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The Waiver Wire: Feeling the Blues

Mike Wilson

Mike Wilson

Mike Wilson writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Dan Waldner

Dan Waldner

Dan Waldner covers hockey for RotoWire, and has been involved in fantasy hockey pools for 15 years. He's a lifetime Toronto Maple Leafs fan, a passion his wife puts up with and his daughter is starting to emulate.

The Waiver Wire – For the week of January 26 – February 2

Centers

Nick Bonino ANA – WATCH – At this point, it’s very hard not to recommend anybody from Anaheim. The entire team is rolling, and seeing the output that they’re getting from this fourth line center, it’s no wonder. In 53 games, Bonino has 16 goals and 23 assists for 39 points and a +4 rating. That’s easily the best stat line for any fourth center in the league. His ownership rate is also way lower than it should be – around 42%. It would be a wise idea to run with the hot hand if he’s free in your league.

Tyler Johnson TB – WATCH – We recommended Johnson earlier in the season, and we’re glad to see that we’ve been rewarded thus far. In Steven Stamkos’ absence, everybody has had to step up and play a bigger role; Johnson has been one of the players that has responded to this challenge the most. In his 51 games thus far, he has 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points and an exceptional +14. Despite these good numbers, he’s only owned in 17% of leagues. We think that even when Stamkos returns, Johnson’s numbers will be strong.

Gustav Nyquist DET – WATCH – The Detroit forward has adapted his game to the NHL surface, and is starting to prosper. After a shaky start to his season, Nyquist has six points in five games, and has been a +5 during that time – consistent with the style of game that coach Mike Babcock expects from his team. The Detroit system constantly pushes out skilled wingers from within their system, and Nyquist seems to be yet another that is starting to spread his wings. His ownership is also criminally low at just 7% owned. If you need a center in your deep league, by all means, grab him.

Wingers

Matt Calvert CLS – WATCH – In case you’ve been living under a rock the last two weeks, Columbus is the hottest team in hockey right now. Production is coming from all lines, and ownership rates from all players are steadily elevating. While a number of previously mentioned players from this column are difficult to get now – namely, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, and Nathan HortonMatt Calvert is still widely available and is one of the recipients of the offensive surge they’ve experienced. He has four points in four games with 11 PIM in that time, and is 1% owned. If you want to get on the Blue Jacket bandwagon and are in a deep pool, Calvert is not a bad choice.

Matt Beleskey ANA – WATCH – If you were to look up his numbers right now, you’d probably be wondering why we’re suggesting a player that has four goals and 15 assists in 31 games with an ownership rate of 3% - but we think that there’s the short-term possibility of something big with him. Even though he’s on the fourth line in Anaheim, he’s getting top line power play time with the big boys – Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Cam Fowler and the aforementioned Nick Bonino. If he can last up on that line for even a little bit of time, it’s an eventuality that he’ll get some serious power play points out of the deal. If your PPP category is lacking, tack him on to the end of your bench. If he lasts up there, he’ll help you out.

Alex Tanguay COL – IR BARGAIN - We suggested a few weeks ago to grab him, as it seemed his return from injury was more imminent than it turned out. He’s back now, officially, and played on Friday against Florida, registering an assist while on the top line with Gabriel Landeskog and Paul Stastny. If he’s still available in your league – which his ownership rate of 8% suggests he is – go and get him now. We understand if you didn’t heed our warnings before, as he was still on the IR, but get him while you still can.

Defensemen

Kris Russell CGY – WATCH – After a back injury kept him sidelined for almost a month, Russell is now back on the Calgary bench, and the Flames couldn’t be happier. In his three games since his return, he’s got three assists, two of which were on the power play. He’s an underrated defensemen that many fantasy GMs don’t pay attention to – his ownership is only at 6%. If you’re in a deep league and need another defenseman, add Russeel to your list to watch.

Tyson Barrie COL – WATCH – The 22 year old is putting together a solid sophomore campaign in Colorado, matching his point output (13) in the same amount of games as last season. In addition to getting top four minutes on a pretty solid Avalanche roster, he’s also getting top unit power play time, which is sure to pay dividends for fantasy GMs looking for power play points from him in the future. His ownership rate is also sufficiently low enough (24%) that most leagues, save for the deepest, have him still available. Watch him for the next few weeks – we think his production should increase.

