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The Waiver Wire: Wild Week Ahead

Mike Wilson

Mike Wilson writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

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 March 16 – March 22

As the head-to-head playoffs start this week for many pools (and still more next week), we’re going to focus on the adds for this week that will put you over the top. Desperate times call for desperate adds, and these tips will help pick up some categories where you’re close.


Mikael Granlund MIN – EMPHATIC ADD - We mentioned him last week in our article, and we’re loathe to repeat players, but it’s critical for this week that you add as many Minnesota players as possible. The Wild play five games this week, and quantity does trump quality – but in the case of Granlund, you’re getting the best of both. Last week, he had three assists in three games, and was a +1, including a power play assist. If you give him five games of that type of production, you have a great add for the week. His ownership level is at 11%, so go get him now before your opponent does.

Charlie Coyle MIN - SHORT-TERM ADD - Coyle is not your prototypical fantasy recommendation; he’s got seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points in 54 games, so he’s not exactly lighting up the lamp. What he does have is five games this week. He also plays on the second line power play for Minnesota, averaging over 2 minutes of PPTOI per game. Now, five games of that should equate to some sort of production over the week. We would go with Grandlund first, but if he’s already taken, grab Coyle.


Lee Stempniak PIT – EMPHATIC ADD – Yes, like Granlund, we mentioned him last week. But, then again, we’re repeating ourselves only because we need to emphasize how important he will be for you in the playoffs. Pittsburgh has the most favorable schedule for the duration of fantasy playoffs, playing four games per week for each of the next four weeks. That outnumbers every other team in the league. The Penguins have had a spate of bad luck lately, with James Neal suffering from what seems to be a concussion, and Chris Kunitz down with a leg injury for a bit. Sidney Crosby will need someone to pass to, and Stempniak looks to be the recipient for the foreseeable future. Since we made our recommendation last week, he’s had three points in three games with a +1 playing on the top line.

Kyle Okposo NYI – DROP – The Islanders play only two games next week, and if you’re careful about it, you can drop Okposo and hope that your opponent picks him up. Yes, Okposo is a skilled and gifted player, but how much production can you hope from him in only two games this week. If this is a playoff week for you, anybody can be dropped (except keepers) in order to win the week. This is one instance where, if you’re not keeping him, drop him to make room for more games.

Ryane Clowe NJD – ADD – While he had a mediocre start to his 2013-2014 season, followed by an injury to keep him down for the first half of the year, Clowe has come back with a vengeance in the 35 games since. He has five goals and 15 assists for 20 points in those games, and has been a solid impact forward for the Devils. With New Jersey sporting four games this week, he would be a great add, and with an ownership level of 11%, he’s far easier to get than he should be.

Ryan Callahan TBL – ADD – Since his trade at the deadline for Martin St. Louis, his ownership rate has plummeted down to today’s 43% level. Callahan is not by any means a point-per-game player, but he does provide the type of grit that fantasy GMs covet so much, which is why that level of ownership is so perplexing. With Tampa Bay fighting to keep their playoff spot after a pretty severe slide, this next week will be important to determine where they fit in the standings. With four games this week, Callahan will be a good add if he’s available in your league. Go add him.


Olli Maata PIT – ADD – We’re probably well too late in recommending his add, but his ownership rate is only at 26% right now, which would suggest that he’s probably available in your league. He is without a doubt one of the brightest defensive prospects we’ve ever seen, harking back memories of Ray Bourque and Nicklas Lidstrom in their youth. At only 19 years old, he’s notched nine goals and 19 assists for 28 points in 64 games, with a +12, and a bronze Olympic medal to boot. It’s fairly safe to say that, without his standout play this year, Pittsburgh’s injuries on the blueline would have been fatal. With Pittsburgh playing a significant amount of games in the coming weeks, he would be an ideal add in any league.

Jared Spurgeon MIN – SHORT-TERM ADD – Spurgeon has put in a solid season for the Wild this year, and while his scoresheet has shown less production than he would have liked, his efforts in the defensive end have not gone unnoticed. With only three goals and 15 assists in 52 games, he’s below the pace he set for himself last year (39GP 5G 10A 15P), but with a +8, he’s making up for it elsewhere. He’s also serving time on the power play, so during the course of this week, we’re certain that he’ll end up with at least a point, if not more.

