When it comes to hockey, sometimes it’s the teams that fly under most people’s radar that have the best chance of success. When looking at “Dark Horse” teams, it’s best to identify teams who aren’t generally considered contenders around the league but do have the pieces on paper to have a successful season and help you in DFS NHL. Unlikely success stories happen all the time in hockey, with the most recent example being the St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup after being last in the league coming into the new year.
The pieces in these teams could not only prove vital to their team’s overall success but can contribute to our DFS NHL success through low-owned value finds.
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The Flyers underwent turmoil on what seemed to be a consistent basis last season. That included a revolving door of goalies which led to the Flyers setting the record for most goalies used in a season (8), firing coach Dave Hakstol part way through the year and taking on an eight game losing streak through late December and early January.
However, looking at how the team stacks up now, there is definitely hope for this upcoming year as well as future seasons. The Flyers have many young talents that have already shown promise at the top level. At this point, the Flyers are boasting one of the most promising young cores in the NHL, and this includes Hart, Konecny, Lindblom, Patrick, Frost and Provorov. Not to mention the Flyers have also strengthened their lines this offseason by adding depth pieces, namely, Niskanen, Hayes and Braun. However, most importantly to their success they also hired NHL veteran coach Alain Vigneault to lead the team into the 2019-20 season, in hopes to bring stability to the City of Brotherly Love.
From a DFS NHL perspective, the Flyers can produce cheap and effective depth lines, providing smart targets once they heat up. For example, a third line consisting of Lindblom, Frost and Patrick could be one of the better value lines this season.
The Vancouver Canucks struggled to find any sort of consistency throughout the 2018-19 NHL season. They routinely dealt with injuries to key pieces such as Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser. Despite the head injury, Pettersson was still able to win the Calder Trophy after an overall outstanding performance last season.
Coming off Pettersson’s stellar year, there is plenty to look forward to for Vancouver fans and DFS NHL players in anticipation of the 2019-20 NHL season. As of right now it looks like both Quinn Hughes and Thatcher Demko are in a position to jostle for long term roles with the squad. If Boeser (RFA) signs a new contract, it looks as though he will start on the top line alongside Pettersson and new acquistion J.T. Miller. Miller was not the only player brought in by the Canucks this offseason and they were also able to add strong depth pieces such as Micheal Ferland, Tyler Myers, Oscar Fantenberg and Jordie Benn. Whether or not the Canucks will make the playoffs this season is still up for debate, however, they have made massive strides from last season and I look forward to seeing how they progress.
Much like his brother Jack, Quinn Hughes is looking very promising at the NHL level. Last season, Hughes only appeared in five games for the Canucks and was able to record three assists, as a defenseman no less. Vancouver is also an excellent place for growth as a defenseman since the young player will be able to learn alongside both Alex Edler and Tyler Myers. From a DFS NHL perspective, Quinn could represent a strong value defensive option early on in the season as he is slated to play on the second defensive line and top power play unit.
Unlike the other two teams on this list, the Dallas Stars had a relatively successful season last year which led to a playoff run where they were eliminated by the eventual champs, the St. Louis Blues. Despite the strong performance last season, the Stars have still made improvements on the offensive side adding Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry. When it comes to the back end, the Stars already have a solid defensive core in Klingberg, Lindell and Heiskanen as well as strong goaltending with Ben Bishop (provided he stays healthy). Gurianov could also prove to be a nice addition on the wing after scoring 48 goals in 57 games with the Texas Stars of the AHL last season. Despite the strong performance last season, many are quick to overlook the Stars, when in reality they are capable of another run at the cup in 2019-20.
DFS NHL wise, there is obviously a lot to like with the Stars. It would be worthwhile to target players such as Esa Lindell, who plays alongisde elite scoring defenseman John Klingberg, Joe Pavelski who recorded 38 goals in 75 games last season for the Sharks, Corey Perry who will be a cheap winger looking to return to form after last season and Denis Gurianov as he is slated to be playing alongside strong talent in Alexander Radulov and Roope Hintz as well as possibly seeing some power play minutes.
As an avid hockey fan since 2007, I suffered through the worst moments in Toronto Maple Leafs history and persevered to tell the story. I picked up NHL DFS in 2017 after being introduced to FanDuel by a family member and began writing NHL articles for Daily Play Action since 2018. Since my introduction to DFS, I've surpassed the initial bumps in the road and have continually sought to hone my game season after season. Today, I have solely focused on improving as an NHL and UFC DFS player in order to maximize my output in those sports. This is truly a win-win as I also love the sport itself. In 2019, I notably recommended Sean Kuraly in the NHL Winter Classic, where he went on to be the most valuable player of the slate with a goal and 5 shots. I was also in on Mantha when he had a whopping 12.9x value, Perlini when he posted a 10x value and Ennis, who was my top value play of the year at 14.9x value. My most notable NHL takedown was the NHL 4.44 Breakaway where I won $5,000. You can find me on Twitter @AFabrykant and FanDuel as InAustonWeTrust.