed they’ll be sellers this year by trading Boyle. The Isles have won three straight here and I expect they’ll get the win tonight, but whether they face enough shots and manage a pristine GAA to warrant a goaltender pick, I’m not so certain. Likewise, though they’ve had a decent floor of three goals in their last four meetings, they haven’t been scoring lately. Is it possible NYI1 or NYI2 get 3+ concentrated tonight? Sure, but they don’t really have enough value to warrant a must-play stack, even though the Devils are bad. I’d likely lean toward the top line of the two, if I were to take either. NJD1 gets full powerplay correlation if you’re looking for an ultra-contrarian play, but that’s a poor reason to consider it an option really. [email protected]: Hart seems like a lock for cash tonight, with the Flyers on an epic winning streak while playing at home. I expect he’ll see decent ownership, anyway. They’ve been allowing a lot of shots against, which gives him reasonable upside as well. The Flyers top six are still relatively affordable if that interests you, and appear to be snakebitten with an overall sub-average shooting percentage lately, so they’re due for some positive regression. Kopitar quietly has nine points in his last five games, but, like, why bother? A Kings stack seems even more contrarian than a Devils one tonight. [email protected]: Despite riding a four game losing streak, the Avs have had an elite Corsi-for percentage over their last four games, while the Caps have been giving up a lot of high danger scoring chances. It’s not the best matchup on the road, but on a slate this large COL1 should see lower ownership than usual. It’s just a matter of whether you see playoff-performance-Vezina-caliber Holtby or I-forgot-to-do-my-eye-exercises-and-I’m-constantly-screened-by-my-teammates Holtby playing tonight. The Caps have won seven of the last eight meetings though, and with a solid floor of 3+ goals in six of their last seven, so the same argument applies to the other end, I suppose. Considering the salaries of either side’s top lines you’re really going to need them to go off in unison to make it worth it, but it’s not without possibility. [email protected]: I don’t know if the nets are smaller in Finland, but Kotkaniemi still has more posts to his name than goals so far this year. His shots are finally starting to see dividends though, but he doesn’t offer much in peripherals. Armia also gets a chance to play against his former team tonight and is priced at floor on Fanduel while also getting top powerplay and penalty killing duties. You could do worse for a punt if you like narrative+peripherals+assist potential, anyway, or even a mini-stack if you’re looking at any 4-forward powerplays tonight or something. Underlying metrics point toward the Habs being the better team lately and they pass the eye test as a fan, but unquestionably the Jets top line could come in and stomp them, especially if there’s undisciplined play, since the PK has been terrible and the Jets possess a great powerplay. Montreal might be one of the only contrarian plays I can see actually panning out tonight, but that’s obvious homer bias showing and it’s always difficult to determine where the goals are coming from too. [email protected](b): The Sens are traveling after the Leafs game and are the only team on a back-to-back tonight. I… I mean, a team is breaking a losing streak here: that’s noteworthy, I guess? Either goaltender is potentially in play simply because I’m not sure either team is capable of scoring a goal right now. There’s basically no goals here historically either and both these teams have simply been awful. The Sens have been slightly less awful, for what it’s worth. Best of luck to you if you’re targeting this game, my friend. You’re on your own really. [email protected]: The Golden Knights have lost four of their last five games and the Red Wings are on a winning streak. I’m not sure what to make of this sorcery other than Detroit has been lucky capitalizing on their high danger chances and Vegas has had a rough schedule, though they did manage to beat the league-leading Lightning on the road their last game. Take note that Zykov is the new Pirri (for now). I expect to see a lot of him in cash lineups tonight. VGK2 remains the line for me here, consistently putting up points and with full powerplay correlation. (Remarkably reasonable salary, considering how long they’ve been doing it as well.) [email protected]: This should be a great matchup. The Blues have been playing to their potential lately and Binnington has been solid in relief of Allen’s mediocrity. Of course there’s reason to have the Lightning in play any night, but anything of value on either side comes at a very high cost and I’m crossing my fingers and toes this one doesn’t get out of hand. Simply a virtue of being on the best team in the league and because he’s playing at home, I’d entertain Vasilevskiy in net tonight if you’re looking for a lower ownership pivot. I’m definitely not talking you off anything here if it interests you though. [email protected]: This matchup doesn’t really