Eric Gelinas NJD – SHORT-TERM ADD – It’s a mystery how Gelinas has flown under the proverbial radar for as long as he has. Just like previously mentioned Olli Maatta, this is his first full season in the NHL, but at 23, he’s a bit more seasoned. With seven goals and 19 assists for 26 points in 50 games, he’s having a great year, but perhaps more impressive is that 16 of those points have been scored on the power play. If you’re lacking in PPP and need to find someone amongst the free agent pool, you’ll probably not find anybody better than Gelinas. Consider as well that New Jersey also has four games this week, and you’ll see he’s probably a great source of production for your team.


Darcy Kuemper MIN – SHORT-TERM ADD – While Ilya Bryzgalov was an attempt by Minnesota to provide some backup, it’s clear that if Minnesota is going to make the play-offs this year, it’s going to be on the back of Kuemper. With a 12-4-3 record with 2 SO and a 2.25 GAA/.922 SV%, he’s had a great year covering for Josh Harding and Nick Backstrom. With five games this week, he’s not likely to see all of them; expect him to only get three starts this week.

James Reimer TOR – SHORT-TERM ADD – With Jonathan Bernier going down due to injury in the midst of his return to Los Angeles, Reimer picked up the reigns and saved the day for the Maple Leafs. He was fantastic, in contrast to the terrible outing he had against San Jose earlier in the week where he was lit up for six goals on 48 shots. Reimer has been VERY hot/cold this year, so adding him is a gamble, but given how well the Leafs have been playing of late, he’ll probably be good for a few wins this week, as Toronto plays four games.

Tim Thomas DAL – SHORT-TERM ADD – It was fortunate that Dallas acquired the veteran goalie at the deadline, as that Sunday, starter Kari Lehtonen suffered a horrifying concussion against Minnesota. As a result, Thomas will lead the charge to the play-offs for Dallas, and hope he can find his previous form. With a 2-0-1 record and a 2.11 GAA/ .924 SV%, we think he may have done just that. If you’re in need of some starts, you could probably do a lot worse than Thomas, if he’s available in your league.

How did we do last week?

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

David Desharnais MTL – ADD – 2GP 2G 1A 3P +2 [Correct]

Mikael Granlund MIN – ADD -4GP 0G 3A 3P +0 [Correct]

Brad Richards NYR – TRADE FOR IF YOU STILL CAN – 4GP 0G 1A +1 [Neutral]

Kyle Palmeri ANA – WATCH – 3GP 2G 0A +0 2PIM [Correct]

Anders Lee NYI – WATCH – 3GP 2G 3A 5P +4 [Correct]

Ales Hemsky OTT – WATCH – 2GP 1G 3A 4P +3 [Correct]

Martin Erat PHO – WATCH – 2GP 1G 0A 1P +1 2PIM [Correct]

Lee Stempniak PIT – ADD – 3GP 0G 3A 3P +1 [Correct]

Steve Ott STL – WATCH – 4GP 0G 1A 1P -1 5PIM [Neutral]

Tyson Barrie COL – ADD – 3GP 0G 3A 3P +1 [Correct]

Ilya Bryzgalov / Darcy Kuemper MIN – SHORT TERM ADD – 1-0-2 1.66 GAA / .941SV% [Correct]

Ben Scrivens EDM – WATCH – 0-2-0 5.00GAA / .885 SV% [Incorrect]

Peter Budaj MTL – SHORT-TERM ADD – 0-1-0 4.00 GAA / .875 SV% [Incorrect]

So, by our count, we went 9-2-2 this week. Historically, we’re 89-41-33 for the season.

Weekly Notes

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

1. Minnesota Wild – Five games this week– Boston, New York Islanders, New Jersey, back-to-back with Detroit.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins – Four games this week – Dallas, Detroit, Tampa Bay and St. Louis

3. Toronto Maple Leafs – Four games this week – Detroit, Tampa Bay, Montreal, and New Jersey

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

1. New York Islanders – Two games this week - Minnesota and Columbus

2. Ottawa Senators – Three games this week - New York Rangers, Tampa Bay and Dallas

3. Edmonton Oilers – Three games this week – Nashville, Buffalo and Calgary