The Waiver Wire - For the week of December 1-December 8
Cody Eakin DAL - WATCH - Quietly, Eakin is putting together a career year on Dallas- second line. While certainly never a big scorer - his career high is 24 points, recorded last year - he will shortly eclipse that. Current projections put him at around a 50-point clip this year, and possibly higher, as his production continues to increase week-over-week, and month-over-month. If your pool is a shallow one, just flag him for future note; if you're in a deep pool and need a center, consider adding him.
Matt Cullen NAS - WATCH - After an extended cold streak for the latter half of October and into the first weeks of November, Cullen was a miserable -9 with no points and no assists. Something has turned around his fortunes; in the last seven games, the Nashville second line center has 3G 6A 9P. He's been a sparkplug for what should be a fairly awful team. Flag him in your player list - we're not convinced this streak is done by any means.
Sean Couturier PHI - WATCH - It seems every week, we're adding another Philadelphia player to watch, and with good reason. The Flyers are 7-2-1 in their last ten games, and are giving every indication that they may be part of the playoff picture in the East. Couturier goes the way his team goes - in his last six games, he has 2G 3A 5P, and is a +6. Most pools have written off quality Philadelphia players weeks ago; get them while you can because we think the Flyers are here to stay.
Nikita Kucherov TBL - WATCH - After being recalled last week from the AHL, where he was leading the league in scoring for all rookies, he promptly made a big impression on coach Jon Cooper, recording his first NHL goal on his first NHL shot. He's not exactly a big power forward, standing only 5-11- and weighing in at 171 lbs. but he has remarkable talent and scoring ability. While it normally takes some time for players from the AHL to get used to the speed of the NHL game, keep your eye on Kucherov. With notable injuries to Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone, Kucherov will get an extended look, and an opportunity to earn his spot with the big club.
Tyler Toffoli LAK - TRADE OR DROP - After his hot start out of the gate, Toffoli has cooled significantly. In his last five games, he had only one assist. Making matters worse - Jeff Carter's return from injury has bumped Toffoli out of that coveted top'six position, and is now lining up with Linden Vey and Kyle Clifford on the third line. We expect that with his demotion, his current scoring trends will be more indicative of his production for the foreseeable future. LA has suffered a huge run of injuries of late, so that may change if a top'six performer goes down, and gives Toffoli another chance.
David Clarkson TOR - TRADE OR DROP - As Leaf fans, we're annoyed that it has to come to this. Five points in 16GP and a -3 is simply not good enough. While Clarkson's 30PIM are certainly appreciated, our hope that he would blossom into a 50 point gritty winger seems to be a disappointment. If your team is in need of penalty minutes, there are far better options on the waiver wire. Cut your losses and trade him away to someone who might be willing to take a flyer on him.
TJ Brodie / Kris Russell CAL - WATCH - We're going to mention both of these guys as a package deal, because we're not sure yet which is going to be the benefactor of Dennis Wideman's ice time now that the veteran blueliner has gone down with a fractured hand. While Calgary is not exactly the best team in the league, with a large contingent of rookies and sophomores learning the ropes at the NHL level, they certainly are having no problems scoring. Calgary sits roughly in the middle of the league in goals for with 2.64 per game. Wideman's impact on this scoring was noteworthy, having tallied 2G 10A 12P in the 24 games he had played so far. With him out, either Brodie or Russell will be expected to step up and serve on the top line power play. It is possible that coach Bob Hartley will experiment with both to see who has better success. Keep an eye out for who wins, and grab that player if they're available.
Any Leaf Defensemen - BENCH - Watching the Leafs the last week has been absolutely horrendous - everybody looks out of place and disjoint, coverages are getting blown, pucks are getting turned over, and people are playing tentative and scared. Columbus on Monday was a 6-0 rout. Pittsburgh was a 6-5 loss that proved that you can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Buffalo on Friday should have been an easy win against a weak opponent, but resulted in a 3-2 overtime loss. Saturday in Montreal fared little better, with the Leafs getting shelled 4-2. As has been the case all year, Toronto can score, but their defense has been awful, and their goalies have made them look better than they are. Until Toronto can get their act together, bench any Toronto defense you have. Yes, you might miss out on some points, but your plus-minus will take a beating. This week for example: all Leaf D had 4A but were a combined -10.
