The Waiver Wire � For the week of December 8-December 15
Mark Arcobello EDM � WATCH - After his rapid ascent at the start of the season, Arcobello fell to Earth rather abruptly, recording just two points and registering a -7 in the ten games before being demoted to the minors for five games. It seems the demotion did him some good; in his five games since being recalled, he has three points, including a power play point, and is a +0 (which is good for Edmonton). If his game continues to improve, he�ll see more ice-time and likely a promotion into the top six at some point.
Mikael Backlund CGY � WATCH � Playing with Jiri Hudler and David Jones is starting to pay dividends for this young 24-year old center; he is riding a three game point streak, and has been rewarded with more ice-time as a result. With Sean Monahan�s injury, Backlund has had an opportunity to step up, and he�s showing both the coaching staff and the management that he has the ability to do so.
R.J. Umberger CLS � WATCH � While never a significant offensive force � his career best is 25G 32A 57P � his current season of 7G 9A 16P in 29GP is on pace for close to 50 points, and he has been very consistent for the past eight weeks, never going more than two games without a point. He�s also a -3 for the year, so he won�t hurt you defensively. In a deep league, 50 point players are hard to find at this point in the season, so if you�re in need, consider picking up Umberger.
Tomas Tatar DET � ADD FOR DEEP LEAGUES - After a respectable start to the season � 2G 4A 6P in 16GP � it appears that Tatar has finally figured out the NHL game, recording 4G 3A 7P +3 in his last five games. His newfound success has also given him more power play time, and it�s starting to pay off � two power play goals in the last two games. We think Tatar is a player on the rise, and you would be wise to get him now while his ownership levels are as low as they are (currently at below 1%).
David Booth VAN � WATCH � Many depth charts don�t reflect it yet, but it seems the musical chairs in Vancouver has finally benefitted Booth � coach John Tortorella now has him playing the wing on the Henrik & Daniel Sedin line. While we�re skeptical anything in Vancouver is going to stay the same with Tortorella juggling things, but while it lasts, David Booth may be the recipient of some low-hanging fruit brought about by play with the twins. If he�s free in your league, and you�re interested in taking a flyer on a potential jackpot, grab Booth to see if he�ll be the one to stick on the top line.
Matt Read PHI � WATCH � Remind me if you�re heard this before: a talented player with good hands, but off to a terrible start to the year. Basically, that�s everybody on the Flyers. The 27-year old winger had no points in the first eight games of the year, but in his last twelve, he has 6G 4A 10P +10. Like the rest of the Flyer ship, he�s turning things around with solid two-way effort, and he�s being rewarded on the scoresheet for it. At around a quarter of all leagues owning him, he�s probably still available in your league. Keep an eye on him.
Michael Frolik WPG � ADD WHEN HEALTHY � He�s currently under the weather with what looks like the flu, but once he�s healthy, we expect him to pick up where he�s left off. In his last seven games, he has 3G 3A 6P +3 2PIM, and has helped lead the Jets from their early season abyss. While Winnipeg is still seven points out of the last wild card at this point, their improved play may put them in playoff discussion in the coming weeks. If that occurs, it will be largely due to Frolik�s consistent and improved play.
Joe Corvo OTT � WATCH - At only 4% owned, Corvo is a steal from the free agent bin; while his stat sheet shows a moderate 2G 6A +1 2PIM 2PPP this year, he�s managed to do all this in only 13 games � much of his missed time was due not to injury, but being a healthy scratch. We�re not entirely sure of the reasoning behind this � perhaps a disagreement with the coaching staff or poor defensive coverage � but his scoring touch this year, on a PPG basis, is higher than any other Senator defenseman not named Karlsson, and would put him sixth on the team behind Clarke MacArthur. The only reason we suggest watch rather than add is to ensure he continues to get ice-time and doesn�t get scratched.
Andrej Sekera CAR � ADD � After a slower start to his season � 2G 2A 4P -8 in his first 12 GP � Sekera has poured it on in the last ten, tallying 4G 5A 9P +8 2PIM 2PPP 1SHG. It�s looking more and more apparent that this isn�t a streak but a trend � his play with partner Justin Faulk has been a large part of the reason why Carolina is sitting second in the Metropolitan division. His play has convinced us that he�s going to be a good player this year � add his if there�s need and availability.
Alexei Emelin MTL � WATCH � After missing the first month and a half of the season with knee rehab after surgery, Emelin has cleared out the cobwebs and is playing the style of fantasy hockey that is so valuable in deep leagues. He�ll never likely be a big time point producer � he�s only registered three assists in his ten games back, equating to about 25 points a season on average � but he provides about 1PIM per game, and is a plus-player. Leagues that have 6-8 defensive positions are very tough to fill towards the end, and a player like Emelin is a great add for those last two spots. Keep your eye on him.
Curtis McElhinney CLS � SHORT-TERM ADD � With the injury to Sergei Bobrovsky likely taking the Russian netminder out of action for the next month, the keeper of the Columbus cage will be Curtis McElhinney. Columbus is not a fantastic team � we were predicting a much better result than they have posted this year � but any time you can scoop a starting goalie, you put yourself and your team in a better position to be competitive. Grab him if he�s not already gone.
Karri Ramo CGY � WATCH � We all expected Kari Ramo to take some time to adjust to the NHL game, and even when he did, we weren�t sure if he would be the goalie of the future that Calgary was expecting. To his credit, it appears as though he�s trying to silence his critics. His last four appearances have been very positive � sporting an exceptional 1.25 GAA and a .951 SV%. Even more impressive was who he was playing against: Colorado (L), Phoenix (W), LA (W), and Anaheim (ND) - four playoff teams in the West. If you need a goalie � probably because you had Bobrovsky and someone else grabbed McElhinney � pick up Kari Ramo. He may very well surprise you.
How did we do last week (as of end-of-day Saturday December 7)?
(When we judged our correctness, we looked at whether we were expecting performance or lack thereof.)
Cody Eakin DAL � WATCH � 4GP 1G 1A -2 [Correct]
Matt Cullen NAS � WATCH � 3GP 0G 0A +0 [Incorrect]
Sean Couturier PHI � WATCH � 3GP 2G 2A +1 2PIM [Correct]
Nikita Kucherov TBL � WATCH � 3GP 0G 0A +1 4PIM [Neutral]
Tyler Toffoli LAK � TRADE OR DROP � 3GP 3G 0A +2 [Incorrect]
David Clarkson TOR � TRADE OR DROP � 3GP 0G 0A +0 2PIM [Correct]
T.J. Brodie / Kris Russell � WATCH � Brodie: 2GP 1G 1A +2 Russell: 3GP 1G 1A +3 [Correct]
Any Leaf Defensemen � BENCH � Combined: 3GP 1G 6A -3 [Incorrect]
Justin Faulk � WATCH (HOT STREAK) � 4GP 1G 3A +3 [Correct]
Frederik Andersen � ADD � Did not play
Tim Thomas � WILD CARD � No prediction
This week, we went 5-3-1 (though we�ll debate the Leaf defensemen item to the death). Historically, we�re now 40-20-16 for the season.
Grab players from these teams this week, if you can:
1. Chicago Blackhawks � Four games � Dallas, Philadelphia, Toronto, and LA
2. Los Angeles Kings � Four games � Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Chicago
3. Ottawa Senators � Four games � Philadelphia, two against Buffalo, and LA
Avoid players from these teams this week, if you can:
1. Winnipeg Jets � Three games � St. Louis, Colorado and Dallas
2. Minnesota Wild � Three games � Anaheim, San Jose and Colorado
3. Toronto Maple Leafs � Three games � LA, St. Louis and Chicago