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The Waiver Wire: Oilers' Line Shuffle

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 the week of Oct 20-26)


Mark Arcobello EDM - STRONG WAIVER ADD - Centering the Taylor Hall line in Edmonton, Arcobello has flown under everybody's radar, recording eight assists in his first eight games. He's also been very good in the faceoff circle, winning more than 60% of his draws, and shown distinct chemistry with Jordan Eberle. To reward his strong performance so far, coach Dallas Eakins has put him up on the top power play line as well. He's also criminally under-owned right now - most league services have him at less than 10% owned, and Edmonton is playing four games this coming week.

Frans Nielsen NYI - WAIVER ADD - The new line of Nielsen-Bailey-Bouchard has paid instant dividends in giving the Islanders a secondary scoring punch behind the Moulson-Tavares-Okposo line. Combined, the second line now has 16 points in the first seven games, and Nielsen gets first team power play time as well. He has an ownership of around 15% in most leagues and can be easily nabbed from the waiver wire in most mid-depth pools.

David Desharnais MTL - WATCH - Normally a very solid second-line player, Desharnais is suffering to start the year. He's been a ghost in most of the Canadiens' seven games recording only eight shots and one assist. It's downright painful to have him chew up a roster spot, and he's got the same ownership levels in many pools as Arcobello. Unless you have a Habs fan in your pool waiting to snatch him up, you'd be fairly safe to dump him and grab another hotter player for at least the foreseeable future.


Alex Chiasson DAL - WAIVER ADD - Continuing his point-per-game pace from the end of last year, Chiasson is showing Dallas management that their faith in him is not misplaced. He has recorded a point in every game - save for against Colorado - and that includes two games against the stingy Minnesota defense. He also has a very low 19% ownership rate in most pools - get him while you can.

Jiri Hudler CAL - SHORT TERM WAIVER ADD - Most of Calgary is still experiencing the rush of the first handful of games up in the NHL and trying to show management that they belong there permanently. With that rush comes adrenaline and unsustainable performance - Hudler is right now one of the beneficiaries of this. If he's available, grab him and hold on to see how long the ride lasts.

Tomas Hertl SJ - TRADE AWAY - Everyone wants to cheer for the young gun who can rip up the league, but signs are showing that he's coming back down to Earth. San Jose plays four games this coming week, which should either show Hertl is a phenom similar to Jeff Skinner or a flash in the pan like Fabian Brunnstrom. If the latter becomes apparent, capitalize early and trade him for a strong package.


Jake Gardiner TOR - TRADE AWAY - Watching Toronto's defense this year is painful, and more often than not, number 51 is on the ice when a turnover leads to a puck in the Leafs net. Strong goaltending, timely scoring and Gardiner's offensive flair have masked his weak defensive play more than it will continue to. The result will be less ice time, significantly worse +/-, and a bad year. Find the Leaf fan in your pool (there's always one) and see what he'll trade you for him.

Jakub Kindl DET -SHORT TERM BUY - With Niklas Kronwall likely to miss some time to injury, the potent Detroit power play unit will likely promote Kindl from the second unit, backfilling his spot with Danny DeKeyser. This will lead to a definite boost to his value, and will result in at least a few power play points to pad your stat lines this week. At under 5% owned levels, he's readily available, and Detroit defensemen are always a safe bet for +/-.

Matt Niskanen PIT - WATCH - Kris Letang will likely be coming back from his injury sometime this week, reclaiming his power play position from Niskanen who filled in admirably in his wake. His six points and +10 are good thus far, but he has never been a point-producing defenseman, and even in his three previous years in Pittsburgh, he's never exceeded 21 points. Though he's well on his way this year, look for Letang to steal his thunder upon his return.


Jonathan Bernier TOR - ACQUIRE VIA TRADE - Watching Bernier backstop our beloved Leafs has given us hope that Toronto may have found a true star goaltender. While Bernier got shelled against Edmonton - winning 6-5 in overtime - and gave up a horrible game-winning goal against Carolina, he has been Toronto's best player so far this year. His 1.98 GAA/.940 SV% have been good, but if you ignore the Edmonton game, his numbers look more like 1.32 GAA/.961 SV% - 3rd and 1st, respectively in the league for starters. He's highly owned, so most of you won't be able to get him off the waiver wire, but the Leafs are looking due for a slump over the next five games - see if you can get him then in a trade.

Jonas Gustavsson DET - STRONG WAIVER ADD - With Jimmy Howard out with a broken hand, Gustavsson has stepped up his play. Going 3-0 in three starts, with an impressive 1.67 GAA/.953 SV%, and especially playing behind the always outstanding defensive system in place in Detroit, things look very good for Gustavsson to continue until Howard is fully healed. He's also got a low ownership rate, so he should be readily accessible. He would be the perfect third goalie in a two-goalie league.

Jacob Markstrom FLA - DROP - It's not like we really needed to tell you that Florida will be seriously contending for the first overall pick this year or that Markstrom hasn't shown himself to be an NHL caliber goaltender yet - sporting a 3.60 GAA/.882 SV% in six appearances. This week, Florida is playing both Chicago and Tampa Bay, which should give Markstrom a sunburn on his neck from the goal light going off. There are a number of better options out there in even the deepest pools that you really shouldn't have him on your roster at this point under any circumstances.

Weekly Notes:

Avoid players from the following teams this week, if you can:

1. Carolina Hurricanes - Two games this week, Minnesota, which keeps opponents to low shot counts, and Colorado, one of the most potent offenses in the league.

2. New York Rangers - Two games this week, Philadelphia, which should be a messy game, and Detroit, which seems like it should be a slaughter.

3. Philadelphia - Two games this week, New York Rangers - King Henrik can easily steal any game by himself - and the high scoring New York Islanders.

Grab players from the following teams where advisable:

1. San Jose Sharks - Four games this week, atop the league, and armed with the most potent offense, and taking on Detroit, Boston, Montreal, and Ottawa. Should be a great week for all Sharks.

2. Anaheim Ducks - Four games this week against teams that are playing worse than their records show: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Columbus. Also, there should be PIMs-a-plenty in the Toronto game, if you're behind in that stat category.

3. Edmonton Oilers - Four games against some potent teams in Washington, Montreal, Phoenix and LA, but since nobody is likely holding any Oiler defensemen or goaltenders, the upside is that there will be plenty of opportunity to score. It wouldn't surprise us if each game ended 5-4, all the more reason to pick up Arcobello while you can.