The Waiver Wire – For January 19th – January 26th
Boone Jenner CLS – WATCH – Long before he made his debut in the NHL for Columbus, Jenner wowed us with his physical play and soft hands in the World Juniors in 2012 and 2013. His play then reminded us of a young Milan Lucic; while his numbers haven’t warranted such a comparison yet in the professional ranks, he is progressing nicely. His game log this season shows an ever-decreasing number of zero-point games – after only two points in his first ten games, he tallied four in the subsequent ten, and now has five in his last eight. He’s also starting to be rewarded with more ice time and some power play time as well. At 1% owned, he’s available widely – in a deep pool, he’d be a good asset to pick up.
Brandon Sutter PIT – SHORT-TERM ADD – While his game log leaves much to be desired, it’s important to note that he’s not being called upon to be a scorer in Pittsburgh. His role is to be responsible defensively – not a particularly attractive fantasy virtue. But, in light of injuries to James Neal and Beau Bennett, Sutter has been called upon to serve on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Fantasy owners take notice: these two players can turn a cardboard cutout of Justin Bieber into a 40-point player. A player with the skill of Sutter should have no trouble turning time with these two into a scoring bonanza.
Jiri Tlusty CAR – WATCH – We’re split on this watch rating; Tlusty had a fantastic career year last year, but the jury is out as to whether that’s a statistical anomaly or something we can expect consistently. After an astounding recent run of the top line consisting of Eric Staal between Jeff Skinner and Alexander Semin, coach Kirk Muller has opted to move Skinner to the third line and promote Tlusty back to his position from last year. This may be an attempt to kickstart his production again – and we can think of no better way to do so than to give him time with Staal and Semin again. If he’s going to start scoring again, it’ll happen playing on this line, and soon. But considering the chemistry the top line had with Skinner, the leash will be short.
Matt Moulson BUF – TRADE BAIT – We originally predicted that, following his trade to Buffalo, managers should hold off trading him, and we’ve been right. In the 33 games that he’s played since the trade, he’s registered nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points. Not exactly the near-point-per-game clip he recorded in New York over the start of this season and the last, but it’s not the dire outcome some managers were expecting. Now, as the trade deadline is approaching, Moulson is prime trade bait for Buffalo – and fantasy GMs should take notice. Our dark horse destination for him is Pittsburgh, and he would be a fantastic fit on the top line next to Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby. His value now is relatively low compared to what it will be when he gets moved. Buy now, if the price is reasonable.
Brendan Gallagher MTL – VALUE BUY – After a fantastic start to the season, the Montreal agitator has gone into a deep, cold slump. With only eight points in his last 25 games, he’s a shadow of his former self. So much so, in fact, that we suspect he’s nursing an injury. If you look at his hit count over the last month, you’ll notice he had two. Two hits. Compare that to games prior to December 15, and he had that many per game. He’s also not shooting very much, which may be an indicator that he’s hurt his shoulder. No hits, few shots – maybe it hurts to do both. Without getting too Sherlock Holmes on this issue, the Olympics will give a number of players a chance to heal, and Gallagher will be fine following the break. But if you can get him now off a fantasy GM, you’ll be scoring a bargain at it’s low point.
Justin Fontaine MIN – WATCH – The Minnesota rookie is slowing putting together an impressive season. In addition to 12 goals and five assists over 43 games, the 25 year old has looked dangerous the entire year while maintaining a +10 rating. He saw limited ice time to start the season, but of late, coach Mike Yeo has been giving him more and more ice time including significant time on the second unit power play. In response, he’s recorded six goals and two assists in his last ten games. If you’re in a deep league and looking for a goal-scorer to augment your top line guys, Fontaine will be able to help.
Alexander Edler VAN – IR BARGAIN – We’re not sure if he’s just having an off year, or if his style of play is not suited to the coaching style of John Tortorella, but this has been a fantasy nightmare for owning GMs. We think that Edler was playing with a knee injury far before he went on the IR – if we’re right, and that was causing his play to suffer, he should be a fantastic pickup now that he’s back to full strength. He’s only owned in 56% of pools – which is crazy considering he’s been in the top 25 in fantasy defensemen over the last three years. If he’s free, grab him off the waivers.