Justin Faulk CAR - WATCH (HOT STREAK) - While we're not yet convinced of his long-term fantasy value, Faulk seems to have something going. In his last three games, the Carolina defender has 1G 3A +3 1PPP. We know there's a lot of injuries in the league right now, so if one of your main guys has gone down, and you now need a substitute for a week or so, you might want to see if you can get Faulk for a few games. His play of late warrants a look.
Frederik Andersen ANA - ADD - Viktor Fasth's return from injury appears to have been far too soon, as he only played two games before going down again with a lower-body injury. Fasth's misfortune, however, seems to be Andersen's gain. In his eight games played this year, he has been stellar, posting a 7-1 record with a 1.70 GAA/.939 SV%. Many GMs dumped Andersen with Fasth's return; those GMs now are clamoring to get him back. Grab him if you can, because he is that good.
Tim Thomas FLA - WILD CARD - Many early backers of Thomas were initially off-put with his terrible start to the season, posting two terrible showings at the first half of October. Since, he's been inconsistent, but at times, incredible. His game log shows three games with a .950+ SV%, six games with a .900-.950, and seven at sub-.900. He's also got a 6-8-1 record to show for this inconsistency. There are games where he has shown that he is still one of the best in the game, and others where he shows that he's a 39-year old that didn-t play hockey last year. If you pick your games with him, he could be a great add, but he's still a wild card.
How did we do last week (as of end-of-day Saturday November 30)?
(When we judged our correctness, we looked at whether we were expecting performance or lack thereof.)
David Desharnais MTL - WATCH - 3GP 1G 2A +0 [Correct]
Gustav Nyquist DET - WATCH - 3GP 2G 1A +3 [Correct]
Scottie Upshall FLA - SHORT-TERM ADD - 3GP 2G 1A +0 [Correct]
Nick Foligno CBJ - ADD - 4GP 1G 2A 14PIM [Correct]
Nail Yakupov EDM - WATCH/ADD - 3GP 0G 0A -1 [Incorrect]
Jeff Skinner CAR - ACQUIRE VIA TRADE - 3GP 1G 0A -1 [Neutral]
Roman Josi NAS - WATCH - 4GP 0G 1A +1 [Neutral]
Jared Spurgeon MIN - WATCH - 3GP 0G 0A 2PIM [Incorrect]
Mark Streit PHI - ADD - 4GP 1G 1A 2PIM [Correct]
Steve Mason PHI - QUESTION MARK - 3GP 2-1 2.00 GAA / .935 SV% [Correct]
Ben Scrivens LAK - SELL IF YOU CAN - 1-0-1 2.00 GAA / .950 SV% [Incorrect]
Marek Mazanec NAS - SHORT TERM ADD - 4GP 2-1-1 1.40 GAA / .945 SV% [Correct]
We had a pretty good week this week, going 7-3-2 with our predictions. Historically, we're now 35-17-15 for the season.
Grab players from these teams this week, if you can:
1. Montreal Canadiens - Four games this week - New Jersey home-and-home, Boston, and Buffalo
2. New York Rangers - Four games this week - Winnipeg, Buffalo, New Jersey, and Washington
3. San Jose Sharks - Four games this week - Toronto, Pittsburgh, Carolina, and Minnesota
Avoid players from these teams this week, if you can:
1. Buffalo Sabres - Two games this week - New York Rangers, and Montreal
2. Columbus Blue Jackets - Two games this week - Tampa Bay and Minnesota
3. Anaheim Ducks - Three games this week - LA, Chicago, and St. Louis