The Waiver Wire – For the week of December 15-December 22
Ryan Strome NYI – WATCH / ADD – One of our pre-season favorites for the Calder trophy, Strome didn’t make the team from training camp and was sent to the minors. With their obvious issues to this point in the year, and with Strome’s success in the AHL – 9G 24A 33P +9 in 23GP – it was time to get him into the lineup. Depending on which line he gets inserted into, he could be an instant success in the NHL – time on the top line would pay immediate dividends, but we find it more likely that he’ll be inserted into Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s old position between Peter Regin and Cal Clutterbuck. If you’re in a deep pool, grab him immediately; for everybody else, keep a keen eye on what unfolds here.
Jaden Schwartz STL – WATCH – Lining up between Vladimir Tarasenko and Vladimir Sobotka, the 21-year-old has found breakout success this year, recording 8G 14A 22P in 30 games. St. Louis is a power-house this year, and there are a number of unlikely successes (Alexander Steen anyone?) but Schwartz’ success has been expected for years. The Blues developed him slowly and deliberately, allowing him to find confidence at every level. We expect that his production this year will be indicative of what we can expect from him in future years – a mid-60 to low-70 point player with a solid +/- and a PIM and SOG contributor.
Vladimir Sobotka STL – WATCH – We couldn’t really mention Schwartz above without mentioning his line mate and fellow success story. While recording fewer points – 5G 10A 15P in 30GP – Sobotka offers fantasy GMs a similar success story with a different statistical profile. Where Schwartz has more points, Sobotka draws significantly more PIM, allowing GMs who desire a grittier player than Schwartz to get his line mate, and hedge on his production. Getting the both of them this year has been a fantastic strategy for deep-pool GMs – consider adding him if you can.
Daniel Winnik ANA – WATCH – We’re not entirely sure why Winnik has such a low ownership rate (1% of leagues have him owned) but the Anaheim winger is on a scoring streak, and is fantastic for GMs looking to pad the assist category. While we’re not expecting him to turn into a sensation, his line mates are Andrew Cogliano and Saku Koivu – both season-long underperformers to this point. If one (or all) of them get hot, we expect that Winnik could be a diamond in the rough. Keep an eye on this streak to see if it continues.
Cam Atkinson CLS – SHORT-TERM ADD – Columbus had high expectations this year; with the new alignment, they were poised to grab one of the three Metropolitan playoff positions. They stumbled out of the gate, but have shown a renaissance of late. Key to this was Atkinson’s resurgence – six points in four games, and showing great chemistry with Brandon Dubinsky and Matt Calvert on the top line. We suggest flagging him to watch to see how he develops.
Matt Calvert CLS – SHORT-TERM ADD – Line mates with Atkinson, the top line for Columbus has 14 points in the last four games – Calvert contributing with a three-game goal streak. While Dubinsky is largely owned in most leagues (52%) his line mates are remarkably untouched. If you can’t get Dubinsky, or Atkinson, pick up Calvert and ride out this streak
Nick Foligno CLS – ADD – Rounding out the three Columbus players in this article, Foligno is having a noteworthy fantasy year so far. Easily picked off of most waiver wires, he will get you about 50 points, while providing a positive +/- and a boatload of penalty minutes. He also gets plenty of power play time, so he has the ability to be a cross-category contributor. The underproduction of Columbus this year has tarnished a lot of quality assets this year – the result is an opportunity for GMs that can recognize them.
Jeremy Morin CHI – ADD IF NEEDED – It’s hard to find a scrappy PIM guy that will provide offensive output and a positive +/-. Most are lacking in one or another – Morin seems to provide that rare combination of pugnacity with talent. He has five points in 14 games with a +2, but has 30 PIM in that time – that equates to 30 points and 160 PIM over a season, with a +11. Chicago always seems to play on Sundays, he would be a fantastic “back pocket” add if you’re in a head-to-head league and losing the PIM category on the last day by a few. He likely won’t hurt your other stats and could win you that category.
Antoine Roussel DAL – ADD – In the last two seasons, Roussel has been the best agitator in the game, recording almost 3 PIM per game, while being a plus-player and contributing almost half-a-point-per-game. This year, he’s almost eclipsed his totals from last year in nine less games and is a key player in Dallas’ future. If you’re looking for a category-buster, Roussel should do wonderfully for PIM, while not being a detriment in any other categories.
