The Waiver Wire – For the week of January 5 – January 12
Tyler Bozak TOR – ADD – Definitely a sight for sore eyes in Toronto, Bozak returned to unanimous applause by scoring four points in his last two games and, if you include his last five games before his injury, has nine points in his last six games. His chemistry with the Leafs’ first line of James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel is both palpable and demonstrative, with both breaking out of mini-slumps with Bozak’s return to the lineup. With a lower ownership rate – currently below 30% - a number of mid-depth pools will still have him available. If your center position is weak, add him – we expect that from this point out, he should approach a point-per-game average.
Darren Helm DET – WATCH – While he’s currently out with what appears to be a minor groin tweak, Helm is a good forward to keep your eye on. Not only should he be good for around a half-point-per-game average, but he’s very responsible defensively and will contribute to your +/- category. His ownership rate is at 3% which means just about every league has him available. If you’re in need for a center and in a deep pool, look to grab Helm when he returns from his current injury, which should be early this coming week.
Mike Fisher NSH – WATCH – In the midst of a red-hot streak, the Nashville first-line center has 3G 5A 8P in his last 3GP. Since his recent promotion to the top of the depth chart, he has found instant chemistry with new line mates Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson – both wingers had four points apiece in the last three games. The jury is still out on whether or not Fisher has been the catalyst for this scoring burst, but it’s a welcome discovery in the Music City. With his ownership rate at 8%, he’s also highly available. While he remains on the top line between these two wingers, play the hot hand if you can.
Michael Ryder NJD – WATCH – After a very slow start to the season, Ryder is beginning to show some consistency to his game. In the last 20GP, he’s registered 7G 6A 13P, which for New Jersey’s anemic offense, is a needed addition. Note to those interested in adding him: we’re very bearish on New Jersey’s prospects this season. We expect them to be in the bottom five in the league, so while we like the prospects of Ryder for spot starts, his overall +/- will probably hurt you. If you’re strong in that category, he can help with point production.
Alexander Semin CAR – CONSIDER ADDING VIA TRADE – Ever the enigma, Semin can be the most dominant player on the ice on any given night – when he wants to be. Of late, he has wanted to be more often than not, recording 2G 5A 7P +3 6PIM 2PPP in his last 9GP, and has looked more like the Semin of old since returning from his concussion in mid-December. See if the GM who owns him in your league would be willing to part with him for a reasonable swap; he may turn into a gem if he stays this motivated.
Jakob Silfverberg ANA – WATCH – While there’s very little in his stats to suggest a breakthrough, coach Bruce Boudreau has started giving him first line ice time with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, and has indicated that he wants to give him more. Both Perry and Getzlaf have been so hot this year that even the mention of someone being given ice time with the two of them is more than enough to warrant a watch rating from us. If Silfverberg finds even a semi-permanent spot with the big boys, grab him and hold on for the ride.
John-Michael Liles CAR – WATCH – With his trade on New Year’s Day to Carolina, Liles’ career prospects have been magically resurrected from AHL cast-off to probable top-four time. A fantastic puck mover, Liles didn’t get the ice time he deserved while in Toronto, and with the absence of Joni Pitkanen this season, he should be able to fit into the four-spot, paired with Ron Hainsey. We think that Liles will do quite well once he settles into his new team – flag him for follow-up in a month.
Dennis Wideman CGY – WATCH – Now back from a broken hand which kept him out of action since the end of November, Wideman is one to watch if he’s available in your league. With an ownership rate of 43%, there’s a remote possibility he’s still available in your pool, but many GMs wince at owning him because of Calgary’s position in the standings. Before his injury, he had 2G 10A 12P in 24GP, which put him on pace for a 40-point season, if he had stayed healthy. That’s a good season by any blue-liner, especially one that is playing for 27th-place team in the league.
Cody Franson TOR – CONSIDER ACQUIRING VIA TRADE – Already off to a great season, Franson’s ownership numbers make him unavailable in most leagues. While still very good, his 2G 18A 20P in 40GP is below his breakthrough performance from last year. Through most of the 2012-2013 campaign, he was partnered with Mark Fraser, a strong defensive defenseman, which gave him greater latitude to play offense. Now that the Leafs have acquired Tim Gleason, we expect that he’ll be paired with Franson, and the results could be fantastic if Gleason can be Franson’s new defensive conscience.
