When it comes to setting a lineup, there's no sport quite like hockey.

Every minute or so, new players are coming in and out of the game with the intensity of the sport necessitating these shifts to ensure fresh legs on the ice at all times.

Given this hyper-fluid nature of substitutions, do starting lineups even matter for hockey? The answer is generally yes, but in a very different way than you might see in other sports. Let's talk about how lineups work in hockey, and their effect on daily and single-year fantasy competitions, as well as wagering on the best NHL betting apps.

What Is a Starting Lineup in Hockey?

While a starting lineup in other sports might be the group you expect to see compete for most or all of the game, that is not remotely the case in hockey.

Even during the playoffs, stars still only see about 20 minutes of ice time at most in a 60-minute contest. That being said, there is still important gameday team news. It just comes in the form of that day's line combinations.

Of course, a coach can tinker with the lines throughout the game, but the team sheet you'll see before the game should give you a solid general idea of who will be sharing the ice with one another. You'll be able to see a list of three-man attacking lines, as well as defensive pairings, the latter of which stay on the ice for slightly longer periods.

This is one reason that an attacking line won't generally be tied to a specific defensive pair, so the most important information you'll learn is which forwards will be linking up to try to score goals.

Seeing the order of the lines can also be helpful. The first line is likely to see the most ice time, or at least the most important minutes of the game. Not always, but often, these top attackers will also be part of the team's power play unit, so they could have an even greater chance of putting up points in these hyper-offensive situations.

The Basics

The most basic stats you'll want to be monitoring for skaters are goals, assists, shots and blocks. When it comes to goalkeepers, saves and goals against will be the biggest ones, as well as team success metrics from when he's in net, namely wins and shutouts.

In today's era of hockey, there are some more advanced stats you can leverage as well. Expected goals, or xG, quantifies the amount of goals a player should be scoring based on the chances he receives. High-danger metrics accomplish something similar, as they evaluate the quality of shots and scoring opportunities.

One way to categorize players ahead of a draft can be to place them in tiers of players who are generally of the same caliber as one another. This can help you strategize which group of players you intend to target with each pick. This is a more realistic approach than planning on any one individual, who could very easily be off the board.

How to Use the NHL Starting Lineups

In terms of betting on NHL odds and making fantasy hockey lineups,these line sheets can be very valuable information, as opportunities to score are arguably just as important as player ability.

Another key way this can help fantasy managers is creating stacks. This is when you pull together two line-mates onto your roster in the hopes of cashing in on both a goal and assist when the pair link up.

Why the NHL Starting Lineup Is Important for DFS Play

Lineups can help you identify which players are in for a big game, which can directly translate to daily fantasy success. For skaters, goals will be the most valuable action, followed by assists. In some competitions, you can earn smaller point sums for shots on goal and blocks, and even bonuses for special teams performances.

Knowing the starting goalies for a game is also very important, as netminders are also involved in DFS. You can earn big points for wins and shutouts, small values for each save, but lose points with each goal allowed.

Using NHL Starting Lineups in Fantasy Hockey

  • Learning which players will be linemates can allow you to create stacks.
  • Seeing the order of lines can give you an idea of who will get the most ice time or the best opportunities.
  • Special teams groups can have great opportunities to pick up bonus points.
  • Starting goalies can be big point-earners.

NHL Starting Lineup Picks Overview

Let's talk about a few key approaches and concepts to keep in mind when setting up your DFS plays.

  • Contest selection: Every different DFS competition has its own parameters, in terms of scoring, buy-in, and payout structure. Be sure to identify ones that fit your own personal needs and means.
  • Low-risk lineup construction: Prioritize centers and high-volume shooters to ensure a general baseline of production.
  • Divesting from defensemen: It's often hard to find top-tier production from this position even when paying top dollar. Think about finding low-cost defensemen who play significant minutes in order to make a value buy and prioritize attacking positions with the bulk of your funds.
  • Stacking: Consider picking two players from the same line, so you can double-dip on points if one assists the other's goal.

DFS Game Analysis Tips

Here are some ways to draft and perform game analysis.

  • Research/create a mock draft: This is an opener for you to get acquainted with the skills and stats of top league players and to practice draft mechanics.
  • Monitor goalies: Goalies can be more unpredictable than other players and that can have an effect on picks.
  • Know how to pick your spots: Picks can be based on various factors, such as stats, matchups, or production trends.
  • Remember to fill in the gaps: Everyone on the team should have a specific useful talent, even if all they do is support the first-round pick.
  • Choose solid projections: Pay attention to a team's basic construction, and the defense should correlate to one of your line stacks.
  • Get ideas from the experts: Seek out expert analysis on picks to become as informed as possible.

How to Find the Best Daily Lineups

In order to participate in Daily Fantasy Hockey, you'll have to join a league and stick with whatever team you've selected, sometimes for a good period of time. So, the process of getting started can be a significant one.

Let's talk about how you can do it.

Opening an account with a DFS operator is fairly simple. All you'll need to do is navigate to the website of your choice, start the registration process, and submit your personal identification and contact information. This enables a unique account to be created.

Once you've done that, you can pick a contest that fits your competitive needs and financial means, and begin to pick a lineup. You'll be given an in-game budget and a list of players along with their corresponding costs.

From there, you'll select however many players at each position are required by the operator and competition of your choice, making sure not to crack that budget, and confirm your submissions.

Why Should I Play Hockey DFS Contests?

If you're a hockey fan who wants to get even more engaged with the game, NHL Daily Fantasy Contests can be a great way to do just that. Conversely, for newcomers to the game looking to learn more, diving into the stats and trivia associated with these leagues can be a great introduction.

For hockey experts who believe that they can turn their insight and accurate predictions into a profit, Daily Fantasy offers a platform. The challenge of building the best possible team is also a great way to push yourself and see just how much you've learned about the sport and its stars.

NHL Starting Lineups FAQ

Want to learn more about NHL starting lineups and ways to play? Read these common questions and answers we've compiled below.

When are gameday NHL line combinations released?

There's no official time the lines have to be released. It can happen anytime on game day, but usually a good bit of time in advance.

What are the stats to watch when looking up NHL starting lineups?

Seeing which teammates often link up for goals and assists can be very valuable, as well as knowing who is likely to have power play opportunities.

Where do you find the best NHL starting lineups rankings?

You can find great information on NHL line combinations right here on RotoGrinders.

How do NHL starting lineups stacks work?

If you have two linemates in your own lineup, and one assists the other's goal, you'll receive points for both categories. This is what is known as a stack. If you choose to roster an entire line, you can even stack all three players if two of them assist the third.

What positions are on a hockey line?

A hockey line consists of a center, a left wing, and a right wing.

Card Legend

Actual Fantasy Points are listed in purple for all past games

Player Status Key

  • (P) Probable
  • (B) Best Guess
  • (C) Confirmed
  • (O) Out
  • (Q) Questionable
  • (D) Doubtful, Disabled (MLB)
  • (G) Game-time Decision
  • (PLR) Projected Long Reliever listed below confirmed started