Jacob Trouba WPG – WATCH – He’s been back from his neck injury for just over two weeks, and it’s apparent how important he is to the future of the Jets defence. The 19-year-old has recorded four points in the last five games, and looks to be an offensive threat most nights. He had a rough mid-October, which likely threw a number of GMs off his bandwagon, but his recent composure should make others take note.
Victor Hedman TBL – ADD – When he was drafted second behind John Tavares (and notably one spot above Matt Duchene), Hedman was touted as a can’t-miss prospect – an unholy hybrid of Chris Pronger’s size and Nicklas Lidstrom’s skill. Up until this year though, he appeared to have been a potential bust – his best year was in 2010-2011 with 3G 23A 26P in 79GP. As they say, defensemen take time to develop, and while the big Swede is only 22, it appears as though he’s finally come of age, recording 15 points in 28 games, with 23 PIM and 47 SOG. This year, he’s on pace for over 40 points with almost 80 PIM and 150 SOG; we can think of no better way to silence his critics than stellar performance such as this.
Martin Jones LAK – SHORT-TERM ADD – We don’t really know where he’s come from, but this 23-year-old undrafted prospect is ripping apart the league at an epic clip. In his last five games, he’s only allowed five goals, recording two shutouts and an incredible 5-0 1.00 GAA / .967 SV%. He’s even managed to apparently unseat Ben Scrivens for the starting position in LA – who himself has a stellar 7-2-3 record with a 1.56 GAA / .943 SV%. We don’t expect Jones to be available in most leagues, but if you can grab this shooting star, do so. It should be a great ride while it lasts.
Jonas Gustavsson DET – WATCH – With Jimmy Howard going down with a knee injury a month ago, Detroit has relied on “The Monster” more and more, with continued success. He’s 8-1 with a 1.93 GAA / .933 SV%, and in his last five games, he’s only allowed more than one goal twice. He’s hot, he’s on a great team, and he’s getting an opportunity. If you need a goalie for the next 2-3 weeks, grab him if he’s free in your league.
How did we do last week (as of end-of-day Saturday December 14)?
(When we judged our correctness, we looked at whether we were expecting performance or lack thereof.)
Mark Arcobello EDM – WATCH – 3GP 0G 1A +1 2PIM [Neutral]
Mikael Backlund CGY – WATCH – 3GP 0G 2A +2 [Correct]
R.J. Umberger CLS – WATCH – 3GP 0G 1A +0 [Neutral]
Tomas Tatar DET – ADD FOR DEEP LEAGUES – 3GP 0G 0A +0 4PIM [Incorrect]
David Booth VAN – WATCH – 2GP 0G 1A +1 [Correct]
Matt Read PHI – WATCH – 3GP 0G 0A -5 [Incorrect]
Michael Frolik CHI – ADD WHEN HEALTHY – 3GP 1G 1A -1 [Correct]
Joe Corvo OTT – WATCH – 3GP 1G 0A +0 2PIM [Correct]
Andrej Sekera CAR – ADD – 3GP 0G 2A -2 2PIM [Correct]
Alexei Emelin MTL – WATCH – 2GP 0G 0A -4 17PIM [Neutral]
Curtis McElhinney CLS – SHORT-TERM ADD – 2GP 2-0-0 3.50GAA / .900SV% [Neutral]
Karri Ramo CGY – WATCH – 2GP 2-0-0 0.97 GAA/ .965 SV% [Correct]
This week, we went 6-2-4. Historically, we’re now 46-22-20 for the season.
Grab players from these teams this week, if you can:
1. Colorado Avalanche – Four games this week – Home-and-home against Dallas, Edmonton, and Los Angeles
2. Ottawa Senators – Four games this week – St. Louis, New Jersey, Florida and Phoenix
3. Pittsburgh Penguins – Four games this week – Toronto, New York Rangers, Minnesota, and Calgary
Avoid players from these teams this week, if you can:
1. Chicago Blackhawks – Two games this week – Nashville and Vancouver
2. Carolina Hurricanes – Two games this week – Washington and Tampa Bay
3. Buffalo Sabres – Three games this week – Winnipeg, and a home-and-home against Boston