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The Waiver Wire: Back in the Saddle

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 February 2 – February 9

Centers

Antoine Vermette PHO – CONDITIONAL ADD – Year after year, Vermette is the type of deep pick that has consistently won us many pools; this year is no different. With 20 goals and 13 assists for 33 points in 54 games, his production is great for a guy that has an ownership rate of 34%. He’s also good for secondary categories, such as penalty minutes, and shorthanded points. What makes this a conditional add, though, is if face-offs are a part of the categories in your pool. Vermette is a monster in the circle, winning 57.6% of draws, which is good for third in the league (behind Patrice Bergeron and Marcus Kruger).

Nazem Kadri TOR – WATCH – It looks like he’s finally found that edge. Anybody who watches the game intently knows there are some players that are exceptional when they find the precipice of reckless physicality – like Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, and Scott Hartnell amongst others. When Kadri embraces that cliff without going over, he’s a game changer for the Leafs – his play leads to the other team turning over the puck, taking a penalty, or standing dejected as they fish the puck out of their net. In his last nine games, the Leafs center has 14 points, a +4, with 14 PIM – that’s an impressive stat line for anybody. If you can get him, add him to your roster; he’s looking like he’s going to stay hot for some time.

Riley Sheahan DET – WATCH – Stop me if you’ve heard this tune before – a 22-year old center who has come up through the Detroit ranks and is ready to contribute steadily at the NHL level. Sheahan is just the most recent of a steady stream of players to benefit from the quality system Detroit runs. With just 14 games under his belt, Sheahan has three goals and six assists for nine points, and while his defensive play is a bit shaky from time to time, his offensive contributions are far more consistent than his resume would indicate. Unless you’re in an incredibly deep pool, he’s not ready to be added yet, but it would be wise to put a flag on him. He’s going to be a pretty good player in this league if his first dozen games is an indicator.

Wingers

Mikkel Boedker PHO – WATCH – Fantasy GMs need to watch hockey in Arizona – Phoenix doesn’t get much coverage, let alone on the East Coast, but they have a very good team in the desert. Without much fanfare, Boedker is putting together a standout season – in 54 games thus far, he has 15 goals and 22 assists for 37 games on the second line of the Coyotes. He also gets time on the second power play unit, where he has nine of his points this season. More importantly for fantasy GMs, his 20% ownership is low enough that he’s able to be had in most leagues. Keep an eye on him, as he has four points in his last three games, and could be poised to take his game to the next level soon.

Lee Stempniak CGY – TRADE BAIT – Much like other decent players on bad teams, Stempniak’s name is being thrown about in trade talks. Most of Calgary is available, if the price is right, and Stempniak’s price and cap hit (given he’s a UFA at the end of the year) are both likely reasonable enough to see the 30-year old get moved to a team in need of secondary scoring. Our guess for his landing spot is an Eastern team like Boston, New York or Philadelphia.

Defensemen

Patrick Wiercioch OTT – WATCH – For his second full year in the league, Wiercioch has the faith of coach Paul MacLean. He’s getting more and more ice time, and is playing on the second power play unit – occasionally getting a peak at the top unit with Erik Karlsson. His 15 points in 34 games are hardly league leading, but at that pace, he’s averaging around 45 points per season, if he could get 82 games in. He’s also responsible defensively with a +2 rating – if you’re in a very deep league, keep an eye on him. His 12% ownership rate is low enough that most deep leagues should have him available in the free agent pool.

Fedor Tyutin CLS – WATCH – With four goals and 19 assists for 23 points in 49 games, Tyutin is on pace to have the most productive season of his career this year. In addition to the scoresheet, he’s also a decent penalty contributor, with 28 PIM, and 7 PPP. That’s a solid showing for a guy that is widely available even in deep leagues, and would likely fill in at the bottom of your defensemen spots. With Columbus taking off recently, you may want to consider adding Tyutin if you want to ride the Blue Jacket wave.

Dmitry Kulikov FLA – TRADE BAIT – As the trade deadline approaches, rumors of Kulikov’s availability continues to pop up. Locations of interest that get mentioned are Toronto, Pittsburgh, and Montreal. His production this year has been very disappointing, with only six goals and six assists in 53 games. His pending RFA status is attractive for a lot of teams, as he’ll be under control for some time yet, and looks like he could be a clear top-pairing defenseman in the league for some time. If you’re trolling for players that appear they’ll get dealt in the next month, Kulikov fits that bill.

