NHL 101

By Tommy Murphy Hit him up on Twitter @t_murphy34

Introduction to NHL DFS

Some of the things we will talk about:

  • Basic Fundamental Principles for NHL DFS
  • The Difference between Cash Games and GPP’S
  • GPP Strategies (Line Combinations + Exposure)
  • What makes NHL DFS especially difficult and how you can beat the system

The top priority when preparing an NHL line is to check the line combinations of the teams in the slate. Two sites where this information can be found with ease are LeftWingLock.com and DailyFaceoff.com. These sites will help you look at the players that are on the ice together and give you an idea of what players have chemistry between each other. For example, a very popular line I have stacked this year is the Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin line as they have been on a tear throughout the entire NHL season. The key to playing NHL DFS is to stack different line combinations of various games. Now, you are probably asking the obvious question, how do I know what lines to stack? There are many factors that go into the decision on what lines to take, here are a few examples:

  • Recent Performance – Check to see what lines have been scoring lately. A great tool for this is the NHL Line Production at leftwinglock.com. There you can see what lines have been scoring the past 3 games, 10 games, and so on.
  • Matchups/ Vegas Lines – What teams are heavily favored? What teams have the most favorable matchups? Check the statistics of the teams in the slate, what teams are or have been weak defensively. Check to see what goalies are starting.

 The most important factor when deciding on a goalie to choose from is to grab that elusive win. A win in the NHL DFS scoring system for a goalie is worth 3 points, which any NHL DFS player will tell you makes or breaks your lineup. The two websites I provided above will tell you what goalies are in line to start for the day. Be sure to check before your lineup locks to confirm that your goalie is starting. In addition to checking the starting goalies for the day, check the Vegas Lines to see what teams are the heaviest favored for the day. The starting goalie for the highest favored team has the highest likelihood to grab a win for the slate.

Gaining knowledge about the NHL and following news around the league can go a long way in the life of a NHL DFS player.  Playing a few free NHL contests can get you a feel for how the scoring system works and just how the game is played all together. Look at a few winning lineups (preferably not a GPP) to see how the lineups are constructed.

Don’t be Predictable – Sometimes the numbers do not add up. Do not always pick the most productive line on a team if you’re playing a GPP for example.

Cash Games

 In cash games for NHL DFS, you can be a little more predictable by choosing some players with higher floors as opposed to a lineup composed of stars and scrubs. The biggest factor in winning the cash game in NHL DFS is to grab that elusive win. The additional three points can easily put you in the top half of your league regardless if a few players do not meet your expectations.


 NHL GPP’S are difficult to consistently win just like every other sport. However, the problem with the NHL is that the stars do not always score. Unlike the NBA, there are few, if any, stars that dominate the scoreboard day in and day out. The best offensive players in the league average just one point per game. When I construct GPP lines, I stack the 1st and 2nd lines for teams I like for the day. One important aspect when I construct this that sometimes gets overlooked is exposure. An example of this is as followed:

Pittsburgh 1st Line – Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

Pittsburgh 2nd Line- Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, Phil Kessel

Pittsburgh Powerplay Unit #1 Forwards- Chris Kunitz, Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby

In a GPP, I would consider taking both Crosby and Kessel to get “exposure” to the 1st line of Pittsburgh, the second line of Pittsburgh, and the Powerplay Unit #1 of Pittsburgh.

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