Roman Josi NAS – QUESTION MARK – With the recent acquisition of Michael Del Zotto, Josi has been watching his game extra carefully. Right now, the partnership of Shea Weber and Josi as the top pairing has been fairly successful, but who knows what could happen if Del Zotto turns out to be as good as everybody always figured he was. In a system like Nashville, it’s more likely to happen than anywhere else, and the loser may be Josi. Then again, having a strong second pairing may take some of the wear and tear off the first, and may end up being beneficial. Keep an eye on this situation – we don’t know for sure what’s going to happen, but Josi is the one that will fluctuate the most.

Goalies

Darcy Kuemper MIN – SHORT-TERM ADD – With starter Josh Harding sidelined with MS for the time being, and with backup Niklas Backstrom suffering with a bad back, third-string Darcy Kuemper has been given the starting duty for the foreseeable future. While his record of 5-3-1 in nine appearances hasn’t been stellar, he’s really a Jekyll-and-Hyde goalie, posting either a fantastic game, or an atrocious one. If you are in need of a goalie, he’ll be pretty good for you if you are keenly aware of his matchups.

Anton Khudobin CAR – SHORT-TERM ADD – Another goalie that is taking advantage of an injury, Khudobin has been playing great in Cam Ward’s absence. We’ve been fans of his since Boston, and were roundly surprised when they let him walk in the off-season. His 2.13 GAA / .930 SV% has been a large reason why Carolina has been on an upswing lately. If you’re hesitant to invest in Kuemper, consider grabbing Khudobin instead.

Brian Elliott STL – CONSIDER TRADING – Probably the worst-kept secret in the NHL right now is the serious negotiations that are going on between St. Louis and Buffalo regarding the services of Ryan Miller. These talks are so widespread that it appears that something will happen sooner rather than later. As a fantasy GM, you should consider moving him if you have him – in the event Miller comes to St. Louis, he would be the de facto starter, and Elliott’s icetime would surely disappear. If you can get something approaching current market value for Elliott, do so. Better yet, if you can get Miller, do that too.

How did we do last week (as of end-of-day Saturday January 25)?

(When we judged our correctness, we looked at whether we were expecting performance or lack thereof.)

Boone Jenner CLS – WATCH – 3GP 0G 1A +1 [Neutral]

Brandon Sutter PIT – SHORT-TERM ADD – 3GP 1G 0A -1 [Neutral]

Jiri Tlusty CAR – WATCH – 3GP 2G 3A +2 [Correct]

Matt Moulson BUF – TRADE BAIT – 3GP 0G 0A -2 [N/A]

Brendan Gallagher MTL – VALUE BUY – 3GP 1G 0A -5 [N/A]

Justin Fontaine MIN – WATCH – 2GP 0G 1A 4PIM [Correct]

Alexander Edler VAN – IR BARGAIN – 2GP 0G 0A +0 [Incorrect]

Calvin de Haan NYI – WATCH – 3GP 0G 0A -2 2PIM [Incorrect]

Hampus Lindholm ANA – ADD – 2GP 0G 0A -2 [Incorrect]

Martin Jones LAK – WATCH – 1GP 0-1 5.17 GAA / .853 SV% [Incorrect]

Devan Dubnyk NAS – WATCH – 1GP 0-0-1 3.69 GAA / .871 [Incorrect]

This was our first losing week of the season, going 2-5-2 with two N/A – Moulson was only to be acquired for his value post-trade, and that Gallagher would be all better after the Olympic break. Historically, we’re now 73-37-29 for the season.

Weekly Notes:

Grab players from these teams this week, if you can:

1. Washington Capitals – Four games this week – Buffalo, Columbus, and a home-and-home with Detroit

2. Boston Bruins – Four games this week – New York Islanders, Florida, Montreal, and Edmonton

3. San Jose Sharks – Four games this week – Los Angeles, Edmonton, Calgary, and Chicago

Avoid players from these teams this week, if you can:

1. New York Rangers – Two games this week – Home-and-home with New York Islanders

2. Toronto Maple Leafs – Three games this week – Tampa Bay, Florida and Ottawa

3. Phoenix Coyotes – Three games this week – Los Angeles, Buffalo and Pittsburgh