scream goals to me at a glance, though both teams have been playing very well of late. Turris is back and NSH2 is basically guaranteed to be low ownership while offering high value tonight for your big salary stacks. They only go off a handful of games a year, but will get the favorable faceoffs on home ice. For the Stars, it seems they’ve actually found a top six that’s working for them at the moment that doesn’t involve loading up the top line. I’m a tiny bit intrigued with both sides here, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a total bust fantasy-wise either. [email protected]: The Oilers destroyed the Wild in their last matchup and basically every goal ever scored by the Oilers is coming from one of two players, so I am looking at McDavid and Draisaitl here, even if they’re not playing on the same line tonight. Yes, the Oilers are on a losing streak and are basically ruined as a franchise because of terrible asset management and contracts and… well, those two players are always fantasy relevant regardless. The team is due for a smidgen of positive regression, at least in terms of converting scoring chances. Like, maybe right now they’re like Dyson-level sucking but could drop to a Hoover or so. The top six from Minnesota on home ice looks like great value if either line can net two correlated goals here, though they usually just make me angry while I’m throwing money into the toilet. [email protected]: The Vancouver Canucks are in the playoff picture. Who saw that coming this year? I can’t wait to see what this team can do when Hughes is called up and Pettersson can grow facial hair. The Hawks have dropped five straight to the Canucks and allowed 4+ in those losses. I’m not sure how much weight I want to put on that considering the huge roster changes, that those goals came from all over the place, that Edler’s out, that the Canucks are on the road, etc. but I think there’s a good chance for goals on either side here, if you can figure out where they’re coming from. The top line from the Hawks has been insanely productive lately and Caggiula at least offers a bit of salary relief while Kane’s price tag skyrockets toward five figures. [email protected]: This matchup scares me the most tonight, with both sides capable of causing some serious damage and neither particularly strong defensively. There’s no reasonable possibility of doing a gamestack here, but I can’t bring myself to avoid both sides of this if I’m going to make any effort tonight. This only gets more challenging if Karlsson returns. There are very few possibilities to get a full stack with Giordano or Burns involved, but I’ve already mentioned a couple and you’ll see me at the top if they go off. [email protected]: I feel so bad for the Coyotes, they just cannot catch a break. Maybe next year is their year but for now it’s not looking good. Neither team have been great lately, but the Blue Jackets have won four of five here historically, for whatever that’s worth to you. If I really need some value, ARI1 is in a decent position and the least expensive top line in the NHL. It’s not really anything to get excited about, but the option is there and it will take little to pay themselves off. I’d be more interested in Columbus if Panarin is moved back to the top line, especially since Dubois has been possessed lately. This is all likely too much to digest, so I’ll just reprise my original thoughts: there’s enough value tonight to pay up for the big lines from Colorado, Washington, Pittsburgh, Tampa, San Jose, Calgary, Winnipeg, Chicago, etc. and enough possibility for two moderately priced lines from, say, Montreal and Florida, to go off. Pick a strategy and run with it or you’ll go crazy on a slate this large. Best of luck! There’s a twelve game slate next Tuesday and an eleven game slate next Thursday. I’ll try to find the time to keep these coming but I make no guarantees. General NHL DFS Primer Trouble making your stacks work and hate using an optimizer? Try my custom Fanduel and Draftkings Line Stacker instead.
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NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020 - Betting Tips and Odds Picks & Parlays
NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020 - Betting Tips and Odds Picks & Parlays Finally we have US sports returning and NHL looks to get back under way in the beginning of August. 24-Team NHL Playoff Match-ups and Plan for Hockey to Resume ... 04/24/2020 Weekly NHL Updates, NHL20 SIMS Betting Odds Preview - Duration: 46:19. The Hockey Betting Podcast 7 views. NHL Quick Picks and Betting Odds - Stanley Cup Futures by Odds Shark. 2:27. ... NHL Playoffs Betting Preview and Pick (05.23.17) by Odds Shark. 2:12. The 2019 Stanley Cup playoff picture has been painted and now is the time to get your futures picks in. There's plenty of betting value on the board this year, and the NHL has historically been ... Professional hockey handicappers Carmine Bianco, Dave Cokin, and Andrew McInnis share some of their personal NHL betting and handicapping tips for the upcoming 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.