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The Waiver Wire: The Rebirth of David Desharnais

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 November 24-December 1


David Desharnais MTL – WATCH - To say that he’s had a bad start to the season is probably an understatement; when the mayor of your city calls for your demotion to the minors, you’re having a bad year. The good news is, we’re convinced that this mega-cold streak is about to shift. His game against Minnesota this week had him skating between Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher – to a two point breakout. It also wasn’t just Desharnais who benefitted – Pacioretty recorded a hat-trick, and Gallagher recorded two assists of his own. It looks like there’s real chemistry on this line forming – consider adding him if you have the space.

Gustav Nyquist DET – WATCH – In his first game with the Red Wings this season – this week against Carolina – Nyquist recorded two goals, and looked very comfortable with the NHL pace of play after a very shaky season last year with the club. Coach Mike Babcock has him lining up with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen on the second line, which could be very promising for the young Swede. While one game does not a season make, keep an eye on him. He could be explosively good.


Scottie Upshall FLA – SHORT-TERM ADD - We’ve been big fans of Upshall’s since his junior days, but it never seemed that he was able to translate his junior successes into NHL points. While it’s still early, Upshall may have finally found a spot in Florida where he’s comfortable; after a slow start to the season, he has 4G 5A 9P +2 17PIM 2PPP. Those are some big numbers for a guy who has a career-high 30P in the NHL. We’re not totally sold on him for the long-haul, but we can spot a hot streak. Grab him and ride the wave.

Nick Foligno CBJ – ADD – Columbus as a whole is an underrated team by many fantasy GMs, and leading the charge amongst the Blue Jackets is Foligno. If you examine his game log, he’s very consistent as a point producer (5G 5A 10P in 16GP), responsible defensively (+4), provides a good amount of sandpaper (17PIM), and serves on the second-unit power play intermittently. If you can get him, he would provide excellent grit to a team in need of an all-round player.

Nail Yakupov EDM – WATCH/ADD – We have been as critical as everybody else with regards to Yakupov’s play this year; his horrible defensive play and lackluster offensive output have relegated this first overall pick to the waste bin in many leagues already. If that’s the case, see if you can grab him – Yakupov has increase ice-time in the last five games, and he’s responded with 2G 3A 5P and a +0 with 6PIM and 3PPP. While it’s still a long way to go to get back to where he should be, if he were to reclaim some prestige in the league, this is what the start of that journey would look like.

Jeff Skinner CAR – ACQUIRE VIA TRADE – We’re not so foolish to believe that he’s available in many pools, but our guess is that he may be able to be poached from a team that isn’t paying attention. His ranking in a lot of leagues is low because of his recent injury, and he’s back from the IR. Before he suffered his upper-body injury, he had a note-worthy 3G 6A 9P +5 10PIM in 11GP. Of course, with his 11 game layoff, nursing that injury, his rankings plummeted. He should be equally formidable shortly; get him if you can.


Roman Josi NAS – WATCH - While he has yet to show he’s a fantasy monster, his excellent play of late has made us take notice. He has consistently logged around 25 minutes of ice-time a game, recorded 25 shots in 12 games, and is partnered with Shea Weber both in even strength and on the first line power play. All the elements are there for fantasy success, we’re just not sure when it’s going to come together for him. Don’t add him – but just note that we think there might be something here.

Jared Spurgeon MIN – WATCH – Much in the same vein as Josi above, everything we have seen about Spurgeon’s game has indicated that he’s going to be a very good fantasy defenseman – at some point. Whenever he’s on the ice, he is right in the middle of the play, either provide a solid defensive play, or jumping up and producing a scoring opportunity. His seven points and +5 are not fantastic, and neither are his 8PIM, but sometimes predicting success comes from observing the game, and he looks great. Flag him and watch for his breakthrough.

