5 NHL FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 4/22/21

We get a big 10-game NHL DFS slate on Thursday night. Which high-salaried players should you build around?

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 features a big 10-game NHL DFS slate. Let's take a look at which studs you should build around.

Sidney Crosby, Center, Pittsburgh Penguins

FanDuel Salary: $8,200

It is not hard to look at Sidney Crosby and go okay, just play! The New Jersey Devils are just horrendous when it comes to defense and goaltending right now. Their penalty kill is still the worst in the league and Pittsburgh was able to capitalize on that on Tuesday. Crosby had a goal, an assist, and four shots on goal in the wild 7-6 win. The center could have had more as he hit a post and missed a wide-open scoring chance early in the first period.

Crosby has eight real-world points in his last four games versus New Jersey. The Devils rank 29th in goals allowed with 3.4 goals per game and their penalty kill is now back below 70% at 69.8. That number drops to 68% on the road. The Penguins' power play behind Crosby has improved to ninth at 22.9%. With Bryan Rust ($6,200) and Jake Guentzel ($7,700) flanking Crosby, those are a couple of solid stacking options along with maybe Brian Dumoulin ($3,800) for salary relief.

Nathan MacKinnon ($9,000) returns tonight for the Colorado Avalanche against the St. Louis Blues. Also, Mika Zibanejad ($7,800) plays the Philadelphia Flyers again tonight.

Brad Marchand, Wing, Boston Bruins

FanDuel Salary: $7,800

The Boston Bruins play a suddenly improved Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night but the one constant against Buffalo has always been the top line with Brad Marchand leading the way. He had a goal and four shots on goal in their last meeting. That was along with three scoring chances and two high-danger opportunities.

The expectations are that of a higher-scoring game which means more scoring chances. Both Buffalo and Boston will want to push the pace, but the key for the Bruins will be discipline. The Bruins lead the league in penalty minutes per game at 10.3. For them to thrive, Marchand and the top line especially must keep drawing penalties, not committing them. Marchand has five goals in his last three games as the Bruins are finding their stride again.

The Pittsburgh wingers were mentioned already but Artemi Panarin ($8,300) against the 30th-ranked Philadelphia Flyers defense is awfully enticing.

Joe Pavelski, Wing, Dallas Stars

FanDuel Salary: $7,400

The strange thing is that most thought Joe Pavelski would slow down after his early-season outburst, and he did a little. However, he is still on pace for a 50-point plus season in this compressed schedule. The Dallas forward has another great matchup against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.

Pavelski fired in six shots on goal with 11 attempts on Tuesday. The pivot will occasionally block a shot here and there which only adds to his floor. He has three or more shots on net in five of his previous six outings. The Dallas power-play ranks sixth thanks mostly to Pavelski, whose ability to tip shots is the best by far and away.

Kyle Connor ($6,700) is an excellent goal-scoring play on Thursday night after scoring two goals in his last game versus a Toronto team struggling in goal of late.

Victor Hedman, Defenseman, Tampa Bay Lightning

FanDuel Salary: $6,400

There is this simple fact -- Victor Hedman likes to play against teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is a Blue Jackets team that is allowing 35-plus shots with much frequency since the trade deadline. Hedman has a whopping 20 shots on goal on 36 attempts in his previous four meetings.

This season has been a bit up and down but he does have five real-world points in his last five games. Tampa Bay has struggled wins and losses wise but Columbus could represent a bit of a get-right type of game.

Kris Letang ($6,300) and Adam Fox ($5,800) both have to be considered on Thursday for above-average matchups against below-average penalty kills. Both are salaried at around $6,000 and that is a bonus.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Goalie, Tampa Bay Lightning

FanDuel Salary: $8,300

Andrei Vasilevskiy has been incredible this season for Tampa Bay. He did struggle in his last miniseries against Columbus allowing 7 goals on 65 shots while going 1-1. However, the Tampa Bay goalie has a long memory and Columbus is again just not the same as they were before the trade deadline.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will not struggle forever, and on the bright side, Vasilevskiy stopped 32 of 35 shots in a loss versus Carolina where he looked more like himself. He stoned Sebastian Aho a few times and left the Hurricanes' center looking skyward often.

Wait for other confirmations first for possible alternatives, but Igor Shesterkin ($8,000) is projected to start against the Philadelphia Flyers.

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.