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The Waiver Wire: Forward Progress

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 January 13 – January 20


Marcus Kruger CHI – WATCH – After being named to the Swedish Olympic team for Sochi this past week, the stock on this young center has never been higher. Chicago coach Joel Quennville promoted him Saturday to the second line with Kris Versteeg and Patrick Kane after a solid week of two assists in two games. If things proceed as expected, you can expect his stats to go up as a result – his current rate of 0.4 P/G is low compared to where it will be if he's able to show chemistry with two of the more dangerous wingers in the league. Keep an eye on him, and nab him if the promotion pays off, as we expect it will.

Eric Fehr WAS – SHORT-TERM ADD – In an attempt to balance out the scoring in Washington between the lines, coach Adam Oates has moved long-time first line center Nicklas Backstrom to the second line, and promoted both Eric Fehr and Mikhail Grabovski to the Alexander Ovechkin line. The result is an opportunity for owners of both Fehr and Grabovski to benefit from playing with “The Great 8”. While Grabo's ownership numbers are far too high to be a useful recommendation, Fehr is only owned in 2% of leagues, and has three goals and three assists with 33 shots in the last ten games to show that he might be a gem in the rough.

Sam Gagner EDM – WATCH – Word on the street is that Edmonton is shopping the oft-beleaguered center/winger to other teams, and for purposes of highlighting his skill, have promoted him up to the top line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. While he stays up on that top line, he's set to take a nice boost in his numbers, and once traded, could be poised for success – depending on his destination. Early guesses have him being traded to Winnipeg for Andrew Ladd – which may be a good fit for both teams. Keep an eye on what happens over the coming weeks.


Andrew Ladd WPG – CONSIDER TRADING AWAY – As we noted above, Ladd's name has been mentioned in trade talks with Edmonton for Sam Gagner. While we feel this might be a good situation for Gagner, we're not so sure that Ladd would benefit from a move to Oil Country. Edmonton is a team in disarray, and GMs who own Ladd would be wise to consider a move in the event that the rumors pan out. If you can get fair value for him in a trade, we would recommend doing so. His numbers this year, while consistently good, haven't been fantastic and you should be able to work a trade for another play of equal caliber that isn't in any trade talks – like Paul Stastny or Jason Pominville.

Chris Higgins VAN – WATCH – Already off to a great year with 12G 13A 25P in 45GP, he's set to receive a nice bump in performance now that coach John Tortorella has started giving him first-line power play time with Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin. With 15% ownership, he's available in most leagues, and his 136 SOG put him in the top 25 in the league, which won't win you the category all by himself, but will help put a big dent in any problems you might have. If this assignment bears fruit, consider adding him to your team.

Alex Tanguay COL – ADD SOON - Recovering nicely from a knee injury suffered in early November, Tanguay is set to return to the Colorado lineup in the coming week. When he was healthy, he was on pace for almost 60 points – if he can pick up where he left off, his projections would put his remaining production at 10G 20A 30P in the remaining half of the season. That's not too shabby for a guy that is owned in only 6% of leagues. Keep an ear to the ground to find out the day he's returning, and pick him up the day before. You should have no problems doing so, and he'll be good for the addition.


Andrej Sekera CAR – TRADE AWAY – Between the addition of puck-moving defenseman John-Michael Liles to the Carolina defense corp, his reduced ice-time – both regular strength and power play - over the last five games and his recent missing of a game due to an injury, you have all the indicators of a player ready to hit a slump - or at least cool down significantly. Sekera has been punching way above his weight for the last month and a half, and we're convinced his value is at an all-time high. If you can cash in now that he's hot and trade him for someone more established – say, Victor Hedman or Dan Boyle - we recommend you do so.

Dustin Byfuglien WPG – NOTEWORTHY – The Jets big rearguard was moved up to wing to play with Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little on Saturday and appeared to have reasonable success at the position – registering an assist in a 6-3 loss to Columbus. It's a credit to his skill as an athlete that he was able to play a position he hasn't played in almost four years and be productive at it. This could be a huge benefit to GMs that own him – and a pain for those that covet him – as he could see more time at forward, while still being defense-eligible. One needs only look at the success of Brent Burns to know that forward-defense eligible players are worth their weight in gold. As a result, his price has likely just gone up – way up.