Evgeni Nabokov NYI – WATCH – The goaltending woes for the Islanders have been fairly evident all season. Between Nabokov and Kevin Poulin, the Islanders rank 29th in the league for both goals against per game (3.26) and team save percentage (.893). In spite of these rather atrocious numbers, Nabokov has started to turn the tide in his last six games, registering a 4-2 record with a 2.33 GAA / .922 SV%. While we’re not going to make a solid recommendation to add him just yet, it’s important to note that those four wins came at the hands of Chicago, Boston, Detroit and the New York Rangers – not exactly poor competition. Watch his play over the next week or so to see if he warrants a waiver add.
Al Montoya WPG – CONSIDER ADDING – Winnipeg’s struggles this year have been perplexing – we had them pegged in the pre-season to be in the mix for a wildcard spot in the West. Substandard play combined with lackluster goaltending has, to this point, rendered that prediction rather unlikely. Noteworthy of late, however, has been Montoya’s play in relief of Ondrej Pavelec’s horrendous December (2-6-1 3.87 GAA / .863 SV%). In his six appearances last month, Montoya had a record of 5-0-0 with a 1.13 GAA / .959 SV% with one shutout, which is a welcome improvement. We expect that Montoya may have stolen the job outright from Pavelec; at very least, the crease is his for the time being and we expect him to run with it.
Jonathan Bernier TOR –ACQUIRE VIA TRADE – While this should come as no surprise to anybody following the Leafs, it appears as though the goalie controversy may be finally put to bed. With James Reimer playing poorly in two of his last three starts, and Bernier almost singlehandedly saving the Leafs season with phenomenal play, we expect that the latter will get a large majority of the starts going forward. With that being said, the platooning that we saw to begin the year is likely over – Bernier’s numbers put him in the top five in save percentage this year (.931) and his increased ice time will likely assist almost anybody’s category. We also expect (or at least hope) that the Leafs’ spotty play will correct itself sooner than later with the return of Dave Bolland which should also help his wins. Put feelers out in your league to see what the price is to get him.
How did we do last week (as of end-of-day Saturday January 4)?
(When we judged our correctness, we looked at whether we were expecting performance or lack thereof.)
Note: Our last piece didn’t make any predictions, nor did it address our previous ones. We’ll be using those predictions from our December 22nd piece, and taking the last two weeks.
Mark Scheifele WPG – ADD – 6GP 0G 3A 3P -3 2PIM [Correct]
Peter Holland TOR – WATCH – 4GP 1G 0A 1P -2 2PIM [Neutral]
Valtteri Filppula TBL – HOT STREAK – 5GP 3G 3A 6P +1 2PIM 2PPP [Correct]
Ryane Clowe NJD – ADD IF AVAILABLE – 4GP 0G 1A 1P -2 5PIM [Neutral]
Nathan Horton CLS – ADD IF AVAILABLE – 1GP 1G 0A 1P +0 1PPP [Neutral]
Dany Heatley MIN – TRADE/DUMP – 1GP 1G 0A 0P +0 [Correct]
Olli Maata PIT – WATCH – 4GP 0G 1A 1P -3 [Incorrect]
Zach Bogosian WPG – ADD IF AVAILABLE – 4GP 0G 0A 0P -3 15PIM [Neutral]
Sergei Gonchar DAL – WATCH – Concussion, did not play [N/A]
Scott Clemmensen FLA – WATCH – 3GP 1-2 3.66 GAA / .876SV% [Incorrect]
Jeff Zatkoff PIT – WATCH – 1GP 1-0 3.05 GAA / .893SV% [Incorrect]
Eddie Lack VAN – WATCH – 6GP 3-1-1 1SO 1.66 GAA / .921SV% [Correct]
We had a rough holiday season, going 4-3-4 with 1 N/A. Historically, we’re now 59-26-25 for the season.
Grab players from these teams this week, if you can:
1. Dallas Stars - Four games this week – New York Islanders twice, New Jersey and New York Rangers
2. Toronto Maple Leafs – Four games this week – New York Islanders, Carolina, Washington and New Jersey
3. New Jersey Devils – Four games this week – Philadelphia, Dallas, Florida and Toronto
Avoid players from these teams this week, if you can:
1. Vancouver Canucks – Two games this week – Pittsburgh and St. Louis
2. Winnipeg Jets – Two games this week – Tampa Bay and Columbus
3. Ottawa Senators – Two games this week – Colorado and Nashville