The day has finally come. The NHL regular season has begun with a nice little five game slate we can work through and I am here to provide a bit of analysis as we parse through what we have to work with. Unfortunately, I will not be able to finish the Season Preview due to scheduling conflict. I want to focus on breaking these slates down, finding the best stacks, and helping those that are eager to learn and I truly believe these types of analysis are more important than telling you who plays for each team. So without further chit-chat, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty!
Philadelphia vs Pittsburgh
Implied Total: 5.5-6
Moneyline: PHI -115
Pittsburgh 1st PP Unit: Crosby, Malkin, Rust, Guentzel, Letang
Philadelphia 1st PP Unit: Giroux, Couturier, Konecny, Hayes, Provorov
The first game of our slate is supposed to be the closest one in terms of who will win this. We are getting to see two teams in the same state slowly going in opposite directions. The Flyers have slowly grown to a point where I feel confident in their chances this season through their depth up and down the lineup. The Penguins are still contenders by all means but have really sent their farm ablaze to stay in the mix. This will probably be a high priority for where I take my goaltending for GPPs so Carter Hart and Tristan Jarry are both quality plays that should go relatively overlooked. These are also two teams that do opposite things on the power play. Pittsburgh stacks the first team with their biggest guns while Philadelphia balances their two units out a bit, but that just might be a testament to their depth. Crosby, Guentzel, Letang is my favorite Pittsburgh stack as this gives you power play and top line correlation. Philadelphia is a bit more spread out so the best route to gain the same kind of correlation is Couturier, Konecny, Provorov. You can also sub the forwards with Giroux and Hayes to maintain even strength correlation if you want to get different than the field.
Montreal vs Toronto
Implied Total: 6-6.5
Moneyline: TOR -140
Toronto 1st PP Unit: Matthews, Marner, Thornton, Simmonds, Reilly
Montreal 1st PP Unit: Drouin, Suzuki, Toffoli, Weber, Petry
Two teams that I did not get a chance to touch on in an article are going through some changes. On the french side, the Canadiens added goal scorer Tyler Toffoli in free agency making them quite a deep team. It also appears that hyped prospect Alexander Romanov has made the Canadiens roster out of camp and is slated for a role on the 2nd PP Unit. That’s a pretty big deal for a rookie and someone we should keep an eye on. On the other side, the Leafs added their own time lord in Joe Thornton. He is someone that should get a whole bunch of assists through osmosis of playing with Auston Matthews. These are also two teams that look to be taking a more balanced approach to their power play units so you can use a variety of these skaters. One of the more rare things I have seen so far is that top line center Philip Danault isn’t on either of Montreal’s power play units. So targeting the top line tonight will be a bit difficult but can be done, but my favorite Montreal stack will be Suzuki, Drouin, Weber. On the Toronto side, I know the world is going to be on Matthews and Mitch Marner so I don’t mind getting contrarian with a John Tavares and William Nylander mini stack. But Toronto is always highly owned, which is why I love taking a GPP shot at Carey Price who should be one of the lowest owned goalies on the slate.
Chicago vs Tampa Bay
Implied Total: 6.5-7
Moneyline: TBL -255
Tampa 1st PP Unit: Stamkos, Palat, Point, Killorn, Hedman
Chicago 1st PP Unit: Kane, DeBrincat, Strome, Shaw, Boqvist
The scoring juggernaut of the night and the most confident Vegas feels about how this one will go and I agree with them. It’s like David vs Goliath, except David lost both his arms in this one. The Bolts should be able to cruise past Chicago in this one with ease and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they met the Vegas total by themselves. Steven Stamkos is probably my only absolute lock of the night. He’s only 7400 and will be over 8000 in no time. For GPP, I love stacking him with Brayden Point and Victor Hedman. You can take shots throughout the lineup as they are going against the worst defense in the league but my focus will be these three guys. They will be popular tonight but I don’t care. If you want to game stack or zag where a lot of others will zig, I love getting these super, super, underpriced Blackhawks. Patrick Kane is only 7100 and is arguably the best right winger in the game. He will be over 8000 soon. Dylan Strome is a solid offensive contributor and is a paltry 3100. Alex DeBrincat can lead this team in goals easily and can be had for 4200. I also don’t mind taking a chance on youngster Adam Boqvist on defense. Andrei Vasilevskiy should be the chalk goaltender so he can be avoided in GPP and I won’t even look at a Chicago goalie this season.
Vancouver vs Edmonton
Implied Total: 6
Moneyline: EDM -145
Edmonton 1st PP Unit: McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, Yamamoto, Barrie
Vancouver 1st PP Unit: Pettersson, Horvat, Hoglander, Boeser, Hughes
My personal favorite game of the night. While the field is hammering Toronto and Tampa Bay tonight, we can pivot onto a game that has some very strong offense and mediocre defense. If you’re using a sportsbook, I’d take the overs in this game. We also have two teams that put their biggest guns on the first power play unit. Vancouver and Edmonton were also in the top half of penalty minutes last season so there is a good chance we see these units a good bit tonight. You can stack any of this EDM group listed above however I’d correlate the forwards at even strength and lock in Tyson Barrie tonight as he is just too inexpensive for his ceiling. On the other end, my favorite spot would be Horvat, Hoglander, Hughes as they are all three underpriced for what can happen in this game. I don’t mind taking a shot on Holtby or Demko here as Edmonton does occasionally put up a goose egg when McDavid and Draisaitl can’t get it done, but they’re not a priority for me.
Colorado vs St. Louis
Implied Total: 5.5-6
Moneyline: COL -145
Colorado 1st PP Unit: MacKinnon, Landeskog, Rantanen, Kadri, Makar
St Louis 1st PP Unit: Schenn, O’Reilly, Hoffman, Perron, Krug
As almikez would say, “Nathan MacKinnon is our father”. And to be frank, that’s one-thousand percent true. You can always play the COL PP because of MacKinnon. He can break the slate in the same fashion as McDavid. This game should be a tight affair and is a possibility for your GPP and cash goaltenders. Jordan Binnington and Philip Grubauer are both viable, but I prefer Binnington for GPP. Ownership will flock to Colorado generally, but I think it will be lighter than usual due to the field hammering Tampa and Toronto. I also don’t mind some of their secondary options to get different like Andre Burakovksy and Brandon Saad. But my focus on this game will be on the St. Louis side as we have some solid spots to attack. The most outrageous spot is a near min-priced Mike Hoffman getting second line and first power play usage. He does one thing very well: scoring goals. I am locking him in my cash lineup and will pair him up with Torey Krug as a different mini-stack for GPPs. The other three on this unit are also top line correlated so this is another stack with some impressive potential.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions and follow me on Twitter at ZawaDFS.