Mark Streit PHI – ADD – To this point in the season, Philadelphia has been awful, but lately, they appear to have righted the ship and things are getting warm and fuzzy in the City of Brotherly Love. They have gotten points in their last six games (5-0-1) and have beaten some respectable competition in that stretch, including Ottawa twice and Pittsburgh once. Central to this turnaround are their key players, and none moreso than Streit, who was signed to anchor the blueline. He has three assists in the last six games, and is a +5 with 8PIM. We think the Flyers may start to take off – get Streit while he’s available.


Steve Mason PHI – QUESTION MARK – We don’t know what to make of this: since his Calder-winning rookie campaign, he has been a disaster in goal. His best year as a starter since his first was a 3.03 GAA/.901 SV% back in 2010-2011, which is bad by AHL standards. He had a great year backing up Bryzgalov last year – recording a 1.90 GAA/.944 SV%, and this year seems to be in line with that, so far just a tick up from that at 2.12 GAA/.932 SV%. So, we don’t know what to make of him – was he in an extended slump for those last four years in Columbus, or is he on a hot streak the last two? The only thing these numbers indicate is that when he’s on, he seems to be on for a whole season, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest watching him with an eye to picking him up if you have need.

Ben Scrivens LAK – SELL IF YOU CAN – As you know, we’re both die-hard Leaf fans, so seeing this former Leaf gain his worthy success on the west coast is a feel-good story for us. His numbers have been fantastic in Quick’s absence – 5-1-2 1.43GAA/.942 SV% and three shutouts in seven starts. There’s only one problem with all this – they cannot possibly last, and even by some freakish once-in-a-millennia-grand-planetary-alignment they do last, Jonathan Quick’s return will banish him to the bench. This success is fleeting, and should be cashed in by someone who gets drawn in by the temporary success.

Marek Mazanec NAS – SHORT-TERM ADD – With Pekka Rinne down, the hopes were that backup Carter Hutton could serve as a worthy fill-in while the Vezina finalist recovered. Unfortunately, that was not to be, as Hutton’s 3.39 GAA/.891 SV% simply wasn’t good enough. Mazanec has started to get some games in this void, and has run with the opportunity, going 3-2 with a 2.37 GAA/.926 SV% and one shutout in six games. If he’s free, grab him for the short-term – he could be very good for the near future.

How did we do last week (as of end-of-day Saturday November 23)?

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

Steve Ott BUF – WATCH – 3GP 0G 0A -2 9PIM [Incorrect]

Brayden Schenn PHI – WAIVER ADD – 3GP 1G 1A +2 4PIM [Correct]

Loui Eriksson BOS – CONSIDER TRADING – 4GP 0G 1A -1 1PPP [Correct]

Pierre-Marc Bouchard NYI – WAIVER ADD – 2GP 0G 0A -3 [Incorrect]

Tyler Toffoli LAK – WAIVER ADD – 3GP 0G 0A +0 [Incorrect]

Mats Zuccarello NYR – WAIVER ADD – 3GP 0G 2A +1 [Correct]

Kris Versteeg CHI – WATCH – 4GP 1G 2A -1 [Correct]

Phillip Larsen EDM – WATCH – Injured

Kevin Shattenkirk STL – ACQUIRE VIA TRADE – 3GP 0G 2A +5 [Correct]

Danny DeKeyser DET – SHORT-TERM ADD - Injured

Ilya Bryzgalov EDM – WATCH – No starts yet

Viktor Fasth ANA – ADD - Injured

We had a bad week with N/A predictions – three injuries and one no-start. For those that counted, we were 5-3-0. Historically, we’re now 28-14-13.

Weekly Notes

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

1. St. Louis Blues – Three games - Minnesota, Colorado, and San Jose

2. San Jose Sharks – Three games - Los Angeles, St. Louis and Anaheim

3. Colorado Avalanche – Three games – St. Louis, and Minnesota back-to-back

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

1. New Jersey Devils – Four games – Winnipeg, two against Carolina, and Buffalo

2. Columbus Blue Jackets – Four games – Toronto, Nashville, Edmonton and Boston

3. Toronto Maple Leafs – Four games – Columbus, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Montreal