Matthew Carle TBL – WATCH - One of the most consistent defensemen in the league over the last five years, Carle is having – yet again – another solid year. With 1G 19A 20P in 44GP, he's exactly on pace for the same 0.5 P/G pace he's been on since the 2009-2010 season. Recently, however, he's been on a tear, with six assists in his last five games. His ownership is hovering around 40%, so he may still be available in your league. If you're in a shallow-to-mid-depth pool and your last defenseman is not on pace for 40 points, we'd recommend adding him instead.


Philipp Grubauer WAS – WATCH – There seems to be a goaltending conundrum in Washington, and we're not sure how it's going to play out. Michal Neuvirth has asked the Caps to be traded but his numbers are anything but spectacular (3-3-1 2.72 GAA / .916 SV%). Braden Holtby – the de facto starter – has been shaky all year, posting a 13-11-2 1SO 3.08 GAA .910 SV%. When Neuvirth went down to injury, Grubauer was called up, and has been spectacular in net thus far, going 6-2-3 2.27 GAA / .931 SV%, but being third in the goalie depth chart, we're not sure what's going to happen. Our best guess will see Neuvirth shipped to a team in need of a backup goalie, and Grubauer will continue to get starts until such time as Holtby snaps out of his funk.

Ray Emery PHI – WATCH – The goaltending battle in Philadelphia has been a little like a game of hot potato, where both Emery and Steve Mason run with the hot hand, until such time as one loses focus, and the other gets the opportunity. Emery's showing the last two games has been very positive (2-0-0 1.50 GAA/ .948 SV%) while Mason's have been mixed (1-1 3.00 GAA/ .838 SV%). We expect that Emery will get a shot soon to get some starts under his belt, and based on his numbers in the past few weeks, we hope that it will be a good showing. If you're in need for some spot starts in a deeper league, keep an eye on Emery.

How did we do last week (as of end-of-day Saturday January 11)?

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

Tyler Bozak TOR – ADD – 3GP 1G 2A -4 2PIM 1PPP [Correct]

Darren Helm DET – WATCH – Injured [N/A]

Mike Fisher NSH – WATCH – 4GP 1G 1A -3 1PPP [Correct]

Michael Ryder NJD – WATCH – 3GP 3G 0A +3 [Correct]

Alexander Semin CAR – CONSIDER ADDING VIA TRADE – 3GP 1G 1A +1 [Correct]

Jakob Silfverberg ANA – WATCH – 3GP 0G 2A [Correct]

John-Michael Liles CAR – WATCH – 3GP 1G 0A +4 2PIM [Correct]

Dennis Wideman CGY – WATCH – 4GP 0G 1A -5 4PIM [Neutral]

Cody Franson TOR – CONSIDER ACQUIRING VIA TRADE – 3GP 0G 0A -7 2PIM [Incorrect]

Evgeni Nabokov NYI – WATCH – Injured [N/A]

Al Montoya WPG – CONSIDER ADDING – 1GP 0-1 6.16 GAA/ .846 SV% [Incorrect]

Jonathan Bernier TOR – ACQUIRE VIA TRADE – 2GP 0-2 3.50 GAA/ .881 SV% [Incorrect]

Not a bad week for us – 6-3-1 with two N/As. Historically, we're now 65-29-26 for the season.

Weekly Notes

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

1. Tampa Bay Lightning – Five games this week – Columbus, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, San Jose, and Carolina

2. New York Rangers – Four games this week – Tampa Bay, Detroit, Ottawa, and Washington

3. Vancouver Canucks – Four games this week – Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, and Calgary

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

1. Pittsburgh Penguins – One game this week - Washington

2. Detroit Red Wings – Two games this week – New York Rangers, and Los Angeles

3. Anaheim Ducks – Three games this week – Vancouver, Chicago, and St. Louis