Calvin de Haan NYI – WATCH – After a whole lot of nothing, it’s like a switch went off in his head, and now we’ve got a whole lot of something. His first 17 games in the NHL, he was a -9 with no points. His last six games, however, he’s got one goal and six assists for seven points, and is a +4 with 8 PIM. If you’re in a very deep league, and need some prospects, consider adding de Haan. His ownership is at 2% which means he’s still available just about everywhere, and if this trend continues, he may be a very valuable add.
Hampus Lindholm ANA – ADD – We’re not sure why his ownership rate is only at 16%, but everybody else’s ignorance is bliss for us. The 19-year-old is serving top-line time with partner Francois Beauchemin for one of the best teams in the league, including top-line power play time, and is sporting five goals and 12 assists in 46 games with an insane +25. He’s on pace to tally over 35 points and finish a +50; the last player to do so in their rookie season was Ray Bourque. If he’s available in your league, get him. If you’re in a keeper league that allows rookie exceptions, don’t even finish reading this article – go get him.
Martin Jones LAK – WATCH – So, the question of what will happen with the LA goalie logjam is solved. With Ben Scrivens sent to Edmonton, Jones will be Jonathan Quick’s understudy for the foreseeable future. His audition (or baptism by fire) has started a conversation in LA that isn’t yet fully complete. Was his superhuman performance just a hot streak at the right time, or is he the goaltending prodigy we witnessed last month? We expect that question won’t be fully answered in the near future – he would need to get in at least 30 starts before the answer would become clear. But, if it turns out he is the real deal, LA would have a tremendous trading chip in either Quick or Jones. In any event, Jones’ fantasy value has been upgraded from temporary blip to a semi-permanent enigma.
Devan Dubnyk NAS – WATCH – We’re split on this, but we feel that Dubnyk got an unfair shake backstopping the worst defensive team in the NHL. This lack of commitment makes good goaltending look mediocre, and mediocre goaltending look atrocious. Moving to Nashville is possible the best outcome for Dubnyk right now – their defense is great, and their system will make him look far better than he looks right now. His numbers should be much better than the 3.36 GAA / .894 SV% he has currently. It’s also important to note that every goaltender who has come into Nashville in the past decade has had career years there. That’s not a coincidence – it’s a commentary on their team system. If you’re dying for a goaltender and Dubnyk is available, he’ll do a lot better than you think.
How did we do last week (as of end-of-day Saturday January 18)?
(When we judged our correctness, we looked at whether we were expecting performance or lack thereof.)
Marcus Kruger CHI – WATCH – 4GP 0G 2A +0 2PIM [Correct]
Eric Fehr WAS – SHORT-TERM ADD – 4GP 0G 0A -4 [Incorrect]
Sam Gagner EDM – WATCH – 4GP 1G 1A -4 4PIM 1PPP [Correct]
Andrew Ladd WPG – CONSIDER TRADING AWAY – 3GP 0G 3A +0 9PIM [Incorrect]
Chris Higgins VAN – WATCH – 4GP 0G 0A -4 [Incorrect]
Alex Tanguay COL – ADD SOON – [N/A]
Andrej Sekera CAR – TRADE AWAY – 2GP 0G 0A -1 [Correct]
Dustin Byfuglien WPG – NOTEWORTHY – 3GP 1G 3A -1 2PPP [Correct]
Matthew Carle TBL – WATCH – 4GP 0G 3A +6 1PPP [Correct]
Philipp Grubauer WAS – WATCH – 3GP 0-1-2 2.14 GAA / .932 SV% [Correct]
Ray Emery PHI – WATCH – 2GP 0-1-0 2.04 GAA / .905 SV% [Neutral]
This week, we went 6-3-1 with one N/A. Historically, we’re now 71-32-27 for the season.
Grab players from these teams this week, if you can:
1. Nashville Predators – Four games this week – Dallas, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton
2. Philadelphia Flyers – Four games this week – New York Islanders, Carolina, Columbus, and Boston
3. Pittsburgh Penguins – Four games this week – Florida, Montreal, New York Islanders, and Dallas
Avoid players from these teams this week, if you can:
1. Boston Bruins – Two games this week – Los Angeles and Philadelphia
2. Tampa Bay Lightning – Two games this week – Ottawa and Colorado
3. Anaheim Ducks – Three games this week – Winnipeg, and a home-and-home with Los Angeles