4 NHL FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 10/14/21

In any daily fantasy lineup, spending up in any daily fantasy lineup is how to get the superstars and the highest upside players in your lineup.

In NHL DFS, it’s different from paying up in sports like NBA or NFL. Someone can be one of the highest salaried players at his position and put up a total dud of a performance, and paying that much for him would be a huge mistake. Let’s make sure we are paying up in the right spots when building our lineups tonight.

Thursday night, the NHL schedule cranks up to nine contests. Let's look at those studs!

Aleksander Barkov, Center, Florida Panthers

FanDuel Salary: $7,800

Injuries and back-to-back scenarios bring us to Aleksander Barkov on Thursday night. Can the Pittsburgh Penguins do to the Florida Panthers what they did to the Tampa Bay Lightning? That answer is probably not.

Florida was one of the strongest offensive teams in the league last season, and they only became stronger over the summer. The Panthers' top-six features players like Jonathan Huberdeau, Sam Reinhart, and Sam Bennett. Florida's depth may be too much for an undermanned Pittsburgh team.

Florida has one of the higher implied goal totals on the night (3.44). That alone is reason to target Barkov and some of his power-play batterymates, as well.

Nikita Kucherov, Wing, Tampa Bay Lightning

FanDuel Salary: $8,600

Nikita Kucherov had a brutal first game of the season for the Lightning. Several teammates did, too, but Kucherov had just one scoring chance and one shot on goal. He missed some medium-danger opportunities, as well. Those are things that often do not sit well with the Russian.

The Detroit Red Wings provide Tampa Bay with another friendly matchup, and my money is on the Lightning taking advantage this time.

Kucherov and company should roll in this spot.

Aaron Ekblad, Defenseman, Florida Panthers

FanDuel Salary: $6,600

Aaron Ekblad is back at last and will carry the load for the Florida defense on Thursday night. Ekblad is our number-three defenseman, as he is expected to score 13.8 points, according to our model.

The Panthers are one of those dynamic teams built for the regular season. They have depth and the ability to score from anywhere and everywhere. Part of that hinges on the health of Ekblad. When he is in the lineup, Florida is a scary team to face.

If you don't want to try to get to Ekblad's lofty salary, an alternative is Jakob Chychrun ($4,900), who is under-salaried. He has our highest-projected total (14.8 points) at the position and is also the best point-per-dollar play.

Robin Lehner, Goalie, Vegas Golden Knights

FanDuel Salary: $8,300

Robin Lehner had a solid performance against the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday night, but it was crucial for DFS that he got the win. He did allow three goals on 31 shots as the Vegas Golden Knights blew a 3-0 lead before stabilizing and winning.

The Los Angeles Kings are going to be a formidable opponent even without Quinton Byfield, and they could fire around 30 shots on net -- giving Lehner a good floor and ceiling.

Elsewhere, Andrei Vasilevskiy ($8,600) is another good high-salaried pick.

Chris Wassel is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Chris Wassel also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username chriswassel. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.