Get everything you need to lock lineups in for tonight’s nine game preseason slate!
Welcome NHL Early Bird subscribers! Today’s preseason “article” marks the start of my fifth consecutive season covering DFS NHL. I truly feel blessed to know that a lot of the same period who first subscribed to read my content five years ago are still with me today. It continues to motivate me to do the best I can in every article.
This season will be difficult, to say the least, because I will have to juggle my NHL articles with a pretty grueling full-time job and raising a child. The steps I take in my NHL research will not change because I will still be playing hundreds of dollars worth of lineups every single night. A lot has changed over the years in the sense that now I do have the money to be able to enter a good amount of contests, and I do feel I’ve been able to perfect my overall game (both on a cash game and GPP level).
These preseason slates though are a bit of a dumpster fire, and that’s solely because of pricing. DK decided to go the route they’ve been taking with all of the other sports, and made every single player’s salary the same, effectively removing the salary cap. It wasn’t as bad at first because there really weren’t many big stars playing, and a lot of them were very rusty and/or were holding back. At this point, it’s hilarious, because you have guys like Auston Matthews taking 100% ownership in cash games and 70+% ownership in GPP tournaments, which is an absolute joke if you understand the entire concept of GPP tournaments.
Still, there can be money to be made. I’ve done very well this preseason slate, so I will give you my insight and try to determine what are the best players to play in tonight’s contests.
Below, you’ll find tonight’s lines with players shaded in GREEN as players that are confirmed in their lineup spots and I’m willing to play, players shaded in ORANGE as confirmed to play but unsure of which line and I’m willing to play, players shaded in YELLOW are unconfirmed but likely to play, and players shaded in RED are unplayable.
CAR1 and WSH 2 are the two lines I have interest in, but probably won’t get much exposure to outside of a few MME lineups. Gudas can be a standalone option, but you definitely don’t want to overexposure yourself there, either.
TOP STACKS: CAR1 (not high on them), WSH2 (a little exposure
TOP Standalone Options: Gardiner, Kuznetsov, Boyd, Gudas
Believe it or not, one my favorite lines of the day is this MTL1 line of Tatar-Danault-Suzuki. Suzuki has been playing these preseason games for three years now and is clearly motivated because beatwriters keep raving about his impact on the game. You can definitely stack MTL1 with Petry without a problem. If you want the PP, I would imagine Danault doesn’t play on the top PP unit, and someone like Armia or Kotkaniemi joins them.
As for Ottawa, I also like their top line in this spot. Connor Brown seems like a natural fit to play with Tkachuk who is a strong forechecker with a lot of skill. The Senators have plenty of skilled defensemen to join them as well, so there’s a lot to consider.
TOP STACKS: MTL1; OTT1
TOP Standalone Options: Suzuki, Petry, and Chabot
Not much information is available for the Islanders, but I’ve gotta think that the one confirmed line, their top line, featuring Barzal will need to be considered in all situations. I’ll definitely have a small piece of them.
As for New Jersey, I just want you guys to know right now that Nikita Gusev is going to be a SUPERSTAR. The KHL is not the easiest league to play in, and Gusev led his team full of Russian Superstars (including Pavel Datsyuk) in points by a wide margin. I am hoping that there’s less ownership here given the other superstars available in the slate.
TOP STACKS: NYI1,NJ1
TOP Standalone Options: Gusev, Barzal, Butcher
The Rangers are playing in back-to-back games but do not have one of their better lineups going tonight. You can get some exposure to wither of their top two lines, but I’m more interested in Trouba as a standalone D.
The Flyers have really struggled throughout the preseason, and that means that their veteran players are getting more playing time. I do expect a rebound, especially from Kevin Hayes, who has a revenge narrative going, and has two very talented linemates alongside him.
TOP STACKS: PHI2, PHI1, NYR1
TOP Standalone Options: Trouba, Hayes, Konecny, Provorov
The Leafs continue to roll out at least one outstanding line every single game, and tonight is going to be the Tavares line. They are going to be pretty heavily owned, and rightfully so. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if they get contained, because they will be on the ice against Jack Eichel.
Believe it or not, I may prefer Buffalo’s top line because they’ll probably get slightly more minutes, they’re probably a little more motivated, and they will have less ownership.
TOP STACKS: TOR1, BUF1
TOP Standalone Options: Barrie, Eichel, Dahlin
So Vegas ALWAYS intrigues me. They helped me win about $1k earlier in the week and they are back in business tonight with that same line that features Brandon Pirri. I’ve said this before and I’ve said it again, Pirri is just a player that destroys weaker competition. Heck, he’s one of the best offensive players in the league and we were able to see it last year when he actually got an opportunity in the VGK top six. I will have a lot of standalone Pirri and perhaps some mini stacks around there too. You can also mix in Pacioretty, Glass, and Smith.
The Sharks are almost mailing it in this preseason and have very few star players listed in their lineups. Even though I didn’t put him in the spreadsheet, I believe Kevin Labanc is going to play, and probably with Couture. That’s a possibility, but we’d have to wait on lines to come out.
TOP STACKS: VGK2, VGK1, VGKPP1 (Pirri+VGK1)
TOP Standalone Options: Pirri, Pacioretty, Couture
This game has FADE written all over it, but you guys can definitely consider playing it if you wait for Nashville to release their lines. I don’t think Tampa has enough firepower to entice me, so if Nashville plays some stars, we may want to get exposure
TOP STACKS: Wait for NSH lines
TOP Standalone Options: Wait for NSH lines
Well, forget about Boston outside of maybe a standalone Charlie McEvoy, but the Hawks have their All-Star crew, and they’ve had some minutes together to start the season. I think they are going to be hugely popular and rightfully so.
TOP STACKS: CHI1, CHI2, CHIPP1
TOP Standalone Options: DeBrincat, Kane, McEvoy
The Ducks have two very good top lines going here, but my favorite will probably be the 2nd line featuring Rakell, who has looked good in training camp.
Again, no information for Arizona, but we can definitely wait and see what happens because I do think they’re going to be ready to play.
TOP STACKS: ANA2, ANA1, Wait for ARI lines
TOP Standalone Options: Rakell, Fowler