Mark Barberio TBL – HOT STREAK – We’re under no illusions that this is indicative of a potential offensive wunderkind, but Barberio is having one heck of a run lately. In his last six games, the 23-year old has five points, a +2, and 8 PIM. That is a far cry from the rest of the season, where he had four points in 30 games. If you’re a GM that likes to find players on hot streaks and pick them up in the hopes of it lasting for an extended period, consider adding Barberio – they have a favorable schedule leading up to the Olympic break, so he may be poised to keep it going for the next week.

Goalies

Ben Scrivens EDM – WILDCARD – We really don’t know what to expect from him; he’s a gifted goalie that has finally found a place where he can get the starting gig, but Edmonton is such a wasteland defensively that we’re not sure that it will be to his benefit. On the one hand, his save percentage is likely to be pretty good, as he’ll get a ton of shots against, but his goals against will likely be much higher than it should be. Wins and shut outs will be much lower than average. However – that being said – if Edmonton can finally figure out how to play better defensive hockey, getting Scrivens may be investing at the low point of his stock. We equate Edmonton to a proto-Chicago team; if they can finally get some good young defensive help, they may be good for a decade.

How did we do last week (as of end-of-day Saturday Feburary 1)?

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

Nick Bonino ANA – WATCH – 2GP 0G 1A +1 [Correct]

Tyler Johnson TBL – WATCH – 4GP 4G 0A 4PIM 1SHP [Correct]

Gustav Nyquist DET – WATCH – 3GP 2G 0A -2 [Correct]

Matt Calvert CLS – WATCH – 4GP 0G 2A -2 4PIM 1PPP [Correct]

Matt Beleskey ANA – WATCH – 3GP 1G 0A -2 2PIM [Neutral]

Alex Tanguay COL – IR BARGAIN – 3GP 1G 0A -1 [Neutral]

Kris Russell CGY – WATCH – 2GP 0G 0A -1 [Incorrect]

Tyson Barrie COL – WATCH – 4GP 2G 3A +6 2PIM [Correct]

Roman Josi – QUESTION MARK – 3GP 1G 1A -1 [Correct]

Darcy Kuemper MIN – SHORT-TERM ADD – 3GP 1-0-1 3.38 GAA / .898 SV% [Incorrect]

Anton Khudobin CAR – SHORT-TERM ADD – 4GP 3-1-0 2.25 GAA / .917 SV% [Correct]

Brian Elliott STL – CONSIDER TRADING – Did not play [N/A]

We had a pretty good bounce-back week after last week’s debacle, going 7-2-2 with one N/A. Historically, we’re now 80-39-31 for the season.

Weekly Notes

Many people have asked us – who do you have on your fantasy team? We co-manage a team in our primary keeper pool – it’s a deep one, with 23 spots and 14 teams in a Yahoo! Head to Head league. We allow for six keeper spots at the end of the season. We’ve been able to put together a monster roster with some shrewd moves, and some very good drafting. FYI – we got Ben Bishop as our last pick in the draft.

Centers

Eric Staal
Martin Hanzal
Joe Thornton

Left Wing

Matt Moulson
Brandon Dubinsky
Andrew Ladd

Right Wing

Radim Vrbata
Wayne Simmonds
Ryan Callahan

Forwards (Center/Winger inspecific)

Jeff Carter
Nathan Horton
Brendan Gallagher

Defense

Ryan Suter
Mike Green
Kris Letang
Jay Bouwmeester
Brent Burns

Bench:

Mike Fisher
Michael Cammalleri
Ryane Clowe
Matt Beleskey

Goaltending:

Ben Bishop
Josh Harding (IR)
Darcy Kuemper

We’re currently in 6th place – but we’re defending back-to-back champions.

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

1. Vancouver Canucks – Four games this week – Detroit, Boston, Montreal, and Toronto

2. Ottawa Senators – Four games this week – Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Buffalo and Boston

3. Colorado Avalanche – Four games this week – New Jersey, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, and New York Islanders

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

1. Los Angeles Kings – Two games this week – Chicago and Columbus

2. Minnesota Wild – Two games this week – Tampa Bay and Nashville

3. Nashville Predators – Two games this week – Minnesota and Anaheim